NFL Picks: Week 17

By Tony McClean
Updated: December 30, 2004

NEW HAVEN, Ct. — Finally we’ve reached the finish line. The last week of the regular season is just the beginning for some teams and end of a long, grueling stretch for others. While some teams prepare for the playoffs, others are anxiously awaiting the NFL Combine in February or the college draft in April.

Next week, we’ll take a capsule look at all the remaining teams for the upcoming playoffs. But as for today we’ll try and see if we can end the year on a high note.
History shows that teams winning in Week 17 improve their chances for playoff success. In the past five seasons, playoff clubs seeded 1-4 have a far better winning percentage after winning in Week 17 than those that lose in the final week.

Of the 40 top-four seeded clubs since 1999, 30 won in Week 17. Of those 30, 25 won their first playoff game, for a winning percentage of .833. The 10 that lost in Week 17 lost their first playoff game in four instances for a .600 winning percentage.

LAST WEEK: 8-8 (135-106 overall)

We probably went with too many upsets last week (i.e., Jets, Chargers, Bears). But then again, I didn’t expect Andy Reid to treat Monday night’s game against the Rams like a controlled scrimmage either. Also, I didn’t think the Jags would stink up the joint at home against the Texans.



Despite their 0-4 start, the Bills are exactly where they want to be. A home win against the AFC North champs should put Buffalo in the postseason, especially with Big Ben sitting this one out. The Bills can accomplish what only one other team in history has. They can join the 1992 San Diego Chargers as the lone teams in history to start the season 0-4 and make the playoffs.

Pick: Bills.


With their hopes for a division title now gone, the Purple Gang needs to win and get a lot of help along the way. Mike Tice has already been given an extension for next season so that shouldn’t be an issue this week for Minny. However, here’s something for you to chew on. Grandpa Gibbs is 7-0 all-time against the Vikings. What would be a better way to end a dismal season in D.C. than to end Minnesota’s season as well.

Pick: Redskins.


Now that Peyton Manning has the Dan Marino thing out of the way, the Colts will try and tie a franchise record for wins. As for the Broncos, they need to win and need all sorts of unmentionable scenarios to get in the postseason. Last year, Denver went to Indy on a Sunday night and defeated the Colts. Just a few weeks later, Indy ended the Broncos’ season in a wild card playoff game. This time, Denver won’t have to make the extra trip.

Pick: Colts.


For all intents and purposes, this is a playoff game between two 7-8 squads with the winner getting one of the NFC wild card berths. Way back on November 7, the Panthers were 1-7 and the Saints were 3-5. Since then, the Panthers have won six of seven, and the Saints four of seven, including their last three in a row. Carolina has won the last four meetings against New Orleans. It will be close, but I think the defending NFC champs may have the slight edge.

Pick: Panthers.


Rams over Jets: Sorry, Reverend Herm. It’s just not in the cards this season.

Ravens over Dolphins: It may also be too little, too late for the Lewis boys as well.

Packers over Bears: The Cheesheads should win this even without all the regulars playing.

Texans over Browns: 2005 could be a playoff year for Houston.

Patriots over 49ers: With the first pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, the 49ers select………

Lions over Titans: Two teams going in completely opposite directions.

Cards over Bucs: Just so Denny Green can end the season on a good note.

Falcons over Seahawks: Could these teams meet again down the road?? Stay tuned.

Jaguars over Raiders: Despite last week’s shutout, this was a banner season for Jacksonville.

Chargers over Chiefs: The loss at Indy may have finally opened some people’s eyes about the Bolts.

Cowboys over Giants: The Tuna Helpers hand Lil’ Eli one more loss.