Site Editor Matt Loede’s NFL Picks for Week 17

Jim Sorgi 

Another 9-6 mark last week, and for the season sit at 132-94-2, which is not that bad going into the final week of the season. Tons of tricky games to pick with players sitting all over the place, so here we go with picks for week 17 of the NFL.

New England (-14.5) at New York Giants

The perfect season is within one game for the 15-0 Pats, and with them having a week off before their first playoff game, you can expect them to play everyone in going for the record. The Giants say they will play their guys, but knowing they have a trip to Tampa Bay coming up next weekend, I don’t buy it. Look for a night of records set, and for the 72 Dolphins to now officially be crapping their pants. By the way, the Giants will cover. New England 24 NY Giants 13

Seattle at Atlanta (-3)

Let the smoke screen begin, as Mike Holmgren has said that his players will play. Yeah right. The Hawks should and likely will be sitting plenty of players, which is why the Falcons are actually favored to win this game at the Georgia Dome. Problem is, I am not sure the Falcons #1’s are better than the Seahawks #2’s and #3’s. I guess I will take this awful Falcons team to squeak out a win and go 4-12. Atlanta 20 Seattle 17

Pittsburgh (-3.5) at Baltimore

Watch this line if you are going to play it, as with the announcement of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger likely sitting, it may shift to 2 or even 1. Charlie Batch is actually a very solid backup, and with the Ravens having already given up, the Steelers can and should win here. Look for plenty of new back Najeh Davenport, and for the defense to be able to do what it wants against a Ravens offense that has just tanked it all year. Pittsburgh 26 Baltimore 10

New Orleans (-3) at Chicago

A rematch of the NFC Title game a season ago, the Saints are barely in the playoff race in the NFC and the Bears are done. New Orleans has some injury issues, with Reggie Bush and Aaron Stecker both missing practice on Thursday. They need to win and have the Redskins and Vikings lose to make the playoffs. For the Bears, they want to wrap up this poor season up on an up note, and would like to play spoiler here, and I think they will. They got a great game from their defense and special teams last week, and have won 2 of 3 at home and will spoil the Saints faint playoff hopes. Chicago 27 New Orleans 21

San Francisco at Cleveland (-10)

The Browns laid the biggest egg of the season last week with losing their playoff destiny to the Titans as they lost 19-14 to the Bengals. Now they have to wait for that Titans-Colts Sunday night game to see if they make the playoffs. Here at home they play much better, and should not have much of a problem with Chris Weinke (who will likely start at QB for San Fran) and the 49’ers, who have actually won two straight, but won’t here. Cleveland 31 San Francisco 17

Detroit at Green Bay (-3)

Expect many of the Packers to sit this one out, as they have nothing to play for and will get a week off before they host another NFC team in the divisional round in two weeks. The Lions would like to at least end the season on an up note with two wins, but know that they fell well short of what they wanted, starting the year 6-2 and ending possibly 8-8 is a letdown. With that, the Lions should be able to beat the Packers second stringers even on the road. Detroit 23 Green Bay 17

Jacksonville at Houston (-6.5)

Jags have nothing to play for here, as they know they will take on the fourth seed in the AFC next weekend. That likely will be Pittsburgh, on the road, so look for the Jags to be looking ahead and sitting some players. I would expect plenty of Quinn Gray at QB, and for backup running backs and wide outs to make up much of the offense. As for the Texans, they want to wrap up the year at 8-8, and against the Jags second string players should be able to do it. Houston 30 Jacksonville 17

Cincinnati (-3) at Miami

Not much to say about this game, as its a true stinker. The Bengals won the game they targeted as their Super Bowl last week, beating the Browns. The Dolphins gave it their all, holding the Pats to 28 points on the road, but were no match for the team that they someday want to be like. Even on their homefield, the Dolphins will have issues stopping the Bengals offense. Cincinnati 28 Miami 17

Buffalo at Philadelphia (-7.5)

Two more teams hoping to bounce back for big 2008 seasons. Buffalo can walk away from 2007 knowing they are close, and if it were not for a 1-4 start, they would be eyeing the postseason. Philly has to make some changes on offense, as overall they have been poor in that area in 2007, this despite putting up 56 points in one game and 38 last week. They have won two straight, while the Bills have lost two straight, so I will give the points and take the Birds. Philadelphia 17 Buffalo 7

Carolina (-3) at Tampa Bay

Bucs have nothing to play for, and will look ahead to the Giants next weekend. Carolina has gone 2-2 in their last four, and despite that and what should be a win here, they are going to make some big changes, starting hopefully with a new coach, in getting ready for 2008. Carolina 20 Tampa Bay 14

Dallas at Washington (-9)

Brad Johnson would love nothing more than to play his old team and knock them out of the playoffs, but I think overall this should be a game that belongs to the Redskins at home. Dallas would be stupid to play anyone that will be a key part of their Super Bowl run, so look for the Skins to jump out early, make life tough on Johnson, and make the playoffs with a win. Washington 27 Dallas 13

St.Louis at Arizona (-6)

Who cares. Cards should wrap up the season at .500 as they should be able to beat a Rams team that will need some tweaks and to get healthy before they start looking at free agents for 2008. Cards had their chances this year, but as we have said at the end of seasons past, this team has a bright future, and should finish the year 8-8. Arizona 31 St.Louis 23

Minnesota (-3) at Denver

The Broncos are going to finish the year with their worst record since 1999, and while they will play hard in trying to go 7-9, the Vikings have a good run defense (despite last week), and should be able to gouge a Denver defense that has allowed 140 yards per game. Minnesota will look back and lament the loss of the Skins last week that will in the end be the reason they miss the playoffs. Minnesota 20 Denver 13

San Diego (-6.5) at Oakland

JaMarcus Russell gets his first pro start, and you can bet it’s going to be one to forget, as the Chargers are going to go all out and try to win this game so they don’t have to play the Jags in the first round next weekend. Oakland is looking to the future, and will use this game as a measuring stick to see what players should be around in 2008. For the Chargers, the future is now, and they will make sure they have that #3 AFC seed next weekend at home. San Diego 41 Oakland 21

Kansas City at New York Jets (-6)

Two bad AFC teams that have combined for 7 wins will conclude their seasons at the Meadowlands Sunday, as the Jets will host the Chiefs. Hard to fathom that the Chiefs have not won a game since the night of Game 7 of the ALCS in baseball. The Jets have won three games, two against the one-win Dolphins. Flip a coin here, but I would have to say that the Jets are actually playing a bit better. NY Jets 14 Kansas City 10

Tennessee (-6.5) at Indianapolis

The game that will decide the final playoff spot in the AFC. The pressure truly is on the Titans and Vince Young, as there is no reason for them to lay an egg at the dome here and lose this game. They will have to contend most of the night with Jim Sorgi at QB, and plenty of other Colts backups. While the Titans offense is not very good, they should score enough for their defense to be able to stop Sorgi and company and reach the playoffs as the 6th seed. Tennessee 27 Indianapolis 17


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