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NFL Week 17 Recap--My Predictions

Updated on January 4, 2016

Randal Bruce vs ESPN

Randal finished Week 17 at 12-4. Way to go out with a bang. That feels good folks. I turned it around nicely at the end of the season like the Redskins and Texans. They finished strong and so did I. Keyshawn Johnson beat me by 1. He finished 13-3. Ohhh so close to winning the week on my way out. It was a down week for them. It feels good to beat up on them for once. Overall, I finish the season at 143-113. I can live with that. My picks were before the season and they are doing week to week. I'm not angry or bitter. It just feels good to finish with a solid winning record. I stuck by my picks before the season. It was painful at times but extremely fun to watch unfold. It was cool to see how I stacked up against the experts. The ESPN overall leader is still Chris Mortensen at 163-93. He killed it. I finished just a game behind Eric Allen. He is in last place at ESPN. He's 144-112. I wanted to catch him, but it wasn't to be. It's nice to go out with more wins than losses. I wanted to take down some experts, but it wasn't in the cards. It's been a fun journey. They are experts for a reason and I tip my cap to them. I walk away feeling that my instincts were pretty good based on my record.

You can see my picks below. There is a link that will lead you to my division by division breakdown and picks and the next link will lead you to ESPN's.

My picks are in bold on the away and home columns.

The Saints get a clutch kick to beat division rival Falcons for the 2nd time

If this was Sean Payton and Drew Brees last game, they went out with a bang. They get a last second win and sweep their division rival in the process. It wasn't a successful season, but a win at the end is always nice. Brees played well passing for 323 yards and a TD. For the Falcons this season has to be a huge disappointment considering how they started. The team came out of the gates hot at 5-0 but finished 3-8 which makes Year 2 for Dan Quinn a big one. How can it not be? This team has too much talent to not be in the playoffs. At least on the offensive side of the ball. Matt Ryan's regression was troubling, but look no further than OC Kyle Shanahan he's had issues in his last 3 stops. I said in my preseason assessment of the Falcons that things wouldn't end well with Kyle as the OC. I think it's obvious it didn't.

Final Score: Saints 20-Falcons 17

I picked the Falcons because I thought they would be tough to beat at home.

Saints Season Prediction and Final Record

I picked the Saints to finish the season 9-7 and out of playoffs. They finished 7-9 so I was only off by 2 games there. Not too bad.

Falcons Season Prediction and Final Record

I picked the Falcons to go 7-9 and they went 8-8. Only off by 1 there. I think I had them figured out pretty well.

Rex gets his revenge as the Bills knock the Jets out of the playoffs

The Jets made so many strides this season, but that doesn't heal the pain of missing a chance at the playoffs. It was a tough game and Ryan Fitzpatrick turned in an awful performance. He only completed 43% of his passes while throwing 3 picks. The Jets are in a good place with Todd Bowles as coach. That won't satisfy Jets fans right now and it shouldn't, but they should be competitive every year. If they improve their QB play they'll have a shot at a title. It has to be so satisfying for Rex Ryan to knock the Jets out of the playoffs. Not only that he beat them both times. The Bills can't seem to get over the hump. They seem close to being a playoff team in the last few years. Their future is up in the air.

Final Score: Bills 22-Jets 17

I picked the Bills because they were at home.

Bills Season Prediction and Final Record

I thought the Bills would finish would finish 6-10. They finished 8-8 and I was only off by 2 games. They exceeded my expectations.

Jets Season Prediction and Final Record

I picked the Jets to finish 4-12. I couldn't have imagined they would have been 10-6. They are a far better team than I could of imagined. Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan deserve a lot of credit.

Stafford's 3 TD passes lifts the Lions over the Bears

The Lions are one of the most disappointing teams of the season. They seem to get it together late, but too much damage had been done at that point. They will have a new GM next season, but I don't think there should be any more changes on the coaching staff. I think they made the right move to fire the OC Joe Lombardi and promote QB coach Jim Bob Cooter. The offense has been better with him calling the shots. Stafford was solid against the Bears he tossed 3 TD's and had no turnovers. Everyone keeps saying this could be Calvin Johnson's last season in Detroit. The idea of that just sounds stupid. Johnson hauled in 10 catches for 137 yards and a TD. The Bears could look considerably different from a personnel standpoint. Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, and Alshon Jeffery could all be gone next season. I don't have much faith in John Fox so this could get ugly in Chicago before it gets better.

