NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 17

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

NY Jets @ Cleveland (-6)

The Jets blew a 20-0 lead, and needed Greg Zuerlein's 54-yard field goal with five seconds left to beat the Commanders at MetLife Stadium. Breece Hall had 191 total yards and scored 2 TDs on the ground.

"I love hearing a game summary in which we don't mention our quarterback," Robert Saleh said. "On that note, let me fulfill my contractual obligations and mention 'Aaron Rodgers,' his 'amazing recovery from Achilles surgery,' and lie through my teeth and say there was a chance Aaron would play this season after his injury. There was not. Aaron is an attention hog. I mean, for Christ's sake, Aaron wants to be the quarterback of attention, yet he also wants to be the 'center' of attention."

Amari Cooper had a Browns record 265 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns in Cleveland's 36-22 win over the Texans in Houston. Joe Flacco passed for 368 yards and 3 touchdowns, as the Browns solidified their playoff hopes.

"Deshaun Watson just dropped another spot on Amari's list of his favorite Cleveland quarterbacks of all-time," Kevin Stefanski said. "That's because Joe just knocked everyone down a spot. Deshaun is now 21st, behind Tim Couch.

"Joe has made everyone forget about Deshaun. That is, everyone except our payroll department. They'll have to massage the books for years to come to alleviate the impact of Deshaun's huge contract."

Browns win, 21-18.

Detroit @ Dallas (-6)

The Cowboys lost 22-20 to the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Dallas dropped to 10-5, and 3-5 on the road this season.

"That's very concerning," Mike McCarthy said. "Especially since we'll likely be on the road in the first round of the playoffs. There's 'Road Warriors' and then there's 'Road Worriers.' We're the latter. Whereas the Road Warriors wear scary face makeup, the Road Worriers wear clown makeup."

The Lions held on to beat the Vikings 30-24 in Minneapolis and clinched their first NFC North crown since 1993. Detroit rushed for 143 yards and 3 touchdowns, and the Lions defense picked off Nick Mullens 4 times.

"We're gonna party like it's 1993," Dan Campbell said. "I know what that's like, because I was 17 in 1993, and when I partied, I woke up with three things: a hangover, an empty bed, and a mullet. Times have changed though. Now, I don't have a mullet.

"It's Detroit vs. Dallas. The 'Motor City' vs. the 'Big D.' 'Motown' vs. 'Mo Fo Town.' A team that can't win outdoors vs. a team that can't win on the road. A team that rarely makes the playoff vs. a team that can win in the playoffs. The edge? The other five NFC teams in the playoffs."

Cowboys win, 31-27.

New England @ Buffalo (-11½)

The Bills struggled against the injury-depleted charges, but overcame errors and made the plays when it counted most, winning 24-22 at SoFi Stadium. Josh Allen passed for 1 score and rushed for 2 touchdowns.

"First of all," Sean McDermott said, "we didn't take the Chargers lightly. We knew they'd come out with a solid game plan, mostly because Brandon Staley is no longer their coach. I hear Staley is enjoying his time away from the Chargers, and vice versa."

The Patriots upset the Broncos 26-23 in Denver on Christmas Eve, winning on Chad Ryland's 56-yard field goal with two seconds left.

"If I do walk away from the Patriots head coaching job," Bill Belichick said, "I want it to be under my terms. No offense to Robert Kraft, but I'd rather not be jerked off ... the field or in a massage parlor, for that matter."

Bills win, 26-17.

Atlanta @ Chicago (-3)

The Falcons dominated the visiting Colts 29-10, led by a rushing attack that accounted for 177 yards. Taylor Heinicke was mistake-free at quarterback as the Falcons remained a game behind the Bucs in the NFC South.

"Pretty much everyone I knew," Arthur Smith said, "and most vociferously, the internet, was telling me to get the ball to Bijan Robinson. You know me, I don't listen to the Internet. I do watch it, however.

