Predictification - NFL Week 17, Including Colts vs. Jaguars

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Predicting the NFL action before it happens isn't easy - unless you're a Predictificationist like me. Sit back, relax and know that you've come to the right place.

2013 Regular Season: 147-92-1 (61.5%)

2012 Regular Season: 164-91-1* (64.3%)

Last Week: 8-8 (50%)

All-time Colts Predictions: 23-9 (71.9%)

Another season almost over - and if I can manage to go 16-0 this week I will only finish one game behind of last year's performance. Of course, the chances of me going 16-0 are about as good as the Pittsburgh Steelers winning the Super Bowl - but, hey, there's a chance.

Speaking of chances, the Indianapolis Colts have a legitimate shot at the #2 seed and a first round bye. They will need some things to fall their way - but it's far from impossible. Here is a breakdown of where the Colts can land after Week 17:

The Colts are the #2 seed if:

The Colts are the #3 seed if:
  • Indianapolis beats the Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Cincinnati Bengals lose at home to the Baltimore Ravens OR New England Patriots lose at home to the Buffalo Bills
The Colts are the #4 seed if anything else happens.

I can't remember an NFL season is recent memory that had so many teams with still something to play for in the last week of the season. Even the Denver Broncos, who've dominated most of the season, can't afford to rest their starters of they could lose the #1 seed in the AFC. Here's a rundown:
  • Broncos need a win or a loss by New England to clinch the top seed in the AFC.
  • Patriots can clinch a first round bye with a win or losses by the Bengals and Colts.
  • Bengals can get a first round bye with a win and loss by the Patriots
  • Ravens can get into the playoffs with a win and a loss by either the Chargers or Dolphins. They can also get in if the Steelers, Chargers and Dolphins all lose.
  • Dolphins can get into the playoffs if they win and Baltimore loses or the Chargers win.
  • The Chargers can get in if they win and both Miami and Baltimore lose
  • The Steelers can get in if they win and Baltimore, San Diego and Miami all lose.
The NFC isn't much less complicated - only three teams have locked up spots: Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers. Here's the rest of the breakdown:
  • Seahawks need to win or the 49ers need to lose to lock up the #1 seed.
  • Saints can clinch a playoff spot with a win or a Cardinals loss. They can clinch a first round bye with a win and a loss by the Carolina Panthers.
  • Panthers can lock up a first round bye with a win or a loss by the Saints. The could get the #1 seed with a win, a 49ers win and a Seahawks loss.
  • 49ers can clinch a first round bye with a win and a Seattle loss. They can clinch the #1 seed with a win, a Seattle loss and a Carolina loss.
  • Cardinals can get into the playoffs with a win and a New Orleans loss.
  • Cowboys get into the playoffs if they beat the Eagles.
  • Eagles get into the playoffs if they beat the Cowboys or tie.
  • Packers get into the playoffs with a win against the Bears.
  • Bears get into the playoffs with a win over the Packers or a tie.
There you go - you're all caught up. Isn't it crazy to think that the Cardinals can finish 11-5 and still manage to miss the playoffs? It blows my mind.

Here are my best pick from last week:

Chiefs @ Colts - I was one of the few people who told you that the Colts would win this game last week. Why? Because over the last two seasons I've discovered one thing: these are the types of games the Colts always win. I don't know why - and I can only hope that it continues throughout the playoffs.

"The Colts seem to find a way to win these games - at least they did when Reggie Wayne was still on the active roster. In the last several weeks it's become obvious that the Colts can't run, can't stop the run, can't protect the passer, can't rush the passer and get off to slow starts. Not a good recipe for winning on the road.

The Chiefs, on the other hand, have responded well to adversity and seem to be playing some of their most dominant football of the season. They have a realistic shot at catching the Denver Broncos and should be pumped for this game. Jamaal Charles is one of the scariest players in the league and Kansas City's defense can generate a lot of pressure.

But - these are the Colts. They win the games they are supposed to have no chance in. I will probably regret it but I'm taking the Colts to win - they will find a way.

