NFL Week 17 LWOSports Staff Picks

Week 16 featured a couple of massive upsets, injuries to quarterbacks, and a team cutting ties with a first-round pick. What will NFL Week 17 have? Five 10-5 teams are jockying for four spots in the AFC and it’s likely that an 11-5 team could be left at home. The NFC is almost decided, but who will win the abysmal NFC East? Let’s see how our LWOSports staff picked to finish out the year.


Drew: 138-70 (11-5 last week)
Filip: 134-74 (9-7)
Shane L.: 131-77 (8-8)
Nick: 131-77 (11-5)
Danny: 130-78 (10-6)
Jordan: 128-80 (10-6)
Derek: 128-80 (9-7)
Shane C.: 127-81 (10-6)
Will: 122-86 (0-16)
Shiree: 117-91 (9-7)
Chris: 117-91 (10-6)

NFL Week 17 LWOSports Staff Picks

Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals

Drew: To close out the 2020 NFL season, the Ravens and Bengals fight it out in a week full of inter-divisional matchups.

The Ravens are playing for its playoff lives. Win and they’re in, thanks to their head-to-head over the Browns. Even with a loss, they can make it in, but nobody wants to back into the playoffs. Lamar Jackson struggled throwing the ball against this Bengals team way back in Week 5, but they still rolled, 27-3.

The Bengals are streaking! Well, it’s two wins, but it still counts. Brandon Allen and Tee Higgins looked good against a terrible Texans defense. The Bengals’ defense was also carved up, so the game was never out of reach for either team.

In the last 18 instances where the Bengals enter their final home game with a losing record, the team is 17-1. That includes 12 in a row. In 2017, the Bengals went to Baltimore, won, and spoiled the Raven’s playoff hopes. As mind-blowingly bonkers this stat is, it likely won’t help. Fool me once, etc. etc. John Harbaugh will have his Ravens clicking and they’ll win an 11th game en route to a playoff spot.

On to the off-season for the Bengals faithful! Here’s to hoping Joe Burrow is healed up and ready for Week 1 of 2021.

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Chris

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills

Derek: The Bills play their final game of the regular season against the Miami Dolphins. Miami is fighting for a playoff spot while Buffalo is looking to maintain the second seed in the AFC.

It is uncertain if Buffalo will rest any of their starters following the news that Pittsburgh will be resting Ben Roethlisberger against Cleveland. If Buffalo does rest their starters, this could be a big advantage for a Dolphins team that needs to win this game.

Buffalo has been on fire in recent weeks and is rolling into the playoffs with tons of momentum. Quarterback Josh Allen has scored at least four touchdowns in three of his last four games. Resting starters in Week 17 could affect this momentum for Buffalo, offering another factor into the decision for head coach Sean McDermott.

For Miami, they have had an interesting situation brewing at the quarterback position recently. They benched rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick and he led them to a crucial Week 16 victory. They seem to be sticking with Tua, but it is interesting to see who they think will give them the best chance to win should they make the playoffs. Though it was recently announced that Fitzpatrick will be unavailable due to a positive COVID-19 test.

This game is hard to predict because of the uncertainty with Buffalo’s game plan. Miami would seem to have the benefit of motivation and could be victorious in this one.

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Chris

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns

Nick: When the 12-3 Steelers play the 10-5 Browns this week, they’ll be playing for different reasons. Head coach Mike Tomlin announced that Ben Roethlisberger won’t be the starting quarterback for the Steelers. Instead, Mason Rudolph gets his first start since last season in an effort to give Roethlisberger rest. Whether or not other veterans get the day off remains to be seen. So although the Steelers are still trying to win this game, they’re thinking about the playoffs.

The Browns, meanwhile, have everything to play for. If they win, they make the playoffs for the first time since 2002. If they lose, they need the Indianapolis Colts to lose their game. They’re coming off of a loss that fans would like to forget against the New York Jets, and a game where they didn’t have their top four wide receivers due to COVID-19. All are expected back this week, but on Wednesday, they had to shut down their practice facility to perform contact tracing on a positive COVID test.
With all that said, how will this game play out? The first time they played, the Steelers obliterated the Browns 38-7. Now, the playing field is much more level as the Steelers have struggled offensively in the last handful of weeks. The Browns will look to run the ball a lot against a team that’s given up 127.7 yards per game on the ground the last three weeks.
Ultimately, without Roethlisberger, the Steelers take a huge hit. Rudolph was a major inconsistency a year ago, but if he can limit turning the ball over, that’ll go a long way to help keep them in it. Motivation is such a big thing in sports, and because the Browns have so much more to play for than the Steelers, I think they’ll be victorious.
Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Chris

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions

Shane L.: These two teams head into this NFL Week 17 matchup eliminated from playoff contention. Both of these teams might not be playing for the playoffs, but they’re playing for pride.