Final Score: Lions 24-Bears 20

I picked the Lions to win because I thought they were the better team.

Lions Season Prediction and Final Record

I thought the Lions would be 10-6 and a Wild Card team. I was way off on that one. I could have never imagined they would finish 7-9. I should have seen it coming because they don't have a history of consistency. I thought they had turned a corner after a great 2014 season.

Bears Season Prediction and Final Record

I thought the Bears would finish 4-12. I wasn't too far off on that one. I just didn't believe in John Fox.

The Bengals beat the bruised Ravens to end the season

A.J. McCarron has played well in a small sample size. Is he good enough to win a playoff game? That remains to be seen. There is word that Andy Dalton could be available for next week's game against the Steelers. The Bengals have to feel better about the situation after getting a chance to see what McCarron can do. They would rather have Dalton but you have to have a plan B and theirs doesn't seem so bad. The Ravens are glad this season is over. They are beaten and broken. I trust that GM Ozzie Newsome will have this team rebuilt and ready to compete for the playoffs again next season.

Final Score: Bengals 24-Ravens 16

I picked the Bengals because they were the superior team.

Bengals Season Prediction and Final Record

I picked the Bengals to go 11-5 and win the division and be a 2 seed in the playoffs. They finished 12-4, won the division and ended as a 3 seed. I think i pretty much nailed this team.

Ravens Season Prediction and Final Record

I picked the Ravens to go 9-7 and missed the playoffs. I don't feel bad about missing this one because no one could have seen this coming. No one could predict they would have so many injuries to key players. I knew they wouldn't make the playoffs, but I couldn't imagine they would finish 5-11.

The Steelers get in the playoffs with an ugly win over the Browns

The Steelers had to gut this one out to make the playoffs. They did what they had to do to get in. Plus, it helps that the Jets lost. The Steelers are the scariest team in the AFC playoffs. Their offense can score with anybody. Big Ben was up and down in this game. He has thrown a lot of picks lately, but he plays his best ball in the playoffs. Antonio Brown keeps putting up video game like numbers. He had 13 catches for 187 yards and a score. Their defense is a liability. They came up big today. They held the Browns to 263 yards. They had 7 sacks, 2 INT's and 2 fumble recoveries. Stephon Tuitt led the way with 2 sacks. The Browns are a mess. They fired their GM and Head Coach after the game. Too bad they can't fire their owner. They are going to need a lot of work just to look like a real football organization.

Final Score: Steelers 28-Browns 12

I picked the Browns because they seem to always steal one from the Steelers. Not today.

Steelers Season Prediction and Final Record

I was so on point with my prediction of the Steelers. I said they would be 10-6, a Wild Card team and the 6th seed. That's exactly how they finished. They are also my Super Bowl pick so Steelers fan should be happy. Well, not really, but they made the playoffs so there you go Pittsburgh.

Browns Season Prediction and Final Record

I thought the Browns would be 5-11 and they managed to be a little bit worse at 3-13. They are a bigger mess than I thought. They will be starting over again next year. There is no faith that they will get it right.

The Redskins like beating the Cowboys in Dallas

This game was over quickly. The Redskins look ready for the playoffs. They jumped out to a 24-0 lead, Kirk Cousins had 3 TD passes and left the game early. The Cowboys continued to fight, but were outmatched. This was suppose to be a big season for the Cowboys, but the Redskins are the one who are celebrating. Everyone is safe in Dallas after this disappointing season, but they need to start looking for a young QB to move forward. Romo isn't getting any younger or healthier. The Redskins look like they are building something. Can they sustain it?

Final Score: Redskins 34-Cowboys 23

I picked the Cowboys before the season because I thought they'd have a healthy Romo and I had no idea who the Redskins QB would be.

Redskins Season Prediction and Final Record

The Redskins completely fooled me. I thought they would be 7-9 and out of the playoffs. They finished 9-7 and win the NFC East. That's huge for a team that's normally a laughing stock. I was totally wrong about Scot McCloughan, Jay Gruden and Kirk Cousins. They proved me wrong.