"Arthur Blank said he's waiting until the season is over to decide on my future. If you're a head coach, and you're in the playoff hunt in the final week of the season, and you don't know your future, then I really think I'm toast. And 'toast' pretty much describes my offensive philosophy as well as my fashion sense: whitebread and bland."

The Bears beat the visiting Cardinals 27-16, led by Justin Fields, who passed for 1 score and rushed for another.

"I don't know if Justin is our quarterback of the future," Matt Eberflus said, "but he is someone's quarterback of the future. If seeing into the future were possible, you would be able to see that whatever decision we make, it will turn out to be the wrong one."

Atlanta wins, 24-23.

Las Vegas @ Indianapolis (-3)

The Colts scored an opening drive touchdown but couldn't move the ball consistently afterwards and lost 29-10 to the Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Indianapolis still holds the No. 7 in the AFC, but that grip is a bit more tenuous after the loss.

"Speaking of 'grips,'" Shane Steichen said, "there was one tightly wrapped around our necks, apparently. We had a chance to take the outright lead in the AFC South, but we, plain and simply, choked.

"This will be an interesting battle between Gardner Minshew and Aidan O'Connell. Gardner may be the coolest-looking quarterback in the NFL. Aidan O'Connell and his junior high mustache may be the dorkiest-looking."

The Raiders shocked the Chiefs 20-14 in Kansas City on Christmas Day, led by a defense that returned two K.C. turnovers for touchdowns to give Las Vegas a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

"Here's an amazing statistic," Antonio Pierce said. "Aidan O'Connell didn't complete a pass after the first quarter. I was mostly impressed by Aidan's ability to trust me not trusting him.

"Say what you will about this team, but you can't dispute one fact: we will score between zero and 63 points in every game."

Colts win, 24-17.

L.A. Rams @ NY Giants (+6½)

The Rams held off a late charge from New Orleans and beat the Saints 30-22 at SoFi Stadium on Thursday night. Matthew Stafford tossed 2 touchdown passes and Puka Nacua had 9 catches for 164 yards and a touchdown.

"It sounded like the L.A. fans actually showed up for a game," Sean McVay said. "And I think our players responded to their support. Whereas normally you can hear a pin drop in SoFi Stadium, on Thursday, you could hear a mic drop.

"We may be the team no one wants to see in the playoffs. To be clear, by 'no one,' I mean potential opponents. The team no one, meaning television executives, wants to see in the playoffs is the winner of the NFC South."

The Giants dropped a 33-25 decision to the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on Christmas Day. The Giants offense stagnated under Tommy DeVito, but a quarterback change to Tyron Taylor energized the G-Men pulled to within 5 points late.

"First of all," Brian Daboll said, "let's address the 'Pizzagate' issue. Tommy did, in fact, show up at Coniglio's Old Fashioned restaurant despite a controversy about an appearance fee. Tommy was cool with that. Now, I can't speak to Tommy's opinion about the human trafficking and child sex ring that may or may not be occurring there.

"It seems that the clock may have struck midnight for Tommy. The Tommy DeVito fascination is a thing of the past. So most people will 'forget about it.'"

Rams win, 27-17.

Arizona @ Philadelphia (-10½)

The Eagles beat the visiting Giants 33-25 but struggled to put the G-Men away.

"There is no 'I' in 'Team,'" Jalen Hurts said. "But there is at least one 'M' and an 'E' in 'Commitment.' And just ask all Eagles fans; approximately 96% of them could tell you 'M' and 'E' spells 'ME.'"

Arizona lost 27-16 to the Bears at Soldier Field. Kyler Murray had 2 touchdown passes, but the Bears throttled the Cards on the ground, with 250 yards and 2 touchdowns.

"Our defense was exploited to the extreme," Jonathan Gannon said. "And speaking of other things that may soon be 'ex', Nick Rallis may soon be our ex-defensive coordinator. Our defense can't get out of their own way, but they are pretty darn good at getting out of the way of opposing offenses."

Eagles win, 30-26.

