Aaron Rodgers (pictured on the right) looks to lead the Packers in a "must win" game against the rival Bears while Brett Favre (pictured on the left) appears to be entering his final Sunday as an NFL Quarterback.
We have reached the culmination of regular season play in the NFL. It is very hard to believe, but we have reached Week 17. Closing time baby. What a year it has been. Full of many highs and many lows. There have been plenty of disappointments. Just ask Dallas, Minnesota, and Cincinnati. There have been many surprises. See St. Louis, Kansas City, and Philadelphia. And there have been the usual suspects (Patriots).
Still many questions linger though. Will Tom Brady win the MVP? Who will represent the NFC West in the playoffs? We will find all of that out and more come Sunday.
Lets take a look at the Pick’em scoreboard.
TheSportsKraze: 136 CV3: 141
Can I catch CV3 during this final week? I will have to make up some serious ground come Sunday.
Bengals at Ravens: A good old-fashioned AFC North tussle. Sadly this game has lost a lot of its luster due to the Bengals vastly underachieving this season and due to the lack of the TOcho-Show suiting up for this game. Though Cincinnati has looked very good these past two weeks, it will not be enough against a Raven’s team looking to win the AFC North outright. Baltimore’s balance on both sides of the ball will prove too much for the Bengals and send Cincinnati home with their 12th loss of the season. Ravens by 3 at home in a tight one.
Panthers at Falcons: This game is an interesting matchup. It pits the NFL’s worst team versus perhaps the best team in all of football. Not to mention the Falcons are an outstanding when in their friendly confines of the Georgia Dome. You better believe that the Falcons would love to clinch that number 1 seed in the NFC. No resting the big guns on this day. Atlanta, led by their offensive stars Matty “Ice” Ryan, Roddy “talk too much” White, and Michael Turner will provide loss number 14 for a horrible Carolina team. Falcons by 9 at home.
Steelers at Browns: One of the NFL’s best rivalries adds another chapter come Sunday. Though Cleveland has shown some improvement this year and a very strong rushing attack, it will not be enough against a Steeler’s team that is superior in every facet of the game. Not to mention Pittsburgh knows how to win ball games. Look for Pittsburgh to win this game with ease behind their tenacious defense. Steelers by 9 on the road.
Vikings at Lions: So Brett finally received his big punishment. A whopping $50,000. This is equivalent to 4.5 minutes of game playing time for mighty #4. What a joke. At least it appears his career will be over finally after Sunday. It has been a horrible year in Minnesota and they have really underachieved, but at least they can begin looking towards next season after a game with their long time foe, Detroit. The Lions on the other hand have been a pleasant surprise, and have won 3 consecutive games. Well expect that number to move to 4 on Sunday. Detroit will win a close one by 3 due to their outstanding passing attack featuring the one and only Calvin Johnson.
Raiders at Chiefs: Kansas City has already clinched the AFC West. A shocker for sure. But definitely a very strong team that can run the ball as well as anybody. I fully expect KC to come ready to play, but I also expect the Raiders to be on their “A” game. Oakland is looking to end the year on a high note and end up 500 for the season. This will be a game won on the ground. The Chiefs have already won the division and are not really playing for much. Oakland is looking to end on a high note. Raiders by 1 on the road in a great game.
Dolphins at Patriots: It is Miami’s lucky day. New England has clinched home field throughout and will most likely sit the majority of their starters. Miami on the other hand is looking to bounce back from embarrassing losses to the Bills and the Lions. Sadly for Miami, the Patriots are just too good. Even their 2nd and 3rd stringers. There is a winning mentality in Foxborough. Do not expect the Pats to drop a game at home any time soon. Patriots by 7 at home.
Buccaneers at Saints: This is one of those games that has a whole lot of meaning. Tampa is fighting for their playoff lives while the Saints are riding high after knocking off the dirty birds in ATL. Now the defending champs could gain home field throughout the playoffs. You better believe that Brees and company will be ready to roll. It will be a season sweep over the Buccaneers, who earlier this season proclaimed themselves as the “NFC’s Best Team.” Too bad they will not even make the playoffs. Saints by 7 at home.
