NFL Week 17 - Full Sunday Preview

NFL Week 17 - Full Sunday Preview

Baltimore Ravens (8-7) @ Cincinnati Bengals (5-9-1) - Paul Brown Stadium

There is nothing but pride on the line as the AFC rivals the Ravens visit the Bengals on Sunday. The Ravens will still be reeling front their dramatic collapse in Pittsburgh which saw them hand the AFC North title to the Steelers and eliminate themselves from playoff contention. The Bengals have been marking time for a while now until the end of the seasonand were offensively inept in their 13-10 loss at Houston last week. 

Verdict - Ravens 28 Bengals 20

Provided the Ravens have got over the heartbreak of last week they should have too much for the Bengals. Both these teams have had way too many close losses this year as their seasons slipped away. 

Houston Texans (9-6) @ Tennessee Titans (8-7) - Nissan Stadium

Last week this game looked like it would be all the chips on the line for the AFC South title. However the Titans slumped to a horrific 38-17 loss at Jacksonville with star quarterback Marcus Mariota breaking his leg in the first half. The Titans were shot ducks from that moment on and a year filled with promise has ended short of the playoffs. Their fate was sealed then Houston closed out a tense and dramatic 12-10 over the Bengals to lock up the AFC South and secure a playoff berth for a 2nd straight year. The Texans were outstanding defensively however will need to do a lot better with the ball if they want a hope of winning even one playoff game. 

Verdict - Houston 20 Titans 7

All the energy is surely with the Texans here with the Titans season over and having lost their star quarterback. I expect the Texans defence to dominate this game to give them perfect 6-0 record in the division. 

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-12) @ Indianapolis Colts (7-8) - Lucas Oil Stadium

The Jaguars will be looking for to finish the season with back to back victories when they visit the Colts on Sunday. Interim Head Coach Doug Marrone will give himself the best chance possible of winning the job long term with another emphatic victory on Sunday after they brushed the Titans away at home. The Colts are left to rue another season stuck in mediocrity outside of the playoffs after they lost 33-25 in Oakland eliminating them from contention. Despite quarterback Andre Luck playing at a high level at times this season the Colts roster appears far away from a team about to challenge. 

Verdict - Colts 33 Jaguars 27

Expect a wild one here to end the year with not a lot of defence played by either team. Expect both quarterbacks to fling the ball around here 30 plus times and this game to turn into a track meet. Colts to win to get to 8-8 for the year. 

New England Patriots (13-2) @ Miami Dolphins (10-5) 

The Patriot head into Miami for a high octane AFC East matchup with the Dolphins looking to lock up th number 1 seed in the AFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Patriots have been rolling of late and with the AFC playoff teams full of back up quarterbacks Tom Brady and co appear to have a saloon run to the Super Bowl if they stay healthy. The Dolphins have been one of the surprise packets of the season after they started at 1-4. Huge credit has to go to their head coach Adam Gase for keeping this team on track and winning 9 of their last 10 games through a combination of great defence and efficient offense. 

Verdict - Patriots 23 Dolphins 20

This will be a bruising and high quality game in Miami. The Pats have struggled their in the past so I thought long and hard about picking the Dolphins here. Patriots to win it with a late field goal. 

Chicago Bears (3-12) @ Minnesota Vikings (7-8) - U.S Bank Stadium

The Bears will be looking to end a miserable season on a high when they taken on the floundering Vikings in tn an NFC North divisional match up at Solider Field. The Bears have registered just 3 wins this season through a combination of poor play and a horrific injury toll. The Vikings are reeling having lost 8 form their past 10 in spectacular collapse after starting the season 5-0. Despite the team playing well on defence for much of the year even that fell apart late in blowout losses to the Colts and Packers. 

Verdict - Bears 26 Vikings 20

Going the Bears in an upset - why not. 

Buffalo Bills (7-8) @ New York Jets (4-11) - MetLife Stadium

It's been a big week in Buffalo with the Bill firing Head Coach Rex Ran as they head to the Jets to finish their turbulent season. Anthony Lynn steps up an interim Head Coach after the Bills fired Ryan for missing the playoff in his first 2 seasons. Ryan had an overall record of 15 wins and 16 losses however couldn't bring the bills back to the playoffs after 17 long years as promised. The Jets Head Coch Todd Bowles future remains clouded after a shocking season from the Jet in his 2ns year in change. After going 10-6 and being unlucky to miss the playoffs last year the Jets have totally unravelled this yea. Their roster is ageing and looks a real mess heading into next year as well. 

