It's the penultimate weekend of the NFL regular season, and there are plenty of juicy matchups to watch this holiday season. If teams want to play beyond the New Year, they need to win this week. There's a massive NFC South game in New Orleans between the Falcons and Saints, and a critical showdown in Big D, where Dallas hosts Seattle, in a game where the loser is eliminated from playoff contention. It should be an entertaining weekend of football. So will your team win this Christmas? Read the Predix to find out!
My overall record last week: 12-4
Lock of the Week record: 13-2
My overall record this season: 152-72
Colts @ Ravens
The Ravens make the playoffs if they win out, and they have a magnificent path set for them, with home games against the Colts and Bengals. It is so easy that it is unfair to the rest of the AFC teams in the middle of the pack. Their defense wrecks opposing offenses every week, almost like Alabama does to their opponents every week. The Colts have nothing to play for, and their team hasn’t been able to compete for most of the season, so it’s hard to see any sort of competitive game.
Prediction: IND 13, BAL 27
Vikings @ Packers
The Packers go up against the team which essentially ended their season once again. If you recall, it was Anthony Barr who took Rodgers down after a pass play, pressing his shoulder to the turf, tearing his collarbone, and putting him on injured reserve. The Vikings will not have to worry about Aaron Rodgers playing this game, as the Packers shut him down after being eliminated from playoff contention. For me, that wipes out any sense of competitiveness in this game. The Vikings are marching towards a bye, and possibly home field advantage, while the Packers are on holiday already. Case Keenum has a great matchup against a leaky Packers secondary, and the Vikings defense gets to play Brett Hundley again.
Prediction: MIN 27, GB 17
Falcons @ Saints
These teams are playing for the second time in seventeen days. While the Falcons won back in Atlanta, they are in a tough spot here, needing a win to keep them in that final NFC wild card spot. But the Jets may have exposed the Saints last week, as the offense stalled for most the game. But they still managed to beat a Bryce Petty led offense. The Falcons are a different animal entirely, with Matt Ryan, Devontae Freeman, and Julio Jones on their offense. The Saints have their work cut out for them to stop this potentially potent offense, but then again, they forced three turnovers on the game just two weeks ago. This is a great game to watch on Christmas Eve, with plenty at stake. I’m going with the home team.
Prediction: ATL 29, NO 35
Rams @ Titans
Two of the league’s longest playoff droughts include the Rams and Titans. The Rams will return to the postseason for the first time since 2004, and win the NFC West, while Tennessee will be lucky to get there if they do for the first time since 2008. LA can still play for a bye, while the Titans need to win to keep their playoff chances alive. But against the Rams defense led by Wade Phillips, which forced seven sacks and gave up as many points, that is a hard task. But going in their favor is the Rams’ big win in Seattle last week. The Rams are fired up about winning, and supposedly starting a new era of domination, and they’re feeling overconfident. Don’t be surprised if they overlook this Titans team on the road, in a game where they need to win. But Tennessee is just playing such bad football lately that I feel that this is LA’s game to lose.
Prediction: LAR 29, TEN 21
Bills @ Patriots
The Patriots may have played their final road game of the season before Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis. If that’s the case, they will not go on the road until the final week of January. They close out the season with two divisional home games, and there is no way they will mess this up. The Bills have no chance in this game with Tyrod Taylor as their quarterback, as he is incapable of keeping up with an elite quarterback in a shootout. Against Brady a few weeks ago, he mustered 69 yards passing and 3 points on offense. He played Drew Brees earlier this season at home and only led his team to 3 points to whole game. Tyrod Taylor is not good enough. The Patriots are back at home, and they have Gronk back, who kills the Bills, so there’s only way this goes.
Prediction: BUF 14, NE 34
Lions @ Bengals
The Lions are still in the thick of the NFC playoff race. If they get out of Cincinnati with a win, they have a great shot of making it, along with a little help. And against the Bengals, who’ve already quit on their coach? You can’t write a better script than this for Detroit. This is the final home game with Marvin Lewis walking the sidelines, and he’ll want to say farewell as a winner. That would be sweet. I think they will do it, because the Lions lose in this spot every time under Jim Caldwell.
Prediction: DET 17, CIN 24
Chargers @ Jets
The Chargers are doing just what the Chargers do: they give you hope, and then they capitulate. The Chargers capitulated in Kansas City last week, and it could easily carry over. Sure, with as vaunted a defense as they have, and Bryce Petty playing opposing quarterback, the Jets have no shot. But the Jets can play spoiler in their final home game of the season, and the Chargers could easily let this go, after such a bad performance against the Chiefs.
Prediction: LAC 20, NYJ 23
Dolphins @ Chiefs
Any hope that the Dolphins had of returning to the playoffs was squashed by the Bills last week. It seems fitting that Jay Cutler was the one to derail Miami’s season, throwing three backbreaking interceptions in the second half. He also fumbled four times. Four. Times. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have won two in a row and have found their swag back. Last week’s win looked like trademark Chiefs, going back to last season. You run the ball over twenty times, you get the 50 yard touchdown from Tyreek Hill on a vertical route, and the defense forces 3+ turnovers. It’s not a method you can count on week in, week out, but it can get them past Miami, and their first ever consecutive division titles for the first time in franchise history.