Cowboys Season Prediction and Final Record

I thought the Cowboys were finally ready to contend after their stellar 2014 season. I was so wrong. I'm not surprised because they never deliver. I picked this team to go 11-5 and represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. I didn't think they'd win, but at least make it. They were 4-12. There were a lot of factors like injuries to star players like Tony Romo and Dez Bryant, poor personnel decisions and terrible coaching. The Cowboys could have won this division if they would have stuck with Brandon Weedon and tailored the offense around his skill set. They refused and cut him. Only to watch Weedon step in and help the Texans make the playoffs because their coaching staff can adjust to the talent on their roster. I blew this pick big time.

The Colts use 2 different QB's to take down the Titans

The Colts were a lot of experts Super Bowl pick. Not mine and I'm no expert. I just didn't think they were good enough to make it there. It's impressive, they won this last game with 2 different QB's but they were playing the Titans, who are going to be a huge project for the next coach. Speaking of coaches, we should learn soon whether Chuck Pagano will be back with the Colts. The feeling is no.

Final Score: Colts 30-Titans 24

I picked the Colts because they usually win division games.

Colts Season Prediction and Final Record

I thought the Colts would be 10-6 and win this division, but be a Wild Card team. I thought they would have won their Wild Card game and lost in the divisional round. The Colts finished a disappointing 8-8. The loss of Andrew Luck killed their season. I don't feel bad about missing on this pick. No one could have seen the level of dysfunction between the owner, GM and coach.

Titans Season Prediction and Final Record

I thought the Titans would be 4-12. They finished at 3-13. I think I had this team figured out.

The Dolphins get a victory over the defending Champion Patriots to end the season

The Patriots wasted, a major opportunity by losing to the Dolphins. I know Tom Brady went down with an injury, but they had home field advantage on the line. You trust the Pats because they've been there before. I don't mean to discount the Dolphins but they have a lot of changes coming. They were playing up to the competition, instead of just rolling over. Ryan Tannehill played a good game. He passed for 350 yards and 2 TD's. The Pats need to get healthy for their playoff run.

Final Score: Dolphins 20-Patriots 10

I picked the Dolphins because they usually beat the Pats in Miami.

Dolphins Season Prediction and Final Record

I thought the Dolphins would be 8-8 because that's where they usually finish. They finished 6-10. Not that far off. I thought they would fire Joe Philbin. Only thought they would have waited until after the season.

Patriots Season Prediction and Final Record

I felt like the Patriots would finish 11-5, win the division and finish a 3 seed. They were 12-4, won the division and were a 2 seed. So close to getting that one perfect. Still impressive.

The Eagles get a win over the Giants without Chip Kelly

This game is exactly why these teams missed the playoffs. The offenses went up and down the field with ease. They both have awful defenses. The Eagles get a win after firing Chip Kelly the week before. This may have been Tom Coughlin's last game as Giants coach. Eli Manning and Sam Bradford both threw for over 300 yards and 2 TD's. Zach Ertz had 152 yards receiving for the Eagles and Rashad Jennings had 170 yards rushing for the Giants. There were a lot of big days for offensive players on both teams. There will be a lot a changes for both teams. It will be interesting to see which team improves.

Final Score: Eagles 35-Giants 30

I picked the Eagles because I had a hunch. Their games can go either way, regardless of record.

Eagles Season Prediction and Final Record

I picked the Eagles to finish 9-7 and miss the playoffs. They finished 7-9. Not too far off. I said in my preview Chip Kelly would have to run back to college after this season. I was right. He says he wants to stay in NFL, but regardless I just felt like this would be his last season in Philly. He let his ego get the best of him.

Giants Season Prediction and Final Record

I thought the Giants would finish 8-8 because they seem to do that a lot lately. They finished 6-10. Again, not that far off on this one. I said in my preview that a disappointing season could end the Tom Coughlin era. If the rumors are true, I nailed that part.

