NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 17

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Dallas @ Tennessee (+9½)

The Cowboys outgunned the Eagles 40-34 at AT&T Stadium on Saturday. Dak Prescott passed for 347 yards and 3 touchdowns, as the Cowboys prevented Philly from locking up the No. 1 seed.

"T.Y. Hilton made a crucial 52-yard reception," Prescott said. "Which goes to show, if you can't get Odell Beckham, Jr., 'Plan B' will work out just fine.

"And speaking of 'Plan B,' Jerry Jones is embroiled in a paternity dispute with a 26-year-old woman who claims he is her father. Jerry may have to take a paternity test. Heck, this might be one of those rare situations when Jerry would prefer that a woman not use the phrase 'Call me daddy.'"

The Titans lost 19-14 at home to the Texans, who forced 3 turnovers and handed Tennessee its fifth straight loss.

"On the bright side," Mike Vrabel said, "we can still win the division. Unfortunately, it's going to be difficult, because it's impossible to do by losing both of our remaining games.

"Ryan Tannehill is out for the season, so our hopes are riding on Malik Willis to lead us to the promised land, and by 'promised land,' I mean the playoffs. And should we make it, chances are, in sticking with biblical references, we're likely to make a quick 'Exodus' from those playoffs. Amen."

Cowboys win, 34-13.

Arizona @ Atlanta (-3½)

The Falcons were eliminated from playoff contention with a 17-9 loss to the Ravens in Baltimore.

"You know what you won't see in the playoffs?" Arthur Smith said. "Us. You know what you won't see on my face? A chin.

"But we may have found our quarterback of the future in Desmond Ridder. Desmond has loads of raw talent, and I look forward to wasting it in my ultra-conservative offense."

The Cardinals lost 19-16 in overtime to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers on Christmas night at State Farm Stadium. Arizona fell to 4-11 and are in last place in the NFC West.

"We've got two games left," Kliff Kingsbury said. "Which, you would think, would give our front office a two-week head start to find my replacement. But let's face, they've been working on that since early October.

"Kyler Murray's knee surgery is scheduled for January 3rd. I know Kyler might be anxious about such an important surgery, but he can count on me to be there for support, and tell him to 'calm the F down.'

"There's been a lot of talk about my future as head coach. I think people fall into one of two camps. There are those that would 'hate to see me go,' and then there's the much, much larger group that simply 'hate to see me.'"

Cardinals win, 20-17.

Chicago @ Detroit (-5½)

The Panthers piled up 320 yards on the ground, sending the Lions' three-game winning streak crashing to earth in a 37-23 loss in Charlotte.

"That was devastating," Dan Campbell said. "The Panthers marched the equivalent of over three football fields on the ground. And there were only two things we could do about it: nothing, and like it.

"But on the bright side, our playoff hopes are still intact. However, our confidence, manhood, outlook on the future, hopes, dreams, and ambitions are not intact."

The visiting Bills bashed the Bears 35-13 in Chicago. Buffalo held Justin Fields to a season-low 11 yards rushing, and the Bears fell to 3-12.

"I know there's only two games left," Matt Eberflus said, "but we have no intentions of shutting down Justin. Opposing defense, however, have other ideas.

"I think defenses have figured out that to stop Justin, you have to take away the run and force him to throw. That makes it tough on Justin, because once he decides to throw, then comes the hard part, which is deciding who to throw it to."

Lions win, 26-24.

Denver @ Kansas City (-13½)

The Rams embarrassed the lackluster Broncos 51-14 at SoFi Stadium. The Rams led 17-0 with just under five minutes to go in the first quarter, and Russell Wilson threw 3 interceptions. On Monday, the Broncos fired head coach Nathaniel Hackett.

"When all is said and done," Wilson said, "people will remember that, despite all my struggles, I was still able to do what most thought impossible, which is getting Jerry Rosburg a head coaching job.

"Now, I just came back from a concussion suffered on December 11th against the Chiefs. So, you can look at my performance in two ways. Either I haven't fully recovered from his concussion, or I have fully recovered."

