NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 17

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Miami @ Buffalo (-5)

The Dolphins pulled off a miraculous 26-25 win over the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. Miami's late charge was led by Ryan Fitzpatrick, whose 34 yard pass to Mack Hollins, and a face-mask penalty on Las Vegas, set up Jason Sanders 44-yard field goal.

"When Tua Tagovailoa struggles," Fitzpatrick said, "I'm always available to not only make things right, but to make them right-handed."

The Bills walloped the Patriots 38-9 on Monday night. Josh Allen passed for 4 touchdowns, three to Stefon Diggs, as Buffalo swept the Patriots for the first time since 1999.

"First of all," Allen said, "trading for Diggs was a brilliant move by our front office. We made the Vikings an offer they couldn't refuse, after the Vikings made Stefon several offers he did refuse."

Bills win, 28-19.

NY Jets @ New England (-5)

The Patriots lost 38-9 on Monday night to the visiting Bills. New England's offense sputtered under Cam Newton as well as Jarrett Stidham, who replaced Newton in the third quarter.

"Whether it was Newton or Stidham," Bill Belichick said, "it was 'more of the same.' In hindsight, 'more of the same' would have much better had I chosen 'more of the same' before I let Tom Brady walk.

"I guess our offseason duty is to find a quarterback. If necessary, we'll scour the globe to find him, but we won't bother looking right under our noses."

The Jets upset the visiting Browns, 23-16, for their second consecutive win.

"We've won two in a row," Adam Gase said, "which is twice what our previous winning streak was."

Patriots win, 24-17.

Green Bay @ Chicago (+4)

The Bears smashed the Jaguars 41-17 in Jacksonville and now sit on the cusp of a playoff berth. With a win over the Packers, Chicago would capture the NFC's seventh seed.

"Our offense has been on fire lately," Matt Nagy said. "It was also on fire earlier this year, but that fire was in a dumpster.

"We're averaging nearly 37 points per game in our last 3 contests. Granted, it was against 3 of the worst defenses in the NFL. So, if ever there was a good time to use the term 'grain of salt,' this is it."

The Packers demolished the Titans 40-14 at Lambeau Field as Aaron Rodgers passed for 4 touchdowns, three to Davante Adams. With a win at Chicago, Green Bay would secure the NFC's No. 1 seed.

"The weather was a factor," Rodgers said, "and the Titans couldn't handle it. Snow was falling, and it was raining touchdowns.

"That bye week is extremely important. First of all, it gives me a chance to say 'R-E-L-A-X,' which is my second-favorite five-letter word behind 'A-D-A-M-S.'"

Packers win, 26-20.

Minnesota @ Detroit (+6½)

The Saints demolished the Vikings 52-33 on Christmas Day, as Alvin Kamara rushed for 155 yards and 6 touchdowns.

"That's the kind of performance that will get a defensive coordinator fired," Mike Zimmer said, "and get a head coach hired, as a defensive coordinator with another team next season."

The Lions were crushed 47-7 at home by the Bucs last Saturday. Detroit gave up 6 passing touchdowns, four to Tom Brady in the first half. The Lions are 5-10, last in the NFC North.

"Our defense was a disaster," Matt Stafford said. "But I prefer to look on the bright side of things, so instead, let's say, 'Our defense was responsible for Tom Brady getting benched.'"

Vikings win, 31-21.

Baltimore @ Cincinnati (+11)

The Ravens beat the Giants 27-13 to move a step closer to clinching a playoff spot. Lamar Jackson passed for 2 touchdowns, and the Ravens rushed for 249 yards as a team.

"Lamar didn't need a 'pit stop' this time," John Harbaugh said. "No emergency trip to the locker room was needed. When that happened a few weeks ago, we were blessed with 'Lamar Jackson Math,' in which 'IV' is equal to 'No. 2.'"

The Bengals beat the Texans 37-31 for their second win in a row. Brandon Allen passed for 371 yards and 2 touchdowns as Cincy improved to 4-10-1.

"I'm looking forward to next season," Zac Taylor said. "We're serving notice to the rest of the AFC North: we'll still be a member of the division next year."

Ravens win, 31-17.

Pittsburgh @ Cleveland (-7)

The Steelers came back from a 24-7 deficit to the Colts and pulled out a 28-24 win, snapping a three-game losing streak. Ben Roethlisberger passed for 3 second-half touchdowns to power the comeback.