The Texans destroy the Jaguars on their way to the AFC South crown

Bill O'Brien deserves a lot of credit. He has done a hell of a coaching job in his 2 years in Houston. Their QB situation is awful. They've overachieved in the last 2 years. It will come back to haunt them if they don't fix it soon. Right now they are getting it done. They had 4 different QB's this season and won this division. Yes, the AFC South was not that tough this year, but someone had to win it. The strength of their team is their defense. They held the Jaguars to 215 yards of total offense. They gathered 8 sacks, 2 INT's and 2 fumble recoveries. J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus were giving Blake Bortles nightmares. Mercilus had 3.5 sacks and Watt had 3. The Jaguars have young talent, but lack leadership. People seem to like Gus Bradley but I don't think he can take them to the next level. I don't expect them to take the next leap with him at the helm.

Final Score: Texans 30-Jaguars 6

I picked the Texans because I think they have a better coaching staff.

Texans Season Prediction and FinalRecord

I believed the Texans would finish the regular season at 9-7 and they did. I had them figured out. What I didn't expect was for them to win the division at 9-7. That's were I was wrong.

Jaguars Season Prediction and Final Record

The Jaguars finished at 5-11. That's better than I thought. I had them at 3-13. So I wasn't that far off. I'm still shocked that they are ok with what Gus Bradley is doing. That I don't get.

The Broncos rally to beat the Chargers and grab home field advantage for the playoffs

Brock Osweiler struggled and so did the Broncos offense. The Broncos turned to Peyton Manning for a spark and it worked. Manning rallied the Broncos and they landed the #1 seed in the AFC. The Chargers showed a lot of fight, but like their season they just kept coming up short.

Final Score: Broncos 27-Chargers 20

I picked the Broncos because they were the better team and at home.

Broncos Season Prediction and Final Record

I picked the Broncos to go 12-4 and be the 1 seed in the AFC. Touchdown!

Chargers Season Prediction and Final Record

I thought the Chargers would be 10-6 and make the playoffs as a Wild Card team. I totally blew this one. I should have known, but I thought the Chargers finally shed their underachiever status. Silly me.

The streak reaches 10 after the Chiefs beat the Raiders

The Chiefs just keep on rolling. They go into the playoffs as the hottest team. They have now won 10 straight. This team looked dead in the water when they were 1-5 but Andy Reid rallied the troops. Coaching matters St. Louis, Jacksonville and Atlanta. I'm talking to you. This team could have easily rolled over after a terrible start but they got a guy who just keeps grinding and his players believe in him. He deserves to be in the coach of the year talk. They win ugly and do it with solid defensive play. Their defense held the Raiders to just 205 yards of total offense. That's crazy. They also harassed and sacked Derek Carr 6 times. The Raiders will be a team to reckon with soon. You can see them getting better. I think they have finally got it right with Jack Del Rio.

Final Score: Chiefs 23-Raiders 17

I picked the Chiefs because they were at home and they almost never lose there.

Chiefs Season Prediction and Final Record

I thought the Chiefs would be 9-7 and miss the playoffs. I knew they'd have a winning record. I just didn't think they'd make the playoffs. The finish 11-5 and are on fire.

Raiders Season Prediction and Final Record

I thought the Raiders would be 5-11. They overachieved in my book and their future looks bright. They were in contention at one point but finished 7-9. Not bad.

The Seahawks completely disrespect the Cardinals in an easy win

The Cardinals easily won the NFC West and finished 2 in the NFC. They even went up to Seattle and beat the Seahawks in their own stadium, which doesn't happen that often. But for some reason they took a straight butt kicking at the hands of the Seahawks in Arizona. The Seahawks punched them in the mouth and the Cardinals went down like a ton of bricks it wasn't even close. Russell Wilson continues his hot play, tossing in 3 TD's. The defense completely shut down the Cardinals. Maybe it was just a hiccup for the Cardinals, but very disturbing going into the playoffs.

Final Score: Seahawks 36-Cardinals 6

I picked the Seahawks to win because I thought they would be the better team at this point. The Cardinals have the better record, but the Seahawks may be the better team. I don't like to overreact after 1 game, but this was eye opening.

Seahawks Season Prediction and Final Record

I picked the Seahawks to finish 13-3, win the NFC West and be the 1 seed in the NFC. They finished 10-6, a Wild Card team and 6 seed. I don't feel bad about this one. They underachieved early, but came on strong late.

