That’s it??? 17 weeks have flown by and the 2010 regular season is drawing to a close, and there are still some playoff spots that have to be sewn up. All the games are being played on Sunday and the NFL has shuffled the schedule enough to keep the intrigue going all day as the playoff seedings are still very much up for grabs. I hate to cast a pall but take a long look because we might be facing our first work stoppage in the NFL in 24 years. The owners seem determined to lock the players out and that might mean no Pro Football come September, lets all hope that cooler heads prevail and that in nine months, I’ll be previewing the start of another season.
Well that was another rather putrid week to end the calendar year, though I did ask for a couple losses. The Raiders??? I should’ve known better, the Texans??? They have let me down all year…I think I was nippin’ in the Crown some when I made some of the picks. But come on. Since when do the Bengals have an offense and since when do the Vikings have a defense??? Oh well, another it was a .500 and I would really like to finish strong. Submitted for your review and perusal are the final picks of the 2010 regular season. The lines are provided by Bodog.com via ESPN but many of them are not posted due to many teams possibly resting starters for the playoffs so if a no line is posted a reason will follow. But keep in mind that the lines are only for entertainment and comparison purposes only. If you bet a line and lose, don’t look at anyone but yourself.
NFL SCHEDULE – WEEK 17
Sunday, January 2
Bills (4-11) @ NY Jets (10-5)
New Meadowlands Stadium; East Rutherford, NJ 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite No Line (Jets QB Sanchez questionable)
Fast Fact A Jets win would give them their highest win total since 1998
The Jets really don’t deserve what they are getting, despite another uneven performance. The grinning jeering Rex Ryan has his team headed to the playoffs again. With little to play for but pride, the Jets might be resting starters in advance of road wild card game next week. The Bills are a tough team to figure but have been playing well as of late, last weeks woodshedding at the hands of the Pats notwithstanding. Knowing how the Jets have that nasty habit of making me look like an idiot whether I pick or don’t pick them. I will flip a coin and say that the Jets give their fans a happy season home finale.
Pick-New York Jets
Panthers (2-13) @ Falcons (12-3)
Georgia Dome, Atlanta 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite Falcons by 14½
Fast Fact The Falcons are 15-0 when QB Matt Ryan has a 100 or better passer rating
Playoff Implications:Falcons win NFC South and clinch home field advantage with win
The Falcons went down in a slugfest with the Saints, but still are in the drivers seat to lock up the #1 seed in the NFC and relegate the Saints to having to take the long wild card road back to get back to the Super Bowl. The Panthers are having an awful season and will provide little if any resistance. Look for a raucous ATL crowd to make this near walkover a hopeful precursor to a possible deep run in January.
Bengals (4-11) @ Ravens (11-4)
M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Ravens by 9½
Fast Fact Bengals QB Carson Palmer is 9-3 against the Ravens
Playoff Implications:Ravens win AFC North with win or tie AND Steelers loss
Confounding most of the experts the Bengals played one of their best games of an otherwise forgettable 2010 season. Carson Palmer realized that he had other weapons at his disposal and made good use of them. The question that lingers now is this going to be the last roundup of the Palmer-Marvin Lewis combination. The Ravens are not the team that needs to be on the Bengals docket. Needing a win to keep flickering AFC North title hopes (a #2 seed, a bye AND a home game as well) and still annoyed that they have lost the last three meetings to the Bengals the Ravens will not spare the rod in beating the Bengals without mercy.
Pick-Baltimore (Lock of The Week)
Dolphins (7-8) @ Patriots (13-2)
Gillette Stadium; Foxboro, MA 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Patriots by 4
Fast Fact The Patriots have went 7 straight games without a turnover, and have had only 9 turnovers all season
The Dolphins have come apart at the seams down the stretch and it will likely cost Tony Sparano his job. A stunning home loss to the usually reliable road kill Lions capped a 1-7 home ledger. The Pats are fine tuning for the playoffs and may likely rest many star players but they have more than enough firepower to run roughshod in blustery cold Foxboro.
Vikings (6-9)@ Lions (5-10)
Ford Field, Detroit 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite Lions by 3
Fast Fact The Vikings have won 17 of the last 19 meetings but both of those losses were in Detroit
The Vikings pulled the spoiler card and gave the Eagles an unmerry Christmas in handing them a stunning loss. The Lions found that an extended trip to the Sunshine state was what they needed to cure their road woes as they crippled both the Bucs and Dolphins meager playoff hopes in the last two weeks. The Vikings will lean heavy on the running of Adrian Peterson in the hopes of wearing a weak run defense down. This might really be the last call for beleaguered Vikes QB Brett Favre and some say its way overdue given his sorry performance this year. The Lions are playing to get out of the NFC North cellar and will play this one like a playoff game. This one will be tight but the Lions are way overdue for a bad game.
