NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 17
December 29, 2016 by Jeffrey Boswell • Print Story •
Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.
New Orleans @ Atlanta (-7)
The Saints outlasted the Bucs 31-24 in the Superdome last week. Mark Ingram rushed for 90 yards and scored 2 touchdowns.
"That was our eighth 30-point game," Drew Brees said. "Often, those games coincide with our defense's 30-point games.
"We're out of the playoff hunt, but we could knock the Falcons out of the No. 2 seed. But I urge Matt Ryan not to misunderstand Sean Payton when Sean instructs the team to 'knock No. 2 out for the Falcons.'"
The Falcons beat the Panthers, 33-16, to improve to 10-5. With a win on Sunday, Atlanta clinches the NFC's No. 2 seed.
"We've scored 502 points this season," Matt Ryan said. "People don't ask 'What's the score?' They ask, 'When's the score?'
"That's the second time we've destroyed Cam Newton and the Panthers. Cam may have the yogurt, but we've got his milk."
Falcons win, 30-27.
Baltimore @ Cincinnati (-2½)
The Ravens lost 30-27 to the Steelers and were eliminated from playoff contention.
"Of course I'm heartbroken," John Harbaugh said. "But I can't let my players see my cry. I don't eat boogers, but I do swallow tears."
The Bengals lost 12-10 at Houston when Randy Bullock missed a 43-yard field goal as time expired. Cincinnati fell to 5-9-1 and this will be the first time in six years that the Bengals won't be in the playoffs.
"Bullock was once cut by the Texans," Marvin Lewis said. "Obviously, he didn't have a $72 million contract.
"The playoffs just won't be the same without us. That is, until the divisional round starts, then the playoffs will be exactly the same without us."
Ravens win, 24-20.
Jacksonville @ Indianapolis (-5)
The Jaguars smashed the Titans 38-17 in Jacksonville's first game after the firing of Gus Bradley. Blake Bortles passed for 325 yards and a touchdown, and also caught a TD pass.
"That was probably the best we've played all year," Bortles said. "Did it have anything to with Bradley's departure? If it did, our performance was a case of 'Exit and O's.'
"I think we could be a trendy pick to win the AFC South next year. Of course, you could say that about any team in the AFC South. The real trend, however, is the division champion losing their first playoff game."
The Colts lost in Oakland 33-25 and were eliminated from playoff contention.
"Unfortunately," Andrew Luck said, "the big news of the game was the loss of Derek Carr, who broke his leg on a sack by Trent Cole. On the bright side, though, it's been awhile since a Colts defense could say it made an impact in the postseason."
Colts win, 30-28.
New England @ Miami (+10)
The Patriot demolished the hapless Jets 41-3 to improve to 13-2. Tom Brady passed for 3 touchdowns, while LeGarrette Blount rushed for 2 scores.
"The Jets played terrible," Brady said. "Every player on the team was guilty of 'conduct detrimental to the team.' The Jets front office should thank us, because we got them an early start on 'dismantling' the team.
"We picked up Michael Floyd after he was released by the Cardinals. I think he could become our secret weapon in the playoffs. Along with our defense, the combination of me throwing to Floyd could be what takes us to victory. I told Michael, in simpler terms, that 'D, you, and I' could get the job done."
The Dolphins beat the Bills 34-31 in overtime and clinched a playoff spot with the Broncos loss to the Chiefs on Christmas night.
"In the playoffs," Adam Gase said, "we're putting our fortunes in the hands of Matt Moore. And our fortunes rest on how fast Matt can move the ball from his hands to Jay Ajayi's. Jay is a bruising back and was born in London, England. I hear his fans call him the 'British Pound.' If LeGarrette Blount and former Dolphin Ricky Williams somehow conceived a child, that child would be Jay Ajayi. And that child would grow like weed."
Patriots win, 30-17.
Chicago @ Minnesota (-5)
While the Packers and Lions battle for the NFC North crown, the Vikings host the Bears in a game with little meaning other that pride for the winner.
"My defensive backs willfully went against my game plan against the Packers last week," Mike Zimmer said. "I was none too happy, so they all got the evil eye. But with me, who doesn't?
"We've lost two in a row, so here's hoping we can end the season with a victory. After all we've been through this season, that would be a sight for sore eye."
Vikings win, 27-16.
Buffalo @ New York Jets (+6)
The Jets were humiliated 41-3 by the Patriots in Foxboro, leaving Todd Bowles' team frustrated and bickering in the wake of a disastrous season.
"I coached that game while suffering from kidney stones," Bowles said. "Add 'kidney stones' to the long list of things here that 'can't pass.'
"I'm not sure I'll even be coach of the Jets next season. Not only are we 4-11, I've got players bickering over vulgar Snap Chat videos. I'm not even sure what 'Snap Chat' is. Is it what one does when he casually converses about losing his mind over the pathetic performance and behavior of his team? Then I guess I know what it is."
