Week 17 NFL Predictions

Posted: December 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

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All good things must come to an end and the 2013 NFL season is just another one of them. The good news for Eagles fans is that, for all intents and purposes, they’re already in the playoffs. Philadelphia has won 6 of 7 to set up a one-game playoff for the NFC East title against the Dallas Cowboys. If the Eagles win their next 5 games, they will bring a Lombardi Trophy home to the City of Brotherly Love for the first time.

As for my predictions; well, it was a tough start to the campaign. After a wildly successful 2012, this year began with a collection of follies and foibles before the prognostications got hot in the second half. Last week, I put together my best week of the season by going 12-4, including the upset of the year with Arizona over Seattle. With just 16 games left, I sit merely 6 games under the .500 mark. Without further ado, here are SkoodSports’ final regular season predictions of the 2013 season:

Last Week: 12-4-0
2013 Season: 110-116-11

Carolina Panthers (11-4) AT Atlanta Falcons (4-11)

The Spread: Carolina by 6.5
The Pick: Carolina
The Score: Carolina, 27-16
The Rationale: The Falcons are at home, where they spread their wings much more swiftly than on the road (3-4 at Georgia Dome, 1-7 on the road). However, Cam Newton and the Panthers have an opportunity to clinch the South and a first-round bye with a victory. They’ll be coming hard and the banged up Atlanta offensive line will have little chance to stop them.

Baltimore Ravens (8-7) AT Cincinnati Bengals (10-5)

The Spread: Cincinnati by 6
The Pick: Baltimore
The Score: Cincinnati, 34-31
The Rationale: The defending champions will be knocked out of postseason contention with a loss to the Bengals this Sunday. Just a week ago, it looked as though the Ravens were hitting their stride and on their way to another late season run. But, a swift and severe beat down at the hands of the Patriots quickly turned their chariot into a pumpkin. Baltimore would need a win & a Dolphins loss to clinch the 6th seed. As for Cincinnati, they can still get a first round bye with a victory & a New England loss. Expect to see their best and a big game from AJ Green.

Houston Texans (2-12) AT Tennessee Titans (6-9)

The Spread: Tennessee by 7
The Pick: Titans
The Score: Titans, 27-14
The Rationale: Houston hasn’t won in 3 months since a 2-0 start. The Titans have been struggling down the stretch as well, nearly losing on the road to Jacksonville last week. With Matt Schaub back under center for the Texans, the Houston offense is neutralized to the point that even Ryan Fitzpatrick could be confident to cover 7 points on them. The Texans will secure the #1 pick in the draft with a loss.

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-11) AT Indianapolis Colts (10-5)

The Spread: Indianapolis by 11.5
The Pick: Jacksonville
The Score: Jacksonville, 24-21
The Rationale: With the exception of last weekend’s road win over Kansas City, the Colts have not played inspired football in the past month. On the other hand, Jacksonville has been running gangbusters since their putrid 0-8 start. Gus Bradley finally has his team believing that they can succeed. That will be big against an Indianapolis team that may be looking ahead the their rematch with Kansas City in two weeks. Upset of the week!

New York Jets (7-8) AT Miami Dolphins (8-7)

The Spread: Miami by 6.5
The Pick: Miami
The Score: Miami, 23-16
The Rationale: The Dolphins return home to the friendly (and sunny) confines of Sun Life Stadium with a playoff spot on their minds. With a win & a Ravens loss, the Dolphins will clinch the 6th seed. Their toughest task has been keeping Ryan Tannehill upright, something that they’ll have to improve on Sunday. As for the Jets, we may be seeing Rex Ryan’s final game on the sideline in a Jets sweater vest. One would hope that New York would put their best “foot” forward in their coach’s finale.

Detroit Lions (7-8) AT Minnesota Vikings (4-10-1)

The Spread: Minnesota by 3
The Pick: Minnesota
The Score: Minnesota, 34-21
The Rationale: Why should I believe that the Lions will put together a winning performance on the road after they failed so miserably over the last month? Minnesota would be a playoff team if games were 58 minutes long. Unfortunately, the final two minutes count just as much as the first two. Detroit would also be a playoff team if they didn’t shoot themselves in the foot every single game. The Vikings might not need to give a full 60 minute effort with the Lions in town.

Washington Redskins (3-12) AT New York Giants (6-9)

The Spread: New York by 3.5
The Pick: New York
The Score: New York, 21-17
The Rationale: Talk about a stinker. The two NFC East doormats meet up for a season ending display of hideous football. Washington hasn’t won since November 4th and coughed up a 9-point lead in the final four minutes of last week’s game against Dallas. Meanwhile, the Giants are playing their best football of the year, even if it coincides with the loss of WR Victor Cruz. Giants in a nail biter.

