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NFL Pro Football 2010 Week 17 Picks

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Pro Football Week 17 Picks - late games

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Fearless Rick's NFL Week 17 Picks - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | January 2, 2011

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Sunday, January 2

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-14 1/2, 41) 1:00 pm - A win by the Falcons ensures that they will be the #1 seed in the NFC, thus playing all of their playoff games at home and getting a bye in the first round. This game is essentially a match-up of the best in the NFC vs. the worst team in the league, so there's few who doubt that Atlanta will win, especially being at home.

These two met just three weeks ago, in Carolina, and the result was a 31-10 win by the Falcons. Difficult to see it working out any other way than Atlanta winning big again.

Prediction: Falcons 27 Panthers 6


Pittsburgh Steelers (-6, 37 1/2) at Cleveland Browns 1:00 pm - The Browns had a favorable schedule, with their final two games of the regular season at home, but the problem is that the Browns were facing the Ravens and now, the Steelers. After being handled 20-10 last week by Baltimore, the Browns need to regroup against the Steelers, which won't be an easy task. Pittsburgh is coming off a walk-over, 27-3, home win over Carolina and the trip to Cleveland is a short bus ride, almost as good as a home game.

A win gives Pittsburgh the AFC North title outright, due to a 5-1 division record, no matter what Baltimore does, as the Ravens already have two division losses. Since the Steelers haven't had much trouble handling the Browns of late (winning 9 of the last 10, and 6 of those wins by 13 or more points), this looks like a candidate of best play of the day.

Prediction: Steelers 24 Browns 13


Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (-3, 42) 1:00 pm - This is a meaningless game, and unless you're absolutely desperate for a wager, should be avoided at all costs. Brett Favre will play if he's cleared, so fitting that the guy who didn't know when to finally call it quits will end what was once a glorious career by playing in a crap-hole city like Detroit against a pretty bad team, himself under a cloud of controversy over allegedly exposing himself over a cell phone.

Personally, I hope he starts and gets whacked a few times and the Lions humiliate him with four interceptions. Whatever the line is, nobody should put down a dime on this poor facsimile of an NFL game, but I like the Lions, big time, because I have grown to despise Brett Favre and his oversized ego.

Maybe Brett will do a Wrangler Jeans ad with his pants down, explaining how they slide off so comfortably when you're trying to impress a gal over a cell phone.

Hey, Brett, go home, loser. Nobody cares anymore.

Prediction: Lions 30 Vikings 10


Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs (-4, 43) 1:00 pm - Kansas City has already wrapped up the AFC West and has nothing to gain with a win over the Raiders, except a better seeding in the playoffs, which doesn't matter much. win or lose they will host a playoff game against one of two wild card teams, which right now appears to be either the Jets or Ravens. A win ensures them of at least the 3rd-best record in the division, but no bye week in any case, so the game has little value to the franchise.

Oakland won the first meeting between the two, 23-20, following a pattern of close calls. Over the past seven games between Oakland and KC, the Raiders have won four, and five of the seven games have been decided by three points or less. KC still has a perfect record at home (7-0) and would probably like to close out the season with an 8th home win, but the Raiders have something to play for as well, an 8-8 record, their first .500 season since 2002.

Prediction: Chiefs 22 Raiders 20


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Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-3, 43) 1:00 pm - There's absolutely no reason for New England to even play this game. They already have wrapped up home field for their duration in the playoffs, a first-week bye and all that good stuff, so expect Brady and most of the starters to play the majority of the first half and then turn it over to the subs. The Dolphins will get a break in that regard, and the weather won't be so bad as to alter anyone's game plans.

Miami is good enough to beat these guys on their best day, so they should have a chance with most of New England's best players watching from the sidelines.

Prediction: Dolphins 27 Patriots 17

Be.


Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-9 1/2, 43 1/2) 1:00 pm - With nothing to play for, the Bengals went out last week and eliminated the Chargers from the playoffs, a small victory in an overall war lost as they limp toward the regular season finish with a 4-11 record. One of the teams they have beaten this season is Baltimore, knocking off the Ravens in Week 2, 15-10.

The Ravens don't need to win this game to reach the playoffs. In fact, they and the Jets are already designated wild cards, though a Pittsburgh loss at Cleveland and a Ravens win here would give Baltimore the division title. Baltimore will likely put forth enough effort to win the game, though the Bengals are loose and have nothing to lose, so may pull some rabbits out of hats. If the Steelers are up big by half time, expect the Ravens to just chuck it and play subs in the second half, giving the Bengals more of an edge.

Prediction: Ravens 23 Bengals 20


Buffalo Bills at NY Jets (-1, 40) 1:00 pm - Status of NY quarterback Mark Sanchez and cornerback Darrelle Revis is still probably on both, but since the Jets can't move anywhere in the playoff scenario, there's little reason to play any of the starters more than a half. Winning this game is unimportant. Not getting injured is, so expect the Jets to mail this one in.

Prediction: Bills 21 Jets 13


Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (-8 1/2, 47 1/2) 1:00 pm - In order for the Bucs to reach the playoffs, they not only have to defeat the Saints - something they have done with regularity - but both the Giants and Packers would have to lose, so the scenario is highly unlikely. The Buccaneers have wowed their fans with a 9-6 record thus far, but the last time they faced the Saints, it got pretty ugly in a 31-6 home loss. Now they are put to the test in the Superdome, where they won last year at the end of the season.

The last four times these two teams have met in the Superdome, Tampa Bay has won twice and lost twice and the margin of victory in all four of those games was either three or four points, so the 8 1/2 points lain by the Saints seems a bit over the top. New Orleans has already clinched a playoff spot an is assured of being the #5 seed, win, lose or draw, though they could win the NFC South if Atlanta lays an egg against Carolina. That too is not probably going to happen, but what can be counted upon is the Buccaneers playing for pride at least, until the final gun.

Prediction: Saints 24 Buccaneers 20

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2010, 2011, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.

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