The Bills lost 34-31 to the visiting Dolphins in overtime, falling to 7-8, third in the AFC East. On Tuesday, Rex Ryan and Rob Ryan were fired, and offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn will take over as interim head coach.
"Rex and Rob came into this world together," Lynn said, "and they're going out together. Probably for pizza.
"If we lose to the Jets, we'll finish the year at 7-9. That's a winning percentage of .438. 'Under 500' was a goal Rex and Rob set before the season start. However, it was for their combined weight, and not our record."
E.J. Manuel gets the start for the Bills, while Ryan Fitzpatrick will be at the helm for the Jets. And you can't spell "disappoint" without "I-N-T."
Jets win, 27-23.
Dallas @ Philadelphia (-6)The Eagles upset the visiting Giants 24-19 last Thursday night, improving to 6-9, 5-2 at home. Philly picked off Eli Manning three times in the win.
"Our season has been difficult and full of obstacles," Doug Pederson said. "You could say it's been 'Rocky themed.'
"But at least we've found our quarterback of the future. Carson Wentz can pass, he can run, and he's a great leader. For what he lacks in total quarterback rating, he makes up for by being a total quarterback."
The Cowboys pulled away in the second half to beat the visiting Lions 42-21 on Monday night. Ezekiel Elliott rushed for two scores, while Dez Bryant had two TD receptions and a TD pass.
"What did Jerry Jones' mouth say?" Bryant said. "'I'm open.' That's also what I said, and it's also the first Jerry time has said the same thing that a player or coach said.
"Our road to the Super Bowl won't be easy. But we'll be at home for the duration. And, if we make it to the Super Bowl, the game is in Houston, at the home of the Texans. That would pretty much be home-field advantage for us, assuming the Texans don't represent the AFC in the big game. If they do, then it's a good thing the game is indoors, because hell would have just frozen over."
Eagles win, 31-20.
Cleveland @ Pittsburgh (-7)
The Browns stunned the visiting Chargers, 20-17, to win for the first time this year.
"Finally," Hue Jackson said, "the monkey is off our back. And it was a huge monkey. This franchise last unloaded a weight of such magnitude back in 2013 when Trent Richardson was traded to the Colts."
A scrambling Ben Roethlisberger found Antonio Brown for a 4-yard touchdown pass with nine seconds left to beat the Ravens, 30-27. Brown appeared to be stopped short of the goal line, but stretched the ball over the goal line for the score.
"What a play by Antonio," Roethlisberger said. "That play will be honored forever in the lore of historic Steeler moments. And it will be honored on Sunday by a pair of cleats Antonio will be wearing.
"Terry Bradshaw said Mike Tomlin is not a great coach, and is more of a 'cheerleader' guy. Terry's just old and dumb. Someone once said that Terry couldn't spell 'cat' if you spotted him the 'C' and the 'A.' So I don't think it's a stretch to say Terry's suffering from 'dumb-mentia.'"
Steelers win, 34-13.
Carolina @ Tampa Bay (-6)
The Bucs lost 31-24 to the Saints and saw their playoff hopes take a huge hit. Although the Bucs are still alive for the playoffs, their hopes are very slim.
"We'll need a win," Jameis Winston said, "and we'll need a lot of things to happen. When I was in college, a lot of 'things' happened.
"I'm sure Cam and I will speak before the game. We are quarterbacks who share a lot of similarities. So, we'll compare notes, as well as Heisman Trophies, college scandals, and incompletions."
The Panthers fell to 6-9 after last week's 33-16 loss to the visiting Falcons. Cam Newton struggled, completing only 18-of-43 passes for 198 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions.
"Depending on who you ask," Newton said, "I either struggled, or played well within my capabilities.
"With such a bad season behind, I've got to look for inspiration anywhere I can find. In Tampa, I'll use the replica pirate ship to motivate me. That doesn't mean I'm going to plunder and pillage the Tampa defense. On the contrary, it means I'll be dressed like a pirate for the post-game press conference."
Bucs win, 27-24.
Houston @ Tennessee (-3)
The Texans clinched the AFC South with a 12-10 win over the visiting Bengals. Former Texan Randy Bullock, currently a Bengal, missed a 43-yard field goal as time expired that would have given Cincy the win.
"It wasn't pretty," Bill O'Brien said, "but we made the playoffs. Once again, we'll have a home playoff game, and this time we might actually score.
"We're counting on Tom Savage to lead us to playoff glory. In other words, we're counting on a guy who passed for 13 yards in the first half against the Bengals to lead us the playoff glory. The sad thing is, I have to clarify that the quarterback is, in fact, Tom Savage and not another of my quarterbacks."
Tennessee wins, 24-17.
New York Giants @ Washington (-8)
Kirk Cousins passed for a score and rushed for two more as the Redskins blasted the Bears 41-21. If Washington beats the Giants, they're in the playoffs, barring a tie in the Green Bay/Detroit game.