Cardinals Season Prediction and Final Record

I picked the Cardinals to finish 11-5 and be 5th seed Wild Card team. The Cardinals went 13-3, won the NFC West and the 2 seed in the NFC. The reverse happens with my Cardinals and Seahawk picks. I feel great about it because they both made the playoffs like I thought.

The 49ers beat the Rams in Jim Tomasula's last game as coach

In the least interesting game on the final week of the season, the 49ers beat the Rams in Jim Tomasula's last game as 49ers coach. That's embarrassing. This train wreck of a team and coaching staff beats the Rams and Jeff Fisher. How does Jeff Fisher continue to keep his job? They are 7-9 again. He's great when he coaches against Pete Carroll it's just everyone else he can't figure out. Look at Fisher's coaching record and he's almost 7-9 and 8-8 every year. He's great at being average. I know the Rams may be moving and are scared to make a coaching change, but they should at least consider it. He's been there long enough and the results were not good.

Final Score: 49ers 19-Rams 16

I picked the 49ers cause I thought they would steal one from the Rams.

49ers Season Prediction and Final Record

I thought the 49ers would be 5-11 after firing a great coach like Harbaugh and they were. So of course they realize it's a year too late and fire his replacement. Wow.

Rams Season Prediction and Final Record

I thought the Rams would be 5-11 and this would be the end of the Jeff Fisher era. They overachieved in my book, but really they stayed the course at 7-9. They seem to always be 7-9 or better yet Jeff Fisher always seems to be 7-9. You'd think he was a great coach the way the media talks about him, but look at his records from season to season and they tell a different story.

The Panthers rebound from their 1st loss by demolishing the Buccaneers

Your soon to be MVP Cam Newton turned in a solid performance in his final game of the season. He was efficent in the passing game by tossing 2 TD's and he boosted the running game with 2 TD runs. There are a lot of deserving MVP candidates, but Newton has been the guy for a while. His play has never wavered. Now we have to see how they do in the playoffs. The Buccaneers made strides this year and Jameis Winston looks like he's headed in the right direction. They'll be tough next season and could contend for a Wild Card spot. They are definitely headed in the right direction.

Final Score: Panthers 38-Buccaneers 10

I picked the Panthers because they were the better team.

Panthers Season Prediction and Final Record

I picked the Panthers to go 9-7 and win the NFC South. I thought they would be a 4 seed in the NFC. They won the NFC South so I nailed that prediction. No one saw the Panthers going 15-1 and being a 1 seed in the NFC. They had a magical regular season.

Buccaneers Season Prediction and Final Record

I thought the Bucs would be 3-13 with a rookie QB. Just thought there would be more growing pains. The Bucs finished 6-10 and at one point were in the hunt for a Wild Card spot. They are in way better shape than I could have imagined.

The Vikings come to Lambeau Field and leave NFC North Champions after taking down the Packers

What happened to the Packers and Aaron Rodgers? Early in the season it looked like they would roll through the NFC and Rodgers would be the MVP. They are struggling heading into the playoffs. One of the reasons they are struggling was the Vikings defense harassed Rodgers and his awful oline all night. They just physically beat the Packers down. They Packers made a late comeback that fell short but they don't look good. The Vikings weren't that impressive on the offensive side of the ball. They got their work cut out for them in the playoffs. That's for another day. For now the Vikings are the NFC North Champs and right now that has to be sweet.

Final Score: Vikings 20-Packers 13

I picked the Packers because they normally are tough at Lambeau field. This year they've been beaten a lot there.

Vikings Season Prediction and Final Record

I thought the Vikings would be 8-8 because I thought they were close, but not ready to get over the hump. They proved me wrong by going 11-5, winning the NFC North and getting the 3 seed in the NFC. Kudos to Mike Zimmer.

Packers Season Prediction and Final Record

I thought the Packers would be 11-5 and win this division and be a 2 Seed in the NFC. I was close on the prediction of their record, but the rest fell apart. So close to them being 11-5 and winning the division. They came up short and finished 10-6 and are a 5 seed. The Packers are consistent and easy to predict.


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