Friday, December 30, 2016

NFL - Week Seventeen Preview

The Sunday Night Football game will be the one to determine the NFC North division champion as the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions play for all the marbles in Motown. These two teams met back in Week Three in Green Bay and the Packers won 34-27 in that game.
Both the Packers and Lions are 9-6, but have been trending in opposite directions recently. Green Bay has won five straight games to vault back into contention in the NFC playoff race while backing up quarterback Aaron Rodgers' claim they could "run the table" and make the playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Lions who looked so good just a few weeks ago, have lost two in a row and now have to win or else get a lot of help if they don't to make the playoffs.
They lost to the Dallas Cowboys last Monday night, 42-21 and what made the beat down especially difficult is the fact the Cowboys had nothing to play for as they had already clinched the NFC East crown and home field advantage throughout the post-season.
The NFC has two spots left to decide and this game will definitely solve one of those. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7) and Washington Redskins (8-6-1) are both right there to snatch the sixth and final playoff spot away from the loser of the Lions-Packers tilt. The good news for both of the NFC North foes is they will KNOW what their fate is when the game begins.
The Redskins host the New York Giants (10-5 and playoff bound) while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the disappointing Carolina Panthers (6-9), who find themselves on the outside looking in this season as far as the playoffs are concerned.
The AFC playoff picture is set as far as teams go and the only thing to be decided is the seedings of the teams.
The AFC West is still up for grabs as the Oakland Raiders (12-3) play on the road against the Denver Broncos while the Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) travel to San Diego in what should be an easy win. The Chargers have been awful in recent weeks and are coming off a road loss to the previously winless Cleveland Browns.
The Raiders will be without their star quarterback Derek Carr for the rest of the season (and playoffs) as he suffered a broken leg in last week's win against Indianapolis.
The other playoff bound teams in the AFC include the New England Patriots (13-2) who will be in Miami (10-5) to face the Dolphins, who are going back to the post-season for the first time in eight years. Pittsburgh (10-5) has the number-three seed locked up and the Houston Texas (9-6 and number-four seed) will likely face either Oakland or Kansas City in the wild card round.

The following offers a look at all of the games for the season finale along with the Heftyinfo predictions as well.

New York Giants (10-5) at Washington Redskins (8-6-1) - The Redskins must win or else.

New Orleans Saints (7-8) at Atlanta Falcons (10-5) - The Falcons would wrap up a first round playoff bye with a win.

Carolina Panthers (6-9) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7) - Who would have thought the Bucs could be playing for a post-season spot in this one?

Houston Texans (9-6) at Tennessee Titans (8-7) - The Titans choked away their shot at making the playoffs in last week's loss to the lowly Jaguars. The Texans are in the playoffs again.

Baltimore Ravens (8-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-9-1) - Both of these teams have U-Haul trucks backed up to locker room already.

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-12) at Indianapolis Colts (7-8) - Will this be Colts' Head Coach Chuck Pagano's last game with the team?

New England Patriots (13-2) at Miami Dolphins (10-5) - This could be a good one as both teams have incentive to win.

Chicago Bears (3-12) at Minnesota Vikings (7-8) - Who cares?

Buffalo Bills (7-8) at New York Jets (4-11) - Bills coach Rex Ryan (and his brother Rob) were fired this week.

Dallas Cowboys (13-2) at Philadelphia Eagles (6-9) - Take the Eagles, Cowboys will be resting key players.

Cleveland Browns (1-14) at Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5) - The Steelers should win this one, even with the reserves in the game.

Arizona Cardinals (6-8-1) at Los Angeles Rams (4-11) - Both of these teams used to play in St. Louis.

Oakland Raiders (12-3) at Denver Broncos (8-7) - The defending Super Bowl champs would love to prevent the Raiders from clinching the AFC West in the Mile High City.

Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) at San Diego Chargers (5-10) - This could be the Chargers last game in San Diego. Sentimental hog wash - Chiefs need to win this one.

Seattle Seahawks (9-5-1) at San Francisco 49ers (2-13) - Seahawks roll !

Green Bay Packers (9-6) at Detroit Lions (9-6) - This game could go down to the wire. The Packers rate the edge.

The Heftyinfo picks for Week 17  . . . . .  (Home teams are listed in bold; Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)

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

Last Week's Record:  9-7

SEASON RECORD:  157-81-2

Lock of the Week Record:  16-0

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