Patrick Mahomes passed for 2 touchdowns and the Chiefs beat the visiting Seahawks 24-10 in frigid Kansas City. The Chiefs are 12-3 and kept pace with the Bills, who have the edge for the No. 1 seed based on their Week 6 win over K.C.

"Anytime we play the Broncos," Andy Reid said, "as a defense, you have to know where Russell Wilson is. If he's on the field, you're in good shape.

"It's mind boggling, but Russell has really fallen off a cliff this year. But what really surprises me is that he hasn't been pushed off a cliff."

Chiefs win, 30-19.

Miami @ New England (+1½)

The Packers picked off Tua Tagovailoa 3 times in the fourth quarter to help preserve Green Bay's 26-20 win over the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. The reeling Dolphins have lost four in a row, Miami now needs wins in their remaining two games, or a win over New England and a Jets win at Seattle to ensure a playoff berth.

"We can't blame this on Tua," Mike McDaniel said. "As the head coach, I've got to take responsibility. And if anyone has a problem with me, then take it up with me. Much like former Dolphins legend Ricky Williams would say, I want 'all the smoke.'

"I think we can get in the playoffs. We certainly have the talent, and our final two games are certainly winnable. When I strut my nerdy, buggy whip-armed, baby-faced self down Ocean Drive in South Beach, Miami, even the hottest women there consider me 'doable.' That's what I consider our path to the playoffs."

The Patriots attempted comeback from a 22-0 deficit to the Bengals was derailed by a red zone fumble by Rhamondre Stevenson late in the fourth quarter. The Pats trailed 22-18 at the time, and would have trailed by only three if not for a earlier missed extra point.

"What's the takeaway from this game?" Bill Belichick said. "The giveaways, of course.

"Have I lost my 'edge?' Former Patriot Doug Flutie thinks so, or it sure seemed that way when he showed up at my door with Frank Thomas and a bottle of Nugenix. But losing games in the manner we have the last two weeks hurts. It hurts big. It's 'Big Hurts.'"

Miami wins, 23-20.

Indianapolis @ NY Giants (-3)

Nick Foles threw 3 interceptions and was sacked seven times in the Colts 20-3 loss to the visiting Chargers on Monday night.

"I find myself in quite the quandary," Jeff Saturday said. "I'm running out of quarterbacks to bench. Already this season, I've benched Matt Ryan for Sam Ehlinger and Nick Foles. If only I would have benched him for 'good.'

"I think you can safely assume that Matt won't be a Colt next season. You can still call him 'Matty ICE,' because we're gonna have him deported."

Greg Joseph's 61-yard field goal as time expired stunned the Giants 27-24 in Minneapolis, as the Vikes prevented New York from clinching a playoff spot.

"Sure," Brian Daboll said, "we failed to clinch a playoff spot. But we're still in a good position. We're currently the sixth seed. If the regular season ended today, we'd face the 49ers at their place in the playoffs. So, no one would love for the regular season to end now more than us, except, of course, the 49ers."

Giants win, 24-16.

New Orleans @ Philadelphia (-6½)

The Eagles offense operated just fine under Gardner Minshew, starting for the injured Jalen Hurts, but the Philly defense faltered in a 40-34 loss in Dallas.

"Our defense was shaky and unsteady," Nick Sirianni said. "In true Philadelphia fashion, you could say it was 'rocky-theme'd.'

"Jalen needs one more week for his shoulder to heal, so Gardner will be starting again. Gardner has the talent, the will, and the facial hair, to star in the next remake of 'The Longest Yard,' as well as lead us to victory over the Saints."

Eagles win, 27-23.

Carolina @ Tampa Bay (-3)

Carolina rushed for 320 yards and walloped the visiting Lions 37-23 in Charlotte. The Panthers are 6-9 and trail the Bucs by a single game in the NFC South.

"We're playing Panthers football," Steve Wilkes said. "Which is basically winning one of every three games. If we win the South and make the playoffs, I should certainly get the head coaching job for next season. But I'm sure that process will strictly follow the 'Tepper Rule,' meaning several white candidates will be interviewed before I'm even considered."

