Week 17 of the NFL is always tough to pick – some games relevant, others not and teams with a playoff spot cemented start resting players. So here we go with the games that mean something this week.
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons – An Atlanta win and they become the no. 2 seed in the NFC – that means home ground advantage and a bye next week. They have more to play for then pride – that’s all the Saints have to gain in this divisional match up. Take the Falcons -6.5
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions – this game has been moved to Sunday night (Monday afternoon in NZ) – it’s the NFC North title on the line and a playoff spot for the winner. Assuming the Washington Redskins win (see below) the loser goes home. Green Bay after a shaky start have had to win out the last few games of the season to be in this position. They should do it here however Detroit in their loss against Dallas earlier this week did not play that badly. Green Bay have the pedigree though. Take the Packers -3.5
New York Giants at Washington Redskins – its win or go home for the Redskins and with the Giants already in the playoffs they will surely rest some players. The Redskins will look to go to the playoffs for the second consecutive season and are a 7.5 point favourite. They should do it easily.
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos – The Raiders are already guaranteed a playoff spot – their first since 2002 however they are now minus their playmaker and Quarterback Derek Carr who broke his leg last week. Lose against Denver (who have been eliminated) and a Kansas City Chiefs win at San Diego, and they fall back in the playoff rankings and lose home field advantage (and the bye). Teams humiliated in a televised night game usually bounce back the next week. The Broncos experienced that on Christmas Day at Kansas City. The Chiefs rubbed it in with a defensive player coming on and throwing a touchdown pass in the last couple of minutes. Denver should do this as a 1.5 point favourite
The AFC division playoff teams are all confirmed – thee New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins are all off to the postseason.
In the NFC the Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks and New York Giants are in. Green Bay, Detroit and Washington are all week 17 result dependent.
As a side note the Ryan brothers, Rex and Rob, written about in this column earlier in the season, were both fired from the Buffalo Bills organisation this week. Two seasons ago head coach Rex promised a Superbowl to the Buffalo faithful. This week with only a 7 win season and no playoff spot again he was let go with assistant coach Rob who really adds no value and dragged his brother down. Both wrapped in massive amounts of teflon they will reappear somewhere in the NFL next season no doubt. Some teams will never learn.
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