It's another Football Friday! The last Football Friday of the regular season :(. Week 17 is upon us and that means there will be plenty on the line in most games. In fact, all but three carry playoff implication. That's great and speaks to the parity of the NFL. Playoffs start next week. Amazing how fast another football season has come and gone. Now let's get right to it get to some predictions in "the stack" for today, Friday, December 27:
Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons 1:00 PM ET FOX
A two seed in the NFC is up for grabs in this matchup. Had I told you this at the beginning of the season, you would have thought I was talking about the Falcons. However, it is the Panthers, who with a win get the two seed in the NFC. With that much at stake, they won't lose against a Falcons team who has refused to quit this season as evidenced by their game Monday night against San Francisco.
Prediction: Panthers 27 Falcons 17
Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 PM ET CBS
The Ravens postseason chances took a real hit last week with that thumping loss against New England. Their season is on the line and they'll come out swinging, but the Bengals are undefeated at home this year and want that two seed in the AFC. They're the better team this year and will show it Sunday.
Prediction: Bengals 23 Ravens 16
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts 1:00 PM ET CBS
The Jaguars were a punchline the first half of the season. Head coach Gus Bradley deserves a ton of credit for keeping his team together the second half of the season. They are building a solid foundation. Unfortunately, they won't get by a Colts team still jockeying for position in the AFC playoffs.
Prediction: Colts 27 Jaguars 16
New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins 1:00 PM ET CBS
Never thought the Jets would have won seven games this year. With Rex Ryan looking like he's gone at the end of the season, the Jets will go out and play hard for him, but Miami needs to win in order to have a shot at the postseason. The win will help.
Prediction: Dolphins 23 Jets 13
Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings 1:00 PM ET FOX
The final game at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome before they demolish it and start building the Vikings new home (they'll play the next two years at the University of Minnesota at TCF Bank Stadium). I've been to dozens of games there over the years. Seen many great games. The Greg Lewis catch. Never heard the Metrodome louder than when he made that catch. Sorry to say, I haven't been to many playoff games. The one against the Cowboys when Brett Favre was starting was the loudest the Metrodome has ever been or so I'm told. The Lions season is over. The Vikings season is over too, but they have more incentive to win this game and send the Metrodome out on a high note (more thoughts on the Metrodome next week).
Prediction: Vikings 30 Lions 24
Washington Redskins @ New York Giants 1:00 PM ET FOX
The Giants didn't back down against the Lions last week and ended the Lions hopes at winning the NFC North. While they can't do that this week, they can keep Washington's tailspin season spiraling downward with a win on Sunday.
Prediction: Giants 24 Washington 20
Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers 1:00 PM ET CBS
The Browns looked at one point to be turning the corner, but that quickly turned out not to be the case. Pittsburgh amazingly still has a shot at the playoffs though it will take a miracle. It all starts with them winning and they will find a way to do just that on Sunday.
Prediction: Steelers 31 Browns 20
Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans 1:00 PM ET CBS
New Houston versus Old Houston. Does anyone in either Houston or Nashville want to watch this game? Do they care? Texans sow up the number one draft pick with a loss.
Prediction: Titans 26 Texans 13
San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals 4:25 PM ET FOX
The Arizona Cardinals have a shot at the playoffs!! Unfortunately for them though, the Falcons couldn't pull off the upset Monday night meaning that Arizona not only has to beat the 49ers, but they also need New Orleans to lose in the Superdome! That's not going to happen. Cardinals will be 11-5 and miss the playoffs. It's New England all over again.
Prediction: Cardinals 24 49ers 19
Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears 4:25 PM ET FOX
The news that rocked the NFL world yesterday is that Aaron Rodgers will start at quarterback for the Packers. If they get in, watch out. They're going to be dangerous. Rodgers will be rusty early, but he'll get it together against that bad Bears defense and lead the Packers to the playoffs.
Prediction: Packers 31 Bears 27
Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots 4:25 PM ET CBS
The Bills defense will play the Patriots tough, but New England also has incentive to just to somehow get the two seed in the AFC, a thought that most people probably wouldn't have expected given all that New England has lost. You can credit Bill Belichick and Tom Brady for that.
Prediction: Patriots 23 Bills 17
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints 4:25 PM ET FOX
The Saints may not be great on the road, but they are nearly unbeatable at home. Tampa Bay will find that out once again and the Saints will secure a birth in the NFC playoffs.
Prediction: Saints 31 Bucs 10
Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders 4:25 PM ET CBS
Denver still needs to win to secure homefield advantage throughout the playoffs. The Raiders offer little resistance of getting in their way. Peyton Manning's assault on the record books continues.
Prediction: Broncos 38 Raiders 20
Kansas City Chiefs @ San Diego Chargers 4:25 PM ET CBS
Last week's loss hurt the Chiefs. A wild card spot looks like all they will get this year. Andy Reid may rest his starters which is good news for the Chargers who are still fighting for the playoffs. However, they will most certainly learn their fate by the time kickoff happens. Still, they'll find a way to win.
Prediction: Chargers 34 Chiefs 23
St. Louis Rams @ Seattle Seahawks 4:25 PM ET FOX
The Rams may be playing better, but they picked the wrong time to go to Seattle against a Seahawks team that just lost for the first time at home in the Russell Wilson era and are still fighting for the number one seed in the NFC playoffs. Good luck Rams.
Prediction: Seahawks 29 Rams 13
Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys 8:30 PM ET NBC
At this point, don't we have to assume that Tony Romo isn't playing? Most signs indicate to him not playing. If he doesn't play, the Cowboys are screwed. Already without linebacker Sean Lee, Romo's absence leaves the Cowboys with little hope of beating the high-octane Eagles. Forget the fact that the Cowboys held the Eagles to 3 points in their win earlier in the year. That was an aberration. Kyle Orton says he has the offense down and he probably does, but he is no Tony Romo. And this Eagles team is not the same that the Cowboys saw earlier this year. If Romo plays, I may change my tune slightly, but right now, I don't see the Cowboys having much of a chance.
Prediction: Eagles 38 Cowboys 20
Coming up Monday: Week 17 NFL reaction