“ The only monster here is the gambling monster that has enslaved your mother! I call him Gamblor, and it's time to snatch your mother from his neon claws!” --Homer SimpsonLast week: 8-8. Season: 60-61-2. Lock of the week: 6-2. This is exactly what I didn’t want to happen. To have my quest for .500 be dependent upon the last week of the season. With well over half the teams having absolutely no reason, other than pride, to try to win, the Vegas lines are all over the place. Knowing who is gonna come out fired up and who is gonna fold like a lawn chair in week 17 is as hard as picking which Spears is a bigger disappointment. Anything could happen in almost all of these games and I would not be surprised. Onto my attempt at picks, I need to go 9-7 or better to reach my sad goal. Home team in CAPS.
Patriots (-13.5) over GIANTS
If only the Giants had a reason to play this week they might beat the Patriots. Okay, probably not, but they still might be able to keep the game close. Is it okay for me to cheer for injuries all around?
EAGLES (-7.5) over Bills
The Eagles will win this game big, if only to make the whole city unsure if they like Donavan McNabb or not for the entire off season.
Panthers (-2.5) over BUCS
Tampa will probably not play its starters much, seeing as they pulled them in last weeks game. Without Jeff Garcia the Bucs are looking to one of the Brothers McCown to lead them to victory. He’s so bad he might not even start for the Panthers.
Bengals (-2.5) over DOLPHINS
Both teams waved bye-bye to the playoffs long before this week. Both of these coaches could be gone next year, and probably should be.
Cowboys (+9) over REDSKINS
I know the Cowboys have nothing to play for and the Redskins have everything to play for, but 9 points is still too much for this rivalry.
PACKERS (-4) over Lions
The Packers would probably rather not end the season with two straight losses, lucky for them the Lions probably couldn’t beat the Packers’ 3rd string unit at Lambeau.
TEXANS (-6.5) over Jaguars
This is the kind of line you only see in week 17. Jacksonville may be the team most built for cold weather playoff football, and they hold a 9-2 record with Garrard getting all the snaps. Of course, Garrard will probably not get all the snaps and the Texans will be excited to have their first 8-8 season.
Saints (-2) over BEARS
The Saints have something to play for (and need a tremendous amount of help) but are also playing in the cold for the first time all year. When in doubt, assume Kyle Orton is still hungover from a Christmas party.
Steelers (-3) over RAVENS
The Steelers do have some incentive to win this game, also the Ravens have lost 9 straight and are in no way good at football.
Seahawks (+1.5) over FALCONS
I can’t see a reason the Falcons should be favored here. Yes, the Seahawks are bad on the road and could rest players, but the Falcons are bad everywhere, and they are “resting” their starting QB in jail and starting coach in Arkansas.
49ers (+10) over BROWNS
Despite being alive for a playoff spot, this game is basically meaningless for the Browns. Their fate is entirely tied up in the Titans game. The 49ers have won two straight, and look to fool everyone into thinking they might be decent next year.
Vikings (-3) over BRONCOS
Purple Jesus hasn’t had over 100 yards in 3 weeks. Expect that trend to end against the porous Broncos run D.
Chargers (-8.5) over RAIDERS
JaMarcus Russell will be getting his first start in this game. The Chargers will be putting pressure on him all game long. With the 3-seed in the balance, the Chargers should put this one out of reach early.
CARDINALS (-6) over Rams
Yet another meaningless game. The Rams are in disarray and the Cardinals appear to be somewhat encouraged at the prospect of not losing more than they win in a season. With no better option, I’ll make this my lock of the week. If that’s not a ringing endorsement, I don’t know what is.
JETS (-6) over Chiefs
At one point the Cheifs were 4-3. Now they are 4-11. The most exciting thing about this game is the hope for a Herm Edwards sound bite after the game.
COLTS (+6) over Titans
Another week 17 exclusive, the Colts are underdogs at home to the Titans. This is a playoff game for the Titans, which is why I expect them to lose. At this moment I have no faith in Vince Young in a must win game on the road, despite the circumstances.