FIWK the NFL: Week 17

The sadness before the playoffs. I really go nothing on the hope AJ Smith doesn't get fired? As for the rest of the NFL, the Packers are locked into the first seed in the NFC and the Texans are locked into the third seed in the AFC. Every other seed is up for grabs. The Saints move from 3 to 2 and get a first round bye with a win and a 49ers loss, so both those teams will be trying. The winner of the Cowboys-Giants game gets the 4 seed and the loser is out of the playoffs, so they will both be trying. Atlanta can leapfrog Detroit from the 6 to the 5 seed with a win and a Lions loss, and both teams would much rather face the NFC East champ than Drew Brees and the Saints, so they will both probably be trying. In the AFC, A Patriots loss combined with a Ravens loss and Steelers win means the Steelers get the 1 seed, the Patriots get the 2 seed and the Ravens get the 5 seed. A Patriots win locks up the 1 seed, then the Ravens hold the tiebreaker for the AFC north and the 2 seed over the Steelers, meaning the Steelers would need to win and for the Ravens to lose to get a first round the Ravens, Steelers and Patriots will all probably trying. Houston gets the 3 seed. The Broncos get the 4 seed with a win or a Raiders loss. The Raiders need to win and a Broncos loss to win the AFC West. The Bengals get the last playoff spot with a win, but a loss opens the door to the Jets, Titans and Raiders for a wild card spot. There is no way the Broncos can lose the AFC West and still get a playoff spot. So that means the Broncos, Raiders, Jets, Titans and Bengals will all be trying. By my count half the teams in the league still have something to play for on the last day. That's actually pretty entertaining. So did I take any of this into consideration when making my picks? Of course not. The spreads already take this into account and I just pick the games according to the line that is put in front of me.

GREEN BAY (+3.5) over Detroit: This is the exact reason why I really don't like making picks on Week 17 and why every decent fantasy league has its championship game during week 16. We're trying to pick a game based on how hard the Packers try, or how long their starters play, or how good their backups are? Ok, one quarter of the entire first unit + one quarter of the backup QB and the remainder of the first unit + one quarter of three backup linemen, the backup QB and the starting WRs + one quarter composed entirely of backup players = 50% of the Packers at full strength? More? Less?

San Francisco (-10.5) over ST. LOUIS: Every reason for the 49ers to try and no reason for the Rams to try. Even if this was the middle of the season, I would still be picking the 49ers -10.5.

MIAMI (-2.5) over Nyj: Man, apparently I dislike the Jets strongly enough that it made me particularly happy to see the Dolphins favored here. The Jets NEED to win to have a shot at the playoffs and the Dolphins have already fired their head coach. And the Dolphins are still favored over the Jets. That really does make me happy.

Chicago (+1) over MINNESOTA: This game is going to feel like a very well organized try out. Joe Webb or Christian Ponder at QB for the Vikings? Toby Gerhart or a new young RB? A bad Bears quarterback or a worse Bears quarterback?

Buffalo (+11) over NEW ENGLAND: I was actually a little surprised to see that even without the Week 17 "who's trying" consideration, I am taking the Bills in this one. I mean, this spread shouldn't be one iota over 10.5.

Carolina (+8) over NEW ORLEANS: Sean Payton is currently my favorite coach in the NFL. Just aggressive enough, creative play caller, knows his team's strengths and weaknesses. He put winning as the biggest priority, but doesn't simply ignore the stats and records. He takes advantage of Brees' incredible accuracy and throws more than any team in the NFL. And when his guy has a chance to break an amazing record, he doesn't shy away from it. You know he's going to have Brees throwing all game to put this record out of reach for the near future.

Washington (+8.5) over PHILADELPHIA: What? Seriously? Who does this guy think he is? Now that the Eagles have been eliminated from the playoffs, this is exactly the type of game that they will win 45-10.

JACKSONVILLE (-3.5) over Indianapolis: Sometimes the Suck for Luck isn't intentional, sometimes it's just Suck.

HOUSTON (+3) over Tennessee: Much like the Redskins-Eagles pick, every fiber of my being says to go the opposite way, but for a completely different reason. The Eagles have nothing to play for and therefore will play outstandingly. Here it's a normal, the Texans have everything locked up and their best 3+ players out, while the Titans have everything to play for and Chris Johnson sucked a lot less in December than in September.

ATLANTA (-12) over Tampa Bay: This feels about right. The Buccaneers are a case of the pendulum swinging too far the other way. Bill Barnwell has been saying all year that they shouldn't have won ten games last year, but probably should have more than 4 this year. Oh, wait. Checked the stats and this 4-11 team has actually overperformed. They really are just a bad team this year.

Baltimore (-2) over CINCINNATI: Baltimore really doesn't want to be the 5th seed...again. And have to play in Pittsburgh...again.

Pittsburgh (Off(0)) over CLEVELAND: Steelers thinking "The Browns? We can beat them even with our backup quarterback in."

DENVER (-3.5) over Kansas City: This was Tebow's plan all along. He couldn't just keep winning outright and clinch a playoff spot in Week 15. That's not his style. He wants everyone, even the opposing teams, to have hope. Because hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things. He wants to keep it close, build more doubters and overcome those doubters to emerge victorious in the end. Who here has read the Bible and knows the story of Doubting Thomas? Well, it doesn't really apply, but he is known as Doubting Thomas. That's Tim Tebow's M.O. He builds up his opponent's hope and other's doubt. And wins it in the end.

San Diego (+3) over OAKLAND: Remember what I said about the Eagles? Now that the Chargers have been eliminated, they are going to win by 40.

Seattle (+3) over ARIZONA: This could be the most competitive, evenly matched game by two teams that JUST missed the playoffs. And will vex many people [me] as to how to predict where they will finish next year.

Dallas (+3) over NYG: Should be a great, sloppy, high stakes Sunday Night Football game. Going in to this game, I can promise you, both quarterbacks will have great games, but whoever loses will be considered a fraud and a goat and the single reason why his team lost. It's not fair to either quarterback, but unfortunately, that's how it's going to play out with these guys and teams.


  1. $20 on Hou, SF, Bal, Dallas, Miami, Jacksonville, Denver, Seattle.

  2. I had the right sentiment about Tebow and the Broncos, but got the story completely wrong. He was planning on losing, giving the Chiefs a win to end the season, giving the Raiders more hope, but giving the Chargers the victory by divine intervention so that the Chargers would also end the season with a victory.

    What could be more charitable than three teams in the AFC West finishing 8-8 and the fourth finishing 7-9? Everyone has hope for next season.

  3. I was at $1260 after Week 16. I went 3-4-1 to lose $20 in Week 17 and finish at $1240 in the REGULAR season. That's right, we're going to keep on going through the playoffs. Did you ahve any doubt?