It is unbelievable how time flies as we have reached the final week of the regular season, which means 20 teams will be at home watching the playoffs while 12 teams will be participating in the postseason. Before we get into it, last week, I went 12-4 with my picks which puts my total up to 158-82. There are several games that will knock teams out of the playoffs or change the seeding around starting with Bills who travel to Miami to take on the Dolphins to clinch a playoff berth with a win while a loss and a Chargers win would knock them out. Perhaps the most crucial game is the outcome of the Panthers and Falcons game which could clinch the division for the Panthers with a win and with a Saints loss while if the Falcons lose, the Seahawks could come away with a win and snag the 6 seed. So let’s get started!
Cowboys 24, Eagles 16; 1:00pm FOX
This game is meaningless for both teams as the Cowboys were knocked out of playoff contention last week after their loss to the Seahawks and the Eagles clinched the #1 seed last week with a win against the Raiders on Monday Night Football. The Eagles will only play their starters for a a whole quarter at the maximum but Doug Peterson will want to see what he has in backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld which could result in a loss for the Eagles. The Cowboys will simply be looking to end off the season with a win in Philly just for pride. They’ll most likely get it with the Eagles starters set to see limited action and keep the Cowboys at .500.
Redskins 20, Giants 17; 1:00pm FOX
Another meaningless game for these two teams but the Giants will be looking to pull off an upset against Redskins in what could be Eli Manning’s last game as a Giant if he is released after this season. The Redskins will be looking to get to .500 with a win over the Giants and should get one because of their defense and because Kirk Cousins should play well against the Giants defense. With both teams out of the playoffs, these two teams will look to right the ship after for the next season.
Lions 24, Packers 17; 1:00pm FOX
The Lions blew their playoff hopes last week with a loss to the Bengals and will now be looking to end off the season on a high note with a win over the Packers. This game could end up being Jim Caldwell’s final game with the Lions which should be monitored closely in the days following the game. The Packers went really be scaring the Lions since the Packers put up a goose egg against the Vikings last week. The defense is also plagued with injuries which has made life harder for that unit and harder to stop opponents from having extended drives. With all of this said, the Lions should end up winning the game on Sunday.
Vikings 27, Bears 16; 1:00pm FOX
The only thing that the Vikings are playing for is a first round-bye and they will get the win against the Mitch Trubisky and the Bears at home on Sunday. The Vikes will most likely run the score up early to rest the starters on both sides of the ball to give some younger players more playing time. As for the Bears, they will be looking to stay in the top 10 in the draft order and this game could end up being John Fox’s final game with the Chicago Bears. There shouldn’t be a reason as to why the Bears should come out winning this game in front of the Vikings home crowd.
Patriots 31, Jets 17; 1;00pm CBS
The Patriots will be playing for home-field advantage and will get it if they win or if the Steelers lose. The Pats will be looking to man-handle the Jets and get this game over with quickly to celebrate New Years Day later in the night. The Jets will simply be switching quarterbacks around to see if any of the QBs are worthy of starting for the team next year. Also, their defense will look to get to Brady so that they leave the game satisfied with their performance. No chance of the Jets winning and it should be an easy win for the Pats.
Steelers 24, Browns 16; 1:00pm CBS
The Steelers are fighting for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win and a Patriots loss (which is highly unlikely) and fighting to not be the team that loses to the Browns this year. The only thing that Browns are fighting for at this moment is a win because they would be the only be the second team in NFL history to go 0-16 if they lost to the Steelers. They’ve already secured the first pick in the draft so they need some sort of silver lining to end off a historically bad season. The only way the Browns could win is if the Steelers rest their starters for at least the 2nd half and the defense creates a few turnovers as well.
Colts 23, Texans 20; 1:00pm CBS
This game has no implications for the playoffs, but this game could be a good one and turn into a shootout because both defenses have below average-defenses. Since the Colts are at home, they should be able to win the game by a slim margain. T.J. Yates could have a big game but he needs to stop turning the ball over especially in the red-zone. This game could really go either way but the thing to watch here is the status of the two head coaches following this game because there is a possibility that both head coaches could be fired after this game.
Bills 20, Dolphins 17; 4:25pm CBS
The Bills will be fighting for a playoff berth but may not be able to get one even if they do win because the if the Chargers win, they go to the playoffs because of head to head. The Bills defense should be able to put the Dolphins offense in check since they already did it just a couple weeks again as Cutler threw 3 interceptions. The Dolphins will only be looking to play spoiler against the Bills to prevent them from making the postseason. It will come down to the Dolphins defense to create turnovers to win the game for the Dolphins.
