The Sherms Week 17 NFL Forecast

 

by Ryan Sherman 

 

Happy New Year Horn-balls.   Playoff races are coming down to the wire.  Enjoy the Forecast, and have a happy and healthy new year.

For those of you who care, my season (Weeks 6-12, 14) stats are as follows:

Win/Loss Record Entering Week 17:  59-36   (62.1%)

Record With Point Spread Entering Week 17:      44-45-4   (49.5%)

 

Jets (8-7) at Dolphins (5-10)  ♣♣

The J-E-T-S most likely played their way out of the playoffs last week by losing to the Giants.  Now they need to (1) Win and have (2) the Bengals lose, (3) the Titans lose and (4) the Raiders or Broncos lose to get the #6 seed. The Dolphins would certainly love to be the ones put the nail in the Jets coffin.

A Dolphins win would drop the Fins from the 7th or 8th pick to the 10th or 11th pick, but at least it would send Jason Taylor into retirement on a high note.

Prediction:  Dolphins 24 – Jets 13

Goodbye JT. May there be many Stars for you to Dance with in your future.

 

Bills (6-9) v. Patriots (12-3)  ♣♣

The Patriots could slip to the #2 seed in the AFC with a loss and either a Ravens or Steelers win, but can clinch the #1 seed with a win. I’m thinking the latter is  more likely.

Prediction:  Patriots 30 – Bills 20

 

 

Ravens (11-4) at Bengals (9-6) ♣♣♣♣ 

This is the second best game of the week (with Cowboys/Giants play-in game being the first, see below) as both the Ravens and Bengals need a win.

Granted, need is a relative term as the Bengals need a win to get into the playoffs (unless of course the (1) Titans, (2) Jets, and (3) Broncos or Raiders, all lose) while the Ravens need a win to ensure a #2 seed and First Round Bye.

Assuming that the Steelers beat the Browns (who have nothing to play for…and no quarterback), a Ravens loss would slip them from the #2 (or #1) seed and a First Round Bye to the #5 seed and an away game in the Wildcard Round. Fortunately that game would be against AFC West Winner, Denver or Oakland, and they’d crush either.

I expect that, like the Bengals season, this game to come down to the wire…but the Ravens will come out on top.  Bengals miss playoffs, Ravens get #2 seed and First Round Bye.

Prediction:  Ravens 24 – Bengals 23         

The Bengals will pull out all the stops, and the weave.Â

 

Titans (8-7) v. Texans (10-5) ♣♣♣

The Texans are locked into the #3 seed in the AFC, and are on course for a Wildcard Round loss to whomever gets the #6 seed (Bengals, Raiders, Titans or Jets).

The Titans can make the playoffs, and get a rematch with the Texans in the Wildcard Round the following week., with:

(1) a win,

(2) a Bengals loss,  and

(3)(a) a win by the Jets AND a loss by the Raiders OR the Broncos, or

(b) a loss by the Jets AND a win by the Raiders AND Broncos

If the Bengals lose to the Ravens, the Titans “just” have to win and hope the Jets/Raiders/Broncos results shake out in their favor.

Prediction:  Titans 23 – Texans 20

 

 

Colts (2-13) at Jaguars (4-11) ♣♣

The Colts may blow the #1 pick and the chance to draft Andrew Luck by ending a horrid season that started 0-13 on an equally horrid 3-0 note.  If I’m Bill Pollian, I hope Dan Orlofsky comes down with the flu. Send in the Painter!

Prediction:  Jaguars 24 – Colts 10

 

 

Redskins (5-10) at Eagles (7-8) ♣

The only reason this game is even one iota’s worth of interesting is from a draft pick perspective.  Redskins top-8 pick remains safe as the Eagles win easy.

Prediction:  Eagles 27 – Redskins 13

 

 

Bears (7-8) at Vikings (3-12) ♣

The Vikings could have had the #1 pick of the draft (and drafted Luck, or traded for a boatload of picks if they wanted to stick with Ponder) if they lost last week and this week.  Instead they beat the Redskins in come from behind fashion in Week 16, and lost AP for at least 8 months with two torn knee ligaments in the process.

Oh well, as a wise man once said, “you play to win the game…Hello?”…despite the consequences.  They’ll probably win again on Sunday.

Prediction: Vikings 20 – Bears 17

 

 

Panthers (6-9) at Saints (12-3) ♣♣♣

The Saints will be the #3 seed and will play Detroit or Atlanta (Detroit…unless they lose and Atlanta wins) in the Wildcard Round unless

(a) they win and

(b) the 49ers lose to the Rams on Sunday (in which case they would be the #2 seed and get a valuable First Round Bye).

