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Week 17 Predictions for the 2014 NFL Season
We are down to this. Week 17. The last week of the regular season. 16 weeks have come and gone in a rather swift manner. It all comes down to this one game. For some teams, win and you're in. For others, they will need some help. It is already too late for the Bills, Dolphins, Saints, to name a few. They could look back at what could have happened and feel sorry for themselves or they can move on to next season. Some players either have or will play their last down in the national football league for good or for their current team. Same thing for the coaches. It will be interesting what news comes up within 24 hours once the Sunday Night game is over to finish the regular season. Should be an exciting day of football and a great post season. Good luck to your team this week. Don't give up.
Browns @ Ravens: Baltimore really shot themselves in the foot losing to Case Keenum and the Texans last week. Unheard of for this team. Can they lose again to a team with a quarterback that causes one to say "Who??". It is quite possible. However, Baltimore tends to struggle against teams who run the ball pretty well. Cleveland isn't one of those teams.
Cowboys @ Redskins: Dallas already wrapped up the NFC East division thanks to Washington surprising the Eagles last Saturday. The Cowboys can contend for a bye week if Seattle loses. Don't think that will happen though, so I think the starters will get a few snaps before the reserves get thrown out. On the other side, this will be another good opportunity for Robert Griffin III to ball out and go in to the offseason on a high note.
Colts @ Titans: Of all the teams you should worry about heading into the playoffs, that will be the Colts. I don't trust their defense as well as their offensive line. It's also not really a good time to start turning the ball over. Hopefully Andrew Luck knows better. For the Titans, it looked like the season was headed in the right direction when they beat Kansas City in the season opener. And then the injury bug bit their two quarterbacks and other starting players.
Saints @ Buccaneers: Both teams would really like to just move on from what has been a disappointing season. Who knows what changes will be made for the Saints and Buccaneers but it certainly has been an eye-opener. It's the last game of the season so I expect for both teams to not lay down easy. Tampa Bay just hasn't been able to take advantage of certain situations though.
Eagles @ Giants: Maybe this will be Tom Coughlin's last hoorah with the Giants. Or maybe not, concerning the potential of next season with Andre Williams and Odell Beckham, Jr (Mr. Catch 'Em All). It would be a nice retirement gift for him by the Giants getting the victory while witnessing another spectacular performance by OBJ against this Philly secondary.
Bills @ Patriots: Even with a loss and Denver win, New England earns the tie breaker. There is nothing really to play for so I expect New England to play their starters either for a few snaps or have them not play at all. Rob Gronkowski is the guy that will make or break the Patriots playoff run. We'll see what happens in the divisional round and beyond. For Buffalo, they really blew it losing to Oakland last week and for a chance at a 10-win season and playoff berth. But at least they will end the season with a winning record and give fans something to look forward to next year.
Jaguars @ Texans: Not a bad coaching debut for Bill O'Brien of the Houston Texans. Obviously the Jadeveon Clowney situation will be looked at closely during the off season and the quarterback play. Case Keenum will probably get another look by Houston (in addition to their other three quarterbacks) or they might look else where either in free agency or through the draft. The roller coaster performance that has been Blake Bortles will continue to be bumpy for this game as J.J. Watt will leave his mark everywhere. I really like the Jaguars future with the pieces they have on offense and defense.
Chargers @ Chiefs: Heroic efforts against San Francisco and Baltimore put the Chargers in the win-and-they're-in category. Against a back-up quarterback in Chase Daniels, that is what they will do in Kansas City. An act of revenge for the 23-20 loss back in October.
Jets @ Dolphins: Maybe Rex Ryan should have guaranteed more Super Bowl wins the last few off seasons. During his first couple of years, they ended up in the AFC Championship game when he made that statement. They did play the Patriots and Dolphins tough but ended up being losses. Really different situation against Buffalo though. Kind of odd. As for the blame. I don't know. You could probably spread it around to everybody. It will be back to the drawing board anyway in the next few months. But, I really think the Jets will give him a proper send off to end the season.
Bears @ Vikings: Give props to another coaching debut for Mike Zimmer in Minnesota. Lot of potential for both sides of the ball heading in to next season. Pretty disappointing finish last week in Miami. A game against the lowly Bears to end the season should help.
Raiders @ Broncos: Aside from Charles Woodson and Kalil Mack, the Raiders don't have enough personnel to do to Denver what the Bengals did on Monday night. So yes, I am going with Denver because they really need the bye week. Like Jacksonville, I am optimistic on where the Raiders are headed in the future. Not to mention that they did a good job battling in the past month while Tony Sparano was taking over as coach.
Cardinals @ 49ers: Probably another team you should probably worry about heading to the playoffs: Arizona. Doesn't really matter if they had Logan Thomas starting or their umpteenth quarterback, this offense is in trouble. The defense has been decent overall but haven't done very well the past month. Whatever San Francisco did in the first half last Saturday, they should lock it up and hold it close. Kind of a theme for the week for head coaches getting a win in their final game.
Lions @ Packers: The winner will win the NFC North and possibly get some R and R for the first round of the playoffs. We've seen the slow starts by Detroit against Chicago and Minnesota whether it was because of the defense or turnovers. Green Bay doesn't have a great defense but they can get some points off of turnovers; which is something that Matthew Stafford has to be careful of. Some sort of mistake against a non-threatening team could be ok, but not against Aaron Rodgers.
Rams @ Seahawks: I expect Seattle to lay down the lumber on St. Louis to show to the world that they are serious at repeating. They remember what happened a couple of months ago with the special team stuff. Don't expect any more trick plays to get the best of Pete Carroll.
Panthers @ Falcons: Pretty tough game to figure out as the Panthers held teams in their last three games to 17 points or less. Those games ended up as wins for Carolina. Atlanta won one game of their last three in a defensive fashion. However, I think the Falcons offense is more explosive (as seen against Green Bay) and can score when needed.
Bengals @ Steelers: Give the Bengals credit. They outperformed Peyton Manning and the Broncos on primetime where they haven't been all that spectacular the past few seasons. Maybe the effort Cincinnati gave was just enough for them to turn a corner heading to the postseason. After all, Indianapolis doesn't really scare anybody. The game will be played at Heinz Field where Ben Roethlisberger has thrown 21 touchdowns to just three interceptions. Besides where the game is being played, it also helps that the Steelers defense are allowing the 6th fewest rushing yards per game (99.3).
Heart of Dallas Bowl: Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech Pick: Louisiana Tech
Quick Lane Bowl: Rutgers vs. North Carolina Pick: Rutgers
Bitcoin Bowl: NC State vs. UCF Pick: UCF
Military Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech Pick: Virginia Tech
Sun Bowl: Arizona State vs. Duke Pick: Arizona State
Independence Bowl: Miami (FL) vs. South Carolina Pick: South Carolina
New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Boston College vs. Penn State Pick: Penn State
Holiday Bowl: Nebraska vs. USC Pick: Nebraska
Liberty Bowl: Texas A&M vs. West Virginia Pick: TAMU
Russel Athletic Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Clemson Pick: Clemson
Texas Bowl: Arkansas vs. Texas Pick: Texas
Music City Bowl: Notre Dame vs. LSU Pick: Notre Dame
Belk Bowl: Georgia vs. Louisville Pick: Louisville
Foster Bowl: Maryland vs. Stanford Pick: Maryland