NFL GAMES OF THE WEEK – 2016 – WEEK SEVENTEEN

01Jan17

Okay, technically, the final week’s games will be played in 2017, but this is the 2016 season, so the title remains as it is.

As far as making the picks for the week, there are only a handful of games that mean much at all, beyond who makes the roster next season and who is not invited back. That makes this week’s games about as easy to pick as week one. Fun stuff!

However, there are a few games that still have playoff spots in the balance, so let’s take a look at a couple of them.

NFL Football

This week’s Lock of the Week (12-1).

Seattle at San Francisco.

It’s common knowledge by now that I don’t see the Seahawks going very far in the playoffs this season. Their offensive line is one of the worst in the league, and with a gimpy Wilson behind center, he is forced to take most snaps from the shotgun position, which doesn’t allow Rawls (or whoever happens to be healthy for the week) to get any momentum going. This has pretty much nullified the running game, and without Wilson’s ability to scramble like he has in years past, the offense goes as the passing game goes.

Enter the 49ers. When they play the Rams, they look great. In fact, they’re undefeated at 2-0. Against the rest of the league, well, not so much. They are 0-13. This week won’t be any different. They have so many gaps on defense, and I’m not talking about running stunts, that Wilson and company will be able to pick them apart all day long, which will allow Rawls to break out for a 100+ yarder.

Seattle needs this game to keep the #3 seed and avoid the Giants in the first round. If, somehow, Atlanta happens to lose today, a win here will give the Seahawks the #2 seed and a first round bye. They have too many reasons to want to win this one.

Which means one more week of pain and embarrassment for the home team.

Final score – Seattle 31, San Francisco 6.

Seahawks Helmet

This week’s Upset of the Week (6-7).

Chicago at Minnesota.

I know what you’re thinking. Two teams heading for vacation next week. Who cares which team wins.

And you’re absolutely correct. Neither team will make the playoffs, so why would they bring their A-game to the field? Well, that’s what I’m counting on. With a playoff spot on the line, I’d be going with the home team here. But with nothing on the line, I’m looking for another ho-hum game from the Vikings.

Meanwhile, da’ Bears have been battling hard for the past few weeks, and I expect nothing less this week. I’m not saying I think this will be a pretty game, but I do expect Chicago to play with a little more life than the Vikings.

And in week 17, in a game that means very little, that could be the difference.

Final Score – Chicago 20, Minnesota 16.

Bears Helmet

This week’s Game of the Week (9-3-1).

Green Bay at Detroit.

The schedule gods could not have done a better job in putting this game in week 17. Early in the season, the Lions were everyone’s darling Cinderella team (well, not mine, but most of the experts). Meanwhile, the Packers were struggling to remember how to score.

Then about five weeks ago, the tables turned. The Lions only needed to win one or two games down the homestretch to lock up their division and grab a first round bye. Only one problem, they started playing good teams and were exposed for the barely better than average team that they are.

Meanwhile, the Packers suddenly remembered how to complete a pass and how to get the ball into the end zone. Suddenly it didn’t matter that their defense was sub-par. They simply began outscoring everyone on their way to a five-game winning streak.

So, here we are in the final week of the season, with everything coming down to this one game. The winner takes the North division title and, most likely, the #4 seed. The loser, most likely, is out of the playoffs, although there are about a dozen potential outcomes in that regard, depending on what happens in Washington and Tampa Bay.

Unless something strange happens this week, like the Packers suddenly forget how to score again, the game will not match the hype. I see Rogers and company jumping out early and never looking back.

Final Score – Green Bay 34, Detroit 20.

Packers Helmet

So, there you have it. Carve it in stone and lock it up in the vault. And then forget about it because it is, after all, week 17, which means the prognosticating gods have taken the week off.

So, fire up the grill and pop open a cold one (if you didn’t have too many last night). It’s the final week of the season!

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