I finished the regular season strong with a 12-4 record last week, which kind of surprised me because of the difficulty in picking Week 17 games. With the uncertainty of so many teams resting players, it’s often difficult to accurately project games. Green Bay’s victory over Arizona’s backups, Kansas City’s surprising upset over the Broncos, Dallas’ shutout over the Eagles, and the Browns’ victory over the Jaguars were the four games I missed. Yep, another incorrect Jaguars prediction; they are frustrating to predict. Thankfully, I won’t have to project another one of their games this year.
Here’s a look at this week’s matchups and how I think they’ll play out.
Full predictions will come Saturday.
Last Week: 12-4
This Week: 0-4
New York Jets (9-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
The Bengals had nothing to play for in their 37-0 loss to the Jets last week as they rested many of their starters and undoubtedly called vanilla plays. With their normal full complement of players and with a home crowd behind them, they’ll be the ones taking it to the Jets this week. Not in as lopsided a way as the Jets beat them, but it should be a convincing victory.
Prediction: Cincinnati 24, New York Jets 14
Actual Score: New York Jets 24, Cincinnati 14
Baltimore Ravens (9-7) at New England Patriots (10-6)
The Patriots may be without Wes Welker, but he’s not their whole team. I just don’t see the Patriots losing a home playoff game. It would be incredibly damaging to Tom Brady’s legacy to let that happen, and as much as I’d like to see that, I’m not expecting it.
Prediction: New England 21, Baltimore 17
Actual Score: Baltimore 33, New England 14
Philadelphia Eagles (11-5) at Dallas Cowboys (11-5)
The Cowboys have beaten the Eagles twice this season and are playing their best football right now, which is a good time to be doing that. But it’s difficult to beat an opponent three times in one season and Tony Romo has had a playoff performance problem in recent years. I’m going with the upset in this one.
Prediction: Philadelphia 27, Dallas 21
Actual Score: Dallas 34, Philadelphia 14
Green Bay Packers (11-5) at Arizona Cardinals (10-6)
Although the Cardinals did not play their starters much last week against the Packers, I don’t expect much change in anything but the final score. This is not the same Cardinals team from last year and they clearly benefited from playing some weak divisional opponents this year. The Packers are one of the hottest teams in the league right now and should probably win this one on the road. The score will be closer than last week, but the result the same.
Prediction: Green Bay 24, Arizona 21
Actual Score: Arizona 51, Green Bay 45