NFL Week 17 game picks


Vishnu Kannan

Co-sports editors Vishnu Kannan and Muthu Panchantham predict the winners of each of the games in Week 17 of the NFL season.

by Vishnu Kannan and Muthu Panchanatham

Co-sports editors Vishnu Kannan and Muthu Panchantham predict the winners of each of the games in Week 17 of the NFL season.

Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills 

Muthu: The Dolphins are up against the dynamic duo of Josh Allen and Stefon Diggs. It will be a close game, but the Bills have an explosive offense and a stout defense that will outclass the rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. However, the young Dolphins team is a playoff-caliber team that will also have one of the top picks in the NFL draft, so the team will be scary to see next season.

Vishnu: Tua Tagovailoa will lead the Miami Dolphins against a Buffalo Bills team that has established itself as one of the best in the league this year. Dolphins head coach Brian Flores will cook up a solid defensive game plan to keep Josh Allen and the Bills’ offense in check, but ultimately, the Dolphins’ below-average offense coupled with Tagovailoa’s inexperience will cost them in their chase for a playoff spot.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Muthu: The Bengals have survived without the number one draft pick Joe Burrow, but they will get blown out because they won’t be able to handle Lamar Jackson’s elusiveness. Their defense simply isn’t good enough to hold off the Ravens who have a star-studded roster as seven of their players made the Pro Bowl, tied for most in the league.

Vishnu: Vying for a playoff spot, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens will roll past the Cincinnati Bengals, who turned the page to next season after quarterback Joe Burrow’s horrific injury in Week 11.  The Bengals’ defense is no match for Jackson and the Ravens’ dynamic rushing attack, and the Brandon Allen led Bengals’ offense will face issues of its own against a stout Ravens’ defense. The Bengals are outmatched on both sides of the ball, so expect this one to be a blowout.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns

Muthu: The Steelers started out 11 – 0, but they have regressed since that point. Although the Browns lost to the Jets, they were without all their starting receivers then, so expect them to bounce back and give the Steelers their fourth loss over the past five games.

Vishnu: The Browns are in control of their playoff destiny in this matchup: a win over the Steelers, who have lost three of their last four games after starting out 11 – 0, will put them in the playoffs. After a sorry loss to a sorry New York Jets team in Week 16, expect the Browns to come out firing and desperate in this one and pull out a win against a Steelers team that is resting some of their starters after locking up first place in the highly competitive AFC North.

Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions 

Muthu: In a game that doesn’t really matter (no offense), the Lions will upset the Vikings who do not have their star running back Davin Cook due to personal matters. The Lions have solid receivers and an underrated quarterback in Matthew Stafford who can lead the team to victory.

Vishnu: The Vikings will be without their best player in Dalvin Cook when they travel to Detroit to play the Lions on Sunday, but nonetheless, they will cap off their season with an emphatic victory against a struggling Lions’ team. The Lions got absolutely embarrassed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, losing 47 – 7, and expect a similar performance from them this week. Hopefully, Matthew Stafford is fed up with the Lions’ incompetence after this game so much so that he demands a trade (hopefully to the 49ers!).

New York Jets vs. New England Patriots

Muthu: The Jets have pulled off two upsets after going 0 – 12 to start the season. With the Patriots facing quarterback trouble, receiver trouble, and just all-around trouble, expect the Jets to pull off another upset to finish the season.

Vishnu: Adam Gase and the Jets have many fans fooled after beating the playoff-bound Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns in back to back weeks after a miserable 0 – 12 start, but don’t expect them to knock off Cam Newton and the Patriots this week. This season has certainly not gone well for the Patriots either (by their standards), but there’s no way Bill Belichick will allow this season to end off for the Patriots with a terrible loss to a terrible team.

Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants

Muthu: Ah, the battle of bad teams that somehow has playoff implications. The entire NFC East can make the playoffs without having winning records, but the Cowboys seem to have improved a bit since losing quarterback Dak Prescott at the start of the season and will be able to overcome the error-prone Giants.

Vishnu: In his time with the Cincinnati Bengals, Andy Dalton led his team to five consecutive playoff berths. Expect him to lead the Cowboys to one this year in a game in which the victor has a chance to clinch the fourth seed in the NFC, despite having a losing record. Quarterback Daniel Jones is far too turnover-prone, and the Giants offense hasn’t been operating at its full potential since the loss of star running back Saquon Barkley in Week 2, so the Cowboys will escape the Big Apple with a win and a playoff spot that everyone knows they don’t deserve.

Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Muthu: Tom Brady and the Buccaneers have started to play to their true potential and it looks like they will continue to improve going into their final game of the season. If the Falcons happen to take a lead in the game, do not fear as they will somehow find a way to choke.

Vishnu: The Atlanta Falcons might be the best 4 – 11 team in NFL history, but they seem to lose games they are in a position to win in new and increasingly heart wrenching ways week after week. The Buccaneers thrashed the Detroit Lions 47 – 7 on national television last Saturday and it seems as if the Buccaneers, who on paper might be the best team in the league, are finally hitting on all cylinders, so expect them to breeze by the Lions on their way to the fifth seed in the NFC.

Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears

Muthu: Aaron Rodgers, the favorite to win the MVP race, won’t rest now as the Packers hope to secure the number one seed in the NFC. Alongside his star receiver Davante Adams, whose production has been off the charts throughout the season, the duo will demolish their division rivals.

