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NFL Week 17 Handicapping Tips

Week 17 Match-Ups

Heading into the final week of the regular season there are a handful of games that will have a major impact on the entire playoff picture. In the NFC all six playoff berths have been filled but we only know one thing for sure; New Orleans is the #1 seed.


The rest of the seeding hinges on a crucial NFC East match-up between Philadelphia and Dallas as the outcome of this game impacts the five other playoff teams.

In the AFC the division winners are set with Indianapolis#1 and San Diego#2 along with New England and Cincinnati. The wildcard spots are still up for grabs with Baltimore and New York controlling their own destiny with a win. Five other teams; Denver, Pittsburgh, Houston, Miami, and Jacksonville are still mathematically alive. The Bengals@ Jets game has been moved to Sunday night to heighten the drama of the final outcome.

Here is a brief look at all the match ups with some keys to the game.

Sunday, Jan. 3

Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m.

With nothing on the line, look for most of the Colt’s starters to be out before halftime. Buffalo will go with Brian Brohm at QB who had a 43.2 passer rating in his first start.

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m.

Breakdowns on special teams have been a huge factor in both of New Orleans’ losses. Another solid performance by Carolina QB Matt Moore could land him the starting job for next season.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Cleveland Browns, 1 p.m.

Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew leads the AFC in touchdowns with 15. Cleveland RB Jerome Harrison has run for 434 yards in his last two games.

Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions, 1 p.m.

Chicago QB Jay Cutler has thrown 26 interceptions but also has thrown 23 TD’s; 11th best in the league. Third string QB Drew Stanton could get his second NFL start against the Bears.

New England Patriots at Houston Texans, 1 p.m.

As expected, New England has no definite plans to rest any of their starters in this game. With a win, the 8-7 Texans would have their first winning record in franchise history.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m.

With one more sack, Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger will have endured a career high 48 trips to the turf this season. Miami leads the league in rushing touchdowns with 21.

New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m.

New York RB Brandon Jacobs is only averaging 3.7 yards per carry, his lowest in the last four seasons. Minnesota RB Adrian Peterson is averaging just 49 total yards and 3 yards per carry in the Vikings last three losses.

San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams, 1 p.m.

San Francisco TE Vernon Davis has 12 TD receptions this season, second to only Randy Moss. The Rams are 0-7 at home this season.

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m.

Atlanta QB Matt Ryan is 307 passing yards away from his second straight 3000 yard season. Despite some improvement, this could be the last game for Tampa’s 1st year head coach Raheem Morris.

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys, 4:15 p.m.

Philadelphia would be the #2 seed in the NFC with a win. Dallas QB Tony Romo has only thrown one interception in his last five games.

Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals, 4:15 p.m.

With a win and some help, Arizona can still earn the #2 seed and a first round bye. If not, there is a good chance they will face Green Bay again next week in the wildcard playoffs.

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos, 4:15 p.m.

Kansas City actually has a better record on the road than at home. It could be Déjà vu for Denver as last year they finished 8-8 and were knocked out of the playoffs in the final week.

Baltimore Ravens at Oakland Raiders, 4:15 p.m.

With a win, Baltimore would secure a playoff berth. Last year in their final game of the season, the Raiders rallied to beat Tampa Bay; knocking them out of the playoffs.

Washington Redskins at San Diego Chargers, 4:15 p.m.

This could be QB Jason Campbell’s last game in a Washington uniform as next year he becomes a restricted free agent. With one more big game, San Diego QB Philip Rivers could swing the league MVP vote in his favor.

Tennessee Titans at Seattle Seahawks, 4:15 p.m.

Tennessee RB Chris Johnson needs 129 rushing yards to go over 2000 on the year. Seattle has the league’s lowest time of possession with an average of 27:30 per game.

Cincinnati Bengals at New York Jets, 8:20 p.m.

New York would gain the final playoff berth in the AFC with a win. With no chance to improve their playoff position, it remains to be seen how long Cincinnati’s starters will play.

After 512 NFL games,the entire scope and complexion of the playoffs rests upon the outcome of just three games; Eagles@ Cowboys, Ravens@ Raiders, and the Bengals@ Jets.

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About Dave Schwab

David Schwab is a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. While not cheering for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles David can be found working on his blog at www.eaglesinc.com. David wants to hear from you so please comment below.