It's Friday and that means it's time to preview week 17 in the NFL and make some predictions. Hard to think that it is the final week of the regular season. Where did it all go? The Stack is here to talk about that and yes I know Avery Johnson being fired from the Brooklyn Nets is big news and Phil Jackson is said to be interested in the job. We'll talk about that next week. Before we get to the NFL, picks for the bowl games today...taking Rutgers over Virginia Tech, Louisiana-Monroe over Ohio and Texas Tech over Minnesota. Now, let's get to "the stack" for today, Friday, December 28:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons 1:00 PM ET FOX
The Falcons say they will not rest their starters this week. That's a good enough reason for me to pick them against a Bucs team that looks like its given up.
Prediction: Falcons 27 Bucs 13
New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills 1:00 PM ET CBS
Mark Sanchez gets the start at QB for the Jets this week. Don't know how much I trust him or the Jets, but the Bills haven't played well the last few weeks and I think the Jets can pull out a victory here to end the year. This game is a toss up.
Prediction: Jets 20 Bills 17
Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 PM ET CBS
Both teams have locked up playoff spots, but the Bengals are going into the game like it's ay other and will not rest their starters. Because it's at home and they are a little healthier than the Ravens, I think the Bengals can get the victory here.
Prediction: Bengals 23 Ravens 20
Chicago Bears @ Detroit Lions 1:00 PM ET FOX
Won't shock me if the Lions win this game. End their seven game losing streak. Been a lot of trash talk going on this week between the two teams. But the Lions look like they've packed up and ready to get out of Detroit and the Bears still have a shot at the playoffs with a win and a Vikings loss.
Prediction: Bears 27 Lions 17
Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts 1:00 PM ET CBS
Colts get an emotional boost with head coach Chuck Pagano back on the sidelines and they are going to put the pedal to the metal and play their starters even though they've already secured a playoff spot. The Texans were embarrassed last week at home against the Vikings and they need a win to secure homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. They play like the more depserate team in this one.
Prediction: Texans 30 Colts 20
Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints 1:00 PM ET FOX
Both teams are looking to end the season on a positive note. Panthers have played well the lately, winning three games in a row and perhaps saving head coach Ron Rivera's job. But after a frustrating year, the Saints give their fans one last reason to cheer.
Prediction: Saints 31 Panthers 24
Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants 1:00 PM ET FOX
Michael Vick starting at quarterback for the Eagles just made this game a whole lot more interesting. He is auditioning for his next team and it will not shock me if the Eagles win this game for head coach Andy Reid. Given how the Giants have looked the last two weeks, it is tough to see how the win, but they still have an outside shot at the playoffs and will win this one.
Prediction: Giants 23 Eagles 20
Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00 PM ET CBS
Steelers may not make the playoffs this year, but given the Browns quarterback conundrum, the Steelers win this one at home.
Prediction: Steelers 31 Browns 13
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans 1:00 PM ET CBS
The Titans were smoked last week at Green Bay. They looked they quit. The Jaguars were very close to beating the Patriots last week. Given how the two teams played last week, I'll take a chance on the Jaguars winning this one.
Prediction: Jaguars 24 Titans 17
Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos 4:25 PM ET CBS
Broncos have a shot at homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. Do you really think they're really going to stumble against the two win Chiefs? I don't think so either. At least the Chiefs can leave knowing that they have five Pro Bowl players on their roster.
Prediction: Broncos 34 Chiefs 10
Green Bay Packers @ Minnesota Vikings 4:25 PM ET FOX
Perhaps the biggest game of the weekend. One, a Vikings win gets them in the playoffs. Two, Adrian Peterson is gunning for the record books, 208 yards away. And this is a bitter border battle. Packers have a couple of injury issues to wide receivers Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson and I don't know if I'd risk further injury to them, but the want the number two seed and get that first round bye. I think the pull this one out.
Prediction: Packers 31 Vikings 23
Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots 4:25 PM ET CBS
With a shot at a first round bye and given how they played last week against Jacksonville, the Patriots are a very safe pick this week.
Prediction: Patriots 27 Dolphins 17
Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers 4:25 PM ET CBS
When you're thinking of starting Matt Leinart or Terrelle Pryor, that doesn't bode well for your chances of winning. Chargers send Norv Turner out with a win.
Prediction: Chargers 27 Raiders 9
St. Louis Rams @ Seattle Seahawks 4:25 PM ET FOX
Seahawks smoked the 49ers last week. Do you really think the Rams can go into Seattle and beat a team that is undefeated at home? Nope! Seahawks continue momentum for the playoffs.
Prediction: Seahawks 38 Rams 17
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers 4:25 PM ET FOX
Brian Hoyer is starting at quarterback for the Cardinals. That is all you need to know.
Prediction: 49ers 27 Cardinals 6
Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins 8:20 PM ET NBC
Win and you're in. It's that simple. The Cowboys have been in this position before the last couple of years and have failed miserably. Remember the debacle against the Giants last year. I see them having more success this year, but RGIII is healthier and is ready to lead the Redskins to the playoffs. Playing at home is the key. I think the Redskins win a close, exciting game.
Prediction: Redskins 27 Cowboys 24
Coming up Monday: NFL week 17 reaction