NFL picks, Week 17: Divisional games lead to plenty of playoff implications

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Every game in Week 17 comes between teams in the same division.

It's divisional week in the NFL. The schedule-makers set things up so that all Week 17 games come between teams in the same division. The intent is to create more excitement around the final week of the season and to avoid teams resting their starters if they've already clinched what they need.

A few teams have nothing left to play for, having already secured their playoff seed. Others are still fighting to get into the playoffs. And even more are playing for nothing other than the NFL Draft order.

There are plenty of great games this week, but the highlight comes on Sunday night.


More: AFC playoff picture | NFC playoff picture | Current NFL Draft order


Bears vs. Lions

The Bears need some help to get into the playoffs. But the spotlight in this game will be on Calvin Johnson's chase for 2,000 yards. He currently stands at 1,892 receiving yards, putting him 108 yards away from 2,000. Can he do it?

The pick: 24-20, Lions

Jaguars vs. Titans

This game has no playoff implications. But it does have NFL Draft order implications. The Jaguars need to lose and the Chiefs need to win for Jacksonville to secure the No. 1 pick. If both teams lose, the Chiefs will likely get the No. 1 pick.

The pick: 13-9, Titans

Texans vs. Colts

That's seven comeback wins for Andrew Luck this year. The Colts are in the playoffs, as are the Texans. Only playoff seeding is up in the air. Houston is trying to hang onto to the top seed in the AFC, securing home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. After the Chiefs hung 350 rushing yards on the Colts, I'm curious what Arian Foster will do.

The pick: 30-20, Texans

Browns vs. Steelers

Finally, Steelers fans know what the rest of us feel like on a meaningless Week 17 Sunday.

The pick: 17-13, Steelers

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Ravens vs. Bengals

A meaningful AFC North game in December that doesn't involve the Steelers. You don't see that very often. The AFC playoff field is set, with only seeding to be determined. The Bengals are going to do something I never thought was possible -- beat the Steelers and Ravens to end the season.

The pick: 20-19, Bengals

Jets vs. Bills

Mark Sanchez/Greg McElroy/Tim Tebow vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick. Man, this should be a fun one.

The pick: 20-13, Bills

Panthers vs. Saints

This should be a fun game. The Panthers have won four of their last five. Their defense has given up just 13 points in the last two weeks. But that was against the Raiders and Chargers. The Saints are slightly different than those two teams (and by slightly, I mean drastically). The Panthers beat them in Week 2, but they can't do the same in the Superdome.

The pick: 35-30, Saints

Eagles vs. Giants

When the NFL schedule-makers put this game in Week 17, they probably thought it would be a win-and-you're-in game. But the Eagles stunk up the joint this year and the Giants have lost three of four. New York can still get in but they need a lot of help. It'd be fitting if Michael Vick, in what is likely his last game as an Eagle, exploded with a big game.

The pick: 31-27, Eagles

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Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Buccaneers vs. Falcons

Atlanta has nothing to play for, having wrapped up their No. 1 seed. They may rest some starters, but this is a deep team. They're still better than the Bucs. ;

The pick: 20-16, Falcons

Raiders vs. Chargers

Shield your eyes!!!!

The pick: 30-13, Chargers

Chiefs vs. Broncos

Another game that the NFL's schedule-makers probably thought could be a win-and-you're-in game. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, they were the NFL's worst team this year. The Broncos are the NFL's hottest team so they should destroy the Chiefs.

The pick: 34-9, Broncos

Dolphins vs. Patriots

Miami hasn't beaten New England since 2009. That's not changing this week.

The pick: 37-20, Patriots

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Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Rams vs. Seahawks

There's a zero percent chance I'm picking against the Seahawks right now. They're the most fun team to watch in the NFL.

The pick; 38-10, Seahawks

Packers vs. Vikings

The Packers still have something to play for -- a first-round bye. Their scenario is easy: if they win, they get the No. 2 seed, a first-round bye and will host a Divisional round match-up. The Vikings, too, are in the playoff hunt, needing a win to stay in the picture. The other story in this game is Adrian Peterson's chase for 2,000 yards. He's at 1,898 right now, putting him 102 yards away from 2,000, and 207 yards away from tying Eric Dickerson's NFL record.

The pick: 33-24, Packers

Cardinals vs. 49ers

Think back to Week 4. The Cardinals were 4-0, leading the division. The 49ers were 3-1, looking like one of the NFL's best teams. This was once considered a great match-up. Arizona decided to go ahead and screw that up, losing nine-straight games after that. San Francisco, still hoping for a first-round bye, still has something to play for.

The pick: 24-6, 49ers

Cowboys vs. Redskins

A belated Christmas present for football fans. This game is on Sunday night, and it should be a beauty. The Redskins have now won six-straight games. Incredibly, they were 3-6 at one point. The dream season will continue and everyone will get the gift they wanted -- RGIII in the playoffs.

The pick: 24-20, Redskins

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