The Detriot Lions are coming off of the worst defeat of the season with a 47-7 loss against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Matthew Stafford didn’t last long in this game as he left with an ankle injury so they had to play with Chase Daniel and David Blough. The running game was nowhere to be seen and with Kenny Golladay out yet again, the receiving core didn’t do much. The Lions just got downright dominated in all facets of the game.

For the other NFC North team, it wasn’t pretty either. The Minnesota Vikings had a huge offensive night by scoring 33 points with Kirk Cousins throwing for three touchdowns and Adam Thielen catching one of those for 97 yards. Dalvin Cook also scored a touchdown but their defense was pathetic and Mike Zimmer acknowledged just that after the game as they gave up 52 points and allowed Alvin Kamara to score six touchdowns. With that loss, the playoffs were no longer possible.

Even though this game doesn’t mean much, I still expect a heavy NFC North game if all goes right. That is if Matthew Stafford is a go. The Lions are only a game behind the Vikings for third place so that can be another factor for the Lions to play hard. Minnesota has too much on offense for the Lions to handle but if Stafford plays, that Vikings defense could be in trouble again. Dalvin Cook will not be playing in this game due to a family emergency. This game might be close for the most part with Minnesota pulling away late. If Stafford doesn’t play, it’s a blowout.

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Chris

New York Jets at New England Patriots

Jordan: Who would’ve thought that just before playoff season, the New York Jets would a hotter team than the New England Patriots.

The Patriots are limping into the offseason, having lost three in a row and launching themselves out of the playoff race. The Pats have never really been unidentifiable in the Belichick era, but I think it’s safe to say they need some serious work this offseason. Cam Newton has really regressed since the beginning of the year and Jarrett Stidham didn’t look much better in his playing time this year either. It’s an interesting Week 17 matchup for the Patriots, where for the first time ever a loss may be more beneficial than a win. Either way, this game won’t have much of an effect on what the Patriots’ future looks like.

The Jets have now won two in a row and I’m not sure you could find a Jets fan that’s happy about it. Slowly inching themselves out of the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes, the Jets are now looking to finish their season on a high note. However, it’s unclear what’s more appealing to Jets fans; a win against the hated Patriots or a locked-in 2nd overall pick. Either way, the Jets have looked pretty good over the past couple of weeks. Sam Darnold and company were able to knock off two playoff teams and have had multiple close games against other talented rosters as well. I may be in the minority, but I think a Jets win this weekend would do wonders for this team’s confidence.

It’s a battle of the AFC East bottom feeders and I’m still going to go with the Patriots to finish the season off with a win.

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Chris

Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants

Filip: For a long time, the Cowboys were written off. Nobody in the preseason expected the Giants to be potentially able to win the NFC East, but 2020 is a crazy year and here we are. The Cowboys are currently on a roll and they have one more win than the Giants, who are now on a decline, but that could all change. This is a matchup of strength versus strength as the Cowboys’ explosive offense will go up against a solid Giants defense and it will be a crucial matchup.

After losing their star quarterback, the Cowboys were playing poorly offensively. But in the last couple of weeks, they have picked it up. In the last four games, Andy Dalton has thrown nine touchdowns and the running game has slightly picked up with Ezekiel Elliott and even Tony Pollard. The strength of this Dallas offense is of course their trio of receivers who have a combined of 2,759 receivers. The Giants have a solid secondary, but there are just too many to cover.

As for the Giants’ defense, they have been very underrated this season as they have given up the 13th least yards per game. They have a good running defense and solid pass defense. With their talent, they will likely take away the run game from the Cowboys, which will force them to pass. Though the Giants defense has played well, there might be too many weapons to cover, and it’s unlikely that this defense will get help from its offense.

The Giants’ offense has been nothing short of anemic this season. They average the second-fewest amount of yards per game. After the loss of Saquon Barkley, their rushing game hasn’t been as effective. Additionally, Daniel Jones has not taken that leap from his rookie season, as he still has many turnovers including nine interceptions. 

