To all the viewers and readers of my Instant Replay blog site, let me wish you a Happy New Year 2012! Gregor
Here are my final regular season picks for Week 17 in the NFL. Already looking forward to upcoming playoff games.
Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Patriots will do everything to clinch home-field advantage throughout AFC playoffs. They have to win against Buffalo, Bills have been playing better lately after their meltdown earlier on in the season and they did beat the Patriots at home way back in Week 3, but this time Patriots will be focused on their goal and will get that home-field advantage.
Pick: Patriots, 30-20
Against The Spread: Bills (+12.5)
Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). With a loss last week, Bears have been officially eliminated from the playoff race. Before QB Jay Cutler got injured things did look a whole lot different for the Bears, with 7-3 record they were playoff bound team. After the injury, Bears didn’t win a single game. I think Vikings will show more will to win this meaningless game and will end their season with a win at home.
Pick: Vikings: 24-21
Against The Spread: Vikings (+0.5)
Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Fighting with Falcons for 5th seed in NFC playoff Lions will be motivated to get a win at Lambeau Field. Green Bay Packers on the other hand already clinched everything that could be clinched and will rest their starters to avoid any possible injuries.
Pick: Lions, 27-23
Against The Spread: Lions (-1.5)
Tennessee Titans @ Houston Texans, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). It’s hard to believe, but Titans are still in the hunt for last playoff spot in AFC playoffs. Texans already secured 3rd seed and can’t move higher even if they win this game. They too might rest their starters but they’ll have their defensive coordinator Wade Phillips back and they’d like to finish regular season with a home win.
Pick: Texans, 24-20
Against The Spread: Texans (+2.5)
Indianapolis Colts @ Jacksonville Jaguars, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). I wonder how many fans will show up at the stadium to watch this game in Jacksonville. Both Colts and Jaguars had a disappointing season. Should be a low-scoring game in which Colts will try not to win it to secure No.1 draft pick in 2012 NFL draft.
Pick: Jaguars, 20-17
Against The Spread: Colts (+4.5)
San Francisco 49ers @ St. Louis Rams, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). 49ers were hoping they could rest their starters going in St. Louis to play the final regular season game, but with Saints’ win on Monday Night they need this game to clinch 2nd seed. Rams on other hand, didn’t show much on offense and will have hard time scoring against stout 49ers’ defense.
Pick: 49ers, 24-10
Against The Spread: 49ers (-10.5)
New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Records sometimes don’t show the real strength of a team, Dolphins are 5-10, Jets are 8-7 and still fighting for playoff spot. I think Dolphins are the better team here even without RB Reggie Bush and they will show that with a win at home on Sunday.
Pick: Dolphins, 26-17
Against The Spread: Dolphins (-1.5)
Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). That win on Monday Night was pretty impressive from the Saints, Brees broke Marino’s single season passing record set in 1984 and the Saints are on pace to break Rams’ record from 2000 season when they gained 7075 total yards. But Panthers too didn’t have problems so far to pile on the yards, this will be interesting game in which veteran quarterback shows the way out to rookie quarterback.
Pick: Saints, 37-27
Against The Spread: Saints (-7.5)
Washington Redskins @ Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday 1:00 PM (ET). Lately, Eagles are playing one of the best football in the NFL. They will miss the playoffs because of their inconsistency earlier on in the season, when they failed to finish games with big 4th quarter leads. In last game Eagles will face division rival – Redskins, a team who’s been even more inconsistent.
Pick: Eagles, 31-17
Against The Spread: Eagles (-8.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons, Sunday 4:15 PM (ET). Can’t see a scenario in which Bucs would win this game. Their meltdown continues in Atlanta, coach Morris might be the next head coach in this season to lose his job.
Pick: Falcons, 27-17
Against The Spread: Buccaneers (+13.5)
Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday 4:15 PM (ET). Without Ray Lewis Ravens went 4-0 allowing only 12.5 points per game, with Ray Lewis Baltimore allowed 18.2 points per game with a 7-4 record. LB Ray Lewis will be in the Ravens’ lineup on Sunday and the Bengals are playing at home which should always be an advantage in divisional games.
Pick: Bengals, 24-20
Against The Spread: Bengals (+2.5)
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns, Sunday 4:15 PM (ET). Steelers have still a lot to play for, if they can beat the Browns on the road and if Bengals beat the Ravens then the Steelers would be division champs and would earn a first-round bye. That’s a big if of course, but Steelers will take care of their part of the equation with a win against Cleveland.
Pick: Steelers, 24-13
Against The Spread: Steelers (-7.5)
Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos, Sunday 4:15 PM (ET). As if schedule makers knew all along that QB Kyle Orton will return to his former team and in regular season finale outshine the Tebows in an important divisional game Mile High above sea level. Hollywood script at its best.
Pick: Chiefs, 22-17
Against The Spread: Chiefs (+3.5)
San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders, Sunday 4:15 PM (ET). So long Norval Eugene Turner. San Diego Chargers were my preseason pick to win the Super Bowl, but again they showed big-time inefficiency. Raiders have a lot more to play for in this game, playing in front of energetic home crowd they will beat the Chargers.
Pick: Raiders, 31-23
Against The Spread: Raiders (-2.5)
Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals, Sunday 4:15 PM (ET). One of rare games this week without any playoff implications. Teams will battle it out for the second place in a much improved NFC West division.
Pick: Seahawks, 24-21
Against The Spread: Seahawks (+3.5)
Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants, Sunday 8:30 PM (ET). NFL took a ‘save the best for last’ approach and moved this Do-or-Die game to prime time. This will be 100th game between the Cowboys and the Giants. Cowboys lead the series 56-41-2. The winner takes the NFC East division crown and a 4th seed in NFC playoffs. After the game New York Giants will have the right to call themselves division champions.
Pick: Giants, 23-20
Against The Spread: Cowboys (+3.5)