FOOTBALL: Pickin' Winners - Week 17

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It’s do-or-die time in Pick ‘Em Pools. Whether you’re protecting a lead over your buddies or trying to make up a few points on Ned from accounting, there are just 16 games left, thus each one is huge. Of course, I’ll keep picking games through the playoffs, but I’m also in a pool that ends at the conclusion of the regular season. So let’s stay focused on Week 17. It’s historically a wild week with plenty of contenders resting for the playoffs, players sitting out with minor injuries and coaches trying out young players. You really have to stay on top of the inactives and the benchings. This week, the teams that have little or nothing to play for are the Patriots, Bears and Eagles. For the only time in the season, all 16 games will be played on Sunday, creating quite a football smorgasbord during the early and afternoon games.

Last week was a bit of a downer for The Geek. I didn’t have a great feel for the games and it showed up in the form of a 7-9 week (missed my Falcons lock too). At least my last-minute move to switch from the Jets to the Bears paid off. If any surprising developments pop up, I reserve the right to change my mind again, but for now, here are my…


(Spreads based on ESPN’s Pigskin Pick ‘Em)

These are my irrational rationales…


After picking the Panthers last week and watching that anemic offense do absolutely zilch, I don’t have the stomach to take them again in a game the ticked-off Falcons need to win.

The Browns scare me a little in their matchup vs. Pittsburgh. So you know what? I’m gonna take them. The Steelers haven’t breezed in a road game since Week 3.

All you Brett Favre haters, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is there’s no way the ol’ INT-slinger doesn’t retire after this season. The bad news is that he’s probably going to start in Week 17 against the Lions. Given the Lions trouble with fourth-quarter leads, I’ll go with the Vikings and the 3.5.

Coach Jack Haley has implied that Kansas City is going to go all out against Oakland. Thus, I see a decent value in this 3.5 spread. Look for the Chiefs to head into the playoffs with a little momentum.

The Patriots, on the other hand, will not be going all out. I say Brady gets a solid half in, while the younger Pats play most of the game. That may be enough for them to win, but since that’s just an estimation, they could also mail this game in. I’ll grab the Dolphins and the 3.5.

The Bengals have played much better without their big-mouth wide receivers. That should continue in what I see as a narrow win for the Ravens.

Tampa Bay’s playoff hopes are dangling by a thread. Still, I expect them to come out swingin’. The Saints are in and a division title and bye would require the Falcons to fold faster than an old T-shirt at the laundromat. Thus, the Buccaneers will be hungrier and will keep it within a touchdown.

The Jets are better off losing to the Bills. If they do, they’re likely to go to Kansas City in Round 1, as opposed to Baltimore or Pittsburgh. That’s why I don’t think we’ll see a whole lot of the Jets starters. The frisky Bills pull off a mild upset here.

The Bears are practically locked in, so Lovie Smith will probably go easy on Cutler & Co. The Packers need a win to get in. I think they’d win this game even if Chicago was at full strength, so I’ll got with the Packers in a romp.

Indianapolis is gaining steam. Tennessee put a stamp on it weeks ago. No way the Colts blow this one at home. That’s a lot of points, but now that Addai’s back, Indy’s offense isn’t all on Peyton’s shoulders (just most of it is).

Oh, how things can change in four weeks. The Giants demolished the Redskins back in Week 13. Now, they’re a shell of that juggernaut. Washington has been pesky with Rex Grossman at quarterback. With limited receiving options for Eli (Nicks and Smith are out), I’m going to bet on the Redskins to exact a little revenge.

Breaking news has made this pick easier. David Garrard and MoJo Drew are both out with injuries. That makes it a lock to bet on the Texans against the Trent Edwards-led Jaguars.

The Eagles defense just isn’t that good. I keep picking them and then wondering why. I’ve been a sucker for all that speed they have on offense. But Philly hasn’t held anyone under 24 points since Week 11, so I’ll go with the Cowboys.

What a crapfest this Cardinals-49ers game is. San Fran has been my nemesis all season long. They’re still getting too much credit giving 6.5. I don’t want to back John Skelton on the road. Yet, I’m taking the Cardinals because I don’t want to back Alex Smith at home either.

The Chargers imploded last week in Cincinnati. Now they have nothing to play for. Meanwhile, Tebow Fever is running rampant in Denver. Look for the Broncos to simply care more than the checked-out Bolts.


How’s 7-8 St. Louis at 6-9 Seattle for a regular-season finale?! Well, NBC figures it’s a playoff game, so why not? It should actually be a good game…if Matt Hasselbeck is anywhere near 100%. I’m not confident he will be and Charlie “Whitehearse” could bury the limping Seahawks. The Rams are clearly the better team here. Only question is can rookie Sam Bradford stay composed in what will be the most hostile environment he’s played in? I say yes.


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