The Bucs offense continued to sputter, but did enough in a 19-16 win over the Cardinals in Glendale. Tampa leads the NFC South and can clinch the division with a win against the Panthers.

"We haven't reached our full potential," Tom Brady said. "It's scary to think that we haven't even played our best football. It's even scarier to think that we have.

"I heard the Panthers signed Josh Norman. I can safely predict I'll have a 'stiff arm' from throwing Josh's direction so often on Sunday."

Let's see: playoff position on the line, and the GOAT Tom Brady is facing the "Ghost Whisperer" Sam Darnold. Give me the Bucs.

Tampa wins, 19-13.

Cleveland @ Washington (-2½)

The Commanders lost 37-20 to the 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Taylor Heinicke was benched in the fourth quarter after 2 turnovers, replaced by Carson Wentz.

"I've named Carson the starter against the Browns," Ron Rivera said. "It was a long, arduous process involving hours of film study, input from much of the coaching staff, historical data, background checks, and ultimately, a coin."

Deshaun Watson struggled in frigid conditions in Cleveland, and the Browns lost 17-10 to the Saints in Cleveland. Watson completed 15 of 31 passes for 135 yards with an interception, and added a rushing score.

"We spent a lot of money to get Deshaun in Cleveland," Kevin Stefanski said. "You're familiar with the saying 'You get what you pay for?' Well, that does not apply to us. Deshaun also feels it doesn't apply to him when he's visited masseuses in the past."

Browns win, 24-20.

Pittsburgh @ Baltimore (-3½)

Kenny Pickett's 14-yard TD pass to George Pickens with 46 seconds left gave the Steelers a 13-10 win over the visiting Raiders on Christmas Eve.

"That play will get all the headlines," Mike Tomlin said, "but the real story was our defense. They neutralized Josh Jacobs, Derek Carr, and Davante Adams better than Josh McDaniels sometimes does."

The Ravens clinched a playoff berth with a 17-9 win over the visiting Falcons.

"It wasn't pretty," John Harbaugh said, "when someone described the weather as 'cold enough to harden even Tony Siragussa's nipples.'

"Hopefully, Lamar Jackson will be ready for our first playoff game, which will also most likely be our last."

Ravens win, 16-14.

Jacksonville @ Houston (+4)

The Jaguars dominated the Jets at MetLife Stadium on Thursday night, winning 19-3. With the Titans loss on Sunday to the Texans, Jacksonville and Tennessee are tied at 7-8 atop the AFC South.

"This was a battle of second-year quarterbacks in Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson," Doug Pederson said. "One has found a home, the other is not welcome at his.

"Win or lose, our Week 18 game against the Titans will be for the AFC South division title. That means the winner of the South will likely have a losing record. One might ask, 'How is that even possible, with the Texans and Colts in the same division?' My reply is 'Good question.'"

The Texans upset the Titans 19-14 in Nashville. Davis Mills' six-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks with 2:52 left in the fourth quarter gave Houston the win.

"Hey," Lovie Smith said, "I was just as surprised as anyone to see Brandin in the end zone. Heck, I was even more surprised to see him in uniform.

"We're currently in line to get the first pick in the 2023 NFL draft. We want to stay there, and it will require all of our energy, so I'm telling my guys to gas up, because we're going 'full tank.'"

Jaguars win, 26-17.

San Francisco @ Las Vegas (+6)

Brock Purdy tossed 2 touchdown passes and Nick Bosa dominated on defense to lead the 49ers to a 37-20 win over the Commanders at Levi's Stadium. San Fran has won eight in a row and currently holds the No. 3 seed in the NFC.

"Nick is a game-wrecker," Kyle Shanahan said. "He may be the most-feared 49ers pass rusher, even more feared than Aldon Smith in an airport."

The Steelers held the Raiders to 232 total yards in a 13-10 Steelers win in Pittsburgh on Christmas Eve. Las Vegas fell to 6-9, but is still in playoff contention.

"Saying we're in playoff contention," Josh McDaniels said, "is like saying Mark Davis is in contention for People magazine's 'Sexiest Man Alive.'