"Our receivers did a great job in the second half," Mike Tomlin said. "Whereas earlier this year I told them, 'You've got some catching to do,' at halftime, I told them, 'You've got some catching up to do.'

"We're resting Ben, so Mason Rudolph will be starting. As everyone knows, Mason had his helmet ripped off by Myles Garrett last year. I'm still mystified as to why Garrett did it. Maybe he thought you have to rip someone's helmet off before you can put words into their mouth."

The short-handed Browns lost 23-16 to the Jets at MetLife Stadium, a loss that puts their playoff hopes in peril. Cleveland will have to beat the Steelers if they are to advance to the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

"We were without four of our wide receivers due to COVID issues," Baker Mayfield said. "No, they weren't all on a boat with Odell Beckham, Jr., although the invitation was offered.

"2002 was a long time ago. In 2002, I was 7-years-old. In 2002, Johnny Manziel was 10 years away from being arrested."

Browns win, 27-17.

Jacksonville @ Indianapolis (-13½)

The Jaguars lost 41-17 to the visiting Bears and locked up the No. 1 pick in the 2021 draft.

"We're one step closer to drafting Trevor Lawrence," Doug Marrone said. "Lawrence could be a great one. Who knows? Maybe next year at this time, they'll be calling him 'The Next Mark Brunell.' Or, if things don't go that well, they may be calling him 'Gardner Minshew the Third.'

"I hear Jacksonville is now a desired destination for potential head coaches. That makes it sound like I won't be in Jacksonville next season. It's probably true. In fact, I don't know where I'll be next year. So, I don't control my own destination."

The Colts blew a 21-7 second half lead at Heinz Field and lost 28-24 to the Steelers. Phillip Rivers had 2 turnovers and was sacked 5 times.

"In a shocking turn of events in Pittsburgh," Frank Reich said, "we dropped the ball.

"Now, our first order of business is to beat the Jags. We have to jump on them early and keep our foot on the gas. But we have to be careful not to allow too much gas, because that might result in another 'choke.'"

Indianapolis wins, 30-14.

L.A. Chargers @ Kansas City (-6)

The Chargers beat the visiting Broncos 19-16 at SoFi Stadium. Justin Herbert passed for one touchdown, giving him 28 to set the league's all-time rookie record.

"Justin is a lock to win Rookie of the Year," Anthony Lynn said. "After that, the endorsement deals should start flowing freely. How about yogurt, and a flavor called 'Peaches and Herbert?' Or, he could endorse a line of condoms called 'This Just-In.'"

The Chiefs beat the pesky Falcons 17-14 as Kansas City locked up the AFC's No. 1 seed.

"When people say 'slim' around here," Patrick Mahomes said, "they're certainly not talking about Andy Reid. They're talking about our margin of victory."

Chargers win, 30-24.

Dallas @ NY Giants (+1)

The Cowboys whipped the Eagles, 37-17, as Dallas stayed alive in the race for the NFC East title. Andy Dalton passed for 377 yards and 3 touchdowns.

"This team is a bunch of fighters," Mike McCarthy said. "These guys could have given up when we were 2-7 in early November. At that point, many people in Dallas were asking what would quit first — the team, or Jerry Jones' heart? Luckily, neither happened."

The Ravens beat the Giants 27-13 in Baltimore, handing New York its third consecutive defeat.

"Our playoff hopes went from slim to slimmer," Joe Judge said. "So, ironically, our chances of making the playoffs are fat.

"But, if we beat the Cowboys and the Redskins lose to Philadelphia, we're in. And once we are, don't blink."

Cowboys win, 23-20.

Atlanta @ Tampa Bay (-4½)

Tom Brady passed for 348 yards and 4 touchdowns in the first half alone as the Bucs rolled to a 47-7 win over the Lions at Ford Field.

"The Detroit defense is 'ass,'" Brady said. "After what I did to them, I realized they're just 'half-assed.'

"It's sad to see the Patriots miss the playoffs. I'm tearing up as I speak, or maybe that's just a result of getting hot-boxed by Rob Gronkowski."

The Falcons hung tough in Kansas City before losing 17-14. Atlanta had a chance to tie late, but Younghoe Koo's 39-yard field goal attempt sailed wide right.

"We actually had a lead," Matt Ryan said. "And I guess you know the rest of the story."

Bucs win, 27-24.

New Orleans @ Carolina (+4)

Alvin Kamara tied an NFL record with 6 rushing touchdowns in the Saints' dominating 52-33 win over the visiting Vikings on Christmas Day.