COLTS WIN 27-23"


Before we get to the games, here are some other fearless predictions, news and notes for Week 15:

  • Raise your hand if you predicted that the Falcons, Texans and Giants would be a combined 12-33 going into the last week of the season. (Liars)
  • Bold prediction going into Wild Card Weekend: If the Colts are the #4 seed they won't make it past the first round. They need to get at least the #3 seed this weekend.
  • The Colts have just one Pro Bowler this season (LB Robert Mathis). Some Colts fans are upset by this but I don't know that they have much of an argument. I could see people saying Andrew Luck should be going over Philip Rivers and Antoine Bethea has played well - but I can see why they weren't selected. I think Jerrell Freeman has a better case than either of those two.
  • The Packers get Aaron Rodgers back this week in a winner-take-all game against the Bears (who got Jay Cutler back a couple of weeks ago). The Cowboys lose Tony Romo going into their winner-take-all game against the Eagles (who lost original starter Michael Vick early in the season). You can't say this isn't a quarterback league.



On to the picks!

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-11) at Indianapolis Colts (10-5)

Line - Colts by 11.5

I don't think there is any way the Colts lose this game - but something about it worries me. I think this game will be closer than the spread and will be within one score late in the second half. Donald Brown has a huge game as Pep Hamilton takes a VERY conservative approach to this game to make sure the Colts go into the playoffs as healthy as possible.

A conservative gameplan means this game will be close. Colts get a late TD or field goal to pull away at the end.

COLTS WIN 27-17

Carolina Panthers (11-4) at Atlanta Falcons (4-11)

Line - Panthers by 6.5

The Panthers have a lot to play for this weekend and the Falcons will want to play spoiler. I like the Falcons to lead most of the way before falling apart at the end.

Say what you want about this game, but consider this: Three of the Falcons four wins have come at home and three of the Panthers four losses have come on the road. Don't write off the Falcons.

PANTHERS WIN 27-24

Baltimore Ravens (8-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (10-5)

Line - Bengals by 6

This is one of the games I'm looking most forward to this weekend - and not only because it has major playoff implications for the Colts. The Ravens are the defending Super Bowl champions and need to win to have a legitimate shot at the playoffs. The Bengals are undefeated at home and have been playing well lately.

I'm taking the Ravens to win a low-scoring battle.

RAVENS WIN 20-17

Houston Texans (2-13) at Tennessee Titans (6-9)

Line - Titans by 7

It really feels like the Texans have quit, doesn't it? Part of me really wants to pick them this week against the Titans - but then I remember the way they've been playing lately.

I'm taking the Titans but it'll be closer than a touchdown.

TITANS WIN 24-20

New York Jets (7-8) at Miami Dolphins (8-7)

Line - Dolphins by 6

It seems like these teams are going two totally different directions but if the Jets win they will finish with the same record. The Dolphins have decent shot at the playoffs and should win at home.

I'm taking the team with more to play for and more talent - and they will win by more than six.

DOLPHINS WIN 27-17

Detroit Lions (7-8) at Minnesota Vikings (4-10-1)

Line - Vikings by 3

The Lions have to be one of the biggest disappointments of the 2013 season. Not so much because they've underachieved (although they have) but they were given the division - gift wrapped by the injuries of Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers... and couldn't win a game.

With that said, Adrian Peterson isn't playing in this game and I don't think the Vikings can win (even though they are at home). I'm taking the Lions - now that the pressure is off.

LIONS WIN 34-27

Washington Redskins (3-12) at New York Giants (6-9)

Line - Giants by 3.5

The New York Giants have played pretty well lately - in fact, they're 6-3 since starting 0-6 to start the season. The Redskins seem to be prepping for a major overhaul this offseason (starting with head coach) and might be mailing it in here in the last game.

I think that Kirk Cousins throws for a ton of yards and the game stays close - but the Giants win the game.

