This is it folks! The last week of the regular season! There are so many scenarios for teams to still get in, get first round byes, and/or clinch home field throughout the playoffs. I will try to go through them as I make this week's picks.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS VS NEW YORK GIANTS:
So this is a division matchup with nothing at stake. The Giants are bad. The Redskins are not so bad. Nothing much to discuss here. Vacations for both teams after the game.
NEW YORK JETS VS NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS:
The Patriots are playing for home field throughout the playoffs. They can do his with a win or a Pittsburgh Steeler loss or their own tie and a Pittsburgh tie. The Jets will not make it easy for the Pats. But, as you all know, the Patriots are on that next level mode with the playoffs looming.
New England Patriots
CHICAGO BEARS VS MINNESOTA VIKINGS:
Here is a team looking for a first round bye. There should be no reason why the Minnesota Vikings cannot get it. The Vikes defense will prove way too much for Chicago rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky. Look for Minnesota to lock up the number two seed in the NFC and get the bye.
GREEN BAY PACKERS VS DETROIT LIONS:
Nothing to see here. The thought that a team signing their quarterback to such a large contract at the beginning of the season had so much promise for an amazing season. The Detroit Lions have been anything but at this point. The loss of their leader has put the Packers in a position they have not been in since the last time QB Aaron Rodgers got hurt. Now with the IR situation in Green Bay and the potential ramifications from it, there is more attention than the organization would like at this point.
HOUSTON TEXANS VS INDIANAPOLIS COLTS:
The Texans are on their third quarterback. UGH! Truly nothing to see here.
CLEVELAND BROWNS VS PITTSBURGH STEELERS:
OMG!!! Really?! The Steelers, like the Patriots, are trying to get home field advantage throughout the playoffs. They can achieve this with a win or a New England loss or their own tie and a New England tie. There is a stronger possibility that the Pats could lose, but do not bank on it. It is terrible that the Browns will have to finish this season as the second team in history to have a 0-16 record. It is highly unlikely that they would get a win against Pittsburgh at this time of the year.
DALLAS COWBOYS VS PHILADELPHIA EAGLES:
Philly has already clinched home field and the top seed in the NFC. The Cowboys cannot even play spoilers in this game. After last week's game, the Cowboys seem to have a situation with Earl Thomas asking for Seattle to come get him. This only adds to the fall of America's team this season. Ezekiel Elliott's return did not even help. This could be a pick me up type of game for Dallas to end the season on. It is a division game against an Eagle team that is trying to adjust with Nick Foles under center. They have won the past couple of weeks, but it would be easy for the Cowboys to take advantage.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS VS LOS ANGELES RAMS:
The 49ers are not playing for much. Honestly, neither are the Rams since they have clinched the NFC West. This game has all of the potential to be exciting though. Niners QB Jimmy Garapolo has not lost yet since starting in week 13. The Rams are pushing full steam ahead though. It has been a little shaky for them, but there should be no reason why they cannot come out on top. They need the momentum of a win to keep them going into the playoffs. The game should be close. There could even be an "upset".
Los Angeles Rams
OAKLAND RAIDERS VS LOS ANGELES CHARGERS:
All of the California teams are staying local today. There are three teams involved in what could happen for the Chargers to get the sixth seed. 1. Chargers win, Tennessee Titans loss or tie, and a Buffalo Bills loss or tie, OR 2. Chargers win, Tennessee loss or tie, and a Baltimore Ravens win or tie, OR 3. Chargers tie, Tennessee loss, and a Buffalo loss or tie. QB Phillip Rivers and company have been playing out of their minds this second half of the season. They should do nothing less against a Raider team that has lost it's last three games on their last drives. The Chargers will be looking for help to keep their post season alive.
Los Angeles Chargers
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS VS DENVER BRONCOS:
Kansas City does not have anything to gain here. They already have the fourth seed in the AFC and the AFC West division title. Since Matt Nagy has been calling the plays, the Chiefs have looked like they did at the start of the season. The Broncos, on the other hand, are not sure about who they will start under center today. KC needs some momentum to take into the post season. This game will help propel them.
Kansas City Chiefs
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS VS TENNESSEE TITANS:
It will be a tough one to sit through with these Titans needing more than just a win to help them get in. They need to win OR they need to tie and Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Chargers need to lose or tie OR both Buffalo and Los Angeles need to lose. All this can be ruined by the Jags beating the Titans. There is no way with the turnovers and a weak defense that one could pick the Titans over the Jags, but stranger things have happened on their way to the playoffs.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS VS TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS:
With a win here, the New Orleans Saints can clinch the NFC SOUTH title as long as the Carolina Panthers lose OR the Saints and the Panthers tie. This would move them up to the third seed. Tampa Bay will try and stop that from happening, but not for long. Bucs QB Jameis Winston, will not get it done. Turnovers and a weak defense will hurt the Bucs down the stretch.
New Orleans Saints
BUFFALO BILLS VS MIAMI DOLPHINS:
Buffalo needs a whole lot to go down in order for them to get in. They need to 1. win and Baltimore Ravens lose OR 2. win and Tennessee Titans and Los Angeles Chargers lose or tie OR 3. tie and Bill and Chargers lose. The Bills defense is what has been winning their games for them. That's not a bad thing , but they are going to need more than that if they make it out of the regular season. The Phins will have a lot to say about that. Expect a little revenge from the Miami side since the Bills did beat them a couple of weeks ago.
ARIZONA CARDINALS VS SEATTLE SEAHAWKS:
Everything for the Seattle Seahawks to move on into the post season rests on the Atlanta Falcons' shoulders. If Seattle wins, they need Atlanta to lose or tie OR if Seattle ties, they still need Atlanta to lose. Although the Cardinals have been playing better as of late, the Hawks have managed to overcome injuries and spark up the defense. It also helps that they have QB Russell Wilson making big plays when they need them. The Hawks should not have to worry about the Cards playing spoiler That twelfth man up there in Seattle is vicious.
CAROLINA PANTHERS VS ATLANTA FALCONS:
Man, oh man! Both teams have something at stake. Atlanta just wants to get in. They will need to win OR Seattle Seahawks lose OR they and Seattle tie. Carolina has much more to play for as they are seeking a first round bye in addition to possibly winning the NFC South. For the division, they need to win and New Orleans Saints lose or tie OR they tie and New Orleans lose. For the first round bye, they need to win, New Orleans and the Los Angeles Rams need to lose or tie, and the Minnesota Vikings need to lose. Whew! This game today will be a bit crazy. The Falcons will be playing for a chance to get in and redeem themselves from the debacle last year in the Super Bowl. Look for this to be a tight game.
CINCINNATI BENGALS VS BALTIMORE RAVENS:
If the Ravens want to possibly get into the post season, they will have to win. They will also need help from the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans. Those teams need to lose or tie in order for the Ravens to get in with their win. Neither the Bengals nor the Ravens boast of offense. This may be a defensive battle of which Baltimore may come out the victor. Hopefully, the Baltimore fans will come out despite it being New Year's eve and support the team. They could be going to the playoffs!
There will be so many factors to look for in today's games. I cannot wait to see how it all plays out. This last week of the regular season only reminds us of how close it is to it being all over. Let's see who will be playing into the new year. It has been my pleasure to pick these games for you this season. Follow me into the post season as well. HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! Good luck to your teams and picks!
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