Falcons 24, Panthers 22; 4:25pm FOX
This game is the game of the week as this has massive playoff implications for both teams. Firstly, the Falcons must win this game or the Seahawks must lose to make it to the postseason or else the Seahawks will take the 6th seed and will be out of t(e playoffs. This is just as big for the Panthers since they could clinch the division with a win and a Saints loss on Sunday. The Falcons are at home and they’re offense usually plays better at home so the Falcons should end up winning the game by the skin of their teeth. However, the Panthers defense won’t go down easy and neither will the offense. This will be a fight until the end.
Ravens 23, Bengals 16; 4:25pm CBS
The Ravens can clinch a playoff berth with a win over the Bengals in M&T Stadium. The Ravens defense should do enough in shutting down Andy Dalton as he struggled mightily in the first game. The Bengals will be looking to end the season on a win because Marvin Lewis will be leaving the Bengals after this season. The only way the Bengals could win is if the defense creates more turnovers than the Ravens defense and capitalizes in those mistakes. It’ll be interesting to see if the Ravens do clinch a playoff berth on Sunday.
Saints 28, Bucs 20; 4:25pm FOX
The Saints will be looking to clinch the division on Sunday with a win over the Bucs on Sunday and most likely will get it against a bad Bucs defense. The Bucs are simply hoping doesn’t end in a blowout against a high-powered Saints offense. If the Bucs can stop Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram and create a few turnovers, the Bucs will pull off an upset win over the Saints. Given that the Bucs defense doesn’t create many turnovers, the Saints should clinch the division.
Jaguars 24, Titans 20; 4:25pm CBS
This game has bigger playoff implications on the Titans more than it does on the Jaguars because if the Titans loss, they will not make the playoffs. Win and they’re in, but the Jaguars defense will make it very difficult for the Titans to get points and will look to bounce back after they allowed a season high 44 points to the 49ers last week. This defense will be hungry and desperate for not allowing tha to happen again which will be the difference in this game. Unfortunately for the Titans and their fans, they’ll need to wait another year to make the postseason.
Chargers 26, Raiders 20; 4:25pm CBS
The Chargers will be playing in front of their home crowd (half the stadium) and will be looking to clinch a playoff berth with a win and a Titans loss. The Chargers have a strong chance of winning this game even without Melvin Gordon because the defense is not very good against the pass and because the Chargers defense knows how to get after the quarterback while they also rank in the top 5 in defending the pass. All of this spells disaster for the Raiders who are coming off a crushing loss to the Eagles on Monday Night Football. The Raiders will keep the game close, but it will not be enough to beat the Chargers in StubHub on Sunday.
Chiefs 17, Broncos 13; 4:25pm CBS
Guess which 1st round pick is straying for the Chiefs this week, Patrick Mahomes III. He will be making his first start on Sunday since the Chiefs have already clinched a playoff berth after clinching the division last week with a win over the Dolphins. This cannon-arm QB is in for a tough challenge going against the No Fly Zone in Denver but he should do enough to beat the Broncos on Sunday. Also, the Broncos will be starting Paxton Lynch and perhaps will be switching quarterbacks around to see if any of the quarterbacks have potential to be starters next season. However, since the Broncos quarterbacks have been inconsistent all season, the Chiefs should win with Pat Mahones at the helm on Sunday.
Seahwks 20, Cardinals 13; 4:25pm FOX
A must win game for the hawks as they need to win and hope that the Falcons loss to the Panthers to earn their spot in the playoffs. However, the Cardinals will be looking to play spoiler and will be trying to end those playoff aspirations of the Seahawks fan base on Sunday. The Cardinals defense will pose as a challenge against Russell Wilson but Wilson should be able to do enough to come away with a win. Also, the Legion of Boom will keep Drew Stanton and the offense in check so the Seahawks should be victors at the end of this game. The question is, will they make it to the playoffs?
Rams 25, 49ers 24; 4:25pm FOX
According to NFL Network, the Rams are planning to rest a few starters on Sunday which could lead to another win for Jimmy G, who is now 6-0 in all of his starts and has vastly impressed everyone in the NFL while also giving the Niners something to look forward to in the coming years. The Rams will be looking to maintain their position as the 3rd seed and will secure it with a win on Sunday. As long as the Rams don’t rest Todd Gurley, they’ll win the game, but like the first game, it will be a very close game.