Cleveland Browns (4-11) AT Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8)

The Spread: Pittsburgh by 7
The Pick: Cleveland
The Score: Cleveland, 24-21
The Rationale: It’s amazing that Pittsburgh still has playoff hopes heading into the final week of the season. When this team was 0-4, few believed that a rebound was possible. This should spark them as they improve heading into 2014. Cleveland is in the midst of another double-digit loss campaign. But, they saw some bright spots including the emergence of star WR Josh Gordon. He’ll have a huge day on Sunday, eliminating the Steelers from playoff contention in what would be a rare road win for the Browns in Western PA (the last time they won in Pittsburgh was October 5th, 2003).

Green Bay Packers (7-7-1) AT Chicago Bears (8-7)

The Spread: Chicago by 7
The Pick: Green Bay
The Score: Green Bay, 30-27
The Rationale: The Bears had a chance to wrap up the North last week with a road win in Philly. Instead, they got run out of the building, 54-11. Green Bay’s Eddie Lacy is banged up. But, he and James Starks should have enough oomph left in the tank to decimate a dismal Chicago run defense. The Packers will win this game regardless of who is at QB.

Denver Broncos (12-3) AT Oakland Raiders (4-11)

The Spread: Denver by 12.5
The Pick: Oakland
The Score: Denver, 23-13
The Rationale: I’m not sure how much Peyton Manning will play in this game, even though Denver needs to win to secure home field advantage. I reckon that even backup QB Brock Osweiler could beat this Raiders team. Denver has to be concerned about the loss of Von Miller for the season and will not want to risk any further damage heading into the postseason.

Buffalo Bills (6-9) AT New England Patriots (11-4)

The Spread: New England by 9
The Pick: New England
The Score: New England, 20-10
The Rationale: The Patriots haven’t lost at home this season and will complete an 8-0 home slate with a win this Sunday. Buffalo put together their finest defensive performance of the season last week in a 19-0 win over Miami at home. If they can hold New England under 27 points, they should consider it a win.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11) AT New Orleans Saints (10-5)

The Spread: New Orleans by 12.5
The Pick: Tampa Bay
The Score: New Orleans, 33-27
The Rationale: A strong performance in this weekend’s finale could go a long way towards guaranteeing Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano’s return next year. As for New Orleans, they need a win just to secure a playoff spot. The game will be tight as this rivalry often is. But, the Saints have too much riding on it to let it slip away.

San Francisco 49ers (11-4) AT Arizona Cardinals (10-5)

The Spread: San Francisco by 1.5
The Pick: Arizona
The Score: Arizona, 24-21
The Rationale: Arizona will be eliminated from playoff contention with a New Orleans victory. But, with both games kicking off at the same time, neither team will know that. One could argue that Arizona is primed for a letdown after knocking off Seattle last weekend. But, there’s no room for a letdown at home in week 17 and San Francisco is coming off a short week, having defeated Atlanta in a tight game on Monday. The 49ers have already clinched a playoff spot.

Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) AT San Diego Chargers (8-7)

The Spread: San Diego by 9.5
The Pick: San Diego
The Score: San Diego, 30-20
The Rationale: Expect to see a lot of Chase Daniel and Co. as the Chiefs, already secured into the 5th seed, bench their starters in the season finale. San Diego still has an outside shot at the playoffs (although a Miami loss at 1:00 PM would eliminate them).

St. Louis Rams (7-8) AT Seattle Seahawks (12-3)

The Spread: Seattle by 10.5
The Pick: Seattle
The Score: Seattle, 24-3
The Rationale: Something tells me that Kellen Clemens will not go into Seattle and defeat the best team in the NFC on their home turf for the second straight week. The Seahawks will still be fighting for a division title at this point. If San Francisco defeats Arizona and the Rams triumph in the Pacific Northwest, the 49ers are the division champions.

Philadelphia Eagles (9-6) AT Dallas Cowboys (8-7)

The Spread: Philadelphia by 7
The Pick: Philadelphia
The Score: Philadelphia, 34-20
The Rationale: The Cowboys are likely finished now that both Tony Romo and Sean Lee will miss their finale against Philadelphia. The Eagles are hitting their stride at exactly the right time and will only see their confidence boosted with a victory against Kyle Orton and Dallas this weekend. If the Cowboys are to have any chance at winning, they’ll need to get the running game going. The problem is, the Eagles have one of the best run defenses in the league. That means Orton will see a lot of 3rd and longs and a ton of pressure. Eagles win the NFC East and host a wild card game.

Predicted Playoff Standings

AFC

1. Denver Broncos (13-3)*
2. New England Patriots (12-4)*
3. Cincinnati Bengals (11-5)
4. Indianapolis Colts (10-6)
5. Kansas City Chiefs (11-5)
6. Miami Dolphins (9-7)

NFC

1. Seattle Seahawks (13-3)*
2. Carolina Panthers (12-4)*
3. Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
4. Green Bay Packers (8-7-1)
5. New Orleans Saints (11-5)
6. San Francisco 49ers (11-5)

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