Dec. 29, 2018
"The Stack" 12-28-18
Can Captain Andrew Luck lead the Indianapolis Colts to a win over the Tennessee Titans and get the Colts to the playoffs? We'll find out Sunday night.
It is the last Football Friday post of the NFL regular season today. Where did the season go? The Stack is here with previews and predictions for all of week 17’s games. Some are very meaningful. Some are absolutely not. Some games are meaningful for draft position. Some are meaningful for playoff positioning. Let’s get to all of the games in “the stack” for today, Friday, December 28th:
7-8 Miami Dolphins @ 5-10 Buffalo Bills 1 PM ET CBS
With their season on the line, the Dolphins failed to show up against the Jaguars last week. Traveling up to Buffalo at this time of the year, I don’t think they will show up for this one either. Josh Allen ends his rookie season with a W and some momentum for the offseason.
Prediction: Bills 24 Dolphins 10
5-10 Detroit Lions @ 6-8-1 Green Bay Packers 1 PM ET FOX
Been a disappointing year for both teams. Packers players really seem to like interim head coach Joe Philbin and want to play for him. The Lions don’t seem to be totally buying into what head coach Matt Patricia is feeding them, but maybe that is because he’s late to meetings and doesn’t start press conferences on time. That’s very un-Bill Belichick like.
Prediction: Packers 34 Lions 13
5-10 Jacksonville Jaguars @ 10-5 Houston Texans 1 PM ET CBS
Blake Bortles is back under center for the Jaguars. How he plays will have a large impact on what happens to him in the offseason. The Texans are playing for an AFC South division title (and a first round bye if the Jets can somehow upset the Patriots). Playing at home, the Texans will rebound from last week’s disappointing loss to the Eagles and get the win.
Prediction: Texans 27 Jaguars 13
4-11 New York Jets @ 10-5 New England Patriots 1 PM ET CBS
I just mentioned that Texans fans will be praying for a miracle that the Sam Darnold and the Jets can upset Tom Brady and the Patriots. Keep praying. Brady may not be fully healthy, but even a half healthy Brady can take down the Jets.
Prediction: Patriots 30 Jets 20
6-9 Carolina Panthers @ 13-2 New Orleans Saints 1 PM ET FOX
The Panthers have lost seven straight games. Will they make it eight? Yes, because I can’t even name who they are starting at quarterback off the top of my head. We’ve heard this week that we will see plenty of Teddy Bridgewater in this game since the Saints have nothing to play for. Good. I hope he does well. I think he will and the Saints will roll.
Prediction: Saints 30 Panthers 13
9-6 Dallas Cowboys @ 5-10 New York Giants 1 PM ET FOX
The Cowboys have nothing to play for. They are locked into the four seed regardless of the result. Still, they would love to win and beat the rival Giants and keep the momentum going headed into the playoffs. If Odell Beckham Jr. plays, I think the Giants will win. Plus this is possibly Eli Manning’s last game in a Giants uniform. How can I pick against them?
Prediction: Giants 23 Cowboys 20
6-9 Atlanta Falcons @ 5-10 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1 PM ET FOX
Two very disappointing teams meeting in this one. The Falcons can look at this season and all of the injuries, especially on the defensive side of the football, and wonder what might have been. The Bucs can look at their 2-0 start and wonder what went wrong. I like the Falcons to end the season on a better note than the Bucs.
Prediction: Falcons 27 Bucs 20
7-7-1 Cleveland Browns @ 9-6 Baltimore Ravens 4:25 PM ET CBS
The Browns are playing a meaningful week 17 game. While they can’t make the playoffs, they can potentially keep their arch rival Ravens from making it. The Ravens like to run the ball like crazy with Lamar Jackson. I really want to pick the Browns, but with the AFC North division title on the line, it’s tough not to pick the home team.
Prediction: Ravens 26 Browns 17
4-11 Oakland Raiders @ 11-4 Kansas City Chiefs 4:25 PM ET CBS
The Chiefs have lost two in a row. If they lose a third straight game, this one to the Raiders, they have way more issues than we thought. That isn’t going to happen. They’ll secure homefield advantage throughout the playoffs which may or may not be a good thing.
Prediction: Chiefs 38 Raiders 20
11-4 Chicago Bears @ 8-6-1 Minnesota Vikings 4:25 PM ET FOX
The Bears still have a shot at the two seed in the NFC with a win and a Rams loss so they will be playing their starters, at least for a little while. The Vikings just have to win and they are in the playoffs where they will face the Bears again. They’ll take it. They know what’s at stake. Home field will play a big role in this one.
Prediction: Vikings 24 Bears 16
6-9 Cincinnati Bengals @ 8-6-1 Pittsburgh Steelers 4:25 PM ET
The Steelers and their fans are big Browns fans this week. When did you think you ever hear or say that? They’ll do their part by beating a bad Bengals team in what could be very likely the last game Marvin Lewis is a head coach for the team.
Prediction: Steelers 37 Bengals 16
8-7 Philadelphia Eagles @ 7-8 Washington 4:25 PM ET FOX
I would love to say that Adrian Peterson will stick it to the Eagles and that Josh Johnson will play a good game and they will beat Philly, but how can you go against Nick Foles and the magic that he brings to the Eagles? Philly will win and then hope that the Bears can beat the Vikings.
Prediction: Eagles 31 Washington 20
11-4 Los Angeles Chargers @ 6-9 Denver Broncos 4:25 PM ET CBS
Is this the last game that Vance Joseph will be the head coach of the Broncos? If you believe the reports out there, then yes it will be. The Broncos just don’t have the offense to be able to hang with an angry Chargers team after Philip Rivers had the worst game of the season for him. Plus the Chargers still have a shot at the AFC West title. The Broncos aren’t going to beat them.
Prediction: Chargers 34 Broncos 16
4-11 San Francisco 49ers @ 12-3 Los Angeles Rams 4:25 PM ET FOX
Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers are playing really competitive football the last few weeks of the season so the Rams better not look past them, but the Rams have so much to play for this week. They don’t want to fall past the two seed. They’ll take care of business and put the 49ers away early…with or without Todd Gurley.
Prediction: Rams 31 49ers 16
3-12 Arizona Cardinals @ 9-6 Seattle Seahawks 4:25 PM ET FOX
Vikings fans can hope and pray that the Cardinals upset the Seahawks, but it isn’t going to happen. A snowball chance has a better chance of surviving in the Arizona desert than the Cardinals have of beating the Seahawks in Seattle.
Prediction: Seahawks 38 Cardinals 10
9-6 Indianapolis Colts @ 9-6 Tennessee Titans 8:20 PM ET NBC
Win-or-go-home game. Houston likely will win earlier in the day so this will be for the sixth and final spot in the AFC playoffs. With Marcus Mariota’s status unknown and with defensive lineman Jurrell Casey on IR, it is going to be tough for the Titans to move the ball down the field and stop Andrew Luck respectively. I think the Colts find a way to get it done.
Prediction: Colts 23 Titans 13
Coming up Monday: Week 17 NFL recap and reaction