At the beginning of the season, the Giants’ offense might have had success because of how historically bad the Cowboys defense was playing, but the Cowboys defense has gotten a lot better. In their last three games, the Dallas defense has given up an average of 19 points, and more importantly, they have forced 10 turnovers and have a couple of touchdowns.

The winner of this game will have to wait for the Washington versus Eagles game. If Washington loses, the winner of this matchup goes to the playoffs. So, who wins this game?

The Giants have had a solid defense this year, but there is just too much firepower to handle on that Cowboys offense. The Cowboys’ offense will score more points, while that Giants offense is just too stagnant and will likely turn the football over against a defense that has forced many turnovers in recent games. Unless the Giants’ offense steps up and the Giants’ defense forces turnovers, then this game should be relatively comfortable for the Cowboys.

Prediction: Cowboys win 27-16

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Chris

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jordan: Two teams that have a ton of talent, but are seemingly on opposite sides of the production spectrum meet in Week 17. The Bucs will look to continue their momentum into the playoffs, while the Falcons are simply looking to get into the new year as fast as the rest of us.

The Bucs are coming off of one of the worst beatings a team has taken this season, destroying the Detroit Lions by 40 just a week ago. Tom Brady looked elite and all four of the Bucs receiving weapons looked great as well. It’s a positive sign for a team that severely underperformed at the beginning of the year. They’ll now look to secure their seeding for the playoffs.

The Atlanta Falcons are in a very unique spot, with an aging quarterback behind center on the contrary to some other young elite talent on the roster. Matt Ryan has most likely seen his final years as the Falcons bonafide starter, but I still think Ryan will see a starting role to begin the season next year. Julio Jones has been rumored in trade talks for months now, so it’s a huge question mark regarding his future. On the contrary, Calvin Ridley looks to be the next Jones in many eyes, finishing off a fantastic 2020 campaign this week. The Falcons have some deep issues, but I think their young talent on both sides of the ball provides them with some decent building blocks for next season. Before that, however, they’ll look to play spoiler and send the Bucs into the playoffs on a sour note.

I’m going to go full upset here and pick the Falcons to win this matchup. I’ve always believed the talent on the Falcons is there and in many weeks they’ve shown that. They win a close game with Tampa Bay this week and Ridley explodes for 100+ and a touchdown.

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Chris

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears

Chris: In an all or nothing battle in NFL Week 17 between two bitter NFC North rivals, the Green Bay Packers make the trip to Soldier Field to battle the Bears.

Possessing the ability to lock up the number one seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs with a victory, Matt Lafleur’s team made a statement across the league in Week 16 with a 40-14 beatdown of the Tennessee Titans. One of the hottest offenses in football over the past month, Chicago has won three games in a row after re-inserting former first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky back under center. Averaging over 36 points per game, the Bears control their own destiny with the ability to lock up a wild card spot with a victory. In the 202nd meeting between these bitter rivals, here’s what to look for in this one. 

Winners over the Bears in Week 12, the Packers scored three touchdowns in the game’s second quarter to take a commanding 27-10 lead into the break. Eventually, pulling ahead 41-10 late in the third quarter, Green Bay received 163 yards on the ground from running backs Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones while forcing three turnovers, including a fumble return for a touchdown by linebacker Preston Smith.

Remaining one of the strongest units in the NFL, the Bears defense has quietly struggled against the run in stretches this season. The team has allowed their opponents to hit the century mark on the ground in 10 of their 15 games. With defensive tackle Akiem Hicks likely to play in this one after missing the week 12 matchup, look for an aggressive gameplan from defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano as they look to put pressure on Aaron Rodgers to keep the high-powered Green Bay passing attack off balance. 

Revitalized on offense after reinserting Trubisky back under center, the Bears head into NFL Week 17 one win away from the playoffs. With over 396 yards averaged on the ground over the past month, one key to Matt Nagy’s group’s success has been the team’s rushing attack led by David Montgomery. Averaging over 5.1 yards per carry during Chicago’s last four games, the group will need another strong performance from the former Iowa State Cyclone to stay ahead of the sticks on early downs.

Stellar against the pass all season long, the Packers have held their opponents to just 219 yards per game through the air. Led in the secondary by pro bowl cornerback Jaire Alexander and safeties Darnell Savage and Adrian Amos, Mike Pettine’s group has also averaged three sacks per game over their last three contests.

