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- Week 17 Predictions: The End

Chris Pokorny December 31, 2004
Chris Pokorny
PFC Owner & Writer

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The NFL regular season is near its end as week 17 approaches. A lot of teams were officially eliminated from the playoffs last week, causing there to be a lot of games that don't mean anything besides pride this week. For this weeks predictions, we'll start with the games that mean a lot, and then the games based on respect.

Playoff Implication Games

New Orleans vs. Carolina
There is a very strong chance that whoever wins this game will go on to the playoffs as a wildcard. The Saints Jim Haslett was about to be fired a few weeks ago, but somehow the team has not collapsed. They have strung together a couple of clutch wins after an up and down season. Meanwhile, the Panthers could be as dangerous as they were last year in the playoffs. The Panthers are controlling games, and I expect them to do the same against New Orleans. After this remarkable comeback that the Panthers have made, it would be a real shame if they lost this one.

New York Jets vs. St. Louis Rams
As much as the Rams have struggled at times this season, I think they can pull a win off here. If they win, they can clinch the playoffs only if Seattle loses as well. For the Jets, they can miss the playoffs if Denver and Buffalo win and the Jets lose. Both teams need this game, but Chad Pennington's inability to win "big" games bugs me. It'll be tougher for them on the road, but if the Rams run the football a lot with clutch passes like they showed signs of against the Eagles, they should win this game.

Atlanta vs. Seattle
The Falcons have already clinched the second seed, and they rested Michael Vick last week. They will do the same this week. If the Saints could beat the Falcons without Vick, then the Seahawks, who clearly are a better team, should do the same. Although Seattle has already clinched the playoffs already, they could drop down to a wildcard slot and lose a home game opportunity in the playoffs.

Pittsburgh vs. Buffalo
This is the Bills situation. If they win, they can make the playoffs with a Broncos loss or a Jets loss. This game didn't seem winnable originally for the Bills, but they have a lot of things going for them right now. They are one of the NFL's hottest teams, Mike Mularky was with the Steelers for a few years, and the Steelers will likely be resting a bunch of their starters, with Roethlisberger already being out. I think Buffalo will win a tough game by their defense, and then they'll sit back and hope that things fall into place.

Washington vs. Minnesota
Believe it or not, the Vikings may not make the playoffs still. Did Mike Tice's extension come too early? Last year, the Arizona Cardinals pulled off the huge upset on the last play of the game versus the Vikings. Minnesota's offense was excellent last week, but the Redskins defense is a huge, emphasizing "huge", upgrade to the Packers defense. If the Vikings don't have a proper gameplan, they could choke just like last year. The Redskins can do a lot against the Vikings defense as well. I'll take the Redskins to beat the Vikings, ousting them out of the playoffs.

Indianapolis vs. Denver
Straight up, the Colts would win this game without a doubt. All you need to do is remember what the Colts did to Denver in the playoffs last year. Ouch. Denver can clinch the playoffs with a win here. Now, if the Colts do not play Manning, Harrison, Wayne, Stokley, James, etc, then Denver should win. But if I'm the Colts, I would forget the risk of injury. I would rather keep the momentum going and pick up another shot of confidence heading into the playoffs.

Miami vs. Baltimore
Although Miami has played well under Jim Bates and have a two game winning streak, the Ravens will not let this game get away from them. Their defense will completely shut down the Dolphins offense, and the Ravens offense can find a way to get past the Dolphins. The Ravens need a miracle to make the playoffs, and I don't see them making it.

Jacksonville vs. Oakland
The Jaguars laid a huge egg last week against the Texans, and could have very likely killed their shot at a playoff spot. They better come prepared this week, because Oakland's offense has been scoring a lot lately and taking chances since they have nothing to worry about. I don't think Jack Del Rio would have his team collapse two weeks in a row, so I'll say that the Jaguars get the win.

Clinched Teams Resting Starters

San Francisco vs. New England
I would take New England's entire second-string team any day before I'd take the 49'ers first string team. The Patriots have so much depth, that they can easily match up to the 49'ers. With San Francisco being on the road, New England should be able to relax in this one.

Cincinnati vs. Philadelphia
The Eagles starters hardly played last week, so the odds that they'll play any more this week are very slim. The Bengals will be at full strength, and should be able to win this game purely because the Eagles are nearly handing it to them by not playing starters.

Green Bay vs. Chicago
The Bears bright spot this season was probably when they upset the Packers. Whether the Packers rest their starters or not, the Bears have gotten back into their slump again. If I were Green Bay, I would keep the starters in the game until there was a commanding lead. The Packers need to have confidence, especially defensively, heading into the playoffs.

Kansas City vs. San Diego
The Chiefs should have been a playoff team this year. Despite their horrid defense, their offense should get them into the playoffs. Because of their poor start however, all they can do is have a positive win heading into next season. The Chargers have nothing to play for that would move them up or down in the playoff rankings. I think Tomlinson could get a rest along with Antonio Gates. The Chiefs offense has been tearing up secondary's lately, and the Chargers weak spot is in that area.

And now, the teams fighting for respect...

Cleveland vs. Houston
Luke McCown could not do a thing with the Browns offense. Don't forget that when Garcia and Holcomb were under the helm, they made things happen somewhat at least. With Holcomb back and Lee Suggs at full strength, the Browns can pull off the upset. The Browns have won their season finales the last two seasons because their running back has gotten about 170 yards rushing. The Texans are coming off a big win and a successful season, but may be shocked by the Browns.

Detroit vs. Tennessee
The Titans season has been very disappointing this year, as well as the Lions. The Lions are healthier at the moment though, and Kevin Jones has established himself with the team.

Tampa Bay vs. Arizona
The Buccaneers started horrible, then looked fantastic, and have gone back to bad. There are too many mental errors with the team, and their defense gave up a lot of points to the Panthers last week. The Cardinals have hung in their for a lot of games this season, but I expect them to have a bad game today against the Bucs.

Dallas vs. New York Giants
It's the last game of the season, and wouldn't it be nice for Eli Manning to finally pick up his first victory? He has started to get better slowly the past few weeks. Due to the inconsistency of the Cowboys, this could be a big game for Eli and the Giants.

Last Week's Record: 11-5
Season Record: 139-101
Current Survivor Winning Streak: 1 game.
Survivor History:10 games(Tennessee over Miami in week one, New England over Arizona in week two, Seattle over San Francisco in week three, New England over Buffalo in week four, Indianapolis over Oakland in week five, Philadelphia over Carolina in week six, Denver over Cincinnati in week seven(lost), Seattle over Carolina in week eight, Seattle over San Francisco in week nine, New England over Buffalo in week ten, Philadelphia over Washington in week eleven, Indianapolis over Detroit in week twelve, Indianapolis over Tennessee in week thirteen, Indianapolis over Houston in week fourteen, New England over Miami in week fifteen(lost), St. Louis over Philadelphia in week sixteen.)

The NFL season has come and gone, and the exciting playoffs will be next week. For my final survivor pick, I'm taking the New England Patriots over the San Francisco 49'ers.

-Chris Pokorny

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