Its week seventeen in the NFL already, where has the season gone? For twenty teams this will be their last game for nine months.
We know five of the six AFC playoff teams and the winners of all four AFC divisions. The Broncos will get homefield advantage with a win and New England will be second and get a first round bye with a win. The Chargers, Dolphins and Ravens should fight out the sixth spot although if all three lose Pittsburgh could still sneak in.
In the NFC there is far less certainty. All four divisions remain up for grabs and the last wildcard spot could still go to either New Orleans or Arizona.
It is also Christmas week of course. While the NFL is at the forefront of our minds time is not on our side so this week’s predictions will be kept very short but hopefully very sweet. Merry Christmas and happy holidays from ATPF!
Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals
The Ravens have to win this to keep their wildcard hopes alive but Cincinnati still have a chance of the AFC’s second seed so they won’t be letting up. The Bengals are the better all round team and can end their AFC North rivals dreams of returning to the Superbowl.
ATPF Prediction– Cincinnati wins this one by a field goal.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts
The Colts are still just about in the race for the AFC’s second spot. They are the upset kings of the NFL and will be feared by all in January. Jacksonville have battled away all year but are a very average team and can’t be given any real chance here.
ATPF Prediction– Colts are a comfortable ten points too strong.
New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins have to win this game and we expect an unusually loud, unusually full Sun Life Stadium. The Jets would love to play spoilers but their rookie quarterback Geno Smith will likely give the Dolphins a few gifts to ensure success.
ATPF Prediction– Miami win this crucial game by a touchdown.
Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons
The Panthers must only win to tie up the second seed in the NFC which would be a fantastic achievement for Ron Rivera’s team. They face a Falcons team coming off a short week and a disastrous season so they should win but a word of caution. Atlanta are better at home and have played better the last month.
ATPF Prediction– Panthers made to work hard but prevail by six or seven.
Washington Redskins @ New York Giants
The ‘other two’ NFC East teams do battle here in a meaningless contest. The Redskins have been absolutely terrible of late so we prefer the Giants.
ATPF Prediction– New York ends a disappointing year with a two touchdown win.
Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have a very slim chance still so will have to give this their all although they will no doubt become aware if things aren’t going their way elsewhere. The Browns season has capitulated so it should be simple for Mike Tomlins’s men at least.
ATPF Prediction– Steelers win by two scores.
Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans
Two more teams who have nothing to play for although in Houston’s case they won’t want to give up the first overall selection in the draft right now. Tennessee can hand them a fourteenth straight defeat.
ATPF Prediction– Titans win by ten.
Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings
The Lions are just getting used to the fact that they won’t be in the playoffs but the Vikings have known for weeks. In what will likely be Jim Schwartz’s final game we think the Vikings can send him out with a whimper.
ATPF Prediction– Minnesota prevail by ten.
Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears
The NFC North rides on this game. It also likely rides on Aaron Rodgers health. With Clay Matthews and Eddie Lacy banged up the Packers really need him now, we however are presuming he doesn’t play when we predict a Bears win.
ATPF Prediction– Chicago win by a touchdown.
San Francisco 49ers @ Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals are extremely hard to beat at home and won on the road in Seattle last week. San Francisco will be feeling good after their playoff clinching win against the Falcons but on a short week we can’t see them becoming just the second team to win in Arizona.
ATPF Prediction– Arizona keep their side of the bargain, win by a field goal.
Kansas City Chiefs @ San Diego Chargers
The Chargers have already won in Kansas City and Denver this year. They can beat the best teams and can do the double over KC here in a game they have to win.
ATPF Prediction– Chargers win by a touchdown.
Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots
The Patriots can seal a bye next week with a win although it’s unlikely that Denver gifts them a shot at the top seed. Buffalo should pose few problems to Brady and co here.
ATPF Prediction– The Patriots win by fourteen.
Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders
The Broncos lost Von Miller to injury last week which could be big in the postseason. As far as this game they can’t be opposed but will be scared of further injuries.
ATPF Prediction– Denver locks up home field advantage with a two touchdown win
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints
The Saints look like finishing second now in the NFC South behind the inspired Panthers. Priority for them now is winning this to get into the playoffs against a Bucs team who would love to stop them. New Orleans at home however should be too strong.
ATPF Prediction– The Saints win by ten.
St. Louis Rams @ Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks were shocked at home by Arizona last week but it’s hard to see lightning striking twice. The Rams offense will pose few problems to Seattle who should ensure home field advantage here.
ATPF Prediction– Seattle win by ten.
Philadelphia Eagles @ Dallas Cowboys
Is Tony Romo going to play for Dallas? Their 32nd ranked defense means that they will need to score a lot of points and under a rusty backup quarterback that wouldn’t bode well. Even if Romo plays we fancy the Eagles against a toiling Cowboys team.
ATPF Prediction– Eagles win by ten to clinch the NFC East.