Raiders (7-8) @ Chiefs (10-5)
Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Chiefs by 3½
Fast Fact The Raiders with a win would be the first NFL team to go unbeaten in its division but miss the playoffs
Playoff Implications:Chiefs clinch AFC #3 seed with win
The Chiefs locking down the division with their win over the Titans took most of the drama out of this game. With nothing to play for and knowing that they will host a playoff game next weekend, the Chiefs may rest many of their key cogs. The Raiders have been playing very respectable to end the season. They will take a bit of comfort in keeping the Chiefs from logging a perfect home record and getting to a .500 mark.
Steelers (11-4) @ Browns (5-10)
Browns Stadium, Cleveland 1:00 (CBS)
Favorite Steelers by 6
Fast Fact The Steelers have won 13 of the 14 meetings since the Browns return to the NFL in 1999.
Playoff Implications: Steelers win AFC North with win OR Ravens loss
The Steelers are looking toward the playoffs and a wary eye at a possible high stakes showdown with the rampaging Patriots, but they need to lock up the AFC North away from the Ravens who have stayed doggedly on their tail ever since the bruising Sunday night tilt at the beginning of December. The Browns have been nobodys pushover coming down the stretch but lack the ability to finish off an opponent. With so much on the line, its hard to see the Steelers getting a case of the lookaheads.
Buccaneers (9-6) @ Saints (11-4)
Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans 1:00 (FOX)
Favorite Saints by 8
Fast Fact The Buccaneers are 9-1 against teams with losing records but are 0-5 against teams with winning records and have been outscored 141-74
Playoff Implications:Saints win NFC South with win, Bucs clinch playoff spot with win AND losses by Giants & Packers
Drew Brees pulled a late rally out in Atlanta and hold out a slim hope for a repeat NFC South crown, though they need a minor miracle to happen in the ATL, with that unlikely to happen, the Saints will take their frustrations out on the Bucs who are harboring slight playoff aspirations of their own. Look for the Saints to use their final home game of the season to treat their fans to a rollicking sendoff to the playoffs.
Cardinals (5-10) @ 49ers (5-10)
Candlestick Park, San Francisco 4:15 (FOX)
Favorite Niners by 6½
Fast Fact The Cards have returned seven fumbles for scores this year an NFL record.
The Cards raced out to a huge lead at home against the Cowboys then tried to give it all away but hung on for the win. The Niners again fell flat and it was the last straw for Mike Singletary who was given the gate a week early. Alex Smith will get the start on the Niners constant rotating QB carousel and it might be his last shot at proving that he is the long term answer. In a game that is basically a coin flip, I’ll give it to the home team.
Bears (11-4) @ Packers (9-6)
Lambeau Field, Green Bay 4:15 (FOX)
Favorite Packers by 10
Fast Fact The Packers have outscored their opponents 124-40 in winning their last 3 at home
Playoff Implications:Bears can clinch home field advantage with win AND losses by Saints AND Falcons. Packers clinch playoff berth with win OR losses by Bucs & Giants
The Bears won a thrilling shootout with the Jets and have all but locked down the #2 seed in the NFC. They may have nothing to play for by the time this game kicks off. The same cant be said for the Packers who got a monster game from Aaron Rodgers and a badly needed win over the Giants that strengthened once weak playoff hopes. But the up and down Pack need not think of coasting, having their own playoff fates in their own hands and likely playing an uninterested playoff bound Bears team, it looks to be a Packers party sendoff to the playoff in their home finale who could be headed to a playoff date at .500 St. Louis or sub .500 Seattle with 10 wins.
Cowboys (5-10) @ Eagles (10-5)
Cowboys Stadium; Arlington, TX 4:15 (FOX)
Favorite No line (Multiple starters on both teams questionable to play)
Fast Fact Though likely to sit this game out Eagles QB Michael Vick has set personal highs in passing yards (3,018) passing and rushing touchdowns (21 & 9 respectively)
The Pokes got a lump of coal on Christmas when they stumbled out to a 21-0 deficit then tried to put together a late rally that fell short when their field goal kicking went south. The Eagles got their own lump of coal when they played an uninspiring primetime date with a supposed sleepwalking Vikes squad. The Eagles will likely rest Michael Vick and ready him for the playoffs and a wild card weekend home date next weekend. But the Pokes are in no position to take advantage of this, little used Stephen McGee may very well get the starting nod at QB. Whoda thunk that the Pokes would be this thin at QB.
