Gerry Dulac's NFL Forecast: Week 17
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Last week: 12-4 (.750)
Season record: 149-91 (.621)
(all games on Sunday)
Cleveland Browns (5-10) at Steelers (7-8), 1 p.m.
The Skinny: Let's not discount the impact of all the key injuries to the Steelers this season, a laundry list that includes all their top players. That has resulted in a season that the Steelers are not accustomed. They are also not accustomed to this -- a Browns sweep.
Prediction: Browns, 17-16
Baltimore Ravens (10-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (9-6), 1 p.m.
The Skinny: The Ravens found their step and righted their ship with a convincing victory against the Giants. And just in time, too: The Bengals have won six of their past seven and are looking like a team that could be a first-round spoiler.
Prediction: Ravens, 16-14
Houston Texans (12-3) at Indianapolis Colts (10-5), 1 p.m.
The Skinny: What could have been a good final-day division matchup now means little because the Texans have clinched the division and the Colts have secured a wild-card spot. Still, the Texans need a win to secure a first-round bye. But the Colts are storming.
Prediction: Colts, 24-23
Green Bay Packers (11-4) at Minnesota Vikings (9-6), 1 p.m.
The Skinny: The Packers have revved up their offense and won four in a row. And they need a win to secure a first-round bye. But the Vikings have won three in a row and can secure a wild-card spot with a victory.
Prediction: Packers, 30-24
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-9) at Atlanta Falcons (13-2), 1 p.m.
The Skinny: The Falcons have clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC and appear to have a nice path to the Super Bowl. They are one of two teams who have not lost at home (7-0) and can beat you with any number of weapons.
Prediction: Falcons, 24-17
New York Jets (6-9) at Buffalo Bills (5-10), 1 p.m.
The Skinny: Only Times Square after New Year's Eve is in more disarray than the Jets. What happened? Go back to who made the decision to bring in Tim Tebow. It messed up Mark Sanchez and created a circus with the team.
Prediction: Bills, 24-16
Chicago Bears (9-6) at Detroit Lions (4-11), 1 p.m.
The Skinny: Once looking like a division winner, the Bears find themselves needing a victory against the Lions and a loss by the Vikings to get a wild-card spot. They should uphold their end of the parlay.
Prediction: Bears, 30-23
Miami Dolphins (7-8) at New England Patriots (11-4), 1 p.m.
The Skinny: The Patriots need some outside help to determine if they will play next week or have a bye. But they won't need any help beating the Dolphins at home. Now, if the Texans and Broncos manage to lose ...
Prediction: Patriots, 34-20
Philadelphia Eagles (4-11) at New York Giants (8-7), 1 p.m.
The Skinny: The Giants have not only lost two in a row, they've been thumped by a combined score of 67-14 by thre Falcons and Ravens. They need a win and some outside help to defend their Super Bowl title.
Prediction: Giants, 27-16
Carolina Panthers (6-9) at New Orleans Saints (7-8), 1 p.m.
The Skinny: The Panthers have won three in a row and four of the past five to turn a bad season respectable. The Saints have bounced back from a three-game losing streak to win two in a row.
Prediction: Saints, 40-28
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-13) at Tennessee Titans (5-10), 1 p.m.
The Skinny: The Jaguars are still involved in a race, but it is with Kansas City for the No. 1 draft choice. Like the Jaguars, the Titans are 1-4 in their past five games. But they haven't won a division game this season (0-5).
Prediction: Titans, 15-12
Kansas City Chiefs (2-13) at Denver Broncos (12-3), 4:15 p.m.
The Skinny: The Broncos have won a league-best 10 in a row and can at least secure a first-round bye with a victory. They might as well hand Peyton Manning the league MVP trophy right now.
Prediction: Broncos, 30-3
Oakland Raiders (4-11) at San Diego Chargers (5-10), 4:15 p.m.
The Skinny: True to form, the Chargers follow a bad home loss to the Panthers with a road victory against the Jets. In a season that will likely be Norv Turner's last, his brightest moment was at Heinz Field.
Prediction: Chargers, 27-13
Arizona Cardinals (5-10) at San Francisco 49ers (10-4-1), 4:15 p.m.
The Skinny: The 49ers need a victory to hold off the surging Seahawks and win the division title. There's probably a good chance that will happen against the Cardinals, who are 1-10 after a 4-0 start.
Prediction: 49ers, 27-3
St. Louis Rams (7-7-1) at Seattle Seahawks (10-5), 4:15 p.m.
The Skinny: The Seahawks are one of two teams who have not lost a home game (7-0) in 2012. And, in their past three games, they've outscored their opponent, 150-30. Rest assured, nobody wants to see them in the postseason.
Prediction: Seahawks, 38-13
Dallas Cowboys (8-7) at Washington Redskins (9-6), 8:20 p.m.
The Skinny: The Redskins were once 3-6, but, after six wins in a row, can win the division with a victory against the Cowboys. But, despite their loss to the Saints, the Cowboys are in another winner-take-all battle in the season finale. And with the same result.
Prediction: Redskins, 27-20
First Published December 26, 2012 2:34 pm