New Orleans @ Tampa Bay (-3)

The Saints lost 30-22 to the Rams at SoFi Stadium on Thursday night. Derek Carr passed for 319 yards and threw 2 touchdowns, with two coming late in the fourth quarter to make it interesting, but the New Orleans defense gave up 458 yards of total offense.

"Derek has a standing invitation to go to the NFL Network," Dennis Allen said, "where he and his brother David will compete to see who can have the dumbest opinions in a segment called 'Dink and Dunk and Dumber.'"

Baker Mayfield passed for 283 yards and 2 touchdowns to lead the Buccaneers to a 30-12 win over the Jaguars at Raymond James Stadium.

"I'm back to feeling dangerous again," Mayfield said. "Only this time, I'm dangerous to other teams and not my own.

"This game is huge. It could very well decide the vacation destination for the NFC's No. 5 seed. Plus, if we win the division title, I get a $1 million bonus. To quote Calvin Ridley: 'I've got a lot riding on this game."

Saints win, 24-23.

San Francisco @ Washington (+13½)

Brock Purdy threw 3 interceptions, as the 49ers were humbled 33-19 by the visiting Ravens on Christmas night. Purdy left the game in the fourth quarter after suffering a stinger.

"Most of those interceptions were avoidable," Kyle Shanahan said. "Brock should not have forced those throws. I mean, what would you rather throw away? A few passes, or the NFL MVP award?"

The Commanders stormed back from an early 20-0 deficit and took a 28-27 lead late in the fourth, but eventually lost to the Jets 30-28 on a late New York field goal. Washington fell to 4-11.

"There's no quit in this team," Ron Rivera said. "Especially not from me. That's because if I quit, I'll lose the rest of the money in my contract. So, I'm gonna do what a Washington employee under Dan Snyder would do with his penis in that toxic office environment and 'stick it out.'"

49ers win, 38-21.

Carolina @ Jacksonville (-7)

The Packers outlasted the Panthers, 33-30, at Bank of America Stadium. Bryce Young passed for 312 yards and 2 touchdowns in a losing effort.

"This may have been Bryce's best game as a Panther," Chris Tabor said. "He actually played like a No. 1 pick. All too often, though, he's played like we're getting the No. 1 pick."

With a clearly limited Trevor Lawrence, the Jaguars lost 30-12 on the road to the Buccaneers. Lawrence missed the fourth quarter with a shoulder injury as Jacksonville lost their fourth straight.

"Just a few short weeks ago," Doug Pederson said, "we were in the conversation for the AFC's No. 1 seed. Now, we're in the conversation for the AFC South's No. 1 seed."

Jaguars win, 21-17.

Miami @ Baltimore (-3½)

Jason Sanders kicked 5 field goals, including the game-winning 29-yarder as time expired, to give the Dolphins a 22-20 win over the Cowboys at Hard Rock Stadium.

"Great win for us," Mike McDaniel said. "We clinched a playoff berth, and we beat a team with a winning record. And that will serve us well once we get to the playoffs, because from what I hear, pretty much every team in the playoffs has a winning record, unless you're from a division with 'South' in it.

The Ravens dominated the 49ers 33-19 at Levi's Stadium, forcing 4 Brock Purdy interceptions. Lamar Jackson passed for 2 touchdowns and added 45 yards rushing.

"It being Levi's Stadium," John Harbaugh said, "you could say we beat the pants off the 49ers."

Ravens win, 28-21.

Tennessee @ Houston (-3½)

The Seahawks nipped the Titans at Nissan Stadium, scoring a late TD to vanquish Tennessee 20-17. Derrick Henry had a rushing score and also added a touchdown pass.

"I trust Derrick to make an accurate pass almost as much as I do Ryan Tannehill," Mike Vrabel said. "And Derrick can put a little zip on it if he needs to. Just ask anyone, like Josh Norman, and they tell you Derrick has a great arm."

Texans win, 27-20.

Pittsburgh @ Seattle (-3)

Mason Rudolph hooked up with George Pickens for two long touchdown scores, as the Steelers cruised to a 34-11 win over the Bengals in Pittsburgh. Pickens had four receptions for 195 yards and 2 touchdowns for the game.

