Wednesday, December 28, 2011

NFL - Week Seventeen Preview

It all comes down to this for the Dallas Cowboys and New York Giants as they face each other in the Sunday Night Football showdown ... win or go home.
Both teams are 8-7 and whoever wins this game played at the Meadowlands will win the NFC East division title. The loser is out of the playoff picture.
The Giants won a thriller three weeks ago against the Cowboys, blocking a late field goal attempt to preserve a 37-34 win in Dallas.
Cowboys QB Tony Romo is nursing a hand injury and should be ready to go in this one. The sixth year signal caller is enjoying perhaps his finest season and will need to be at his best if Dallas is going to win this one.
On the other side, Eli Manning has been up and down as of late, but he too is enjoying a great season as his team prepares for the showdown on Sunday night.
The rest of the NFC Playoff picture is set, except for the seedings of the teams.
The Green Bay Packers are locked in at the top spot with their 14-1 record, meaning they have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The San Francisco 49ers (12-3) play at St. Louis and will look to clinch the number two spot with a win. Meanwhile, the New Orleans Saint (12-3) host Carolina and will be either the three or two seed.
The Detroit Lions (10-5) are in the playoffs as a wild card team and need to win at Green Bay to maintain the five spot. The Atlanta Falcons (9-6) are the sixth seed, but could leap Detroit if they beat Tampa Bay in the Georgia Dome on Sunday, coupled with a Lions defeat.

In the AFC, it's a bit more complicated as the Denver Broncos (8-7) look to seal the four seed by winning the AFC West division.
All they need to do is win at home over Kansas City and they are in the playoffs.
It won't be easy because there is a twist to this football game as former Broncos' starting QB Kyle Orton rolls into town with a chance to knock his former team out of the post-season party.
The Chiefs and Broncos traditionally play each other tough and this game should be no exception.
Tim Tebow vs. Kyle Orton ... no love lost there.
With all of that going on, the Oakland Raiders (8-7) play host to the San Diego Chargers with a chance to claim the AFC West crown.
The Raiders need to win and have the Chiefs beat Denver for the AFC West title to belong to them. The Chargers would like nothing more than to beat the Raiders and keep them from making the post-season.
The Raiders can still get a wild card spot with a win regardless of the Chiefs and Broncos outcome. If Oakland wins and the Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans both lose as well, then the Raiders are playoff bound for the first time in nine years.
Confused yet?
The bottom line is there are two spots still up for grabs in the AFC Playoff picture and five teams vying for those two positions.
In the AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens travel to play the Cincinnati Bengals and can win the division with a victory. The Pittsburgh Steelers can claim the North crown with a win at Cleveland coupled with a Bengals win over the Ravens.
If the latter happens, the AFC North would have three teams in the playoffs.
The worst the Steelers (11-4) can do is finish as a wild card (five seed) this year.
The AFC South belongs to the Houston Texans (10-5) as they are locked in as the number three playoff seed.
The Tennessee Titans have a shot at a wild card playoff spot, along with the New York Jets. Both teams are 8-7 and MUST WIN and get quite a bit of help to snare the sixth and final AFC Playoff spot.

The rest of the games in the NFL are simply on the schedule and must be played.

Here are the Heftyinfo picks for the final weekend of the regular season ... (Home teams are listed in BOLD)

Green Bay over Detroit
Houston over Tennessee
Jacksonville over Indianapolis
NY Jets over Miami
Chicago over Minnesota
New England over Buffalo
New Orleans over Carolina
Philadelphia over Washington
San Francisco over St. Louis
Atlanta over Tampa Bay
Baltimore over Cincinnati
Pittsburgh over Cleveland
Arizona over Seattle
Denver over Kansas City
Oakland over San Diego
NY Giants over Dallas

Last Week's Record: 13-3


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