Jets at Bills: The Jets have already clinched a Wild Card and probably will rest a good deal of starters, but that will not stop them from taking care of business in Buffalo. The Bills are one of the worst teams in the NFL, and showed that last week in getting absolutely pounded by NE. Buffalo is the worst in the League at stopping the run and the Jets are one of the League’s best rushing squads. Jets by 6 on the road.
Chargers at Broncos: Two teams that have been eliminated from playoff contention. I will admit that I was highly disappointed in San Diego. They are a team that I, along with many expected to win the AFC West for a 5th straight year. It didn’t happen. Now they are looking to end the year above 500. I guess good stats do not always correlate to a successful season. San Diego all year has been in the top 2 in the League in both overall offense and defense. It didn’t matter. In this game though, stats won’t matter yet again. But San Diego will win this one just based on their raw talent. Chargers by 9 on the road.
Bears at Packers: This may be the matchup of the Week. Green Bay is holding on for their playoff lives, while Chicago is looking to gain home field in the playoffs. These are two very good teams that are still playing for something. The difference is Green Bay is playing for more. Expect the Cheeseheads to come out smoking like they did last game against New York and shred a very strong Bears defense. Rodgers and the Packers will avenge a tough Week 3 loss to their rivals by 3 in front of a raucous home crowd.
Titans at Colts: Indianapolis will most likely need to win this game to maintain their playoff hopes. Peyton doesn’t know how to miss out on the playoffs. Not to mention they are playing in front of a home crowd. Chris Johnson and the Titans have looked tough at times this season, but their inconsistency has been far too much to overcome. Not to mention that Tennessee has sported one of the worst secondaries in the NFL all year. Indy by 10 at home.
Cowboys at Eagles: In the preseason, I picked the Cowboys to win the NFC East and the Eagles to finish in the cellar. I was wrong. Since the departure of Wade Phillips, Dallas has played inspired football. Philadelphia blew a major opportunity at home field advantage on Tuesday. This week it appears that Vick will not be playing. No Vick equals no victory. Plus the Eagles are not really playing for anything. Cowboys by 3 on the road.
Cardinals at 49ers: The NFC West has been absolutely horrible. Both of these teams have underachieved. Take your pick of the two bottom dwellers in the NFL’s worst division. I will take San Fran in the post Mike Singletary era by 6 at home.
Giants at Redskins: A good old-fashioned NFC East battle. Washington’s season may be over, but you better believe that they would love nothing more than to spoil any hope that their rival has at making the playoffs. Sadly for Washington though, they have struggled defensively all year. Not to mention they never developed an effective rushing attack. Expect New York to come to play. Giants by 10 on the road.
Jaguars at Texans: Many thought that the AFC South would be a 2 team race between the Colts and the Texans. Many were wrong. Jacksonville is the team battling Peyton and Co. Jacksonville has a very strong rushing attack and has had a solid year where they have vastly exceeded expectations. But I will state that Houston, despite its less than flattering record is still a very dangerous team. Sorry Jacksonville, the pressure got to you. The Jaguars will lose this one, ending any playoff hopes that they were clinging to. Houston by 7 at home.
Rams at Seahawks: This is the NFC West Championship game. Talk about some excitement in Seattle. Who will get to represent the NFL’s worst division in this year’s playoffs? It has been an uphill battle all year for this abysmal division. The battle for the divisional crown will come to an end on this day though. I am taking the rookie Sam Bradford to lead his Rams to the playoffs. Who picked STL preseason? Rams by 3 on the road.
Bengals over Ravens by 3
Falcons over Panther by 10
Steelers over Browns by 6
Vikings over Lions by 6
Chiefs over Raiders by 1 (Stay undefeated at home)
Patriots over Dolphins by 21
Saints over Buccaneers by 10
Jets over Bills by 8
Broncos over Chargers by 5
Packers over Bears by 3
Colts over Titans by 17
Eagles over Cowboys by 3
49ers over Cardinals by 10
Giants over Redskins by 7
Jaguars over Texans by 6
Rams over Seahawks by 10
So there you have it. It has been a wild year in the NFL as we head into the final Sunday. You better believe that a crazy playoffs is forthcoming. Lets hope that the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) gets settled in time so that we get to enjoy all of this yet again next year.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.