Week 17. I did it. I posted my picks for every week this season. And it wasn’t terrible, was it? Actually, don’t answer that. Week 17 should be a very entertaining week of football. In fact, it will probably be the most entertaining week of football. Even though it’s actually only a day of football. Every game this week will be played on Sunday and almost every game has playoff implications. Let’s break it down. As always, the lines are from ESPN and my picks are in caps.
BUFFALO BILLS (-12.5) at New England Patriots
With a win, the Patriots can clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. While we won’t see a repeat of the Bills upset victory in week three, they’ll keep it close. But Tom Brady will win in the end. He always does. I think this is how we all feel about Tom Brady.
CHICAGO BEARS (+0.5) at Minnesota Vikings
Vikings fan or not, Adrian Peterson is great. And not only as a player. Even a horrific injury didn’t stop him from keeping a promise he made to a fan. Hopefully AP can make a full recovery and until then, football fans will miss seeing him play.
DETROIT LIONS (-1.5) at Green Bay Packers
The Packers loss to the Chiefs was a huge win for the Lions. The Packers, now 14-1, don’t have much to play for this week. They’ve locked up the number one seed in the NFC and aren’t playing for an undefeated record. The Lions need a win to hold onto the fifth seed. If they can win and remain the fifth seed, they’ll play either the Cowboys or the Giants. If the Lions lose and the Falcons win, the Lions take the sixth seed and will play either the Saints or the 49ers. Ndamukong Suh better double knot his laces.
Tennessee Titans at HOUSTON TEXANS (+2.5)
Regardless of what happens this week, the Texans will be the number three seed in the AFC. The Titans still have a shot at the playoffs. To sneak into the playoffs, the Titans need to win and have the Bengals lose. They also need the Jets to win and either the Broncos or Raiders to lose, or the Jets to lose and both the Raiders and Broncos to win. Don’t worry, my head hurts too.
INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (+4.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
While this game has no playoff implications, it could decide where Andrew Luck goes. If the Colts lose, they will draft first in the 2012 NFL Draft. If they win and the Rams lose, the Rams will have the right to draft Luck. If both teams win, the Colts will get the first pick.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (-10.5) at St. Louis Rams
If the 49ers win, they clinch a first round bye. If the Rams lose and the Colts win, they get the first pick of the draft. One team has incentive to lose, while the other has incentive to win. No upset to see here.
New York Jets at MIAMI DOLPHINS (-1.5)
After two consecutive AFC Championship games, it will take a lot for Mark Sanchez “lead” the Jets to the playoffs again. They’re not eliminated yet, but need to win and have the Bengals and Titans lose and also have either the Raiders or Broncos lose.
Carolina Panthers at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-7.5)
Drew Brees broke the record for most passing yards in a single season last week. Any yards he gets this week will just extend his record number. And extend that record he will as the Saints are playing for a first-round bye. They can only secure that with a win and a 49ers loss.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS (+8.5) at Philadelphia Eagles
No playoff spots are at stake in this game, just Andy Reid’s job. Although, it might already be too late for him as the best his “dream team” can finish is 8-8.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at ATLANTA FALCONS (-13.5)
The Falcons are currently the sixth seed and can only move up to the fifth seed with a win and a Lions loss. Getting a win should be easy considering the Buccaneers have lost nine straight.
BALTIMORE RAVENS (-2.5) at Cincinnati Bengals
With a win, the Ravens will guarantee themselves the second seed and a first round bye. With a win and a Patriots loss, the Ravens will have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. For the Bengals, a win means they are in the playoffs. If they lose, they still have a chance but need the Jets and either Oakland or Denver to lose. The Bengals may need a couple more flips from Jerome Simpson to beat the Ravens.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS (-7.5) at Cleveland Browns
The Steelers are in the playoffs. They can grab the second seed and a first-round bye with a win and a Ravens loss. They can grab the first seed, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win, a Ravens loss and a Patriots loss. I’m sure Roethlisberger would enjoy a week off.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (+3.5) at Denver Broncos
To make the playoffs, the Broncos need to win, or they need the Raiders to lose. With Kyle Orton making his much anticipated return to Denver, the Broncos may be hoping for a Raiders loss.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (+2.5) at Oakland Raiders
The Raiders can make the playoffs one of two ways. They can win their division with a win and a Broncos loss. Or they could clinch a wildcard spot with a win and losses by both the Bengals and the Titans, or with a win and a Bengals loss and a Jets win. Again, my head hurts.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (+3.5) at Arizona Cardinals
No playoff implications for this game. But if you find yourself watching it, make sure to check out Marshawn Lynch’s awesome shoes.
Dallas Cowboys at NEW YORK GIANTS (-3.5)
It’s essentially a playoff game. If the Cowboys win, they’re in the playoffs. If the Giants win, they’re in the playoffs. It’s also Tony Romo in a meaningful game at the end of the year. He’s 3-7 in games on or after Christmas. Remember this game?