Vishnu: The Packers will clinch the number one seed in the NFC with a victory over the Bears and a San Francisco 49ers’ win over the Seattle Seahawks. The Packers will do their part in that equation, knocking off the Bears in a resounding fashion with Aaron Rodgers tossing multiple touchdowns to cap off his MVP caliber season. Bears fans can be optimistic, however, that Mitchell Trubisky, who was written off to be a bust after a disappointing start to his career, is starting to show some promise in this new Bears offense.

Las Vegas Raiders vs. Denver Broncos

Muthu: Since the Raiders were knocked out of playoff contention in the most absurd fashion last week, this game also isn’t of great importance. However, an injured Broncos team will not be able to keep up with the athleticism of key Raiders players such as Darren Waller and Josh Jacobs.

Vishnu: Raiders head coach Jon Gruden shocked the NFL with his mismanagement of the game in the Raiders’ last-second loss to Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Miami Dolphins last week. In a game that means nothing, as both teams have been eliminated from playoff contention, expect the Raiders to defeat an inferior Broncos team that has been hampered by injuries all season long.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Indianapolis Colts

Muthu: The Jaguars are the worst team in the NFL and will be receiving the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. The Colts still have a chance to make the playoffs. Enough said.

Vishnu: The Jaguars officially earned recognition as the worst team in the NFL this year, securing the number one overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft and star quarterback prospect Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars have absolutely nothing to play for, while the Colts playoffs hopes are still alive. Interestingly enough, depending on the results of this game and a few others, the Colts could end up as the number one seed in their division, a wild card team in the AFC, or out of the playoffs altogether. Expect the Colts to take care of business in this one.

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Muthu: The Chiefs have already secured the number one seed in the AFC and have decided to rest Patrick Mahomes for the game. Since the Chiefs don’t really have an incentive to win, the Chargers will beat the reigning Super Bowl Champions.

Vishnu: Having locked up the number one seed in the AFC, the Chiefs are resting their starters in this game, including reigning Super Bowl MVP Patrick Mahomes. The Chargers are led by rookie phenom Justin Herbert, who is on his way to a Rookie of the Year award. Beating a division rival would be a great way for the Chargers to end off their season, which has been average at best, so expect them to come out firing and leave Arrowhead Stadium with their seventh victory of the season.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Rams

Muthu: Rams quarterback Jared Goff isn’t great, but backup quarterback John Wolford will start this week and he’s even worse. However, the Rams defense should be able to contain Kyler Murray and Deandre Hopkins of the Cardinals. The Rams will scrape by their division rivals and eliminate the Cardinals from playoff contention.

Vishnu: After injuring his thumb in Week 16, Jared Goff will sit out this game, and former AAF stud John Wolford will take the reins as the Rams’ starting quarterback. Coming off a disappointing loss to the San Francisco 49ers, Kyler Murray and the Cardinals will be desperate and should put away their division rivals in this game to clinch their first playoff spot in five seasons.

Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers

Muthu: The Seahawks will need to use this game as an opportunity to get their offense back in shape as they have lost most of their momentum from the beginning of the season. The 49ers have been plagued by injuries the whole season and they won’t be able to contain the Seahawks when Russell Wilson starts to cook. The Seahawks should be able to blow out their division rivals.

Vishnu: The Seahawks are vying for the number one seed in the NFC against a 49ers team that is down 13 of their would-be starters from the beginning of this season. Nonetheless, expect Kyle Shanahan and Robert Saleh to cook up another fantastic gameplan for the 49ers’ offense and defense, respectively, and put their team in a position to win against a Seahawks team that isn’t as good as its record suggests. The 49ers will cap off their season with a feel-good victory against the team they hate most and head into next season with renewed optimism and hopes to return to their 2019 – 2020 Super Bowl form.

New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers

Muthu: The Saints are a Super Bowl contender and will be able to counter anything the Panthers throw at them. It’s unfortunate that the Panthers’ best weapon Christain McCaffrey had to sit out most of the season, but, hey, injuries happen to every team.

Vishnu: In what could-be Drew Brees’ last regular-season game, the Saints will face off against a below-average Panthers team in the hopes of bettering their position in the NFC playoff picture. The Saints are by far the more talented team on both sides of the ball, so expect them to blow out the Panthers and leave Carolina with their twelfth victory of the season.

Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans

Muthu: Free Deshaun Watson from the terrible organization that is Texans. The Titans’ Derrick Henry and A. J. Brown will steamroll the Texans, but someone needs to help out Deshaun Watson because his talent is rotting in Houston.

Vishnu: Expect Derrick Henry and the Titans to run all over the Texans in this one, who have absolutely nothing to be optimistic about from this season aside from their stellar quarterback Deshaun Watson, who faces the risk of the prime of his career being wasted away on a terrible franchise. The Titans have somewhat of a reputation of crushing bad teams courtesy of their fierce rushing attack, so expect more of the same from the playoff-bound team in Tennessee this week.

Washington Football Team vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Muthu: Ah, the second battle of bad teams that somehow has playoff implications. This game could go either way, but Jalen Hurts will once again prove that he is the number one quarterback in Philadelphia by pulling off the upset over the nameless Football Team.

Vishnu: The Football Team will clinch a playoff berth in this one, against an Eagles team who has been up and down (mostly down) all year. The Football Team’s fierce defensive line, led by rookie phenom Chase Young and underrated stars Montez Sweat and Daron Payne, should wreak havoc against the Jalen Hurts and the Eagles’ offense. Alex Smith will complete his remarkable comeback story with a win in Philadelphia, securing the Comeback Player of the Year award in the process.