Gerry Dulac's NFL Forecast: Week 17

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Last week: 8-8 (.500)

Season record: 149-91 (.621)


Cleveland Browns (4-11) at Steelers (7-8), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The Steelers need a lot of things to happen for them to make the postseason, and one of them is beating the Browns. After a 3-2 start, the Browns have lost nine of their past 10 games to secure an 11-loss season for the sixth year in a row. The Steelers are averaging 30 points in their past six games.

Prediction: Steelers, 30-9

Baltimore Ravens (8-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (10-5), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: After being embarrassed by the Patriots, the Ravens need a victory against the Bengals and a loss by the Dolphins to get the second wild-card. The Bengals have wrapped up the division title and are unbeaten at home, but still have a chance for a first-round bye.

Prediction: Bengals, 27-16

New York Jets (7-8) at Miami Dolphins (8-7), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The Dolphins are in control of the second wild-card spot and can make the postseason with a victory against the Jets. The Steelers already got some help from the Jets when they beat the Browns. Is it too much to expect them to do so again?

Prediction: Dolphins, 23-17

Carolina Panthers (11-4) at Atlanta Falcons (4-11), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The Panthers have clinched a playoff spot and can win the division with a victory against the Falcons, but they also have an outside shot at the No. 1 seed in the NFC. The Falcons, a participant in last year’s title game, thought they would be that team.

Prediction: Panthers, 28-24

Houston Texans (2-13) at Tennessee Titans (6-9), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The Texans went from a Super Bowl contender in the eyes of many people to the worst team in the NFL. Considering that they won their first two games on the final play, their 13-game losing streak is beyond astounding. Might as well make it 14.

Prediction: Titans, 24-20

Jacksonville Jaguars (4-11) at Indianapolis Colts (10-5), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: By beating the Chiefs in Kansas City, the Colts took a big step toward regaining some confidence. No other team in the league can claim victories against four playoff teams – Seattle, San Francisco, Denver and KC. The Colts can.

Prediction: Colts, 31-13

Detroit Lions (7-8) at Minnesota Vikings (4-11-1), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The Lions’ three-game slide that has taken them from postseason consideration began against the Steelers. The Vikings will finish the season as the only team to be winless on the road (0-7-1). But they are tough at home.

Prediction: Vikings, 34-31

Washington Redskins (3-12) at New York Giants (6-9), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: This had the look of a potential playoff showdown before the season. But the Redskins aren’t far behind the Texans and Falcons as the biggest disappointments of the season. Of course, they had a big excuse – the injury to RG3.

Prediction: Giants, 31-21

Green Bay Packers (7-7-1) at Chicago Bears (8-7), 4:25 p.m.

The Skinny: Despite their loss to the Steelers, the Packers can still win the division with a victory in Chicago, thanks to the Bears’ loss in Philadelphia. The Bears are the only team in the league to allow 40 or more points in four games this season.

Prediction: Bears, 40-34

Denver Broncos (12-3) at Oakland Raiders (4-12), 4:25 p.m.

The Skinny: The Broncos can assure themselves of the No. 1 seed with a victory against the Raiders. That should be a given with Peyton Manning, who had four more TD passes last week – the 30th time he has done that – to set the single-season record with 51.

Prediction: Broncos, 34-24

Buffalo Bills (6-9) at New England Patriots (11-4), 4:25 p.m.

The Skinny: The Bills already stunned one playoff hopeful by shutting out the Dolphins. Can they do it again in New England? After hammering the Ravens in Baltimore, the Patriots can secure a first-round bye and have an outside shot at home-field advantage with a victory.

Prediction: Patriots, 38-10

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11) at New Orleans Saints (10-5), 4:25 p.m.

The Skinny: The reeling Saints need a victory to get the second wild-card spot in the NFC. They are in this position because, after beating Carolina to take control of the division three weeks ago, they lost back-to-back games to the Rams and Panthers.

Prediction: Saints, 30-17

San Francisco 49ers (11-4) at Arizona Cardinals (10-5), 4:25 p.m.

The Skinny: Imagine if the Cardinals finish 11-5, end the season with back-to-back victories against the Seahawks and 49ers, and still miss the postseason? It’s possible. The Cardinals need some help beyond beating the 49ers to make the postseason, but they have been upholding their end very well with a stifling defense.

Prediction: Cardinals, 17-13

Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) at San Diego Chargers (8-7), 4:25 p.m.

The Skinny: Included in the scenario for the Steelers to make the playoffs is a loss by the Chargers, who kept their postseason hopes alive with a home victory against the Raiders. If they can do it again against the Chiefs, who have been yielding lots of points, they will disappoint the Steelers.

Prediction: Chargers, 24-23

St. Louis Rams (7-8) at Seattle Seahawks (12-3), 4:25 p.m.

The Skinny: The Seahawks appeared invincible at home until the Cardinals beat them there last week. Can it happen again with the Rams, who have won two in a row and four of their past six? Not if the Seahawks are intent on securing the No. 1 seed.

Prediction: Seahawks, 23-12

Philadelphia Eagles (9-6) at Dallas Cowboys (8-7), 8:30 p.m.

The Skinny: Here are the Cowboys, faced with another do-or-die game at the end of the season, a situation that has not favorably displayed their mettle. Beat the Eagles and they are division champs. Lose and face another season of no playoffs. But they are not supposed to have Tony Romo.

Prediction: Eagles, 30-27

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