GIANTS 27-24

Cleveland Browns (4-11) at Pittsburgh Steelers (7-8)

Line - Steelers by 7

The Steelers still find themselves in position to sneak into the playoffs - but they need a lot of help. Pittsburgh has gone 7-4 over their last eleven games and will be playing in front of their home crowd. The Browns have lost six straight and, last I checked, still have Brandon Weeden.

Take the Steelers.

STEELERS WIN 24-14

Green Bay Packers (7-7-1) at Chicago Bears (8-7)

Line - Packers by 3

This may be the game of the week. The Packers welcome back Aaron Rodgers to the biggest game of the year. Does he show some rust or lead the Packers to the playoffs? Jay Cutler is playing at home in the biggest game of the season and an expiring contract. Does he come up big or crumble?

Should be fun. I'm taking the Packers - but this one could go either way.

PACKERS WIN 31-27

Denver Broncos (12-3) at Oakland Raiders (4-11)

Line - Broncos by 12.5

The Broncos need to win this game to wrap up the #1 seed in the AFC - and I love Denver in this one. The Raiders don't seem to have the pieces to compete. My only question going into this game is how high Peyton Manning will push the single-season touchdown record.

I say he finished with three more and makes the record 54.

It's the lock of the week.

BRONCOS WIN 34-17

Buffalo Bills (6-9) at New England Patriots (11-4)

Line - Patriots by 9.5

The Bills are coming off a shocking shutout of the Miami Dolphins last week and now head into New England. The Patriots are undefeated at home this season and have a chance to get at least a bye and maybe the #1 seed. Divisional games are always a little closer than you'd expect.

The Patriots will win the game - and will use a fourth quarter rally to put it over the spread.

PATRIOTS IN 31-20

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11) at New Orleans Saints (10-5)

Line - Saints by 12.5

The Saints are undefeated at home - and they play a lot better (and different) when they can play on turf. For some reason though, the Buccaneers always give the Saints a hard time. The Saints will win this game (I think) but I like Tampa Bay to beat the spread.

SAINTS WIN 27-17

San Francisco 49ers (11-4) at Arizona Cardinals (10-5)

Line - Even

The Cardinals will be playing mad. They know that there is a very real possibility that they could finish this season at 11-5 and somehow miss the playoffs. The 49ers are right where they want to be heading into the playoffs. They've gone 10-2 (including five in a row) over the last thirteen weeks and no one is talking about them.

I like the 49ers to keep up their winning ways - and I don't trust Carson Palmer.

49ERS WIN 27-24

Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) at San Diego Chargers (8-7)

Line - Chargers by 9.5

The Chiefs are the only team in the playoff picture that has nothing to play for in Week 17. They've already wrapped up the #5 seed and can't do any better or any worse. The Chargers, on the other hand, have everything to play for this week - and they're at home.

I think the Chargers will win this game but the Chiefs won't let it get out of hand. It'll be closer than you think.

CHARGERS WIN 27-20

St. Louis Rams (7-8) at Seattle Seahawks (12-3)

Line - Seahawks by 10.5

Seattle will be coming into this game angry. They let an opportunity slip last week to lock up the #1 seed and get some additional rest heading into the playoffs. The Seahawks are tough to beat at home and the Rams will be walking into a very tough environment.

The Seahawks win this one BIG.

SEAHAWKS WIN 34-17

Philadelphia Eagles (9-6) at Dallas Cowboys (8-7)

Line - Eagles by 6.5

The Eagles are giving 6.5 points on the road to the Dallas Cowboys because of the injury to Tony Romo - otherwise this would probably be a pick'em game. This game should still make for compelling television without Romo, but it's definitely lost some of it's luster.

It seems like a fitting end to the Cowboys season to lose on a late field goal with Romo watching from the sidelines - and that's what I'm predicting.

EAGLES WIN 27-24

***

Agree? Disagree? As always, comments are welcome! I will track my picks during the season and brag when I'm right (and pretend I was right when I'm wrong). Pick against me if you dare - remember, I'm a Predictificationist.

Follow me on Twitter at @USAFootballBlog

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