Well, not only did I bomb with that Eagles pick last week, but it ended up being the last game coached by Chip Kelly. That’s a way to go out, getting thoroughly demolished by a divisional opponent. Speaking of divisional opponents, though, I hit the nail on the head with the Ravens shocking the Steelers. That Pittsburgh team chose the wrong time to have a letdown, and we’ll see if they can backdoor their way into the playoffs after that debacle.
The Broncos have a chance at the overall number 1 spot in the conference, and the Dolphins have spoiled a few parties before. Could it happen here? And with Manning active but on the bench for the Denver squad that merely has to get past the rival Chargers? There are so many evolving and revolving story lines for this final week of the season, and a few surprise in store as well.
Here are my Ace Picks for Week 17…
New Orleans @ ATLANTA – Maybe the Falcons captured lightning in a bottle by beating the Panthers last week. Perhaps Julio Jones is the second coming of Jerry Rice, and Matt Ryan will be good for fantasy now that the fantasy season is over. That’s a lot of uncertainty, but Drew Brees is playing on the road, so I’m saying he doesn’t get the job done. Pick: FALCONS.
NY Jets @ BUFFALO – Somehow it has become the popular choice to pick the Bills (an inferior team) to beat the Jets (a superior team), but there’s precedence I guess for that. I mean, it is a divisional rivalry, and the Falcons did beat the Panthers last week. But somehow I don’t see this one playing out like a fairy tale for Rex Ryan. Pick: JETS.
Washington @ DALLAS – The Redskins are playing for absolutely nothing. They are locked in as the 4-seed, so look for them to rest some starters in this one, making it more of a fair fight for the Cowboys. Kellen Moore wins his first start, but behind the running of Darren McFadden. Pick: COWBOYS.
Tennessee @ INDIANAPOLIS – This Colts team is hanging on by the thinnest of margins, hoping against hope that a near impossible series of events will happen in its favor. But first and foremost they have to take care of business. Zach Mettenberger hasn’t won in an awfully long time. I don’t see it happening here. They take care of their part. Pick: COLTS.
Detroit @ CHICAGO – The Lions have played better of late. If they just hadn’t started out so poorly, and if they just hadn’t thrown away that Green Bay game, we might be even talking playoffs. Of course the Bears are in the same arena, being underachievers when it matters most. I think Matthew Stafford stays hot to end the year. Pick: LIONS.
Pittsburgh @ CLEVELAND – The Browns are playing out the string without a concussion-riddled Johnny Manziel, and the Steelers are a wee bit angry after that loss to the Ravens. It may be a scenario of too little-too late, but Roethlisberger gets his. Pick: STEELERS.
New England @ MIAMI – The Dolphins have been left for dead, and they played with very little passion or emotion last week, but it’s the hated Patriots, and they will come to play in this one. I’ve been trying to talk myself into picking them. Honestly I have, but even with all of the anger they’ll feel in this one I don’t see them getting it done. Pick: PATRIOTS.
Philadelphia @ NY GIANTS – I have absolutely no clue how the Eagles will play in this one, with the playoffs now out of reach and Chip Kelly gone. Will they step up to the plate to prove they are still kicking, or will they pack it in early? I don’t think they pack it in, but I also can’t see the Giants sending Tom Coughlin packing off a loss. Pick: GIANTS.
Baltimore @ CINCINNATI – The Ravens are adjusting okay to life without Joe Flacco, and Ryan Mallett played pretty well against the Steelers last week. Except the Bengals D is quite a bit better than the one they sport in Pittsburgh. That will be the difference here. Pick: BENGALS.
Jacksonville @ HOUSTON – The Texans winning this one would be fitting, as it would take every scenario of the Colts getting a miracle out of play. Brian Hoyer is back just in time for the playoffs, and he will treat this game as a playoff contest. While the Jaguars have done some positive things this year, the Houston defense will have the better day. Pick: TEXANS.
Tampa Bay @ CAROLINA – Last week — that was the Panthers team I expected to see all season, and while the party line is not to panic, that they needed this loss, I disagree. They need to be playing well come playoff time, not going on a 2-game losing streak right now. So the real Panthers will step up and take this one at home. Pick: PANTHERS.
Oakland @ KANSAS CITY – Do I believe in Alex Smith against the Raiders? Yes, I do. The KC quarterback has been playing very well of late, and that running game doesn’t hurt either. While I don’t think they will win the division in this one (see: Broncos pick later), I do think they go into the playoffs with a bang over a young Raiders team. Pick: CHIEFS.
Seattle @ ARIZONA – The Seahawks want to save some tricks for the playoffs, and honestly, they’re just not as good as the Cardinals. While Arizona can lay an egg once in a while (see: the 49ers game) they’ve been lights out of late, and there will be no letdown from that demolishing of the Packers last week. Pick: CARDINALS.
San Diego @ DENVER – I believe in Brock. Uh, okay, okay. I believe in that Broncos defense that can put the clamps on when need be. And I think that Brock can manage the offense enough to take care of business, at home, against a divisional opponent that is less talented. Look for a lot of running in this one. Pick: BRONCOS.
St. Louis @ SAN FRANCISCO – Blaine Gabbert is going through an audition of sorts, and he’s played well enough to this point to garner some support in the organization. But this is the big time, against a St. Louis defense that has some serious holes, his final chance to prove some things. And I think he does. Pick: 49ERS.
Minnesota @ GREEN BAY – The Vikings were dominant against the Giants last week, and the Packers were embarrassed by the Cardinals, so conventional wisdom would say this one should lean toward the Minnesota team. The mystique is gone at least a little from the home team at Lambeau, and the Vikings want it more. Pick: VIKINGS.