When the 49ers are up by 27 points in the third quarter the Saints will pull Drew Brees and will end up losing this game by 3.

Prediction:  Panthers 30 – Saints 27

 

"One last thing Cam, if you're thinking of growing a unique mustache...do your research first"

 

49ers (12-3)  v. Rams (2-13) ♣

See Panthers at Saints, above.

Prediction:  49ers 34 – Rams 13

 

Lions (10-5)) at Packers (14-1) ♣♣

This game is very important to the Lions and basically meaningless to the Packers.

The Packers already locked up the #1 seed and the First Round Bye in the NFC.  Thus, this is a keep the rust off game and a make sure Aaron Rodgers doesn’t get hurt, walk-through for Packers.  I would expect to see the Pack throw in backup QB Matt Flynn in as early as the 2nd quarter.

Conversely, the Lions need a win to ensure getting the #5 seed rather than the #6 seed and play the Cowboys/Giants winner, rather than the Saints (or possibly the 49ers) in the Wildcard Round.

Given the respective stakes, I like the Lions here.

Prediction:  Lions 30 – Packers 24

The Lions haven't capitalized on anything playoff related in 20 years. Will they start now?


 

Steelers (11-4) at Browns (4-11)  ♣♣

The Steelers will bring all they got, after all, they can still grab a #1 or #2 seed and a First Round Bye if they win and the Ravens lose.

Unless LeBron returns to Cleveland and starts at QB, the Browns don’t stand a chance.

NOTE: I’d love to be in an alternate reality where LeBron did start for the Browns, and the Browns won, and the fans cheered LeBron in the process, just so I could read Dan Gilbert’s public hate-email to the Browns fans the next morning.

Prediction:  Steelers 27 – Browns 13      

 

 

Chiefs (6-9) at Broncos (8-7) ♣♣♣

Broncos start 1-4, bench Orton, start Tebow, Tebow starts wining, Orton gets cut, Orton gets picked up by the Chiefs, and is now starting against the Broncos in Week 17.

Oh, one more thing, (so long as the Raiders beat the Chargers) Orton and the Chiefs can play the Ultimate Spoiler (ok, the 2011 Baltimore Orioles are for now and the somewhat distant future the Ultimate Spoilers for knocking the Red Sox out of the playoffs, but still…) and knock the Broncos out of the playoffs if they beat ‘em.

Orton gets his revenge, and becomes the salvation for Tebow-doubters far and wide.

Prediction:  Chiefs 20 – Broncos 13

"It's ok Kyle. I'm sure He loves you too..."

 

Seahawks (7-8) v. Cardinals (7-8) ♣

This game is meaningless, aside from the fact the loser will get a slightly higher draft pick.

Prediction:  Cardinals 23 – Seahawks 20

 

Chargers (7-8) at Raiders (8-7) ♣♣♣

Wouldn’t it be something if the Chiefs play (would-be) spoiler by beating the Broncos but, at the same time, the Chargers play spoiler and beat the Raiders, thus propelling the (8-8) Broncos back in the playoffs?

Yeah, that would be something…and it will happen.

Prediction:  Chargers 23 – Raiders 20

 

Buccaneers (4-11) at Falcons (9-6) ♣

If Detroit loses to the Packers at 1:00pm then the Falcons could improve their playoff seeding and move from the#6 seed (and a Wildcard game at the Saints) to the #5 seed (and a Wildcard game at the Cowboys/Giants, see below) with a win over the Bucs at 4:15pm.

Conversely, if the Lions beat the Packers at 1:00pm this game will be meaningless.

Either way, Falcons win.

Prediction:   1.  If Lions beat Packers:  Falcons 21 – Buccaneers 17 

                       2.  If Lions lose to Packers:  Falcons 31 – Buccaneers 13

 

 

Cowboys (8-7) at Giants (8-7) ♣♣♣♣

It’s simple: the winner of this game wins the NFC East and gets the #4 seed in the NFC, the loser hits the golf course.

Adding to the drama, Tony Romo — whose big-game performance has been doubted, and for good reason — is battling a swollen hand courtesy of Jason Babin’s helmet in the Cowboys Week 16 loss to the Eagles.

I like Eli Manning in big games and, thus, I’d be leaning towards the Giants at home here even without Romo’s injured hand.   Plus, the cold-weather Giants will be playing a cold night game thanks to the NFL flexing this game to 8:20pm, which bodes well for the G-Men. Here’s to a long off-season of drunk Jerry Jones cell phone conversations.

Prediction:  Giants 24 – Cowboys 20 

"Swollen hand, huh? Maybe you shouldn't spend so much time on the Horn"