Prediction: MIA 14, KC 26
Buccaneers @ Panthers
I don’t really want to talk about this game. If there’s anything to note, Cam Newton is playing great football, but their defense is vulnerable without Thomas Davis the rest of the season. They will be in the playoffs for sure.
Prediction: TB 19, CAR 30
Browns @ Bears
There is a very high probability that the Browns will become the second team in NFL history to finish a season 0-16. They will be joining the 2008 Detroit Lions in eternal infamy if they do not beat the Bears or Steelers. They probably will not beat the Bears because they have a stingy defense who will gobble up the turnovers which Cleveland has every week. They've given the ball away a league high 36 times in 14 games this season. Kizer will give Bears defenders plenty of opportunities to make plays. Also, the Bears know how to pound the ground with Jordan Howard, and they can get a jaw-dropping play out of Tarik Cohen every week. The Browns have no chance.
Prediction: CLE 13, CHI 20
Broncos @ Redskins
There are a lot of bad games this week. It’s like Santa giving football fans coal for making Dallas Cowboys jokes. But this game is massively important for Kirk Cousins and his future. In possibly his final home game as a Washington Redskin, he needs to show the front office that he deserves as much money as he is seeking. He could potentially lose a lot of money with a bad performance against the capitulated Broncos. Also, their defense should destroy Trevor Siemian and his pathetic passing attack. He gives plenty of balls up for grabs, and he will throw three interceptions against the Redskins. Merry Christmas.
Prediction: DEN 9, WSH 23
Jaguars @ 49ers
It is pretty impressive how well the 49ers are doing in the past three weeks, since Jimmy Garappplo took over. Garappplo is carrying one of the worst rosters in the league on his back. He’s throwing for 381 yards against the Titans, and finding guys like George Kittle, Trent Taylor, and Marquise Goodwin. The 49ers have their quarterback, and they’re ready for a potentially breakout season in 2018. But this is by far the toughest but to crack of the season. The Jaguars defense is historically great, leading the league in sacks with 51, and forcing plenty of turnovers as well. Not to mention Blake Bortles is playing well. Also, fun fact: Blake Bortles has never lost in San Francisco. Straight facts.
Prediction: JAX 21, SF 19
Seahawks @ Cowboys
Welp, the Seahawks took a beating last week. The Cowboys are playing Seattle at the greatest time. If the Seahawks’ demolition against the Rams wasn’t enough, they get Ezekiel Elliott back. When he plays, this offense is a different animal, and Dak Prescott is a better quarterback. This matchup is magnificent for Dallas. Look at what Todd Gurley did to the Seahawks defense. They cannot stop the run, and the Cowboys are one of the best at running with Elliott in the backfield. It will not be a Merry Christmas in Seattle. Hopefully, after his domestic abuse scandal, Elliott will choose to abide by some New Year’s Resolutions. This is my Lock of the Week.
Prediction: SEA 6, DAL 30
Giants @ Cardinals
Both teams have had horribly disappointing seasons in 2017, and the offseason can’t come soon enough. This game is borderline unwatchable. I have to watch this instead of Seahawks-Cowboys. Thanks, Fox. If you’re unlucky enough to watch this game, keep an eye on Eli Manning’s play. It will be the next coach’s decision if he wants to retain Eli as the starter, and Eli can only help himself if plays well. As for Arizona, Bruce Arians may be coaching his final home game in the NFL. With many health issues and a struggling football team, it is hard to see any other scenario but Bruce Arians stepping down on New Year’s Day. I think Arizona will win because the Giants haven’t played well on the road this season. They're 1-6 away from New Jersey. Yikes. At least Arizona wins games at home, with a record of 4-3, which includes some nice upsets.
Prediction: NYG 10, ARZ 20
Steelers @ Texans
As if the Patriots loss wasn’t bad enough, now Antonio Brown tore his calf. From here to next week, the Steelers can not afford to lose again. With the Jaguars right behind them, the Steelers could potentially lose their playoff bye, and be forced to play another game without Antonio Brown. If they win out, they can recharge, get healthy, and possibly Brown back. They should walk over Houston by pounding the rock with Bell. But the Steelers defense needs to contain DeAndre Hopkins, possibly the best receiver in the league left standing. If they can stall them and this TJ Yates led offense, the Steelers will be fine.
Prediction: PIT 20, HOU 10
Raiders @ Eagles
The Raiders did not lose last week against Dallas because of a stupid index card. They lost because they weren’t good enough. Too many drops, too much inconsistency, so much to be desired. The Eagles are still rolling though. Nick Foles showed last week in a comeback victory that the Eagles can count on him if they need to. They can also run the ball very well, while Alfred Morris ran for a lot of yardage on them. Also, their defense should have no problem shutting down this pathetic passing attack. They just need to stuff Marshawn Lynch, which has been hard lately, and they will win the game on defense. They will win the game too.