Jaguars (8-7) @ Texans (5-10)
Reliant Stadium, Houston 4:15 (CBS)
Favorite No Line (Jags QB Garrard and RB Jones-Drew questionable to play)
Fast Fact The Texans have been tied or leading in each of their last eight games but only have one win to show for it.
Playoff Implications: Jaguars win AFC South with win AND Colts loss
Just when you didn’t think it could any worse for either team last week were eggs laid in royal fashion by both squads. The Texans raced out to huge lead at Denver only to give it all away and let Tim Tebow write an Elway-like ending. The Jags loss was even more galling having a gift home game against a sad sack Redskins team yet gacking and gaffling their way to a putrid overtime loss. The Jags are still incredibly able to still snag the AFC South title but need help. The burning question is now which team will underplay their potential more. The Jags could be hindered even more with not having either David Garrard or Maurice Jones-Drew at their disposal as both as questionable starts with injuries. This looks like a chance for Trent Edwards to make a heroic season saving….Trent Edwards??? Better start making those tee times Jags.
Pick-Houston (Upset of the Week)
NY Giants (9-6) @ Redskins (6-9)
FedEx Field; Landover, MD 4:15 (FOX)
Favorite Giants by 4½
Fast Fact If the Giants win yet miss the playoffs, they will be only the 3rd NFC to win 10 and not make the playoffs (Both the Niners and Eagles went 10-6 in 1991 and stayed home)
Playoff Implications: Giants clinch playoff berth with win AND Packers loss
The G-Men have run out of mulligans, they need to win here or they are going home. Eli Manning has caught a nasty case of the turnovers and his squad is sinking fast because of it. Their suddenly suspect defense foots a good deal of the blame as well giving up points at a frightening clip over the last five quarters of play. The Redskins pulled a road stunner, rallying to stun the Jags but aren’t in any real position to play big baller shot caller. Rex Grossman is gonna be Shanny’s QB turnovers and sorry play be damned. The Giants sure as heck don’t deserve it but they will still get that playoff ticket.
Pick-New York Giants
Chargers (8-7) @ Broncos (4-11)
Invesco Field @ Mile High Stadium, Denver 4:15 (CBS)
Favorite Chargers by 3½
Fast Fact A loss by the Broncos would set a single season team record
The Chargers had it all set, road wins over the sad sack Bengals and Broncos and they would keep all the pressure on the neophyte Chiefs to win the big game. But the Chargers came out stunningly flat against the Bengals and let Carson Palmer carve them up and right out of the playoffs. The Broncos got a late Christmas present as Tim Tebow brought echos of John Elway with a dramatic rally to beat the Texans. Both teams are going nowhere and the Chargers are looking for someone to use as a punching bag to end their season on an up note and the Broncos look like they could be that Everlast bag.
Titans (6-9) @ Colts (9-6)
Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis 4:15 (CBS)
Favorite Colts by 10
Fast Fact With a win the Colts will tie the Cowboys record for consecutive playoff appearances with 9 straight and will have their 9th straight 10 or better win season which is second to the 16 straight notched by The 49ers from 1983-98
Playoff Implications:Colts win AFC South with win or Jaguars loss, can move to #3 seed with win AND Chiefs loss.
When backed against a wall the Colts just seem to find a way to wriggle out of the jam. The Raiders looked like they were loaded for bear and ready to spring the upset but that Manning dude just seemed to make the needed play when the money was on the line. His 27 yard rumble on a designed QB keeper iced the game. The Titans took an awful beating in Kansas City and look like they could be ready to send longtime head coach Jeff Fisher packing. Knowing that they need the win to lockup another division title, the Colts will not trifle.
Rams (7-8 @ Seahawks (6-9)
Qwest Field, Seattle 8:20 (NBC)
Favorite No Line (Seahawks QB Hasselbeck questionable to start)
Fast Fact The Seahawks are trying to be the first ever division winner with a losing record, while the Rams are aiming to be third .500 team to win its division (’85 Browns and ’08 Chargers)
Playoff Implications:Winner wins NFC West and #4 seed.
Stop that snickering! This is actually a big game! Nevermind the sorry records of both teams someone has to win the NFC West and the Seahawks in spite of their freefall can still take the division…with a 7-9 record if they win. The Rams have grown up in a hurry and can take that final step to…mediocrity??? Seriously, Sam Bradford has all but sewn up the rookie of the year honors and will stamp it in printers ink if he comes through with a win in primetime. The feeling here is that he comes through with flying colors and at least gets a .500 team in the playoffs.
Last Week 8-8 (Lock Correct, Upset Incorrect)
Wild card weekend picks next week…until next post fellow sports fans...Have a safe and happy new year!