NFL Office Pool Picks Week 17
The 17th week of the NFL season is unique in two ways. It is the only week in which all games are played on Sunday, so it requires the least commitment to watch. And it is the only week of the season that can rival the final week of the preseason schedule in terms of games in which neither team has no interest whatsoever in being there. Many of the games won't be any good at all, but the ones that matter will feature an intensity that more than makes up for it. And besides, we all know that the arrival of Week 17 means that the playoffs are just around the corner, and that's all that really matters. Here's how I see the week shaping up straight up:
Miami at Buffalo: Miami can finish at .500 with a win here. But they have lost two straight and have just one win on the road all year. Buffalo isn't a great home team, though, and won't have really nasty weather to help them here. It's a bit of a coin flip, but take the Dolphins.
Detroit at Green Bay: Green Bay is locked in in third place in the NFC North, and Detroit is fourth. What a total mess - for both teams. Green Bay has an interim coach but is still the better-coached team right now. Ouch. Take the Packers.
Jacksonville at Houston: Houston needs to win secure their division, and they can earn a bye with some help. They should be plenty motivated. Jacksonville gets Blake Bortles back again - yahoo! - and has a coach on a hot seat, even if the team says he isn't. Mismatch. Take the Texans.
New York Jets at New England: New England, despite their woes this year, are unbeaten at home and can clinch a bye with a win. Man, do they ever need that bye. The Jets are a mess and are about to get a new coach. This one could get ugly. Take the Patriots.
Carolina at New Orleans: Carolina is playing their third-string quarterback in a totally meaningless game at the tail end of a seven-game losing streak. What could possibly go wrong? But the Saints have clinched the top seed, so they will be playing guys even the coaching staff has never heard of in this one. Ugly, ugly game. Take the Saints.
Dallas at New York Giants: Dallas has sealed their fate - they are the fourth seed in the playoffs no matter what happens. They will be resting. The Giants shouldn't be as they look to figure out what they have for next year and finish off reasonably strong. Take New York.
Atlanta at Tampa Bay: A messy, messy game between two massively-disappointing divisional rivals. Atlanta needs to, at least, overhaul their offensive coaching staff, and a total coaching change wouldn't be a terrible idea. Tampa Bay is headed for a complete overhaul, too. The amount of wasted talent on these two teams is just staggering. Take the Falcons.
Oakland at Kansas City: Kansas City has tried hard to throw away their division the last couple of weeks, but they can still clinch it with a win here. And against a team that has allowed 145 more points than they have scored, they should absolutely get it. Patrick Mahomes has some records to chase and an MVP to wrap up, so he should be fired up, too. Take the Chiefs. Obviously.
Chicago at Minnesota: Chicago could get a bye with a win and a loss by the Rams, but the latter is very unlikely to happen so Chicago will likely be resting players. Minnesota needs a win to make the playoffs, so they should be ready. There is another factor, too - With wins by Minnesota, L.A. and Seattle, these teams will meet again next week. Chicago will have little interest in giving too much away this week. Take the Vikings.
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh doesn't have the fight this year that they should on paper, and I don't trust that fighting for their playoff lives will bring out the best in them. But Cincinnati is a total and utter joke of a team that is a disgrace to the league. Take the Steelers.
Philadelphia at Washington: With a win and a Minnesota loss, the Eagles are in the playoffs. And Nick Foles will be named Governor of Pennsylvania. I don't really see that happening, but I do see Philly easily handling a damaged team here. Take the Eagles.
Cleveland at Baltimore: Baltimore is playing ferocious defense and can wrap up their division with a win here - a well-deserved divisional title. Cleveland is playing well under Gregg Williams and has a pile of pride, and finishing over .500 would be a huge accomplishment for them, but they are in tough against this defense. Take the Ravens at home.
L.A. Chargers at Denver: The Chargers can still win their division and get a bye with a win here and a Kansas City loss. That would be very attractive. But they know the Chiefs are hosting Oakland, so they are likely mostly resigned to a wild-card spot. That should hurt their effort a bit, but they should still have plenty against a Denver team waiting for a new coach and a new direction. Take the Chargers.
Arizona at Seattle: Arizona has the top pick in the draft in hand and can clinch it with a loss here. Seattle is in the playoffs but can get Dallas instead of Chicago or L.A. with a win. Both teams will be motivated for a particular result. And even if they weren't, the massive difference in class and talent would define this one. Take the Seahawks.
San Francisco at L.A. Rams: The Rams secure a bye with a win, and they could use that extra time to get back on track. They are not in a good place. However, if they can't get fired up at home against a lousy team with a big carrot on the line, then they are in trouble. Take the Rams.
Indianapolis at Tennessee: This is the game of the week - a true playoff game. The winner is a playoff team. The loser isn't. It doesn't get better than that. Things might be different if Marcus Mariota was at full health. However, with Andrew Luck playing as well as he ever has, the Colts are the pick here.
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