ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 24: The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders perform during half-time at Cowboys Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
The staff at SB Nation Dallas weighs in with picks for each and every Week 17 game, including the defacto NFC East title game.
16 weeks haven't been enough to decide all the playoff spots or seedings in the NFL. Homefield advantage, a bye week and a wild card spot are all up for grabs in the AFC, while the Cowboys and Giants battle for the NFC East crown on Sunday night.
The staff at SB Nation Dallas is back once again with our Week 17 picks. Enjoy.
Lions (10-5) at Packers (14-1) - This game sure looked more enticing a few weeks ago, when the Packers were pursuing perfection and the Lions looked like they needed a Week 17 win. As it stands, this is nothing more than a glorified scrimmage game. Still, both teams might face each other in another couple of weeks in the playoffs.
- Christopher Fittz: Packers
- Liam Ponting: Packers - I don't buy that McCarthy won't play Rodgers. If he doesn't, I obviously prefer the Lions here.
- Brett Perryman: Packers - Neither team has much to play for. The Lions have a little more to prove, but they'd be crazy to play Stafford, et al for long.
- JP Starkey: Packers - They won't want to lose at home.
49ers (12-3) at Rams (2-13) - The Niners can clinch a first round bye with a win over the Rams, and they're pretty likely to do that on Sunday. This game should get out of hand, and St. Louis is probably ok with that -- they still have a chance to pick first overall in next year's draft.
- Fittz: 49ers
- Ponting: 49ers - How many decades is it going to take for the Rams to be decent again?
- Perryman: 49ers - St. Louis wants SF to win more than SF does.
- Starkey: 49ers - Not a good time to be a Rams fan.
Jets (8-7) at Dolphins (5-10) - Sexy Rex Ryan's team needs a lot to go right to make the playoffs, but first they have to take care of business against the Dolphins. Miami, though, has been playing well as of late, even after the firing of Tony Sparano.
- Fittz: Jets
- Ponting: Jets - Must-win game for the Jets, who'll need a few things to happen to make the playoffs.
- Perryman: Dolphins - Not so sure Miami isn't the better team here anyway.
- Starkey: Dolphins - Jason Taylor goes out a winner.
- Fittz: Vikings
- Ponting: Vikings - Even with no Peterson, what Minnesota has is enough to beat the Bears and whatever scrub is currently playing QB for them.
- Perryman: Vikings - The Bears have gone completely in the tank without Cutler.
- Starkey: Vikings - Home team.
Bills (6-9) at Patriots (12-3) - This game looked like it could have been important for different reasons after the Bills upset New England earlier this year, but instead, it is only important since the Patriots can clinch home field throughout the AFC playoffs with a win.
- Fittz: Bills
- Ponting: Patriots - This looked like a really intriguing match-up about 3 months ago.
- Perryman: Patriots - They aren't going to screw this up.
- Starkey: Patriots - Rooting for Brady to throw for 500 yards, or just enough to eclipse Brees on the year. Won't happen.
Panthers (6-9) at Saints (12-3) - How many more yards will Drew Brees pass for? New Orleans has a chance to steal a first round bye with a win (likely) and a 49ers loss (unlikely). It's fair to wonder how much Brees will actually play, but Sean Payton insists the starters will play as they normally would.
- Fittz: Saints
- Ponting: Saints - Payton's not going to sit Brees evidently, so look for a shootout here.
- Perryman: Saints - This one should be fun.
- Starkey: Saints - Tempted to take the Panthers, but the Saints are better and at home.
Redskins (5-10) at Eagles (7-8) - How delicious is this for Cowboys fans? The Redskins are not good and the Eagles are the most disappointing team in the NFL -- and they can't make the playoffs, and now take part in a meaningless Week 17 divisional game.
- Fittz: Eagles
- Ponting: Eagles - Neither team cares at this point.
- Perryman: Eagles - Has this late run saved Andy Reid? I hope not.
- Starkey: Eagles - How long until Mike Shanahan is on the hot seat? Is that when Dan Snyder will learn?
Colts (2-13) at Jaguars (4-11) - The Jaguars can play spoiler! With...a loss. A Colts loss would clinch the No. 1 overall pick and the rights to Andrew Luck in next year's draft. If the Colts win and Rams lose, the Rams would select first.