"This should make George happy," Mike Tomlin said. "Who knew it would take a third-string quarterback to shut him up? He should never speak again, because we have three third-string quarterbacks.

"It may not look like it, but George is a really good person with integrity and a good heart. He's what you'd call a 'high character' individual. And the Steelers have a history of those types of individuals. Like Le'Veon Bell, for example. He was a character, and often high. The point is this: George needs to steer clear of cars with LeGarette Blount in them."

Geno Smith's 5-yard TD pass to Colby Parkinson with 57 seconds left in the game helped the Seahawks secure a 20-17 road win over the Titans. Seattle strengthened their playoff hopes and now hold the NFC's No. 7 seed.

"The Steelers and Seahawks once met in what was arguably the least memorable Super Bowl of all time," Pete Carroll said. "I wasn't a part of that Super Bowl, but if I had been, I'm sure it would have been more memorable for me, probably for all the wrong reasons."

Seahawks win, 24-20.

L.A. Chargers @ Denver (-5)

The Broncos suffered a 26-23 home loss to the Patriots that may very well have cost them a playoff spot.

"Our playoff chances have plummeted," Sean Payton said. "Before we lost three of our last four, they were pretty good. Now, not so much. If Russell Wilson could make a silly catchphrase out of the situation, it would be 'Broncos Country: Let's Backslide.'

"And speaking of Russell, he's being benched for the final two games of the year. I'm portraying it as a move to give us a better chance to win. And since I'm not at all considered a bastion of integrity and virtue, you know that's a lie. In actuality, we're trying to cut our losses, and our losses are substantial. In short, our playoff hopes are alive, but our money is 'dead.'"

The Chargers gave the visiting Bills all they could handle before succumbing 24-22 in interim head coach Giff Smith's debut in charge in Los Angeles.

"I know this team is in a transitional phase," Smith said, "so it's important to stay together as a team. So, I guess Sean McDermott and I both understand the importance of strong team unity; we just have vastly different ways of communicating that to our team."

Chargers win, 23-19.

Cincinnati @ Kansas City (-7)

The Chiefs played possibly their worst game of the season, losing 20-14 at home to the Raiders. Patrick Mahomes struggled, completing only 27-of-44 passes for 235 yards and only 1 TD, plus an interception that was returned for a touchdown.

"If you ask me what our problem is," Andy Reid, "I will answer with a big fat 'I don't know.' Trust me when I say, we have big 'IDK energy.'

"I think we're all tired of the talk criticizing our wide receivers. So, if that's what you want to discuss, I suggest you 'drop it.'"

The Steelers stifled the Bengals running game in a 34-11 Pittsburgh win in Cincinnati on Saturday. The Bengals managed only 59 yards on the ground.

"It seems like the only rush we're being successful at," Zac Taylor said, "is a rush to unqualify ourselves for the playoffs."

Chiefs win, 26-21.

Green Bay @ Minnesota (-4)

The Packers beat the Panthers 33-30 in a shootout at Bank of America Stadium.

"Our offense was fine," Matt Lafleur said. "I'm concerned about our defense. They let Bryce Young pass for 312 yards and 2 touchdowns. They made Young look like a Heisman Trophy winner while simultaneously making themselves look like a lower-level college outfit, maybe a level below division 2, because they sucked at least three 'D's.'"

Nick Mullens threw 4 interceptions, offsetting 411 yards passing and 2touchdowns, as the Vikings fell 30-24 to the Lions at Ford Field. The loss dropped the Vikes to the No. 8 seed in the playoff race.

"Obviously," Kevin O'Connell said, "Nick is fearless. He'll throw the ball anywhere — into double-coverage, into triple-coverage, and sometimes he'll throw it directly to the defender."

In a shocking development, the opening coin toss is crashed by Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, the "Fan Man," who previously crashed the Riddick Bowe/Evander Holyfield 2 match, and Jaire Alexander.

Vikings win, 26-24.

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