2017 NFL SEASON
Week 17: #NFL Game Predictions (w/ spreads & analysis)
Week 16 results: 13-3 wins (season*: 141-72; .662); 4-11-1 v. spread (season*: 95-113-5; .446)
Note: The following previews are for games with playoff implications only, some of which are merely seed positioning. Week 17 is an exciting week considering they’re all divisional match ups, many of which are lopsided, giving the underdog division rival a chance to play spoiler.
Chicago Bears 5-10 (+12) @ Minnesota Vikings 12-3 (39.5): Vikings 27-17
Sunday, 1:00 PM, US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN (Weather: Frigid)
Reasons: The Vikings need a win over the hapless Bears at home to secure the #1 seed in the NFC or they need help from the Saints (win), the Rams (win) or the Panthers (loss).
New York Jets 5-10 (+15.5) @ New England Patriots 12-3 (43): Patriots 28-21
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA (Weather: Sunny; teens)
Reasons: The Patriots need to win to secure the #1 seed in the AFC; if they lose they’ll need the Pittsburgh Steelers to lose as well, otherwise they’ll be the #2 seed.
Cleveland Browns 0-15 (+7) @ Pittsburgh Steelers 12-3 (37): Steelers 27-20
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA (Weather: Chance snow; teens)
Reasons: The Steelers need to win and the New England Patriots to lose for Pittsburgh to secure the #1 seed in the AFC, otherwise Pittsburgh secures the #2 seed in the AFC.
Carolina Panthers 11-4 (+3.5) @ Atlanta Falcons 9-6 (45): Falcons 24-23
Sunday, 4:25 PM, Mercedes-Benz Dome, Atlanta, GA (Weather: Indoors)
Reasons: If the Falcons win they’re in the playoffs, otherwise my preseason prediction was correct and I can feel like I know something. The Panthers are in no matter what happens, but Carolina has the largest variance of any playoff-bound team, as their seed could land anywhere from #2-#5 in the NFC. The #2 seed would require a win and a Minnesota Vikings loss; the #5 seed would be the result of a loss and a New Orleans Saints win.
New Orleans Saints 11-4 (-7) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-11 (50.5): Saints 30-21
Sunday, 4:25 PM, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL (Weather: Sunny; high 60s)
Reasons: The Saints should enter the playoffs as the #4 seed in the NFC, but could climb as high as #3 with help from the Los Angeles Rams (loss).
Arizona Cardinals 7-8 (+9.5) @ Seattle Seahawks 9-6 (38.5): Seahawks 27-20
Sunday, 4:25 PM, CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA (Weather: Sunny; low 40s)
Reasons: The Seahawks need to win and the Atlanta Falcons need to lose for the Seahawks to make the playoffs as the #6 seed in the NFC.
San Francisco 49ers 5-10 (-3.5) @ Los Angeles Rams 11-4 (43.5): 49ers 24-21
Sunday, 4:25 PM, Los Angeles Coliseum, Los Angeles, CA (Weather: Sunny; high 60s)
Reasons: The Rams secure the #3 seed with a win, but that might difficult against the hot hand of Jimmy Garoppolo, especially with the Rams planning to sit many of their key starters.
Buffalo Bills 8-7(-2.5) @ Miami Dolphins 6-9 (42.5): Dolphins 23-21
Sunday, 4:25 PM, Hard Rock Stadium, Miami, FL (Weather: Sunny; high 60s)
Reasons: Buffalo needs to win and they need the Tennessee Titans to lose in order to start crunching the numbers to see if they actually make the playoffs. It’s a long shot for Buffalo, but Bills fans are jut happy to be in the position to make the playoffs for the first time in 17 years.
Jacksonville Jaguars 10-5 (+3) @ Tennessee Titans 8-7 (42): Jaguars 24-20
Reasons: The Titans need to win to secure the #6 seed in the AFC and they just happen to be playing the team that owned their division and much of the NFL, defensively. The Jaguars already won the division and don’t have anything to play for so it’ll be interesting to see if they want the Titans season to end Sunday or next week.
Oakland Raiders 6-9 (+8) @ Los Angeles Chargers 8-7 (42): Chargers 24-17
Sunday, 4:05 PM, Stub Hub Center, Carson, CA (Weather: Sunny; high 60s)
Reasons: The game many thought would have huge playoff implications for the AFC and the AFC West alike actually panned out to be a semblance of that. The Chargers need to win and have the Tennessee Titans lose to get into the playoffs as the #6 seed in the AFC, but something tells me the Jacksonville Jaguars would rather have the Titans in the playoffs than the Chargers, so we’ll see how that goes.
Stay tuned for Week 18: #NFL Game Predictions (w/ spreads & analysis) WILD CARD ROUND EDITION coming Saturday morning.
*Minus two weeks due to technical difficulties