By: David Dzienis
Indianapolis Colts @ Pittsburgh Steelers
The Colts can clinch a playoff spot with a win and losses by either the Ravens or Dolphins. They still stand a small chance of taking the division should the Titans falter. The Steelers have already clinched a playoff spot and can secure the division with a win. This is a game between two great offensive lines and two great defenses. While the Colts rookie RB Jonathan Taylor has gotten hot lately, not a lot of people run well on the Steelers. This should be a tight, low scoring affair. Pittsburgh and Buffalo still have a miniscule spot of securing the number one seed, needing to both win out and have Kansas City lose out, while also having key games help their strength of victory.
Prediction: Ind 13-Pit 17
Atlanta Falcons @ Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs can secure the number one seed in the AFC with a win or a Steelers loss. The Falcons are out of contention. This game has all the looks of a shootout. Kansas City has the always electrifying Patrick Mahomes while Atlanta has Matt Ryan and his cannon of an arm. In a game with nothing to lose, look for the Falcons to open up the playbook and have some fun.
Prediction: Atl 28-K.C. 42
New York Giants @ Baltimore Ravens
The Giants will be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss or a Washington win. The Ravens can’t win the division and can’t clinch a spot this week but need a win to stay in the hunt. Despite the possibility that Giants QB Daniel Jones returns, I don’t see enough offense for New York to pull out the win. I do think they will look for Lamar Jackson to use his arm to win which should create a close game.
Prediction: N.Y.G 13-Bal 14
Carolina Panthers @ Washington Football Team
Washington can secure their division with a win and a Giants loss while the Panthers have been eliminated. With strip club enthusiast Dwayne Haskins likely to get the start for the WFT, look for a low scoring affair dominated by two underrated defenses. This game is a toss up to me but for the sake of loving week 17 drama I’m going to say the Panthers beat their old coach.
Prediction: Car 21-Was 17
Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans
The first of only two games this week with no playoff implications sees the surprising Bengals heading to face-off with the electric DeShaun Watson. While Cincinnati did a great job against the faltering Big Ben, containing Watson will prove to be a much harder task. With no offense, or defense, to speak of, look for Houston to dominate this game in all aspects.
Prediction: Cin 10-Hou 27
Cleveland Browns @ New York Jets
The Jets have been out of the playoffs for weeks. The Browns can clinch a spot with a win and a loss by either the Ravens, Colts, or Dolphins. They also can stay in the race for the division with a win and a Steelers loss. Apparently, the Jets players don’t care about the number one pick, upsetting the Rams last week in astonishing fashion. I don’t see them stopping the Nick Chubb/Kareem Hunt duo for the Browns. Cleveland did lose most of their wideouts due to covid protocols. This should make it a closer game than expected.
Prediction: Cle 21-N.Y.J. 20
Chicago Bears @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville is in the lead for the Trevor Lawrence lottery. The Bears need a win and an Arizona loss to stay alive in the NFC playoff picture. I suspect the Jaguars have little motivation to win after the Jets gifted them the projected number one pick in the draft. Not that I believe they could win anyway. Their defense is banged up and their offense has been mostly stagnant. Chicago has turned around their offense and will have an interesting decision to make this offseason concerning QB Mitchell Trubisky.
Prediction: Chi 30- Jac 17
Denver Broncos @ Los Angeles Chargers
The second game with zero playoff implications. Can Melvin Gordon go off against his former teammates or will Justin Herbert continue his gun-slinging rookie season and break the rookie TD record in the process? With nothing to lose for either squad, this should be a fun game to keep an eye on.
Prediction: Den 27- L.A.C. 35
Los Angeles Rams @ Seattle Seahawks
Seattle can clinch the NFC West with a win. The Rams secured a playoff spot with Arizona’s loss and can have a chance at the division with a win. Seattle is looking for revenge after the Rams beat them a few weeks ago. Aaron Donald wants another shot at his favorite target, QB Russell Wilson. Will the 2-time DPOY be able to wrangle the MVP darling enough to win?
Prediction: L.A.R 33-Sea 30
Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
The loser of this game is eliminated from playoff contention. If WFT beats Carolina, both these teams are out regardless. In a loser goes home game, does veteran Andy Dalton find his multitude of weapons, or does the exciting rookie Jalen Hurts keep his team in the race? I’m seeing a shootout with a final defensive stand winning the game. Dalton has been here before and has a record of choking. While both teams have been ravaged by injuries this year, the Eagles are slightly healthier and get the edge.
Prediction: Phi 34- Dal 30
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