Verdict - Bills 29 Jets 10

The Jets have been flat out putrid in recent weeks. I expect Buffalo to win this game easily.

Dallas Cowboys (13-2) @ Philadelphia Eagles (6-9) 

The Cowboys have already locked up the Number 1 seed in the NFC as they head to Philadelphia for a relatively meaningless final round matchup. The Cowboys will give Tony Romo some playing team having already secured home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a brutal demolition of Detroit. The Cowboys Dak Prescott lead to rest any ridiculous notion that Tony Romo could win his job back with 2 emphatic performances after his poor game at the Giants. The Eagles have to face up to a reality of a 2nd straight season at the bottom of the NFC East. After starting the season 3-0, the Eagles have won just 3 of their last 12. 

Verdict - Cowboys 27 Eagles 26

Expect this game to be very close as the Eagles will rise up. Also the Cowboys may have their mind on the playoffs so expect their starters to get some rest. I think Tony Romo will play well as he will desperate to showcase potential suitors he still has what it takes. 

Cleveland Browns (1-14) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5) - Heinz Field

The Steelers will hoping to keep the momentum heading into he playoffs as they host the Browns on Sunday at Heinz Field. The Steelers locked up the AFC North title with a dramatic come from behind 31-27 win over their arch rivals the rivals. Big Ben Roethlisberger was at his brilliant best late in the late leading the team on a mesmerising final drive with a touchdown with 9 seconds to go securing the win. The Browns finally broke through for a win agains the Charger 20-17 in Cleveland. Hue Jackson and his men escape the embarrassment of being the only 0-16 since the Detroit Lions of 2008. 

Verdict - Steelers 34 Browns 3

The Browns got their win last week so I don't expect much from them this week. It would have been a massive relief for them and they would have expended plenty of emotional energy. Steelers to run up a score and hit the playoffs with real momentum. 

Carolina Panthers (6-9) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-7) - Raymond James Stadium

Both the Panthers and Bucs will go looking to end their disappointing seasons on a high when they meet at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday. The Bucs will find it hard to get over the back to back losses to the Cowboys and Saints which leave their playoff hopes clinging by a thread.  Despite that there has been plenty of positives this year in Tampa including an improved defence and the progression go young quarterback Jamies Winston. The same can't be said for Carolina who have had an awful season after going 15-1 last year and making the Super Bowl. Cam Newton's play has capitulated and the defence that was so dominant last year has been a major let down. 

Verdict - Tampa Bay 23 Carolina 18

The Bucs have played tough his year and their effort has been a lot more consistent then Carolina. So at home and with their playoff chances still mathematically alive I expect them to win this game in a close and low scoring struggle. 

New Orleans Saints (7-8) @ Atlanta Falcons (10-5) - Georgia Dome

It's a huge game for the Falcons as they look to secure a first round playoff bye against their division rivals the Saints. Its been a great bounce back year for Atlanta after a couple of years outside the playoffs led by a high powered offence. Quarterback Matt Ryan has been back to his best and remains in the MVP hunt heading into the final round the season. The Saints have now gone 3 years straight outside the playoffs and the glorious era of Drew Brees and Head Coach Sean Payton appears to be close to the end. The Saints have  remained prolific behind Bress and a high powered offense, however they defence is close to if not the worst in the NFL. 

Verdict  Falcons 40 Saints 24

This game will be track meet however I expect it to be mainly one way traffic. There is no way Atlanta will let slip the number 2 seed here. I expectthdeir offense to score at will against a pathetic Saints defence. 

Oakland Raiders (12-3) @ Denver Broncos (8-7) - MileHigh

The Oakland Raiders have the chance to win the AFC West for the first time in 14 years with a win in Denver on Sunday. The Raiders need a win or a Chiefs loss to secure a first round playoff bye. Raiders fans hearts broke at the same time Derek Carr's ankle snapped last week in a costly 33-25 win over the Colts. With Matt Mcgloin in at quarterback the Raiders are no where near the same proposition, which is a massive shame as this team were Super Bowl condentors with MVP candidate Carr at quarterback.It will be a long off season for the defending Suoer Bowl Champions who have bombed out of the playoff race after losing 4 of their past 5 games. Big questions will be asked around the offense and the quarterback position in Denver heading into 2017 after their big struggles to score points this season. 

