29 December 2016

2016 NFL Predictions: Week 17

And here we are, the final week of the 2016 NFL regular season and while much of the playoff intrigue is confined to the NFC, you can find plenty of motivation here.

Who will close their season the right way? Here are my Week 17 NFL picks.

Last Week: 12-4
2016: 152-88
Locks: 13-3

New Year's Day - January 1st
Ravens (8-7) vs. Bengals (5-9-1) - CBS, 1:00
Baltimore Ravens (1999 - Pres)Cincinnati Bengals (2004 - Pres)
Neither team will be going to the playoffs so there is that after Baltimore got eliminated as a result of their Christmas loss to the Steelers. While I don't foresee them, or the Bengals frankly, to have much motivation here, even on the road the stronger team should still prevail.
Ravens 21 Bengals 20

Texans (9-6) vs. Titans (8-7) - CBS, 1:00
Houston Texans (2002 - Pres)Tennessee Titans (1999 - Pres)
Tennessee's playoff hopes died on Sunday in a tough loss to the Jaguars but even more importantly saw their budding young quarterback, Marcus Mariota, fracturing his right fibula which has resulted in him needed surgery. One hopes that he is able to have a successful recovery ahead of next season but in the meantime, they will have to start Matt Cassel. Oy.
Texans 12 Titans 9

Panthers (6-9) vs. Buccaneers (8-7) - Fox, 1:00
Carolina Panthers (2012 - Pres)Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014 - Pres)
After the disappointing loss in New Orleans, the Buccaneers now need a crazy amount of help to get to the playoffs and quite frankly, it is just not going to happen. And now Doug Martin is due to get suspended for PED usage so this isn't the way Tampa Bay wanted to close out their season but I do think they will cap out a nice building year with a win over a flagging Carolina club.
Buccaneers 25 Panthers 21

Jaguars (3-12) vs. Colts (7-8) - CBS, 1:00
Jacksonville Jaguars (2013 - Pres)Indianapolis Colts (2002 - Pres)
Doug Marrone is trying to get the full-time gig as the head coach of the Jaguars and hey, he got himself a nice win in Week 16 as his team ended the hopes of the Titans at getting into the playoffs. A win here would not hurt his case to get that gig but if Andrew Luck gets it going through the air, this is not a good matchup.
Colts 35 Jaguars 27

Patriots (13-2) vs. Dolphins (10-5) - CBS, 1:00
New England Patriots (2000 - Pres)Miami Dolphins (2013 - Pres)
Both clubs will be in the postseason but still have something on the line here as the Patriots have yet to lock down the top seed in the AFC while the Dolphins are playing for playoff position as well. The former seems more like a motivation to me to be quite frank and behind yet another strong performance from Tom Brady, I like the Pats.
Patriots 34 Dolphins 27

Bears (3-12) vs. Vikings (7-8) - Fox, 1:00
Chicago Bears (1963 - 1998)Minnesota Vikings (2013 - Pres)
This game truly is a mess as Minnesota had a disastrous first half against the Packers on Saturday thanks in part to some nonsense from veteran corner Terrence Newman, and never were able to recover while the Bears looked rather lost against Washington at home. Unless we see some more shenanigans from that Minnesota secondary, I think that defense will look a little better here at home and get the W.
Vikings 19 Bears 14

Bills (7-8) vs. Jets (4-11) - CBS, 1:00
Buffalo Bills (1970 - 1973)New York Jets (1967 - 1977)
Rex Ryan has failed again as he got axed, along with his brother, this past Monday which will leave Anthony Lynn as the interim coach. Lynn has a strong reputation and may just land the permanent gig in his own right and if he gets the Bills to pull off a nice win here in the Meadowlands, that should help his case. It also doesn't hurt their cause that the Jets have completely given up on the season.
Bills 28 Jets 10

Cowboys (13-2) vs. Eagles (6-9) - Fox, 1:00
Dallas Cowboys (1964 - Pres)Philadelphia Eagles (1996 - Pres)
It is not often where a 6-9 team is favored over a 13-2 team but that will be the case this Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. Why? Well, that happens when you have a team in the Cowboys that has already clinched the top seed in the NFC and has nothing to play for. Philadelphia showed some spunk defensively this past Thursday in the Meadowlands and I think you will see them close the season well here.
Eagles 20 Cowboys 17

