NFL Office Pool Picks Week 17
by Trevor Whenham - 12/27/2011
We are in the final week of the season, so this is the last chance for office pool players to pick up some weekly prizes, or to pile up the last points they need to take down the grand prize. It has been an interesting but very challenging season, so I have to admit that I’m not entirely sad to see the regular season end and the playoffs start. Hopefully the postseason will make more sense than much of the regular season has. Without further ado, here is this year’s last look at the way I see the week in football playing out for Week 17 NFL office pool picks. Happy New Year!
Washington at Philadelphia - Neither of these teams has anything to play for, and both are coming off of very frustrating seasons. The Redskins haven’t been great on the road, and the Eagles have been terrible at home. I really doubt that Philadelphia will put forth a lot of effort after their “Dream Team” mythology has been so firmly shattered, but I don’t expect much from the Redskins, either. I’ll give a slight edge to the home team, so take the Eagles.
New York Jets at Miami - The Dolphins are playing with effort and heart despite all the issues they have faced. The Jets have just been a mess, and they totally quit last week. I don’t expect a lot more from them here, so I’ll take the Dolphins.
Carolina at New Orleans - The Saints have a chance at a first-round bye with a win here and a San Francisco loss. I don’t expect that to be a lot of motivation for them, though, because the Niners aren’t likely to lose to St. Louis. Drew Brees has his passing record wrapped up, so I don’t expect him to play a whole lot, and I think the Saints will rest a lot of starters. Carolina is playing well lately, and I expect them to look to finish strong. I’ll go for the mild upset and take the Panthers.
Detroit at Green Bay - You will definitely need a program here because both teams will be playing a lot of unfamiliar players. The Packers have clinched home field advantage. The Lions have a wild card spot and can’t improve on that. The priority for both will only be one thing — to stay healthy for the postseason. This will be worse than a preseason game to watch. Take the Packers. I guess.
San Francisco at St. Louis - The Niners can secure a bye with a win here, and you can be sure that coach Harbaugh will have his boys motivated to earn that win and all that comes with it. The Rams, meanwhile are a mess. Take the Niners.
Indianapolis at Jacksonville - In a truly bizarre turn of events Dan Orlovsky is likely to be the player who costs the Colts Andrew Luck after keying a totally meaningless three-game winning streak. Jacksonville is a mess and the Colts should be able to win. Take Indy.
Buffalo at New England - New England needs a win to secure home field throughout the playoffs. That will be a big motivation. So will continuing their long dominance of the Bills at home. Take the Patriots.
Tennessee at Houston - The Titans have a shot at a wild card spot. They need a win here and a lot of help. They can only control part of that, and I expect them to put forth a good effort. Houston has their spot locked in, and they have played like they don’t care since they clinched. I don’t expect a resurgence here, so I’ll take the Titans.
Chicago at Minnesota - Both of these teams will be desperate for this very frustrating season to end. The Bears have at least shown some progress at QB last week, while all the Vikings accomplished was to lose their best player to an ACL injury. That will be a final crushing blow in this brutal season. Take the Bears.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta - The Falcons were terrible on Monday night, but they still have a playoff spot wrapped up, and are still a much, much better team right now than the Bucs have been. Take the Falcons.
Pittsburgh at Cleveland - The Steelers have wrapped up a wild card spot, but they could get a bye or even home field advantage throughout the playoffs. For either to happen they need a win here and some help. Despite injuries issues they dominated an outclassed team last week, and I expect them to do the same this week. Take the Steelers.
Baltimore at Cincinnati - Unlike the Steelers, the Ravens control their own fate — win and the get a first-round bye. They haven’t been great on the road, but they should still be motivated in this one, and I expect them to come out strong. The Bengals have a chance at a wild card spot as well, but their play has been very inconsistent, and I don’t trust them. Take the Ravens.
Kansas City at Denver - The Broncos control their destiny — win and they are in the playoffs. To win, though, Tim Tebow will have to rebound from an incomprehensibly awful performance last week. Playing at home against a team at the end of a tough season should be a game that they can win. They had better win it. Take the Broncos.
San Diego at Oakland - The Chargers quit last week, and they have nothing left to play for this week. I don’t expect them to show up for this one, either — even though it is a rivalry game. This team is a mess, and their coach is a dead man walking. Oakland has a shot at a playoff spot, and a win here is essential for that. They should be motivated. Take the Raiders.
Seattle at Arizona - Meaningless game between irrelevant teams. The Cards are a solid 5-2 at home, so they should have an edge against a reasonably weak road team. Take the Cardinals.
Dallas at N.Y. Giants - This is an NFC East title game. The winner clinches the division and hosts a playoff game next week. Both teams can be great, and can be very lousy. I don’t really trust, either, but I really hate the way the Giants have played under pressure this year. I don’t trust Eli Manning, and though I have some issues with Tony Romo I think he’s the better player here — at least at this point. Take the Cowboys.