Well, it is time for my final regular-season look into the crystal ball for Week 17 NFL predictions. Like the New York Giants, who need to win and get help from the Chicago Bears to get to the playoffs, I need some help to get to .500 for the season.
That is because I have collapsed just like the Giants the past two weeks, turning a once-solid pattern of prognostication into a messy 20-24 record. I have gone just 1-4 in each of the past two weeks. Can you say 'stumbling to the finish line?'
Let's see if I can redeem myself, at least a little bit, in the final week of the regular season. As always, I pick the Giants and New York Jets games -- then choose three other games of interest. If you are betting the rent or mortgage money, I strongly urge you not to follow the jump. It could be hazardous to your well-being.
Buffalo at New York Jets (-1): The Jets are giving just one point? One stinkin' point? To the 4-11 Bills? I know the Jets have already qualified for the playoffs. I know quarterback Mark Sanchez might not play (should not play there, Rex, if you are reading). I really don't care. The Bills bags are packed to head home, and the Jets still have work to do. Pick: Jets
New York Giants (-3) at Washington: Abandon ship! Fan overboard! I want to because I am a fan, but I just can't stick with the sinking vessel that is the New York Giants any longer, Not when my reputation, and my ability to finish .500, depends on it. The Giants have absolutely stunk for five quarters, they have been making the same mistakes for two years, they are on the road again. Granted, the 6-9 Redskins have nothing to play for, but they did win last week. Bye, bye, playoffs! Pick: Redskins
Chicago at Green Bay (-10): I have to pick this game simply because it is the other game that impacts the Giants' ability to get into the playoffs. A victory by the Giants and a loss by the Packers gets New York into the dance. Unfortunately, I don't see it happening. This is one of those cases where the Bears, already champions of the NFC North and already almost certainly the No. 2 seed, have nothing to play for while Green Bay has everything to play for. Plus, the Packers are at home. Ten points is a lot, but motivation is everything. In this game, Chicago has none and Green Bay has a ton of it. Pick: Packers
Tennessee at Indianapolis (-8.5): It's win and they are in for the Colts and Peyton Manning. It's go home and lick your wounds regardless for the discombobulated 6-9 Titans. See where I'm going with this? The 'which team gives a damn about the game' theory applies here. Pick: Colts
Carolina at Atlanta (14.5): The Panthers stink, and have already wrapped up the No. 1 pick. Coach John Fox already has a foot out the door. The Panthers know they are about to get blown up and rebuilt. The Falcons are playoff-bound, but stinging from a Monday night loss to New Orleans. You know they don't want to go into the playoffs with two straight losses. Pick: Falcons
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Last Week: 1-4
Season Record: 20-24