Browns (1-14) vs. Steelers (10-5) - Fox, 4:25
Cleveland Browns (2015 - Pres)Pittsburgh Steelers (2002 - Pres)
Hey, Cleveland won! The Browns cranked out a nice home win over the Chargers to spare their fanbase of a hideous 0-16 campaign which may have gotten Hue Jackson fired and considering I do think he's a good coach, that would have been tough to watch. And considering they get to visit the hated Steelers, could we see another upset? Yeah, probably not.
Steelers 31 Browns 21

Saints (7-8) vs. Falcons (10-5) - Fox, 4:25
New Orleans Saints (2000 - Pres)Atlanta Falcons (2003 - Pres)
If the Falcons win here, they will get a bye and host a playoff game in the second weekend of the playoffs. Tell me you saw that scenario coming. While New Orleans has been disappointing again, they should still bring it offensively as they always do indoors. That said, they don't have that much to play for amid rumors coach Sean Payton could be on his way out of town and I think Atlanta's defense will do just enough to secure the win.
Falcons 35 Saints 30

Giants (10-5) vs. Washington (8-6-1) - Fox, 4:25
New York Giants (1976 - 1999)Washington Redskins (1965 - 1969)
Barring a key injury or otherwise, there really is not that much of an excuse for Washington to lose this game. After all, they are playing at home against a team that has, if not nothing, then just about nothing to play for, while all they have to do in order to get into the playoffs is win. Of course, we have seen similar situations before (see the Jets last year, albeit on the road) but I still think Washington will crank it out here.
Washington 24 Giants 16

Cardinals (6-8-1) vs. Rams (4-11) - Fox, 4:25
Arizona Cardinals (2005 - Pres)Los Angeles Rams (2016 - Pres)
After losing at home to the 49ers, of all teams, the Rams have just about turned into a dumpster fire at this point and really cannot wait to hit the offseason and to start their coaching search. The Cardinals, for their part, have been one of the bigger disappointments in the league but they also still look like a competant team on the field.
Cardinals 33 Rams 19

Raiders (12-3) vs. Broncos (8-7) - CBS, 4:25
Oakland Raiders (1995 - Pres)Denver Broncos (1997 - Pres)
Denver has been sliding big league of late as they have lost three games in a row en route to missing the playoffs, and they looked awful on Christmas night. That said, they will face Oakland's backup quarterback Matt McGloin after Derek Carr's broken fibula in their victory over the Colts and that feels like a bad matchup with that Broncos defense.
Broncos 23 Raiders 16

Chiefs (11-4) vs. Chargers (5-10) - CBS, 4:25
Kansas City Chiefs (1972 - Pres)San Diego Chargers (2002 - 2006)
In what could very well be the final home game in San Diego, I could see the Chargers coming out with some motivation in front of the home faithful. The problem is that even with that, this team has been a mess of late as they have not won in over a month. Kansas City still has some playoff positioning to deal with and I think that will be just enough for them to get the win.
Chiefs 30 Chargers 20

Seahawks (9-5-1) vs. 49ers (2-13) - Fox, 4:25
Seattle Seahawks (2012 - Pres)San Francisco 49ers (2009 - Pres)
It has been a lost season for the 49ers as just about everybody expected this season but hey, they did get a win last week against the Rams at the Coliseum. That said, they are facing a much stronger team in the Seahawks and one that now has to fight hard to possibly get a bye in the playoffs. Seattle is my Lock of the Week.
Seahawks 28 49ers 13

Packers (9-6) vs. Lions (9-6) - NBC, 8:30
Green Bay Packers (1968 - 1979)Detroit Lions (1970 - 2002)
Although this game could be for naught if Washington were to lose to the Giants earlier in the day (in which case both teams would be in the playoffs), this is effectively a win or go home affair with the winner taking the division and hosting a playoff game. While Green Bay has a stake to the claim that they are the hottest team in football after winning five in a row, Detroit has seen their playoff hopes waver in the wake of two mediocre performances against strong competition. The Packers do generally play well in Detroit and the inconsistent play of the Lions' offense is some cause for concern.
Packers 28 Lions 27


  1. You do know the Patriots have nothing to play for they already clinched the No. 1 seed I see Miami stealing one

  2. Hi Ben
    A few of the results will depend on how many starting players are rested from Play-off bound teams. The Giants may be a case in point, which will favour Washington. But there's no point in the Pats resting their stars given they have a week off anyway, which will work against Miami. My final LOTW is Pittsburgh to remind the Browns they aren't play-off bound. Happy New Year to you Ben and thanks for the great blogs.

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