24 December 2013

2013 NFL Predictions: Week 17

It is now or never as we have reached the final week of the 2013 NFL season. There is still plenty to be decided in both conferences before the playoff field is set. With so much on the line, here are my Week 17 predictions.

Last Week: 8-8
2013: 148-90
Locks: 13-3

Sunday, December 30th
Houston Texans (2-13) vs. Tennessee Titans (6-9) - CBS, 1:00
Well they do say that anything goes in divisional matchups, but Houston is about as dead as one could be. They have lost 13 in a row and appear to be cruising toward getting the first overall pick, which they will obtain if/when they lose this week. Tennessee is by no means a great team, but they will look like one in Nashville on Sunday.
Titans 24 Texans 9

Cleveland Browns (4-11) vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8) - CBS, 1:00
Somehow, Pittsburgh has itself a shot to get into the playoffs and be only the second team to make the playoffs after starting the season 0-4. They have a high hurdle to climb as they have to win and the Dolphins, Ravens and Chargers all have to lose (This line has become a cliche, but it works). Regardless of whether they make the playoffs, Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers have played quality football of late, winning two in a row, and I think they convincingly defeat their hated rivals to the west and stay alive. They are my Lock of the Week to boot.
Steelers 35 Browns 17

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-11) vs. Indianapolis Colts (10-5) - CBS, 1:00
Indianapolis comes into the finale with a playoff spot solidly in their favor and now just have to play for the all-important seeding in the AFC postseason. They have won two in a row by a combined score of 48-10 and while you will be quick to point out the first win came against the excellent Houston squad, the second came on the road in Kansas City. Maybe that win proves that the Colts may actually be for real? That question will continue after they win this week over Jacksonville.
Colts 30 Jaguars 21

New York Jets (7-8) vs. Miami Dolphins (8-7) - CBS, 1:00
Jets coach Rex Ryan made some news on Sunday with the reports that he told the team on Saturday night that the rumor of the street was that he would be out at the end of the year. Now while I do have questions about whether that is actually true, or whether Ryan was merely using a ploy to get his players to play hard down the stretch or to possibly get players to turn against management, it did appear to work as the club overcame a 10-0 deficit against Cleveland to pull away and win. Now they have a grand opportunity to play spoiler to Miami, who blew a major opportunity to get some breathing room in the Wild Card race by laying a massive egg in Orchard Park. Even back home in Miami Gardens, I see a similar result.
Jets 19 Dolphins 14

Baltimore Ravens (8-7) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (10-5) - CBS, 1:00
I noted earlier that Miami laid a major egg this past Sunday in their race for the Wild Card, but it is important to note that they got saved when the Ravens choked away the opportunity of their own at home when they got destructed by the Patriots. And it was only a week ago that we thought that they were coming together just in the nick of time to make a playoff push. Plus, if they had won on Sunday, this game in Cincinnati would have been for the division. I think we have to realize that this Ravens team just is not that good, and I think for the second straight year the Bengals will beat them in the finale at home.
Bengals 35 Ravens 28

Detroit Lions (7-8) vs. Minnesota Vikings (4-10-1) - Fox, 1:00
So much for the Jim Schwartz tenure in Motown as he will lose his job now after this solid chokejob by the Lions, who were in control of the NFC North until they did everything they could to give it away. When you lose to a flailing Giants team with nothing to play for at home when you need to fight hard to get into the postseason, that says it all. Therefore, I do not see a way that this team wakes up and goes up to Minneapolis and beat an inferior Viking squad.
Vikings 24 Lions 21

Washington (3-12) vs. New York Giants (6-9) - Fox, 1:00
We knew that this game was going to be unwatchable but I would argue with the Giants winning on the road last week in Detroit and now with their confidence back, this game will be even more unwatchable as New York may actually be competent. I will give Washington, meanwhile, credit where credit is due as they did fight somewhat hard against the Cowboys and nearly cost their chances to win the division, but at least they were playing spoiler. Now, what do they have to play for? Give me New York.
Giants 28 Washington 17

Carolina Panthers (11-4) vs. Atlanta Falcons (4-11) - Fox, 1:00
Atlanta sure gave the 49ers a whale of a game on Monday night but in a play that defines what their season is, the ball was tipped out of Harry Douglas' hands into Navarro Bowman's hands who took it to the house when Atlanta was driving for the win or the tie. At least the team is fighting hard while at the same time in no hurry to win in order to secure a high draft pick. And for that reason, I don't see them defeating a strong Carolina club that is trending upwards towards the playoffs.
Panthers 30 Falcons 26

