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NFL Week 17 picks

Week 17 is here, and as always, John Paul Starkey picks the winner of each and every game in the NFL -- including Sunday night's defacto NFC East title game featuring the Cowboys and Redskins.

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Week 17 is upon us, and just like last year, Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys find themselves in a defacto NFC East title game. Last year, the Cowboys fell to the Giants -- and you can bet that Romo and the Cowboys want to atone for last year's loss.

As always, I'm here to pick each and every game -- including the pivotal Cowboys-Redskins Sunday night affair.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3.5) at Atlanta Falcons -- Tough game. Atlanta has home field advantage wrapped up throughout the playoffs, so there's no need to risk injury to their star players. On the other hand, Tampa Bay's season has spiraled out of control.

I'll take the Buccaneers to win in the upset, only because I don't think the Falcons will go at this game 100%.

New York Jets (+3.5) at Buffalo Bills -- I have no reason to pick Mark Sanchez or the Jets here. C.J. Spiller is awesome, and he'll cap off a solid year for himself with a great day on Sunday. Bills win, and cover.

Baltimore Ravens (+2.5) at Cincinnati Bengals -- Neither team can really do anything for its playoff seeding -- though the Ravens could end up the No. 3 if they win and the Patriots lose to the Dolphins.

Both teams could end up resting players in this one, and I'm going to take the Bengals to win and cover, merely because they're the home team.

Chicago Bears (-3) at Detroit Lions -- Great game, sort of. Chicago's elite secondary will take on Calvin Johnson, and that's certainly worth watching. The Bears need a win and some help to sneak into the playoffs, and as much as I dislike Jay Cutler, he'll get the win here on the road.

Bears win, and cover.

Houston Texans (-7) at Indianapolis Colts -- Sorry, I'm just not smitten with the Texans, and I don't really understand why they're being given a full touchdown on the road against a team who is getting its coach back after a battle against cancer. Maybe it's because I just really want the Colts to win, but it seems crazy to me.

Anyway, Houston wins, but the Colts cover.

Carolina Panthers (+5.5) at New Orleans Saints -- Yeesh. I guess if you really like Drew Brees and Cam Newton, you'll have fun watching this game. Is Ron Rivera coaching for his job? Maybe, maybe not. I don't know. You don't know, either.

I'll take New Orleans, just because they're the home team.

Philadelphia Eagles (+7.5) at New York Giants -- FINISH HIM!!!!

Andy Reid leaves Philadelphia a winner, and Michael Vick flashes some brilliance and improves his stock this offseaosn. Eagles in the upset.

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (no line) -- Dear internet, Thaddeus Lewis is starting for the Browns. That is awesome in a train wreck sort of way, but I'll sure as heck be rooting for him.

Regardless, I'm taking the Steelers.

Jacksonville Jaguars (+4) at Tennessee Titans -- This is a really, really, really depressing Week 17 game. So depressing that I can't be bothered to write anymore about it.

Titans win, Jaguars cover.

Kansas City Chiefs (+17.5) at Denver Broncos -- I hate spreads this big. I'm taking the Chiefs to cover, but the Broncos win, and sadly clinch a first-round bye.

Oakland Raiders (+10.5) at San Diego Chargers -- While I hate double-digit spreads, I don't really hate this one too much. The Raiders are really bad (not that the Chiefs aren't, mind you), but 10.5 points is reasonable for such a bad team on the road.

Chargers win, cover, and Norv Turner gets canned on Monday.

Arizona Cardinals (+17) at San Francisco 49ers -- I'm actually sort of tempted to take the 49ers to win and cover, since they need the win to clinch the NFC West, and they're playing a team with absolutely no offense.

Since I could probably quarterback the Cardinals, I'm going against everything I believe in and picking San Francisco to win and cover.

St. Louis Rams (+11) at Seattle Seahawks -- Seattle is the hottest team in the NFL, and they won't be letting up on Sunday. Steven Jackson has a good game in his final game in a Rams uniform, but the Seahawks win and cover.

Green Bay Packers (-3.5) at Minnesota Vikings -- Both teams are playing for something here: the Packers, a first round bye, and the Vikings, a playoff berth.

Unfortunately for Minnesota, Green Bay is simply better. Packers win and cover.

Miami Dolphins (+10.5) at New England Patriots -- Bill Belichick will know by the time they kick off whether or not his team has a chance to earn a first round bye.

Since I don't think either Denver or Houston loses, I'm taking the Patriots to win, but the Dolphins to cover. If either Denver or Houston loses, though, the Patriots will cover.

Dallas Cowboys (+3.5) at Washington Redskins -- Sorry, Cowboys fans. The season ends here. Dallas is simply not healthy enough to win a crucial Week 17 game against a team that is starving for a playoff berth.

Robert Griffin III dazzles, even if he is a bit gimpy, as the Redskins win. Dallas will keep it close enough and cover, though.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.