The Sports Man Weekly NFL Picks (Week 17)

Pierre Garçon

All good things…
Like The Doors sang, “This is the end”.
The light at the end of the tunnel.
All’s well that ends well.
At the end of the day.
The end’s justify the means.

Ok, is that enough “ending” cliches for you? I hope so because we have come to the end. The end of the 2013 NFL regular season. Sure there’s life after this week with the playoffs but first we must figure out the seedlings. Every division in the AFC is clinched but there’s still one playoff slot available for three teams. Not one division title has been claimed in the NFC and there’s still one playoff spot open. Get ready for a Sunday with more twists and turns than a David Mamet story…

New York Giants over Washington Redskins
Word out of New York is head coach Tom Coughlin will not be fired. That should relax the Giants enough to play a loose care-free game with minimal mistakes. On the other sideline this is probably the last game for the Redskins with Mike Shanahan at the helm. Most Redskins players probably won’t be sorry to see him go. Expect a big game from Redskins receiver Pierre Garçon as he wants to show why he should have gotten voted into the Pro Bowl this season.

Carolina over Atlanta
The Panthers can clinch the NFC South and a first round bye with a win here. There’s even an outside shot at the #1 seed. The falcons showed a lot of heart last week against the 49ers in prime time but eventually lost the game. It should be much of the same here. A close game but the Panthers and QB Cam Newton pull it out.

Cincinnati over Baltimore
The Bengals want a first round bye and can get it with a win and some help for Buffalo. The Ravens can get into the playoffs with a win but I it’s not an easy task. Ray Rice has had a disappointing season and it won’t get any easier with a Bengals defense that has allowed only three rushing scores all season. With the game in Cincy I look for the Bengals to knock the Ravens out.

Tennessee over Houston
The Texans are the worst team in football, no question about it. They will have a new head coach next season and all signs point to Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien as the man. The Texans have Jonathan Grimes starting at running back and that will almost certainly help clinch the top pick in next years draft for them. Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater will look good in a Texans jersey.

Indianapolis over Jacksonville
The Colts have a slim chance at the #2 seed in the AFC. By slim I mean “Gwyneth Paltrow on a bead and water diet” skinny. Still, the Colts are simply a better team. Donald Brown had a great game last week with 10 rushes for 79 yards against a tough Chiefs defense, imagine what he can do against a less than tough Jaguars defense.

Miami over New York Jets
Miami can get into the playoffs with a win and a Ravens loss. My Palantír ( the magic crystal ball from Lord Of The Rings for you non-nerds) says that’s exactly what will happen. The Jets are bringing back Rex Ryan next year so the players aren’t fighting for his job. The Dolphins meant to avenge an embarrassing loss last week and should give the home fans a reason to cheer.

Minnesota over Detroit
It’s the underachiever bowl. The Lions may be playing their last game under Jim Schwartz. Calvin Johnson hasn’t caught a touchdown in three weeks and that’s simply unacceptable. Even with Adrian Peterson out of this game for the Vikings they still have Matt Asiata. Who, you may be asking? He’s the man that filled in for Peterson week 15 against the Eagles and ran for three scores. Oh yeah, now you remember.

Pittsburgh over Cleveland
The Steelers can mathematically make the playoffs. And I can mathematically win the lottery. I don’t think either in happening this year. ThenSteelers should still win this game though, especially with otherworldly corner back Joe Hadden missing the game for the Browns. Expect the Steelers to focus heavily on stopping Josh Gordon after he torched the Pittsburgh defense for 237 yards and a touchdown back in week 12. Big Ben could be in for a good day as the Browns defense has given up multiple passing score in ten straight games.

Green Bay over Chicago
Cue the Arnold Schwarzenegger voice from Terminator…”I’ll be back”. That’s just what Aaron Rodgers is and his timing in impeccable. after missing several games with a broken collarbone injury the best QB in football ( in my modest opinions) is playing this winner-take-all game for the NFC North division title. His return should open up the running game as well for James Starks and Eddie Lacy, who without Rodgers put up 170 yards with two scores on the Bears last game.

Denver over Oakland
Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson. The United States Olympic Hockey Team over Russia. Oakland over Denver? Not happening!! I would bet both my kids college funds on this one (it’s also a good thing my wife doesn’t read my work). The Broncos can clinch home field advantage throughout the AFC with a win here. There’s also a few records at stake. Denver needs 18 points to break the season scoring record and Peyton Manning needs 266 yards to break the season passing record. Both will fall like Lance Armstrong’s image.

New England over Buffalo
The Patriots can clinch the #2 seed with a win. They can also get the top seed if Oakland pulls off the biggest upset since Villanova beat Georgetown in ’85. There’s really only two things you need to know heading into this game. It’s being played in New England. Tom Brady is 21-2 lifetime against the Bills with 53 touchdowns. Here endeth the lesson.

New Orleans over Tampa Bay
It’s pretty much a guarantee that Bucs coach Greg Schiano will be fired after the season. He’ll be exiting with a loss. The Saints get into the playoffs with a win, plain and simple. They can even get the division title if the Panthers lose their game. Too much talent for the Saints, too much to play for, too little of everything for Tampa.

San Francisco over Arizona
With a few key losses by other team the 49ers can get a division title and the top seed in the NFC. It’s remains highly unlikely though. The Cardinals can still make the playoffs with a win but would need the Saints to lay an egg the size of the moon. Even though Arizona showed a lot of grit and gut last week in a victory up in Seattle I would still take San Francisco in a close game here.

San Diego over Kansas City
The Chiefs are locked into the #5 spot on the AFC. They will be sitting Jamaal Charles for the game. The Chargers can still make the playoffs with a win and some help. These are the facts and they are indisputable. The Chargers will know what they are playing for by kick off time and the results of the earlier games could affect the outcome of this one but I’ll still take the Chargers for the win.

Seattle over St. Louis
The Seahawks can wrap up the top spot in the NFC with a win. Seattle suffered their first home loss last week since December 24, 2011. Do you really think they’ll drop two in a row? To the Rams? The Seahawks can ret their starters in the second half of this one because they’ll be up by three scores going into it.

Philadelphia over Dallas
The Cowboys won’t lose this game because of Kyle Orton being the starting quarterback. They lose because the defense stinks like dead raccoon that’s been sitting a trunk for two days. LeSean McCoy should put up ridiculous numbers in this one. Keep in mind the Dallas defense has given up 30 points a game over last five weeks. Good job by Jerry Jones getting rid of Rob Ryan. Jerry you big dummy!!!

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