NFL Week 17 Picks and Analysis – FootballSunday, January 1, 2012 8:53
Game picks for Week 17 of the 2011 NFL football season and the playoff picture.
NFL 2011 Week 17 Picks & Analysis
The NFL Brainless Trust usually deserves that derisive moniker, but let us give Herr Goodell and his Henchmen credit for scheduling only divisional games for the league’s last regular season weekend.
In the AFC, there are five teams vying for the final three playoff spots. Denver and Cincy control their own destiny; with victories they join the playoff field.
Baltimore is in but with a win, the Ratbirds joining the Patriots as 1st round byers. The longest AFC shots are Tennessee and the Tebows, either of which will be summarily destroyed in the first round. The Oakland running game could portend a playoff upset by the Raidas, but any team besides Baltimore or Pittsburgh playing the Pats in Foxboro will have to score at least 40 points to pull off the shocker.
We would love to call the Striped Cats as the AFC dark horse team, but, like it or not, even talented NFL rookies hit a wall sometime in December. In 2004, Ben Roethlisberger was running on pure adrenaline and got the Steelers to the Championship level, but his performance in the season’s last two months was mediocre at best. Don’t get me wrong, the Bengals could pull off the home dog upset today, but I don’t think their ultra-talented rookie class will take them beyond the first round if they do squeak in.
The true AFC dark horse has to be the Steelers. They have won their last two rings on the road and are probably the most balanced team in the tournament.
The NFC games in Week 17 will mostly determine seeding. If the Niners win they join the Packers on the couch for the Wildcard round. If San Fran gags against the Big Horns and the Holy Men spank the very game Panthers, the 49ers will host the fast-fading Falcons or upstart Lions next week.
The Saints look like the scariest team in the NFC. Three deep at running back, they can control the clock against the one-dimensional Packers and score on the 49ers, Steelers, or Ravens.
We will dissect the win or die game for the NFC East crown when we get to our Specials picks.
Speaking of picks…
Week 17 Picks
Last Week’s Picks
I counted wrong last week regarding what my tally was up to Week 16. The numbers below reflect the accurate record for the 2011 NFL season.
It has been a dicey year picking against the gangsters; they are the best at what they do.
Only an 11 – 5 week will salvage a .500 overall mark and if I can pick the four Specials right, I will be very near 60% for the year.
The catch is that the NFL’s Week 17 is chock full of games that go against conventional wisdom. For example, the Pack has made Lambeau Field a Detroit Lions’ nightmare for the better part of two decades. Tomorrow Green Bay will be a decided underdog facing a Lions squad just giddy and proud to have made the tournament.
The emotional dynamic of many Week 17 tilts is so skewed that to pick 11 winners would be a miracle.
You gotta believe…
Here’s where we are heading into Week 17…
Week 16: 7 – 8 – 1 (.500)
Overall Tally: 112 – 117 – 11 (.489)
Specials Tally: 36 – 26 – 2 (.581)
This Week’s Picks
Lock of the Week (10 – 6)
This is probably the easiest Special to pick. We are tempted to check off Pittsburgh as a lock to crush the Browns, but the Dawg Pound still has some magic in its bark and Big Ben is still gimpy.
We could call it the cop out Special and tab the Titans to win fairly big against a banged up Houston squad that will use the week as if it were the preseason and try to get ready to host their first playoff game in franchise history…
However, we do have genuine testicles and have to believe the Ravens are ready to make a statement and throttle the upstart Bengals–by at least a field goal. We hope we are wrong and the Black and Gold will take the North, but…
Baltimore 23, Cincinnati 17
Upset Special (9 – 5 – 2)
Again, instead of taking the underdog Colts, who seem to be coming together for Jim Caldwell–albeit three months too late–against the discombobulated Jaguars in what might be a half-empty stadium in Jacksonville, we’ll put our money on the Chiefs to put an arrow through the heart of Tebow and the misguided mania he has engendered.
This pick isn’t based on anything having to do with the Chiefs rallying around Romeo Crennel or being a better team–both teams stink pretty badly–or revenge being a gruel best served by a guy like Kyle Orton, who deserved more than the Broncos gave him.
Think of this Special pick as a prayer from a non-believer…Please God, don’t make me listen to phony Christians talk about Tebow for another goddam week. I don’t think I could take it.
Chiefs 22, Broncos 14
Over/Under of the Week (9 – 7)
If the Browns score at home against the Steelers, Josh Cribbs will return some kind of kick. The Steelers activated a 250-pound tailback named John Clay from their practice squad last week and Pittsburgh wants to give Baltimore and New England something big and nasty to think about. Big Ben will stake the Steelers to a fourteen-point lead, then the coaches will let Charlie Batch and the running game take over.
Take the under and the visitors…
Steelers 20, Browns 7
Game of the Week (8 – 8)
Dallas, Tony Romo, Jason Garret, and Rob Ryan have to prove the Cowboys can do what they constantly say they can do. Lots of people, me included, think Jones and the Cowboys get way too much royal treatment from the league and networks.
The Cowboys pale in comparison to the truly elite teams in the NFL; they are only relevant as an NFL team because their ratings numbers are the highest. Why do you think Jerry Jones has fought tooth and nail to keep his Southwestern USA based club in the division with teams located in the most densely populated megalopolises in America?
If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were in the NFC East and playing the Washington, New York, and Philly trifecta–twice a year, no less–their rating numbers would improve dramatically.
The reason the Cowboys are treated like NFL royalty when the too often play like uninterested paupers is because Jones backed down from the hard line he and some other big market owners were holding during last years lockout.
That said, this is truly the Game of the Week, but before we consider picking the Cowboys they’ll have to win more than one playoff game in fifteen years.
Giants 33, Cowboys 31
My picks can be found below in italic…
NFL Football Lines For Week 17, 1/1, 2012
|Date & Time||Favorite||Line||Underdog||Total|
|1/1 1:00 ET||At Philadelphia||-8.5||Washington||45.5|
|1/1 4:15 ET||At Atlanta||-10.5||Tampa Bay||45.5|
|1/1 1:00 ET||San Francisco||-10.5||At St. Louis||35.5|
|1/1 1:00 ET||At Minnesota||-1.5||Chicago||41|
|1/1 1:00 ET||Detroit||-4||At Green Bay||42|
|1/1 8:20 ET||At NY Giants GW||-3||Dallas||47|
|1/1 1:00 ET||At New Orleans||-7.5||Carolina||54.5|
|1/1 1:00 ET||Tennessee||-2||At Houston||39|
|1/1 4:15 ET||Baltimore LW||-2||At Cincinnati||38|
|1/1 4:15 ET||Pittsburgh||-6.5 O/U||At Cleveland||33.5|
|1/1 1:00 ET||At Jacksonville||-3.5||Indianapolis||37.5|
|1/1 1:00 ET||At Miami||-3||NY Jets||39|
|1/1 1:00 ET||At New England||-10.5||Buffalo||49.5|
|1/1 4:15 ET||At Oakland||-3||San Diego||48.5|
|1/1 4:15 ET||At Denver||-3 US||Kansas City||37|
|1/1 4:15 ET||At Arizona||-3||Seattle||41|
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