It’s hard to believe that we’ve reached the final weekend of the NFL regular season. We still have about five teams fighting for two spots in both conferences combined. We also have teams fighting for positioning in the playoffs as well as a first-round bye. My record last week was 6-1, which raised my overall mark to 64-45. My winning percentage jumped from 56.9 to 58.7%. With so many games that impacts the playoffs in some form, why not go for them all. This week I’ll be predicting a total of 11 games, which is the most I’ve ever done. Let’s Get Started!!
We kick things off with a match-up between rivals from the NFC North. The Chicago Bears will travel to Minnesota to face the Vikings. Chicago have lost six of their last eight games as Mitchell Trubisky continues to grow as a QB. The Bears got a nice young team and their future looks bright, but can they end the season with a win in Minnesota? Minnesota is trying to clinch a first-round bye and play the higher seed the following week. Case Keenum is playing at an MVP-level ever since he got the call to be the starter. The defense of the Vikings is one of the best in the league and believe they will smother the Bears offense and win this game.
Minnesota Win 24-10
We head to the AFC East in a battle of rivals with a lot on the line. The New York Jets will travel to New England to face the world champion, Patriots. The Jets have lost three games in a row and five out of their last six. New York would love to play spoiler as the Patriots are trying to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. New England turned their season around after many pointed at the defense and said it was one of the worse in the league. They ran off eight wins in a row and 10 victories in the final 11 games. Tom Brady continues to be one of the favorites to be the league MVP. I’m picking the Patriots to win and have home-field advantage for the AFC playoffs.
New England Win 31-21
We now head to the AFC North as the Cleveland Browns travel to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers. What can I say about the Browns that haven’t been said? Currently, they’re the only winless team in the league and once again have the top pick in the 2018 Draft. On the other hand, Pittsburgh has clinched a first-round bye, but they still eye the top seed. If they beat the Browns and Patriots lose to the Jets, they’ll be the #1 seed in the AFC playoffs. Despite not having Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh should beat the Browns.
Pittsburgh Win 30-17
Here is the first meaningful game where both teams are affected as far as playoffs go. The Carolina Panthers travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons. Carolina have won seven out of their last eight games, with one of those wins coming against Atlanta. Carolina still have hopes of winning the NFC South and clinch the 3rd seed for the playoffs. For that to happen, Carolina must beat the Falcons and the Saints would have to lose against Tampa Bay. It’s simple for the Falcons, if they win they’re in and would head back down to New Orleans to face the Saints in the Wild Card. It’s seems like Atlanta just can’t find their groove on offense all season. They have improved for the most part on defense and I think they’ll do enough to beat the Panthers.
Atlanta Win 24-21
This is another game with playoff implications for both teams. The Jacksonville Jaguars will travel to Nashville to face the Tennessee Titans. Jacksonville is coming off being exposed by Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers. The Jaguars would probably want to go into the playoffs with a little bit of momentum. In this game, they should want a good outing before they’re Wild Card game. For the Tennessee Titans, if they win they’re in and most likely will be playing in Jacksonville to start the playoffs. Tennessee have dropped three games in a row, which came against NFC West teams. The Titans could be without DeMarco Murray, who suffered a knee injury last week which means that Derrick Henry will get most of the work. I’m assuming the Titans will be without Murray, which will hurt especially with that Jaguars pass rush so I’m riding with the Jaguars.
Jacksonville Win 26-17
We head to the west coast for the finale of a pair of NFC West teams. He suddenly hot San Francisco 49ers will travel to Los Angeles to meet the Rams. Ever since inserting Jimmy Garoppolo into the starting lineup, San Francisco haven’t lost. San Francisco brings a 4-game winning streak against the Rams as they try to end the season on a positive note. The Rams have announced they’ll be resting some starters like Jared Goff, Todd Gurley and Aaron Donald. With a win or lost by the Saints, Los Angeles will clinch the 3rd seed in the playoffs. With the starters resting, I still expect the Rams to walk away with the victory.
Los Angeles Win 23-21
The Buffalo Bills will leave the chilly weather of New York to head to Miami and face the Dolphins. Buffalo still have an outside shot at the playoffs and ending the longest drought in the league. First Buffalo must beat the Dolphins, then have the Titans and Chargers to lose their games. New England ended the Bills two-game winning streak last week and beating Miami at home will be tough. Miami have dropped two in a row and one of those losses came against Buffalo a couple weeks ago. Much of the talk this week in Miami was about the future of Jay Cutler. I’m expecting a good game from Cutler and the Dolphins to finish the season. I’m rolling with the Dolphins to end their year on a winning note and eliminating the Bills.
Miami Win 27-17
The Oakland Raiders take their 3-game losing streak to Los Angeles to face the Chargers. It’s safe to say that Oakland has been one of the more disappointing teams in the league. Many believed they would be challenging New England in the AFC for the right to go to the Super Bowl. Can they spoil the playoff chances of the Chargers? Los Angeles is the one team that nobody wants to see in the playoffs. They have won five out of their last six games. For Los Angeles to make the playoffs, they need to win and have the Titans to lose. I’m rolling with the Chargers to walk away with the win.
Los Angeles Win 24-23
We stay on the west coast as we travel up to the Pacific Northwest for this one. The Arizona Cardinals will travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks. Arizona had a disastrous season, but most of that had to do with injuries. They loss All-Pro RB David Johnson early in the season and Carson Palmer went down also. With rumors swirling about the future of Coach Bruce Arians, he could become to winningest coach in Arizona’s history. With Seattle, they will be watching the Falcons game very closely because if Atlanta win, they’re eliminated from playoff consideration. It doesn’t matter if Seattle is playing for a playoff berth or not I’m riding with them and Russell Wilson to win.
Seattle Win 19-16
We head back down south as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the New Orleans Saints. New Orleans can clinch the NFC South with a win over Tampa Bay or a Carolina loss. They can also get the 3rd seed with a win to go along with a loss by the Los Angeles Rams. This New Orleans team could be representing the NFC in the Super Bowl if they continue their great play. Tampa Bay has been one of the more disappointing teams this season. Last week, Winston lost his control in the loss to Carolina and Desean Jackson could be facing some criminal charges. With this team in such a disarray, this season can’t end quick enough. New Orleans should clinch the division with a win over the Bucs.
New Orleans Win 31-21
In the final game of the week, the Baltimore Ravens host the Cincinnati Bengals. Despite so many injuries on both sides of the ball, Cincinnati spoiled the postseason hopes of Detroit last week with an impressive win. The Bengals will give their all as this is the final game for Marvin Lewis as the coach of the Bengals. Baltimore has been hot as they have won five of their last six games, which included the 39-38 loss to Pittsburgh. For Baltimore, with a win they clinch a playoff berth and the 5th seed and would be playing in Kansas City next week. This should be a tough one, but the Ravens defense is playing lights out and I think they’ll win.
Baltimore Win 25-16
Are you ready for the final weekend of the regular season? What game are you looking forward the most? What do you think about my picks? Check out the playoff standings according my predictions this week. Leave a comment below.
AFC Playoff Standings
- New England Patriots
- Pittsburgh Steelers
- Jacksonville Jaguars vs. 6) Los Angeles Chargers
- Kansas City Chiefs vs. 5) Baltimore Ravens
NFC Playoff Standings
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Minnesota Vikings
- Los Angeles Rams vs. 6) Atlanta Falcons
- New Orleans Saints vs. 5) Carolina Panthers