In a game that will look to be much closer than the previous matchup between these two teams, expect the Bears to head into this one hungry for a victory as they fight for their playoff lives. However, with Rodgers and Davante Adams clicking at an extraordinary pace all season long, and with Matt Lafleur’s group needing a victory to lock up home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs, the Packers will pull out a win in this NFC North showdown.

Final Score: Green Bay Packers 33 Chicago Bears 27

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Chris

Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos

Drew: How the mighty have fallen. After starting 6-3, Vegas has dropped five of six and were officially eliminated from playoff contention.

Realistically, the Raiders should have won its last two games, losing in overtime and last-second field goals in respective weeks. Derek Carr returned from injury last week and threw for 336 yards and one touchdown. This defense has allowed at least 30 points nine times this season. Not ideal.

Denver is coming into this game in a similarly weak fashion. At 5-10, the fanbase is likely just looking towards the draft. Drew Lock hasn’t been the greatest and Jerry Jeudy has been plagued by drops. Overall, this team has not been the most inspiring.

Bad meets bad. A movable object meets a stoppable force. Raiders win an ugly game.

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Chris

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts

Drew: The AFC South has been quite the story to watch this year. The Colts come into this game with playoff and division title aspirations. The Jaguars come into this game daydreaming about Trevor Lawrence.

Last week, the Colts got off to a hot start against the Steelers. Unfortunately, they decided that they did not need to come out of the locker room after halftime and lost. Feed Jonathan Taylor and all will be well.

After winning the Week 1 matchup against these Colts, the Jaguars remembered they were supposed to be tanking and have rattled off 14 straight losses. To this point, they’ve gone through three quarterbacks for various reasons and have failed to establish much of anything. Running back James Robinson will be inactive for this, ending his remarkable rookie season.

The Colts are in the playoffs with a win. They win the division with a win and Tennessee loss. They’ll at least take care of one of these here. Colts win.

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Chris

Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs

Jordan: This matchup may not have a ton of merit this year, but I’d get used to seeing Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes going at it for a long time.

The Kansas City Chiefs are waltzing into the playoffs for the third year in a row, losing just one matchup all season. Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Tyreek Hill make up one of the most potent offenses in NFL history while the Chiefs defense has been above average nearly all season as well. One of the biggest gripes with the Chiefs in the past was their lack of defensive prowess and talent. Now that they have a solid base on both ends of the ball, that makes them even scarier. The Chiefs don’t need a win this week, so we’ll likely see many of the starters take a back seat to end the year.

The Chargers will finish off what many would consider both a promising and disappointing 2020 campaign. It was positive in the sense that Herbert has now emerged as possibly the best quarterback to come out of the 2020 class but negative in the sense that many believe the Chargers could have had three, four, even five more wins than their record shows. They dropped a ton of close games that could have at least made this season more appealing. Nonetheless, this week will cap off a season that many Charger fans have been looking for; a bright future.

I’ll give this matchup to the Chargers because Andy Reid has indicated the starters for the Chiefs will take the week off.

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Chris

Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams

Will: In the final week of the 2020 season, every team will be playing a team from their respective divisions. For this one, we have the Arizona Cardinals taking on the Los Angeles Rams.

This will prove to be one of the more pivotal games of this NFL Week 17 due to the playoff implications they are both involved in. For Arizona, a win and a Chicago loss to Green Bay would punch their ticket to the seven seed. For LA, if they win, they’re in. A loss, they could also use some help from the Packers, meaning they’d need a loss from the Bears to clinch.

In Los Angeles, news broke of a broken thumb on the right hand of quarterback Jared Goff. He will require surgery and will be forced to miss the all-important final game of the year. Instead, backup John Wolford will take the helm. I watched some of his preseason highlights with the Rams and he doesn’t look half bad. Give him a couple of receivers like Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, who knows what will happen. Most would think the Rams won’t be nearly as good without Goff, but this is the NFL, anything is possible.
For Arizona, there was a scare that Kyler Murray would not be able to suit up either Sunday. However, Murray was adamant in a recent interview that he will be playing in their win-or-go-home matchup. The Cardinals once had the lead of the NFC West for a short time earlier in the year. Last week’s loss against the injury-plagued San Francisco 49ers has put them into the position they are now. Let’s see if a less-than-100% Kyler Murray can help get the job done.
Due to the sole fact that we don’t know exactly how well Rams quarterback John Wolford will play this week, I can’t trust LA. If Kyler Murray couldn’t get healthy enough for this game, I might think differently about this game. Since he is, I am taking the Cardinals to take this must-win game over the Rams.
Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Chris

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers

Drew: The division champion Seahawks face off against 6-9 49ers. Each of these teams has had highs and lows this year, but only one has a chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

Russell Wilson has responded well after the team’s embarrassing loss to the Giants. He’s thrown for over 4,000 yards yet again and will likely not garner any MVP love yet again. Yeah, the other guys have been great, but Wilson has yet to earn a single MVP vote in his career. That pass rush has been rejuvenated thanks to the acquisition of Carlos Dunlap.