- Fittz: Jaguars
- Ponting: Jaguars - See above.
- Perryman: Jaguars - A three-game streak to end the season would be very Majkowski-like.
- Starkey: Colts - Goodbye, Andrew Luck.
Titans (8-7) at Texans (10-5) - Tennessee, like the Jets, still have a chance at a wild card berth, but, like the Jets, need a lot to go right. The Titans need a win before anything else though, and that might not be easy against a Texans team in Houston.
- Fittz: Titans
- Ponting: Texans - Andre Johnson's return should really help out the Texans.
- Perryman: Titans - The Texans have won their last game of this season already.
- Starkey: Titans - Houston's got nothing to play for.
Buccaneers (4-11) at Falcons (9-6) - The Falcons can improve their playoff seeding with a win and a Lions loss, but they'll be on the road for at least the first two rounds of the playoffs, and, should the Lions win, through the first three rounds...assuming they survive that far.
- Fittz: Falcons
- Ponting: Falcons - 11 straight losses to end the season for the Bucs will probably be enough to seal Raheem Morris' fate.
- Perryman: Falcons - They pulled their season out of the ditch. The Bucs, on the other hand, might be the worst team in the league.
- Starkey: Falcons - I have been on record for two years now saying I never believed in the Bucs.
Ravens (11-4) at Bengals (9-6) - Perhaps the best AFC matchup of the week, as the Ravens play for a first round bye while the Bengals look to clinch a playoff berth. Despite being a meager 3-4 on the road, the Ravens are three point favorites.
- Fittz: Ravens
- Ponting: Ravens - As much as I'd like to think Cincy can and will win this game, I don't think they're at that stage of their development.
- Perryman: Ravens - Good game here. The Ravens are a little better.
- Starkey: Ravens - The Ginger shall be denied.
Steelers (11-4) at Browns (4-11) - Pittsburgh still has a chance for a first round bye, and an outside chance at homefield throughout the playoffs with a win and losses by Baltimore and New England. Regardless of whether or not Roethlisberger plays, this should get ugly.
- Fittz: Steelers
- Ponting: Steelers - Doesn't even matter if Big Ben plays or not.
- Perryman: Steelers - I don't know what to make of them right now, but the Browns are bad.
- Starkey: Browns - Upset of the week! Cleveland's Super Bowl and they pull it out.
Chiefs (6-9) at Broncos (8-7) - Kyle Orton returns to Denver to take on Tim Tebow and the Broncos -- who can clinch the division with a win. A pretty enticing storyline, but what's overlooked is that these two teams are amazingly mediocre. Still, this could be a good game.
- Fittz: Chiefs
- Ponting: Broncos - Feel free to insert your own witticism about Tebow. The Chiefs are awful.
- Perryman: Broncos - Home field decides this for me. Oh, and Tebow's destiny.
- Starkey: Chiefs - I believe in Romeo.
- Fittz: Raiders
- Ponting: Chargers - Neither of these teams deserve to make the playoffs. One might.
- Perryman: Chargers - They have nothing to play for, so they'll be great.
- Starkey: Raiders - Someway, somehow, the Raiders will make the playoffs.
- Fittz: Cardinals
- Ponting: Cardinals - Totally irrelevant game.
- Perryman: Cardinals - Home team.
- Starkey: Cardinals - Whatever.
Cowboys (8-7) at Giants (8-7) - Well, this is it. The final Sunday night game of the year, and the final game of the year for one of these two teams. We all know the story by now: win or go home. Let's just hope that it's an entertaining game at the least.
- Fittz: Cowboys - Please?
- Ponting: Giants - A blind man could see this one coming. The Giants have problems on defense, but they're at least able to generate pressure on a semi-consistent basis without the blitz. The Cowboys' don't have that luxury, and their secondary is absolutely abysmal. I anticipate JPP will treat Doug Free like a turnstile a handful of times, the Cowboys will inexplicably make Brandon Jacobs look like a guy who can actually get to the edge consistently, and Tony Romo will play a decent game but will invariably be blamed for the failures of his coaches and defense. Giants by 13, no joke.
- Perryman: Giants - I was ready to pick the Cowboys during the week, but I keep coming back to Romo's swollen hand.
- Starkey: Cowboys - WFAN explodes this week.