"Kirk is proving himself to be a great leader," Jay Gruden said. "He's showing his teammates what it takes to win, and urging them to follow his lead. Kirk says you do it 'like this and like that.'
"We'll have to be at our best on Sunday. We need to take care of business right off the bat and not leave any doubt as to our intentions. Unfortunately, we can't franchise tag a playoff-clinching win."
Despite a 24-19 Thursday night loss in Philadelphia, the Giants clinched a wild card playoff spot when the Saints beat the Buccaneers.
"When the Saints go marching in," Ben McAdoo said, "we go backing in.
"We've eliminated all walkie talkies from our equipment, and banned any music from the Beastie Boys album 'Ill Communication' from being played in the building."
Washington wins, 34-17.
Oakland @ Denver (-2)
The Raiders beat the visiting Colts 33-25 but suffered a devastating loss when Derek Carr was lost for the season with a broken tibia. Matt McGloin took over at quarterback and will lead Oakland into Denver.
"You heard right," Jack Del Rio said. "It's 'McGloin.' Not to be confused with 'McLovin. Derek has been super good all season; let's hope McGloin isn't 'Superbad.'"
The Chiefs dominated the Broncos in a 33-10 Christmas night win. Denver was held to 246 yards of total offense, including only 63 on the ground, and was officially eliminated from playoff contention.
"Opponents have been able to take away our running game," Gary Kubiak said. "Our offensive coordinator has done the same.
"I have to commend our defense for competing and trying their hardest even as our offense struggled mightily. Our defense just wore down, because they were spending way too much time on the field. In the 'Mile High City,' they became the 'High Mileage Defense."
Denver wins, 23-17.
Arizona @ Los Angeles (+6)
David Johnson rushed for 3 touchdowns as the Cardinals knocked off the Seahawks 24-31 in Seattle.
"David had his way with the Seattle defense," Bruce Arians said. "And the 'Legion of Boom' is the 'Legion of Bummed.'
"We were in the NFC Championship Game last year. What a difference a year makes. That just goes to show you the fleeting nature of the NFL. Of the four teams in the conference championships last season, only one made the playoffs this year. That's the Patriots.
"Obviously, they're doing something right in New England. Now, I didn't say they're doing everything right in New England; that would imply that they're doing nothing wrong there. That's not the case. The Pats always seem to have a leg up on the competition. I would argue it's more like an arm up, because they always seem to have something 'up their sleeve.'"
The Rams lost their sixth game in a row, falling 22-21 to the 49ers.
"In this holiday season," Todd Gurley said, "we urge everyone to be charitable and contribute to needy causes. But I caution you, do not give anything to the Jeff Fisher Foundation. Because it's not a charity, it's the wreckage done to this team's building blocks by five years of Fisher's decisions."
Cardinals win, 24-20.
Kansas City @ San Diego (+4½)
The Chiefs pummeled the Broncos 33-10, racking up 484 yards of total offense on the formidable Denver defense. Kansas City currently holds the No. 5 seed, but could win the AFC West with a win and an Oakland loss in Denver.
"I'm not sure what's better," Andy Reid said, "the No. 5 seed and a date at Houston in the wildcard round, or the No. 2 seed and a first round bye. In one case, we're through to the divisional round; in the other case, the Texans are through in the divisional round."
The Chargers lost 20-17 at Cleveland, as Hue Jackson and the Browns picked up their first win of the season.
"That's called getting 'Hue-miliated,'" Philip Rivers said.
Chiefs win, 28-18.
Seattle @ San Francisco (+10)
The Seahawks lost 34-31 to the visiting Cardinals, and the loss may have cost Seattle a first-round bye. Currently, Seattle is the NFC's No. 4 seed.
"Our defense was very disappointed in the lack of Christmas spirit shown by Earl Thomas," Pete Carroll said, "because they really miss his 'presence.'"
The 49ers erased a 21-7 fourth quarter deficit to the Rams with two late touchdowns and a game-winning two-point conversion run by Colin Kaepernick. It was just the 49ers second win of the year.
"It was a huge conversion by Colin," Chip Kelly said. "Despite making two points, he's failed to 'make his point' this year."
Seattle wins, 27-21.
Green Bay @ Detroit (+3½)
Aaron Rodgers passed for 4 touchdowns and ran for another as the Packers crushed the Vikings, 38-25. The winner of Sunday night's game wins the NFC North.
"Back when we were 4-6," Rodgers said, "I predicted we would 'run the table.' We're one win away from doing just that, and the phrase 'run the table' is currently the most popular group of words in the league. Just call it 'S-Y-N-T-A-X.'"
The Lions lost 42-21 to the Cowboys on Monday night and now are faced with a win or go home situation against the visiting Packers.
"It's a winner-take-all contest," Stafford said. "Of course, if the game ends in a tie, we both make the playoffs. I guess that's what you call a 'tie-win-win-'Skins-are-screwed' situation."
Packers win, 31-25.
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