Finishing out a solid 2011 season with week 17 being played on the first day of the new year. This week features all division games throughout the league, which means a lot of rivalries with most of the games having playoff implications in one way or another. From which teams will be seeded where in the playoffs to which team will end up with the number one overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, this week will be a great one, and it is a perfect day to crawl out of bed to the sofa and cure your New Year's Eve hangover with a full day of NFL football. What could be better?
Steelers over Browns: As close as Cleveland came to winning the first time they played, Pittsburgh has too much on the line to allow themselves to be upset. The possibility is there, but it would almost be too good to be true if it happens. Dream on.
Patriots over Bills: Another key game that could affect the AFC playoff seeding but again, such a remote possibility that I just can't see QBs like both Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady permitting their playoff chances to be affected by teams so inferior to them like Buffalo in this game and Cleveland in the previous one above.
Texans over Titans: Tennessee needs this game to have a chance at the post season but Houston may need this game more to prove to themselves as well as their fans that they can go into the post season on a winning note since they have just not looked good the past few weeks.
Jaguars over Colts: Sorry, but the upset will not happen and Indianapolis will have to "settle" for winning the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes, but losing the game to a Jacksonville team that has no intention of being another upset victim in their home crib.
Dolphins over Jets: You just have to be giddy with anticipation of how the New York media will skewer Rex Ryan after he predicted his team would win the Super Bowl but now will not even make the playoffs, and the confusion will continue in Miami as they have turned around what was a terrible season and now will be one filled with a bunch of "what-ifs?"
Bears over Vikings: Minnesota is without Adrian Peterson and has a banged up rookie B going against a tough Chicago defense, so I still like a pretty awful Bears offense's chances as long as they have that defense setting them up with some short fields to work with.
Saints over Panthers: New Orleans still has a shot at the #2 seed, so they're not about to let Carolina's rookie QB come into their house and beat them, especially when Drew Brees is having such a historical season.
Eagles over Redskins: Philadelphia still has a shot for a .500 season as bad as they started an might only a game behind the NFC East champ, and besides, Washington couldn't beat a two-win Vikings team at home so what makes anyone think they can beat a division rival on the road? Wait, they did go to New York and beat the Giants, so....who knows.....and who cares?
49ers over Rams: The Saints will be rooting for a St. Louis upset, but San Francisco's defense is just so good and still has not given up a rushing TD all season long, and are not abut to have that streak stopped by perhaps the worst team in the NFL.
Cardinals over Seahawks: In past years, Arizona would still be in the playoff race in the NFC Worst, but now will have to settle for beating a division rival that has what I consider one of the toughest running backs to tackle in the NFL in Marshawn Lynch, who is just a beast to tackle. Just ask the Ravens.
Falcons over Buccaneers: Can we stop with anymore comparisons between Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman and Baltimore's Joe Flacco after such a horrible season, while Atlanta still has an outside shot at the #5 seed with a win and a Lions loss.
Chargers over Raiders: The AFC Worst might come down to who survives and if both Denver and Oakland lose, then both San Diego and Kansas City can only shake their heads and look back at the chances they blew to win the division.
Cowboys over Giants (Sunday Night Football): New York already beat Dallas on the road, so why shouldn't they win at home? Dallas loses to Philly at home so what makes anyone think they can win on the road to a team that already beat them once this season? The way the NFC Least has been this year, there is no rhyme or reason why things just have not made anything resembling sense the entire season, so since there is little expectations for the Cowboys to win, that's exactly why I'm picking them to win, or more specifically, the Giants to lose.
(Note: As always, I will pick & pan the Ravens at Bengals game on Sunday morning)
Last Week: 11-5
Season Record: 150-89