LANDOVER, MD - DECEMBER 24: Evan Royster #35 of the Washington Redskins dives for extra yards against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at FedEx Field on December 24, 2011 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Week 17 usually gets weird. Will there be tons of upsets again this year?
This is it. For some teams, their playoff fate will be decided by a game Sunday. For others, the calculations are many, but they have a chance to reach the playoffs by winning and other teams losing.
For the Redskins, there are no playoffs. The only question going into Sunday for Washington fans remains where the team will be drafting.
It's worth remembering that, this late in the season, crazy things happen in the NFL. Starters from playoff teams get some rest, unknown late-round draft picks make big impacts and it's not uncommon to see battles between two backup quarterbacks.
It's Week 17 in the NFL, and making money on the games means keeping your head on a swivel. All lines from SB Nation Odds.
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles (-9): Neither team has much to play for this week. The Eagles' season went down early, with bad losses and injuries conspiring to derail the so-called "Dream Team." Philadelphia has played much better lately, finally showing the competition what all the hype was about in the first place. But the Redskins will move the ball and put up points. You'll remember the last time these two teams met, Rex Grossman threw four interceptions and the Eagles still had to hold on for a late win. This time, Rex won't throw four picks, just his usual two. The Eagles will win, helping the Redskins draft position, but nine points is too many in a divisional game. Pick: Redskins.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (+3): Just like that, Vegas shows us how weird Week 17 can be. If this game was last week, the Packers would have been favored by a touchdown. But now that Green Bay has the No. 1 seed in the NFC locked upm they will most likely rest some players, including all-world quarterback Aaron Rodgers. But I'm also guessing the Lions sit some players too, especially their fragile quarterback Matthew Stafford. The Lions clinched a playoff berth in last week's win over San Diego. To get points with the Packers at home, even in a battle of backup quarterbacks, seems too good to be true. Pick: Lions.
Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans (+3): Man, remember a few weeks ago when Houston was an actual contender? Seems like a decade ago now. The defense played so well in October and November, and now can hardly stop Dan Orlovsky. Tennessee has been playing well and I expect that train to keep going. Pick: Tennessee.
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (Pick 'Em): This will be an ugly game. The Bears looked better last week after benching backup quarterback Kahlil Bell, but they just could not keep up with a motivated Packers team. This week, the Vikings will not share the Green Bay motivation, and the Chicago defense leads their team to a win. The Vikings should start Joe Webb (a possible acquisition target for the Redskins), but with Christian Ponder and Toby Gerhart, the Vikings offense will not pose many threats to Julius Peppers and company. Expect a touchdown from Devin Hester. Pick: Bears.
New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-1.5): I loved seeing Brandon Jacobs punk "fat boy" Rex Ryan last week. The Jets are not that good this year, and Ryan deserved to hear it. As things continue to crash for Mark Sanchez, I'll take the Dolphins at home. A lot of Reggie Bush in this game. Pick: Dolphins.
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-11): We all know Tom Brady can lead the Patriots back from a big deficit, because he reminded us last week. But we also know the New England defense allows way too many yards and big plays. C.J. Spiller will shred the Pats secondary en route to a big day. Pats win, Bills cover. Pick: Bills.
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-9): Cam Newton and the Panthers have been on a serious roll the last few weeks. Ask anybody that recently lost to Cam in the fantasy playoffs. Drew Brees and friends have been on a relative hot streak themselves. The Saints defense will create turnovers, especially in the Superdome with a raucous crowd behind them, and the Saints offense will hang 35 on the Panthers defense. Cam will make plays, but his defense loses the game. Brees still has much to play for this week. Pick: Saints.
San Francisco 49ers at St. Louis Rams (-11): Last week I boldly picked the Rams to stay in the game against the Steelers. I will not do the same this week with the Niners in town. San Francisco is fighting for playoff seeding with the Saints, and they will demolish the Rams to keep hopes of a playoff bye alive. The Rams offense has little chance against the Niners' defense. Pick: 49ers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons (-11): This will be another slaughter. Something bad happened in Tampa because these Bucs teams do not even play hard. It appears to one very removed observer that young coach Raheem Norris may have lost the team. Either way, the Falcons show up and win big. Pick: Falcons.
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (+1.5): So we've got a good team fighting for a playoff berth, playing at home, against a struggling quarterback who plays decidedly worse on the road. And they are getting points? Take the Bengals. Absolutely take the Bengals. Don't let any weird montages of an old Ray Lewis screaming at his teammates scare you. This is Cincinnati's game. Pick: Bengals.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (+7.5): I mentioned earlier about weird stuff occurring in Week 17, and this game will show it. I think the Steelers win, which combined with a Ravens loss will give them the division, but the Browns keep this game close. To the Browns, the Steelers are still their biggest rival. The Steelers will be scoreboard watching, and the Browns will be focused. Pick: Browns.
Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (-2.5): A game only a gambler can love. Neither team is reaching the playoffs, but both have played well of late. I'm riding with Marshawn Lynch and a Seattle defense playing tough. Pete Carroll is used to coaching on New Year's Day. Pick: Seahawks.
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (-3): The Kyle Orton Bowl. While all of the attention will be focused on Tim Tebow, Orton comes to town to play the team that let him go with a playoff berth up for grabs. I think Tebow used all his superpowers during the win streak, and his throwing woes surface in this game. It should be a fun one, but I'm taking the points. Pick: Chiefs.
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders (-2.5): I hope this season will finally get Norv Turner fired in San Diego. Philip Rivers deserves a decent chance while still in his prime and he simply doesn't have it with Turner on the sideline. Firing Marty Schottenheimer was the worst decision the Chargers have made in my lifetime. As for this game, the Raiders, in the Black Hole, fighting for a playoff spot? I'll take it. Not to mention the Silver and Black historically play the Chargers tough. Pick: Raiders.
Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (-2.5): Winner-take-all battle for the NFC East division. Tony Romo in a clutch game. Eli Manning in a clutch game. That's all you need to know. Love Big Blue here. If not for inflated Dallas lines the Giants would be laying four or five points. Pick: Giants.
Good luck everybody, beware of Week 17. It's been a fun year and we will be back next week with playoff predictions.