The last week of the NFL season is always the most awkward one. Rest your players? Play ’em? Give your starters 2 series then play your backups? There’s no clear answer, since you never want to go in to the playoffs on a cold streak, but you certainly don’t want key players to get hurt.
This season is a little different than years past. Nine of the twelve playoff spots have already been secured, but only the Patriots have clinched a first round bye. Seven teams are vying for the last three spots and another seven teams can still land a first-round bye, so you can bet that half the league will go all out on Sunday.
With Carolina already locking up the first pick in the draft, fewer teams will be gunning for a top pick. Anyways, it’s really hard for players to not go full-out and try to lose games.
Here are the Week 17 NFL Picks as I sit at .500 in the last week of the season …. home teams in CAPS.
Panthers (+14.5) over FALCONS
Jimmy Clausen is playing for his NFL career in this game; if he doesn’t put together a great game, Carolina will likely draft Andrew Luck and Clausen will become the next Brady Quinn. But if Jimmy Clausen is playing for his career, the Panthers are probably going to lose. But I’m not willing to give up over two touchdowns.
Steelers (-6.5) over BROWNS
Pittsburgh is looking to win a division and grab a bye, and not even the Avalanche can get in the way of this train. Who is the Avalanche, you ask? Peyton Hillis. He’s white, he runs downhill, and he knocks people over. But Big Ben owns the Browns. He’s 11-1 in his career against the Browns. This is your Bojangles’ Lock o’ the Week.
LIONS (-3.5) over Vikings
If Tarvaris Jackson is a poor man’s Brett Favre, Joe Webb is a homeless man’s Tarvaris Jackson. Believe it or not, the Lions are 12-3 against the spread this year. But you’re never going to make the playoffs with a 5-10 record, so maybe next year Detroit!
CHIEFS (-3.5) over Raiders
The Chiefs are 7-0 at home this year, and even though they will be hosting a playoff game, they likely will not be favored. What’s the best way to get over that? Come into the playoffs hot.
PATRIOTS (-3.5) over Dolphins
When have the Patriots ever taken it easy on other teams? When does Tom Brady ever lose at home? Don’t think The Hoodie will let this win escape his team.
RAVENS (-9.5) over Bengals
Baltimore can lock up the number two seed with a win and a Steelers loss. Don’t doubt these guys for a second, especially when the Bungles are without T.Ocho.
Buccaneers (+7.5) over SAINTS
It doesn’t make much sense to pick against the defending champs here, but I have a hunch. Josh Freeman wins games and the last placed NFC South team goes to the playoffs next year.
JETS (-2.5) over Bills
The Jets are in a bad place. They’ve lost three of four games. They tripping and stumbling their way into the playoffs. Well, its a good thing they’re playing Buffalo, now isn’t it!
Bears (+10.5) over PACKERS
These teams are bitter rivals, so you can bet your biscuits they’ll both be buckling on their chinstraps and hitting extra hard. This one will go to the Pack, but it will be a tight one.
COLTS (-9.5) over Titans
Isn’t it curious to see what Peyton Manning and Tom Brady can do with below-average weapons? Manning, with the likes of Jacob Tamme, Javaris James, Blair White, an a concussed Austin Collie, is struggling to get a playoff berth. Brady, with the likes of Danny Woodhead, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, 2 rookie tight ends, and Brandon Tate, already clinched home field.
Giants (-3.5) over REDSKINS
I’ve never been a Giants fan this year, but what Mike Shanahan is doing can make me a fan of the Bills. Sorry, maybe that second shot at the Bills was unnecessary.
Jaguars (+0.5) over TEXANS
I know this game has a ton of playoff implications, but boy are these teams boring!
Eagles (-7.5) over COWBOYS
Talk about a short week! The Eagles only have four days off before they have to strap on the shoulder pads again, only without Michael Vick. But the Cowboys are starting Stephen McGee. STEPHEN MCGEE!
Cardinals (+6.5) over NINERS
The Niners are just a mess. Could they really not wait another week to let Mike Singletary go at the end of the year? I guess the Cardinals are the lesser of two evils, especially if I’m getting nearly a touchdown.
Chargers (-3.5) over BRONCOS
San Diego is weird, but they do have a real quarterback. That’s a little mean actually. They do have competent quarterback. Well, that’s not much nicer.
Rams (-2.5) over SEAHAWKS
I want to take the Seahawks, the points, and the loud stadium, but I just will not depend of Charlie Whitehurst to win me the big game. Congrats to Sam Bradford on a great year; the Rams deserve this one.
Last Week: 6-10
Bojangles Lock o’ the Week: 12-4