Denver Broncos (12-3) vs. Oakland Raiders (4-11) - CBS, 4:25
The last time these two clubs played, back in week three, the Raiders were playing some quality football and they gave the Broncos a tough fight before falling away late. But the tide has turned for the Raiders as they have had questions at quarterback and the defense has been sloppy and inconsistent. Denver does have something to play for as they can nail down homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. I believe they get it done in Oaktown Sunday afternoon.
Broncos 38 Raiders 20

Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) vs. San Diego Chargers (8-7) - CBS, 4:25
Of all the teams in the playoff mix in the AFC, the Chiefs have nothing to play for as they are locked into the playoffs and the fifth seed. Meanwhile, the Chargers have a funky chance to get to the playoffs and join Kansas City as a Wild Card if they win and Miami and Baltimore lose. They are long odds, but I like what they have done in winning three in a row and they have the confidence from beating the Chiefs in Arrowhead earlier this season.
Chargers 30 Chiefs 28

Buffalo Bills (6-9) vs. New England Patriots (11-4) - CBS, 4:25
As we mentioned earlier, Buffalo made their mark in the AFC Wild Card race by smashing the Dolphins at home on Sunday. They have been doing what they can to close out an up and down campaign in Doug Marrone's debut season on the right note and can go into Foxborough and get their third straight win. But that's not going to happen, unless New England rests their starters, something they never do.
Patriots 38 Bills 23

San Francisco 49ers (11-4) vs. Arizona Cardinals (10-5) - Fox, 4:25
It was not easy for the Niners as they closed out Candlestick Park but some last minute heroics by the defense helped to seal the victory. That win was vital as they clinched a playoff spot and now they are playing for seeding. And yet, Arizona has more to play for as they have a long shot to get into the playoffs, needing a loss by New Orleans and a win of their own, and I think with how strong they have been playing of late, they will finish strong at home.
Cardinals 20 49ers 18

St. Louis Rams (7-8) vs. Seattle Seahawks (12-3) - Fox, 4:25
Not too many folks saw the Seahawks losing at home last Sunday to Arizona, not because of their opponent, rather how strong this club is at home as they had not lost there in two years. The Cardinals showed the blueprint in how to slow down Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense with aggressive linebacker play and physical defensive work and just enough offensive plays to pump out a victory. That said, while St. Louis is playing quality football right now, I don't think Seattle losing at home will become a trend.
Seahawks 30 Rams 22

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11) vs. New Orleans Saints (10-5) - Fox, 4:25
It was only two weeks ago that the Saints were in control of a bye and a shot, even after getting crushed by the Seahawks in Seattle, to get the top seed. Now after losing two in a row at St. Louis and at Carolina, they now could find themselves on the outside looking in if they lose this week and the Cardinals win. And the last time these two teams played, back in September, New Orleans barely survived in Tampa Bay. So they better watch out, even as they are back at their friendly confines.
Saints 27 Buccaneers 20

Green Bay Packers (7-7-1) vs. Chicago Bears (8-7) - Fox, 4:25
The Packers had a shot to solidify their position in the NFC North but fell in a tight one at home to Pittsburgh. They got saved, however, when the Bears got crushed in Philadelphia by a team that had nothing to play for when Chicago could have won the division. So now it all comes down to this showdown at Soldier Field. The biggest question remains if Aaron Rodgers will play but the Pack may be in solid shape even if he does not play because Chicago's defense is a mess and are very susceptible to the run, which should be good news for Eddie Lacy should he rebound from his ankle injury on Sunday. That said, I think this Chicago club and Jay Cutler will play with a big chip on their shoulder and get the big win.
Bears 28 Packers 27

Philadelphia Eagles (9-6) vs. Dallas Cowboys (8-7) - NBC, 8:30
I really was planning on picking the Cowboys before about 5:00 on Monday. But with the news that Tony Romo is out for the season due to a back injury he suffered in the club's near loss at Washington, I have a hard time justifying keeping that pick. After all, he powers the club's offense so well that it will be damn hard for Kyle Orton to fill his void when you know that the Eagles are going to put up a lot of offense on their end.
Eagles 31 Cowboys 21

1 comment:

  1. The only problem with your statement- Jason Garrett said 2 hours after ESPN reported that Romo was out that that was false and he is day-to-day.