Predicting the NFL’s final weekend


This weekend the NFL will conclude it’s 2015 regular season and all about 12 teams will start their off-season. 11 games have some playoff implications.

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As the NFL enters the final weekend home field advantage in both the AFC and the NFC are undecided. In the NFC both the Cardinals and Panthers have clinched bye’s but the Panthers have not yet claimed home field advantage. In the AFC New England has clinched a bye but not home field advantage.

The division levels get intriguing where Denver is trying to hold off a surging Kansas City and the Texans are tyring to hold off the Colts. The Steelers are still hanging around as well but need a lot to happen this weekend. In the NFC, all the playoff spots are taken but it’s the home field stuff that has to be decided. Green Bay and Minnesota will be playing for the NFC North division title.

It all makes for an interesting weekend unless you are following one of those teams that have already been eliminated…like the Dolphins.

What makes this year interesting is the records of teams not in the post-season. The NFC only boasts one team with a potential winning record, Atlanta, who will sit out the post-season. They could finish 9-7. Conversely the Washington Redskins could also finish 9-7 or 8-8 but they have already won the NFC East.

In the AFC only the Steelers and Colts have a shot at being over .500 and missing the playoffs. The Steelers will finish no worse than 9-7 but a 10-6 record still does not get them in the playoffs. Every other eliminated team in the AFC is below .500 and only Oakland and Buffalo can get to .500. The Texans hold a one game lead over the Colts and are 7-8 leading the AFC South. Even if they lose they can still win the division at 8-8.

14 of the 32 NFL teams will finish with losing records this year and three teams can still finish at .500. Three others can win and reach 9-7 but if they lose they too will be at .500. If these six teams fail to reach .500, the NFL will have over half of it’s teams below the average mark. That’s a surprising number.

Here are my week 17 predictions

New England at Miami

The Dolphins looked like they mailed in last week. The Patriots are playing for home field advantage and win secures that. I can’t imagine Miami pulling up an upset here.

New England 44 – Dolphins 21

New Orleans at Atlanta

This is an intriguing game if simply for the fact that both teams are actually playing for pride and are wanting to win. Both teams are eliminated but the Falcons can get to .500 on the season.

Atlanta 32 – New Orleans 30

New York Jets at Buffalo

The Bills have had a disappointing season but they can knock the Jets out of the playoffs or at least help them out of the post-season.

Jets 28 – Bills 20

Detroit at Chicago

Meaningless to anyone but the fans. Detroit however is playing to keep their coach.

Detroit 36 – Chicago 15

Baltimore at Cincinnati

The Ravens can only hope to spoil the Bengals attempt at a first round bye. Even a win doesn’t guarantee they will succeed.

Bengals 28 – Ravens 19

Pittsburgh at Cleveland

This is one of those rivalry games that are fun to watch. Well not all the time. The Steelers need to win and hope someone else loses, like the Jets. The Browns are playing good enough to give them a problem.

Steelers 27 – Browns 14

Washington at Dallas

The Redskins will start Kirk Cousins but will likely sit him after the first half. As well as a few other players. They are just coasting to the playoffs first round. The sad part is Cousins can throw three touchdowns in the first half and that will be enough.

Redskins 28 – Dallas 10

Jacksonville at Houston

The Texans need a win, the Jaguars don’t. Texans are heading to the post-season with a win.

Texans 26 – Jacksonville 24

Tennessee at Indianapolis

The Colts need a win and a Texans loss and then need even more help. A lot more help. The Titans win and they might not have the top pick in the draft.

Titans 20 – Colts 10

Philadelphia at New York Giants

The Eagles will have an interim head coach and Tom Coughlin could be coaching his last game in the NFL. Coughlin deserves to go out with a win.

Giants 32 – Eagles 26

Seattle at Arizona

This could be a very good game and a foreshadowing of the NFC Championship game. Playoff bonus with no real playoff implications outside of home field for the Cardinals. Could be a great defensive game.

Arizona 27 – Seattle 24

Tampa Bay at Carolina

The Panthers lost last week and now can sit all the players they want. They won’t. Not the entire game but the Panthers are still good enough to beat the Buc’s.

Panthers 34 – Buc’s 20

San Diego at Denver

The Broncos have Peyton Mannning back, but as a back-up. The Chargers could be playing their last game as San Diego. Denver has more to lose and San Diego is still a mess.

Denver 40 – San Diego 28

Oakland at Kansas City

No other team is as hot right now as the Chiefs. The Raiders have gotten a lot better this year but their motivation to reach .500 isn’t more than the motivation K.C. could have to win the division.

K.C. 32 – Oakland 21

St. Louis at San Francisco

The Rams have not lived up to expectations. The 49ers are what we expected.

Rams 30 – 49ers 17

Vikings at Green Bay

This is the best option to wrap the season. The Vikings and Packers are squareing off for the division crown and while both have locked up a playoff birth, the game could have implications that change the first round of the playoffs. If the Seahawks beat the Cardinals and the Packers beat the Vikings the Vikings will travel to Green Bay in the first week of the playoffs.

Vikings 34 – Green Bay 24