Verdict - Broncos 13 Raiders 10

It hurts me to take the Broncos here however the Raiders without Derek Carr are not any where near the same proposition. carr was they leader ands their best player, so it will be a quick end to the playoff for the Raiders. 

Arizona Cardinals (6-8-1) @ Los Angeles Rams (4-11) - Los Angeles Coliseum

The Cardinals will be looking to put a nightmare season behind them when they head to Los Angles to take on the Rams in the season finale. After making the NFC Championship game in 2015 much was expected of Arizona this year however they have fallen flat on their face. Big question arks have to surround veteran quarterback Carson palmer after this massive drop off in production this year. The less said about the Rams this yer in their return to Los Angeles. After starting 3-1 the Rams have lost 10 of their past 11 including the firing of Head Coach Jeff Fisher. 

Verdict - Cardinals 30 Rams 10

The Rams had their chance for a rare win last week and they squanders it against the 49ers of all teams. The Cardinals will will this game easily they are a far better them then the Rams even on the road. 

Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) @ San Diego Chargers (5-10) - Qualcomm Stadium

The Chiefs will start heavy favourites in San Diego as they look to head into the playoffs with another win. The Chiefs dismantled the Broncos at home last week ending their bitter rivals payoffs chances. They need a win here and a Raiders loss on Denver to win the AFC West and secure a first round playoff bye. It'e been another dismal season for the San Deigo Chargers once again sitting at the bottom of the AFC West By a long way. This team amazingly tumbled way 7 4th quarter leads, which is unforgivable really in any league. 

Verdict - Chiefs 24 Chargers 23

This game will sum up both teams chances. I am sure the Chargers will lead at one point but find a way to blow it. The Cheifs have to be really up for this game given they know Oakland would easily slip up at Denver. 

Seattle Seahawks (9-5-1) @ San Fransisco 49ers - Levi Stadium

The Seahawks take on divisional rivals the 49ers in the regular season finale after blowing a massive opportunity last week against Arizona.The Seahawks had a hold the 2nd seed in the NFC and a first round playoff bye however a shocking 30-27 home loss to the Cardinals opened the door for the Falcons to jump into the 2nd spot. The 49ers finally broke through for a win after 13 straight losses by beating the Rams in Los Angles.

Verdict - Seahawks 28 49ers 17

Something appears to be missing with the Seahawks this year. They struggle desperately during games before looking like world beaters other weeks. They will beat the 49er regardless, but its a worry heading into the playoffs. 

New York Giants (10-5) @ Washington Redkskins (8-6-1) - FedEx Field

The Redksins have a vital final round match up needing a victory agains theier arch rivals the Giants to go along way to securing a Wild card Sport in the NFC playoffs. As long as the Packers and Lions game does not end in a tie, a Redksins win would secure a 2nd straight season in the playoffs. The Giants have already locked up their Wild Card berth despite a poor loss in Philadelphia last Thursday Night. The Gaints will be a more then dangerous team in the playoffs having won the Super Bowls the last 2 times New York entered the playoffs. 

Verdict - Redskins 33 Gaints 21

The Redksins have far too much to play for here and I expect them to win a high scoring contest. Expect quarterback Kirk Cousins to have a big game and lead his team to a 2nd straight playoff appearance. 

Green Bay Packers (9-6) @ Detroit Lions (9-6) - Ford Field

All the chips are on the line as the Packers and Lions square off in an explosive matchup for the NFC North title in Detroit. Making the game of even more importance is the fact the loser is unlikely to grab a Wild Card spot and will fall out of the playoffs all together. The Lions appear to be treading water having lost their last 2 games to the Gaints and Cowboys on the road losing momentum and confidence at precisely the wrong team. However they have proven very hard to beat at home this year and they will need to be good against a Green Bay side that has won it's last 5 straight. Aaron Rodger's has got his swagger back and is playing at an MVP level as the Pakcers have stormed back into the playoff picture with a series go huge wins. 

Verdict - Packers 30 Lions 27

All the momentum is with the Packers and Aaron Rodgers here. I think this game will a blockbuster however and go down to the final play. This game will be very high scoring and I am backing a late Aaron Rodgers drive to win it for the Packers and secure the NFC North.