It’s Week 17 and all of the teams are gathered to battle it out over New Year’s Eve. Unfortunately, nine of the playoff spots have already been cemented which leaves only three spaces open for this week. Most of these games will be players resting against teams that are desperate to finish their season on a better note. Since it is a holiday though, the NFL doesn’t seem to be expecting many viewers to stick around and watch some of the more boring matchups.
Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions – A few weeks ago every analyst would have assumed that the Lions would be taking home a Week 17 victory. However, that was when Hundley was still figuring out the offense after Rodgers went down. Now, Green Bay is beginning to have a little bit of color back and could give the imploding Lions a run for their money. Luckily, both teams are used to playing in the freezing cold.
Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings – The Bears fans seem to be split in half with part of the group wanting the loss for a higher draft pick and the other desperate for the team to potentially knock the Vikings out of their number two seed. These two are just an example of teams that will thrive in the expected freezing weather this weekend. The truth is, Minnesota is on fire and it seems nearly impossible for the team to lose in Week 17.
Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts – The Texans have never recovered from the loss of Deshaun Watson and the Colts defense will most likely capitalize on this. Jacoby Brissett has all the makings of a solid quarterback, and Indianapolis should take home the win in Week 17. What helps the Colts even more is the eleven degree weather that’s expected Sunday when the Texans are used to the warmth.
Cleveland Browns vs. Pittsburgh Steelers – Cleveland has the terrible habit of turning the ball over and the Steelers are a team which will score on those sloppy plays. Desperate to take the number one seed away from the Patriots, Pittsburgh is all but guaranteed to win this week. If the Jets also win, than Pittsburgh will be heading into the playoffs as number one. The Steelers love this time of year, when they’re one of the few teams that thrive under freezing cold and snowy conditions.
New York Jets vs. New England Patriots – Bryce Petty is leading the New York Jets in Week 17 and things aren’t looking great for the team’s fans. The Patriots should have no trouble bottling up the Jets offense and Tom Brady will plow over New York. Of course, there is some miracle chance that Todd Bowles manages to out-coach Bill Belichick but it seems like a Week 16 victory is in store for New England.
Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants – Week 17 marks the final date for the Giants to pull off a win and end their season on a high note. Washington won’t be benching any of their starters and New York will most likely play the game in an attempt to win rather than have Davis Webb finally get some playing time. On paper, New York should be able to stop the Redskin but the Giants will most likely take the loss. If you’re like me and attending the game at MetLife Stadium (which isn’t covered), bundle up because it’s going to be twenty degrees.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles – If Dallas just feeds the ball to Ezekiel Elliott all day then defeating the Eagles should be an easy ordeal in Week 17. Nick Foles is a decent back up but he will have the lowest stats of any of the other playoff quarterbacks. This seems like the beginning of the end for Philadelphia. The only big thing the team has going for them is the twenty degree weather that Dallas isn’t used to.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Tennessee Titans – Even though Jacksonville has already guaranteed a playoff spot, they will undoubtedly play as though they haven’t in Week 17. After an embarrassing performance a week ago, Bortles will want to cement his starting position with the continuing speculation the team will want to replace him. With their elite defense, the Jaguars will most likely come away with the win.
Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins – In what will be a pretty unexciting game, the Bills will get the W in Week 17. Miami has been so uneven this year and fans are just counting down the days until Jay Cutler’s contract is up. Buffalo will probably be the worst team to make the playoffs this year but hey, at least they qualified for post season. Buffalo will be excited to not have to play throughout a snow storm this week when they travel to Miami.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Baltimore Ravens – People might be questioning Joe Flacco, but he is still the heart of the franchise. Yes, the defense will probably carry the Ravens to a win in Week 17, but Flacco will put up the points to help make that happen.
Oakland Raiders vs. Los Angeles Chargers – Oakland is out of the playoffs and their offense has gotten worse throughout the year. Proves that the team needed to keep some of their key players and offensive coordinator because Carr cannot be the only one working hard on the field. Los Angeles, on the other hand, has been working extremely hard to prove themselves and they will take home a victory this week. One of the few lucky matchups that actually get hot weather to play in, typical California temperatures.
Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks need a Week 17 win while they fight to grab that final playoff spot. Russell Wilson at home is a very dangerous weapon and the Cardinals defense is going to have to be alert. Drew Stanton is starting for the Cardinals, and while he did okay last week, it’s doubtful he can take down one of the hardest teams to play at home. It’s going to be freezing cold in Seattle, so the Cardinals better come ready to play in vastly different conditions then they’re used to.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Rams – With Jimmy Garoppolo leading the 49ers on a winning streak, it looks like San Francisco has a real shot of having a good season next year. The Rams are resting all of their important players for Week 17 now that they’ve secured a post season spot, so the 49ers should coast to a nice easy win.
Carolina Panthers vs. Atlanta Falcons – Atlanta needs a win in Week 17 and they are going to get it. While the Panthers have actually been pretty good this season, Matt Ryan is desperate for retribution after last year. Look for a close game but ultimately the Falcons will end up on top.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos – Kansas City will also be resting their best players in preparation for the post season which gives Denver a glimmer of hope heading into Week 17. Paxton Lynch gets the start and the Broncos really just want to see if he could be the future face of their franchise. With three quarterbacks on their roster, Denver has no excuse to not have a better offense.
New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Saints aren’t quite finished yet as the team goes into Week 17 needing a victory. If the Panthers beat the Falcons and the Saints lose, then New Orleans will give up their conference title to Carolina. However, with how Tampa Bay has been playing this season compared to the Saints, New Orleans should coast through with a win. The Saints will at least get the nice weather that accompanies a game in Tampa Bay rather than the cold everyone else in the league is dealing with.