Saturday, December 27, 2008

NFL Picks, Week 17

St. Louis at Atlanta (-14) - Yeah, it's a lot of points. But how can you pick the Rams, regardless of the spread?

New England (-6) at Buffalo - While they need help, it won't matter what anyone else does if the Patriots lose this game. Therefore, they won't lose this game.

Kansas City at Cincinnati (-3) - Or not. Even fans in Cincinnati and Kansas City have better things to do with their time than watch this dog.

Detroit (+10.5) at Green Bay - Well, the streak ends this week or endures into posterity. I pick the Lions again, albeit without much confidence.

Chicago (+2.5) at Houston - On the road, the Bears manage to keep their playoff hopes alive until the late games.

Tennessee at Indianapolis (+3) - Jim Sorgi vs. Vince Young, in a game that means even less than the Chiefs-Bengals game, as the latter at least has draft implications.

N.Y. Giants (+7) at Minnesota - The Giants have clinched everything, the Vikings nothing, and, therefore, the game means much more to the Vikings. I'm going with the Giants anyway.

Carolina (-2.5) at New Orleans - Do the Panthers need this to wrap up a bye? Maybe. It depends on what the Falcons do. Since the Falcons are hosting the Rams, I think it's safe to say that yes, the Panthers need this to wrap up a bye.

Cleveland at Pittsburgh (-11) - The Steelers are playing for nothing. The Browns are playing for nothing. Look for both teams to snap the ball with the play clock at 1 and keep the ball on the ground.

Oakland at Tampa Bay (-12.5) - The Bucs need the game. The Raiders need a new owner, personnel department, coaching staff and new players. Advantage: Tampa.

Jacksonville at Baltimore (-12.5) - This one could be the game that puts the Patriots into the playoffs. So I'll be rooting (with futility) for the Jaguars.

Miami at N.Y. Jets (-2.5) - Three weeks ago, I predicted that the Jets would beat the Bills, lose to the Seahawks, and beat the Dolphins, and that the Dolphins would beat the 49ers and Chiefs and lose to the Jets. There's been a lot of attention focused on how poorly the Jets have played for the past couple of weeks, but the Dolphins haven't really been any better. I still think that the Jets, in New York, are a better bet to win this, but depending on them and Brett Favre for the Patriots to get a playoff game makes me decidedly queasy.

Dallas (+1.5) at Philadelphia - Since they can't both lose.

Seattle at Arizona (-6.5) - No way can the Seahawks go to Arizona and beat the Cardinals coming off of a bye week. "What's that? They aren't coming off a bye? Of course they are! That wasn't a real NFL team that flew to New England last week, now way..."

Washington at San Francisco (-3) - You're a Washington Redskin. Your season is about to end, a five-hour plan flight away from where you need to be to clean out your locker on Monday morning. Do you have any overriding concern on the field other than to stay healthy and get on the plane as quickly as possible?

Denver at San Diego (-8) - The Broncos are a game ahead of the Chargers, and won a Hochuli-aided head-to-head battle in week 2. That said, it really is hard to imagine them going down to San Diego and winning. In all likelihood, the 8-8 Chargers are going to the playoffs while the AFC East has two 10-6 teams (or an 11-5 and a 9-7 team) going home.

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