I’ve realized something. It is difficult to make predictions in the National Football League when I am trying to figure all 32 teams in the league out and late in the season, when teams that are in the playoffs start resting their talent and those who are out are looking at possible prospects for next year.
I have now had two straight 6-10 weeks. My overall record now is 147-93.
One last week to go folks. Here are my picks for Week 17:
Atlanta over Carolina–The Falcons win the NFC South with a win, so expect them to dress their starters throughout.
Pittsburgh over Cleveland–Like the Falcons, the Steelers will probably dress their starters regularly because a win guarantees them first place in the AFC North. Expect a regular dose of Ben Roethlisberger and Rashard Mendenhall.
Detroit over Minnesota–The Lions have now won three straight over Green Bay, Tampa Bay and Miami. Now they get a Vikings team without Brett Favre at home. I know Viking wide receiver Joe Webb showed magic at quarterback last week, but can he pull off a great performance two weeks in a row? I don’t think so.
Oakland over Kansas City–Expect the Chiefs to bench their regulars, giving the Cable guy an opportunity to pull off a mild upset.
Miami over New England–Game means nothing for the Patriots. The Dolphins should win easily because Tom Brady and the regulars probably won’t play.
New Orleans over Tampa Bay–In the biggest morning game, the game has importance for both teams. The Bucs need a win to get in and the Saints need a win and a Falcons loss to win the NFC South. Expect the Saints to play a little looser and squeak by with a win.
Buffalo over NY Jets– The Jets can’t move up to the number four seed and home field next weekend. Expect them to rest their regulars all day. My pick then goes to Buffalo.
Baltimore over Cincinnati–The Ravens can win the AFC North with a win and a Pittsburgh loss to Cleveland. Expect them to play Joe Flacco, Ray Lewis, Ray Rice and Anquan Boldin.
San Diego over Denver–The Chargers and Broncos are both out, but San Diego is simply better on offense and defense.
Green Bay over Chicago–The game means nothing for the Bears who have won the NFC North. Green Bay clinches a playoff spot with a win and should win easily if Urlacher is not in.
Indianapolis over Tennessee–The Titans pass defense isn’t great, which will allow Peyton Manning to have a big day. The Colts win and they’re in.
Dallas over Philadelphia–Expect the Eagles to bench their regulars and try to stay healthy for the playoffs.
San Francisco over Arizona–The 49ers should be able to stop the terrible Cardinals offense.
Washington over NY Giants–In an upset, the Redskins are playing good football lately, and I like their chances against a Giants team that could play tight the entire 60 minutes.
Jacksonville over Houston–The Jaguars need a win and a Colts loss to make the playoffs. They’ll do their part and get a win.
St. Louis over Seattle–It will be tough for the Seahawks to win the NFC West if Matt Hasselbeck is not starting at quarterback. He will apparently be a game time decision.