Welcome to the final week of the NFL regular season. This week features two particularly interesting battles for playoff spots. Tampa Bay, Green Bay, and New York fighting for the NFC sixth seed; Jaguars and Colts fighting for the AFC South division. Also a smaller battle in that the Ravens and Steelers are fighting for their division.
So click here to find out what games you are getting in your area and make the jump to find out my predictions for all those games.
Miami @ New England - 12:00 CST
Miami's season is over and the Patriots have already clinched the number one seed. However, if I know Belichick - which I don't - he won't be resting starters unless it's clear he's going to win/lose. Miami is just playing for pride...and maybe their coach's job. I think they will fall short.
Prediction: New England over Miami
Minnesota @ Detroit - 12:00 CST
The battle for the basement of the NFC North division. Detroit is on a three game winning streak, winning more games in this streak alone than in the past two years. And Minnesota is coming off a big win against the Eagles. I'm going to go against the rules and say...
Prediction: Detroit over Minnesota
Carolina @ Atlanta - 12:00 CST
I want to believe..but I just can't. Prove me wrong Panthers.
Prediction: Atlanta over Carolina
Oakland @ Kansas City - 12:00 CST
If Kansas City had lost last week and the Raiders had won, this game would have been for the division. But now Oakland has nothing to play for and the only difference this makes to the Chiefs is whether they will have the third seed or the fourth. This game will probably be 60 minutes of nonstop running.
Prediction: Chiefs over Oakland
Pittsburgh @ Cleveland - 12:00 CST
This is actually a tough one to decide. Cleveland was able to take down Pittsburgh last year without Polamalu and Polamalu is out again this year. However, Cleveland's strength is running and the Steelers strength is run defense. This could actually turn into an interesting game. Steelers need this win to seal the division, so I'm going to give them the nod based on motivation.
Prediction: Pittsburgh over Cleveland
Buffalo @ NY Jets - 12:00 CST
I cannot ever pick Buffalo. The Jets may rest their starters since they have already clinched a playoff berth; maybe then the two teams will be equal in strength. However, I still can't pick Buffalo.
Prediction: Jets over Buffalo
Tampa Bay @ New Orleans - 12:00 CST
The Saints have already sealed up the fifth seed and the starters will start but probably get pulled when Payton looks at the scoreboard and sees Atlanta crushing the Panthers. However, I doubt Payton will give up this win without a fight. In a fight, I got Payton over Morris.
Prediction: Saints over Bucs
Cincinnati @ Baltimore - 12:00 CST
The Bengals were able to take down Baltimore the first time around but I just have a hard time believing they can do it again. Will this be a good game? Most likely. But the team playing with a reason to play beats the team playing because they want another game check.
Prediction: Baltimore over Bengals
Chicago @ Green Bay - 3:15 CST
Nobody is more happy about the Eagles losing than the Packers. The Bears have clinched the second seed and may rest their starters if they choose. It might be wise against Packers, who have their backs against the wall. With Green Bay in a must-win situation and Chicago with nothing to play for, I'm going with the Packers.
Prediction: Packers over Bears
NY Giants @ Washington - 3:15 CST
Nobody is more upset about the Eagles losing than the Giants. The Bears have clinched the second seed and may rest their starters. Since the Giants also need the Packers to lose, things continue to get worse in a season that's seen the Giants seem like the best team in the league and then look like the worst. Redskins have nothing to play for but will most likely keep it close.
Prediction: Giants over Washington
Jacksonville @ Houston - 3:15 CST
Jacksonville is in a must-win situation but will be without starting quarterback David Garrad and may also be without Maurice Jones-Drew. That would be game-changing but the Texans, who are currently fighting for a top five 2011 draft spot and with talk of a new coaching staff and a new front office, are just too beaten. I would place money on the Texans getting off to a great start, giving it up, then losing in heartbreaking fashion. Since it has happened so many times already.
Prediction: Jags over Texans
Dallas @ Philadelphia - 3:15 CST
The Eagles don't have much to play for and the Cowboys would love to get a win against the Eagles. I have a feeling the Eagles may lose this one in a game where Vick is resting.
Prediction: Dallas over Eagles
Tennessee @ Indianapolis - 3:15 CST
The Colts are in a must-win situation to get to the playoffs and the Titans have no real reason to win. I just see no way the Colts lose, barring Peyton taking up becoming a god in a new religion.
Prediction: Colts over Titans
San Diego @ Denver - 3:15 CST
Neither team has a reason to play. Since San Diego has one of the better offense's in the league, a better defense and the Broncos are starting Tebow...
Prediction: Chargers over Broncos
Arizona @ San Francisco - 3:15 CST
The battle to be the worst team in the worst division in football. Yet sadly, the league's worst team (Carolina) is actually in the best division, the NFC South. Both teams are just going through the motions and neither team will probably try hard to win. But if I have to pick...
St. Louis @ Seattle - 7:20 CST
Both teams are battling for the right to host the Saints in the playoffs (most likely). Thankfully, this game is national. So everyone who is in the country can watch to find out what happens. Who to root for will probably come down to your personal interests. St. Louis is a stronger team at home; Seattle is also better at home than on the road. But the Seahawks will be starting Charlie Whitehurst and the Rams have more fight in them.
Prediction: Rams over Seahawks
So which game do you think will be the most interesting to watch as the NFL season official comes to a close?