On the other side, the 49ers are just happy to have made it to Week 17. Plagued by injuries (not to mention the fact they have been homeless due to California’s COVID-19 restrictions), San Francisco has limped to the finish line. After dropping six of seven, however, they put division rival Arizona’s playoff hopes on life support last week.

The division is locked down, but Seattle is playing for seeding. With a win and a Packers loss, the NFC would run through Seattle. The Seahawks will “Let Russ Cook” enough to get the win here for some great momentum heading into the post-season.

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Chris

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers

Shiree: For the finale of the Carolina Panthers’ season, the Saints come to Bank of America Stadium in hopes of adding a final win to their regular-season record. The Panthers have just one game left in their season and look to build on next season with a victory of their own.

In Week 7, the Panthers showed some positives in their loss against this same team. The defense has strengthened since then and has held their last two opponents to significant lows. Aaron Rodgers was held to just 149 passing yards while and they held the Washington Football Team’s former quarterback to a rating of 36.9. Teddy Bridgewater hasn’t been the most popular among fans but has done a stand-up job as quarterback in just his first season. Going up against the Saints’ defense will be a challenge this week so it may be a low-scoring affair.

The Saints don’t have to win this game in order to make the playoffs but this would be a great way to keep them sharp heading into their first playoff matchup. The defense hasn’t been up to par for them so look for them to play hard this week. Drew Brees isn’t the most reliable but will still do an extensive amount of damage if the Panthers’ defense isn’t stand up.

I’m picking the Panthers to win this one in a low-scoring battle of the defenses.

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Chris

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans

Shane C.: Despite the disparity in the win-loss records, there should be plenty of fireworks when the Tenessee Titans visit the Houston Texans in the final week of the NFL regular season. Additionally, the Titans control their own fate in the playoff picture. Win and they are in.

A loss wouldn’t end their playoff hopes. However, they would need losses from either of the Indianapolis Colts, Miami Dolphins, or Baltimore Ravens. Other scenarios could play out in the unlikelihood of a tie. 

All eyes will be on Derrick Henry in his quest for 2,000 yards. He will need to rush for 223 yards to hit the mark. While some may call it a long shot, I wouldn’t bet against Henry. The Texans are the second-worst rushing defense in the league. If the Texans are able to keep the score close I would expect to see Henry on the field until the final whistle. However, if the game gets out of hand the coaching staff may look to save Henry’s legs for the playoffs. 

The hometown Texans have endured a very difficult season from start to finish. However, pride is still on the table and after J.J. Watt’s impassioned post-game speech the Texans should be fired up to play potential spoiler. Also noteworthy is the fact the Deshaun Watson is putting the finishing touches on a brilliant 2020 season. Going into the last week he’s thrown for 30 touchdowns against only six interceptions and rushed for an additional 432 yards and three touchdowns. If not for the team’s dismal season Watson would be in the conversation for the league’s most valuable player. 

This game has the slate’s highest over/under at 56 and a half. And, while I do expect a shout out, at the end of the day, the Titans have too much talent and balance on both sides of the ball. The Titans will win this game and take the AFC South. 

Tennessee Titans 41 Houston Texans 34

Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Chris

Washington Football Team at Philadelphia Eagles (SNF)

Danny: I still can’t believe they flexed this game to Sunday night! The Eagles’ season ended last Sunday against the Cowboys where Jalen Hurts and the Eagles got off to a hot start and fizzled out real fast. Washington has a situation where if they win, they are in the playoffs.

The problem is Washington doesn’t even know who their starting quarterback is going to be. The Eagles have every reason to lose this game. With a loss, Washington would win the division and crush the dreams of Cowboys fans of getting in, the Eagles would get a higher draft pick, and more losses will hopefully require owner Jefferey Lurie to make wholesale changes. With that said the Eagles never do anything right and will win this game for absolutely no reason.

Eagles 21
Washington 17
Drew Jordan Filip Shiree Shane L. Shane C. Nick Will Derek Danny Chris

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