"And speaking of 'missing links,' we thought Davante Adams would be the piece that would put us over the top. And he's certainly done his part, but he can't do everything.

"We're benching Derek Carr for our last two games. It's nothing against Derek. We just want to make sure he remains healthy so our options remain open. Ideally, we hope for a Russell Wilson-like trade, in which we play the role of the Seahawks and some other desperate team plays the role of the Broncos."

49ers win, 32-16.

NY Jets @ Seattle (-1)

Zach Wilson struggled mightily in the Jets' 19-3 loss to the Jaguars at MetLife Stadium on Thursday night. Wilson was 9-of-18 for 92 yards and an interception before being pulled for Chris Streveler late in the third quarter.

"Zach being pulled in the third quarter," Robert Saleh said, "is proof that I'm the one that needs to be quicker with my decision-making.

"But Mike White has been cleared by team doctors to play on Sunday. Mike is clearly not at 100%. On the other hand, Zach is at 100% ... certainty that he won't be a Jet next season."

Seattle's offense sputtered in a 24-10 loss to the Chiefs in Kansas City. After starting the season 6-3, the Seahawks have lost five of their last six.

"We may be struggling," Pete Carroll said, "but compared to what's going on in Denver, we feel blessed. Heck, I might even hire Nathaniel Hackett to join my staff.

"As far as the Russell Wilson trade goes, I'm getting not only the last laugh, but two first, two second, and a fifth laugh, plus a haul of similar picks."

Seattle wins, 23-17.

Minnesota @ Green Bay (-3)

Greg Joseph's 61-yard field goal as time expired gave the Vikings a 27-24 win over the visiting Giants. Minnesota is 12-3 and holds the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

"We're 12-3," Kevin O'Connell said, "yet we're still underdogs against a 7-8 team. And it totally makes sense."

The Packers held the Dolphins scoreless in the second half and intercepted Tua Tagovailoa 3 times in the second half to seal a 26-20 win at Hard Rock Stadium. Green Bay kept their playoff hopes alive.

"Tua didn't look like himself," Matt Lafleur said. "Actually, he looked like a former Dolphins legendary left-hander from the 1970s ... Garo Yepremian."

Green Bay wins, 27-22.

L.A. Rams @ L.A. Chargers (-7)

The Rams demolished the visiting Broncos 51-14 at SoFi Stadium. Cam Akers rushed for 118 yards and 3 touchdowns.

"I think we answered a lot of questions about ourselves," Sean McVay said. "We also answered one question about the Broncos. That question was, 'What will happen first? Broncos players quitting on Nathaniel Hackett, or Broncos management quitting on Nathaniel Hackett?"

The Chargers clinched a playoff spot with a decisive 20-3 win over Nick Foles and the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium on Monday night. Austin Ekeler rushed for two short scores, while the Chargers defense harassed Foles into 3 interceptions and sacked him 7 times.

"Foles played the opposite of 'out of this world,'" Brandon Staley said, "which is 'out of this league.'

"We feel like clinching a playoff spot is the start of something big. That 'big' is probably a situation in the wild card round in which I make a fourth down gamble that fails in a 'big' way."

Chargers win, 28-24.

Buffalo @ Cincinnati (+1)

The Bills rushed for 254 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 35-13 win over the Bears in Chicago. Buffalo is 12-3 and holds the top seed in the AFC.

"There was a time," Doug McDermoot said, "when Antonio Cromartie was the 'top seed' in the AFC. Cromartie was, more often than not, the answer to the age-old question, 'Who's your daddy?'"

The Bengals raced to a 22-0 lead, and forced a late red-zone turnover to hold on and beat the Patriots, 22-18. Joe Burrow passed for 375 yards and 3 touchdowns, as Cincy improved to 11-4.

"To beat Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in consecutive weeks is really special," Burrow said. "Until you look at their teams' records, then it doesn't seem that impressive.

"I'm sure the Bills are going to gear their offense towards stopping me. Whatever they do, I won't be phased. I've faced much bigger obstacles in my football career, like trying to understand just what the hell Ed Orgeron was saying when he spoke."

Bengals win, 30-27.

Leave a Comment

Featured Site