Week 17 Matchup Predictions
Titans win 21-16.
Texans (12-3) @ Colts (10-5): The Texans have a shot to claim the top seed in the AFC with a win (if the Broncos lose), but could also drop to the third seed (no first-round bye) with a loss (if the Patriots win). The Colts, on the other hand, are locked into the fifth seed, and while rumor has it that they'll be playing their starters and going for the win, they aren't likely to have as much energy as the Texans, who have a lot on the line. I'm picking the Texans for the same reason I picked them in their first matchup with the Colts - the Colts are ranked 24th in giveaways and 30th in takeaways, while the Texans are ranked 2nd and 7th, respectively. Combine that with what these two teams are playing for and you have your winner.
Texans win 28-21.
Panthers (6-9) @ Saints (7-8): Both of these teams are essentially playing for pride, but that didn't slow the Saints down last week, when they topped the surging Cowboys in Dallas. The Saints will now return home, where it's always terribly difficult to beat them, to face a disappointing Panthers team. Since October, the Saints are 7-4 with their losses coming to the Broncos, 49ers, Falcons, and Giants. The Panthers are much more like the seven teams the Saints beat than the four teams they lost to.
Saints win 34-28.
Eagles (4-11) @ Giants (8-7): There's only one thing on the Giants' minds right now, and that's getting this win. There is no scenario in which they can backdoor their way into the playoffs with a loss. Sure, a lot needs to happen for them to get in, but none of it means a thing if they don't win. Michael Vick is being thrown back into the fire for the Eagles, getting his first start since Week 10. Despite the Eagles beating the Giants earlier this season, and the Giants getting crushed in their past two games, I can't see the Eagles beating this historically resilient Giants team.
Giants win 27-21.
Browns (5-10) @ Steelers (7-8): I doubt many people had the Browns just two games behind the Steelers at this point in the season. The Steelers were eliminated from playoff contention last week, but if any coach could get his players to bring it together for one more good game, it's Mike Tomlin. The Steelers still have the top ranked defense in the league, and I can't possibly see the Browns getting enough offensive production to top Big Ben and the Steelers.
Steelers win 23-10.
Chiefs (2-13) @ Broncos (12-3): The Broncos have the second seed in the AFC right now, but could move up to the top seed or down to the third seed depending on what the Texans and Patriots do. I imagine they'll be out there to win this one, and it won't be too tough with the 2-13 Chiefs headed to Denver. This game really just comes down to Peyton Manning vs. Brady Quinn.
Broncos win 31-17.