By Josh Satler – www.profootball101.org
1. Michael Turner vs. St. Louis Rams
The Falcons know that with a win over the Rams and a Panthers loss to New Orleans, they’re the No. 2 seed in the NFC and will have a first round bye. That’s a lot of incentive. To get them there, look for Turner to get the ball from 25-30 times and easily eclipse the 100-yard mark on Sunday.
2. LaDainian Tomlinson vs. Denver Broncos
Tomlinson looked re-energized in last weekend’s victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and now he gets a chance to help his team into the playoffs. Considering that they’re 7-8, it’s not a testament to the quality of the league, but this should be a competitive game that Tomlinson flourishes in. Denver’s run defense is bad.
3. DeAngelo Williams vs. New Orleans
The fantasy superstar of ’08 will be at it again on Sunday vs. the Saints. DeAngelo singlehandedly won our league and went gangbusters over the last eight games of the season. Look for another explosion as the Panthers look to wrap up the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
4. Steve Slaton vs. Chicago Bears
The Bears have been vulnerable all season to the run, and the Texans have found their back of the future in Slaton. Look for him to cap off a solid rookie campaign with a big outing in Week 17.
1. Tashard Choice vs. Philadelphia Eagles
We’re still not convinced that Barber’s toe is healed, and Dallas will need to run the ball to keep the Eagles defense honest. Look for Choice to find room to work with and put out a solid stat line.
2. Cedric Benson vs. Kansas City Chiefs
In a pretty shocking story, Cedric Benson might have resurrected his career in Cincinnati of all places. He’s run quite well of late—look for that to continue in the finale.
Others with favorable matchups
1. Adrian Peterson vs. New York Giants
While Tom Coughlin says he’ll play his starters, conventional wisdom says you’ll only see them for a quarter or so. We think that’s how it’ll turn out. Look for Peterson to run roughshod over the Giants’ backups and guide his Vikings into the playoffs.
2. Ronnie Brown vs. New York Jets
The Dolphins are one win away from the most improbable playoff berth in NFL history. The turnaround will be talked about for years. Look for Brown’s legs to be a big reason why it is. After the Bills and Seahawks each just got done torching the Jets on the ground, we see no reason why it won’t happen again on Sunday.
3. Le’Ron McClain vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Win and they’re (Balt) in. So look for the big man to be rumbling on Sunday and take a few goal line handoffs in for scores.