"Even Jesus Christ had to take a back seat to Alvin's performance," Sean Payton said. "Sure, Jesus can walk on water, but anybody can run on the Minnesota defense."

The Panthers beat the Redskins, 20-13, as the Panthers defense forced 4 turnovers, three by Dwayne Haskins.

"It's easy to confuse Haskins," Matt Rhule said, "for a legitimate NFL quarterback.

"We're already looking ahead to next season. We have a solid defense, a top-10 draft pick, and Christian McCaffrey is listed as 'Probable.'"

Saints win, 30-20.

Tennessee @ Houston (+7½)

Despite 324 yards passing and 3 touchdowns from Deshaun Watson, the Texans lost 37-31 to the visiting Bengals.

"J.J. Watt put it best," Watson said. "He called out our defense and said if you don't want to put in the work, you shouldn't play. I think that's J.J.'s way of plugging 'subs' for Subway."

The Packers crushed the Titans 40-14 at snowy Lambeau Field on Sunday night.

"There was some snow," Mike Vrabel said, "but most of the accumulation was on the home side of the scoreboard."

Titans win, 31-27.

Las Vegas @ Denver (-1)

The Raiders saw a 25-23 lead over the Dolphins with 19 seconds disappear in a monumental collapse. A long completion and a face-mask penalty put the Dolphins in field goal range, and Jason Sanders' kick gave Miami a 26-25 win.

"I stand by my decision to play for the field goal," Jon Gruden said. "Now, if there's anything that needs to be second-guessed, it's my 10-year contract.

"Sure, we've struggled this year, especially at home. But we did beat the Chiefs. And that's apparently good enough for Mark Davis. Unlike his father, he's apparently satisfied just to beat the defending champions, as opposed to being the defending champs."

The Broncos lost 19-16 to the Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Drew Lock struggled with 2 interceptions, and has 15 on the year.

"If I was one of our receivers," Vic Fangio said, "I wouldn't be too happy with Drew as my quarterback. As the head coach, I'm not too 'receptive' to the idea, either."

Broncos win, 23-21.

Arizona @ L.A. Rams (-5½)

The Cardinals flopped in a 20-12 loss to the visiting 49ers. Now, Arizona needs a win over the Rams and a Chicago loss to Green Bay to make the playoffs.

"The stakes couldn't be higher," Kliff Kingsbury said. "And who would you rather be relying on? John Wolford, or the head coach who only has his job because he coached Patrick Mahomes? There's no right answer."

The Rams lost 20-9 in Seattle, as L.A.'s offense struggled against Seattle's revitalized offense. The Rams have lost two in a row and are 9-6, and can clinch a wild card berth with a win over Arizona.

"Jared Goff broke his thumb after banging it on a helmet," Sean McVay said. "He had surgery on Monday and is out for the game.

"In Jared's place, John Wolford will start. But I'm not worried. This team has been in situations like this all season. What situation, you may ask? One in which we ask our defense to win a game for us. It's worked out nine of 15 times this season."

Rams win, 20-18.

Seattle @ San Francisco (+3½)

The Seahawks clinched the NFC West with a 20-9 win over the visiting Rams. Seattle's improved defense limited the Rams offense, while Russell Wilson passed for a score and rushed for another.

"Our defense is carrying us as of late," Pete Carroll said. "Now, they're no 'Legion of Boom,' but they're just a few levels below the 'LOB.' That's why I call them 'LOB-Minus.'"

Seattle wins, 27-22.

Washington @ Philadelphia (-1)

With Alex Smith nursing a calf injury, Washington lost 20-13 to the visiting Panthers. Dwayne Haskins was 14-of-28 for 154 yards and tossed 2 interceptions, and was waived on Monday.

"I know Dwayne sucks," Ron Rivera said, "but we really had no other choice but to start him. When I told Dwayne earlier in the week, I said, 'You got to go.' On Monday, I also told him, 'You got to go.' And he started packing.

"We control our own destiny. It's the quintessential 'win and you're in' situation. As the NFC East champion, could we really expect to beat the No. 2 seed? Nah. So, it's really a 'win and you're in and you're out' situation."

The Eagles lost big at Dallas, going down 37-17 and were officially eliminated from playoff contention.

"We're embarrassed," Doug Pederson said. "Not necessarily because we lost so badly, but because we're the only team in the NFC East with no chance of making the playoffs."

Eagles win, 22-20.

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