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NFL Picks Week 17: Elimination and Coronation

As we now say goodbye to 2023 and welcome in 2024, we take a look at all of the matchups in Week 17.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints Matthew Hinton-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to ring in the New Year. The Saints have the faintest of hopes of winning the NFC South this season, but that will depend on winning this week and getting a ridiculous amount of luck. It would involve the Saints winning the last two games of the season and the Bucs losing the last two games of the season, and that starts this week in their head-to-head matchup. A loss by the Saints this week will seal their elimination while simultaneously sealing Tampa Bay’s coronation in the NFC South.

Let’s take a look at this game as well as the rest of the Week 17 schedule this New Year’s weekend!

Last week I went 9-7

I told you so: Bucs over Jags!

What do I know: Saints over Rams?

WEEK 17

Thursday, December 28th - Thursday Night Football Season Finale

Jets(6-9) at Browns(10-5)

Cleveland’s top-ranked defense will have no trouble at all with the Jets’ last-ranked offense, as the Browns continue their roll towards the playoffs. Cleveland wins 24-13.

Pick: Browns

***

Saturday, December 30th - Saturday Night Football Special

Lions(11-4) at Cowboys(10-5)

This marquee NFC matchup, and possible playoff preview, will come down to one determining factor, which run game will have the most success against the opposing defense. It will be the Dallas rushing attack that wins out in this one. Dallas wins 30-28.

Pick: Cowboys

***

Sunday, December 31st - Early Games

Dolphins(11-4) at Ravens(12-3) - Game of the Week

Once again, Baltimore is featured in the most anticipated game of the week, and that says quite a lot about this Ravens team. Their defense proved to be as dangerous as advertised at San Francisco, but now they face an even more potent offense, in Miami. Both defenses have been very good this season, but this will be an offensive showdown that will come down to one major factor, a performance by Lamar Jackson that may very well seal his case for another NFL MVP. Baltimore wins 37-33.

Pick: Ravens

***

Patriots(4-11) at Bills(9-6)

Buffalo has been on a season-saving roll since late November, and that roll continues against New England. Buffalo wins 28-21.

Pick: Bills

***

Falcons(7-8) at Bears(6-9)

This matchup is about as close as it gets, and this game will certainly play out that way. Ultimately, it will be Taylor Heineke avoiding turnovers and Younghoe Koo making his kicks that tilts the game in Atlanta’s favor. Atlanta wins 28-27.

Pick: Falcons

***

Titans(5-10) at Texans(8-7)

The return of CJ Stroud at quarterback will provide just the boost Houston needs to keep their AFC South hopes alive. Houston wins 19-15.

Pick: Texans

***

Raiders(7-8) at Colts(8-7)

Indianapolis needs this win to keep their own AFC South hopes alive, but will fail to pickup the win against Vegas. Las Vegas wins 24-20.

Pick: Raiders

***

Panthers(2-13) at Jaguars(8-7)

The third AFC South team who needs a win to keep their division hopes alive is Jacksonville, and they may be the most desperate of all. Thanks to an opponent that just happens to be the worst team in the NFL, the Jags get that desperately needed win. Jacksonville wins 23-20.

Pick: Jaguars

***

Rams(8-7) at Giants(5-10)

The Rams defense will shut down Saquon Barkley and cruise to victory as a result. Los Angeles wins 28-10.

Pick: Rams

***

Cardinals(3-12) at Eagles(11-4)

Philadelphia received some fantastic luck last week, in regaining their chance at the NFC’s #1 seed, and that luck continues this week by getting a matchup with the woeful Cards. Philadelphia wins 28-21.

Pick: Eagles

***

49ers(11-4) at Commanders(4-11)

After suffering a demoralizing home loss on Christmas night, the Niners get just the type of rebound they need, in Washington’s NFL worst-ranked defense. San Francisco wins 22-17.

Pick: 49ers

***

Saints(7-8) at Buccaneers(8-7)

This game comes down to two simple factors: New Orleans’ inability to run the ball against the Bucs’ front seven, and Baker Mayfield once again dominating a Saints defense. Those two factors are almost certainties, and that will lead the Bucs to their third-consecutive NFC South title. Tampa Bay wins 21-12.

Pick: Buccaneers

***

Sunday, December 31st - Late Games

Steelers(8-7) at Seahawks(8-7)

Both teams are fighting for respective Wild Card spots and will go all out in this one. Ultimately, Seattle’s advantage at quarterback will make the biggest difference in this matchup. Seattle wins 24-20

Pick: Seahawks

***

Chargers(5-10) at Broncos(7-8)

Exactly a year after being named starter for a benched Derek Carr, Jarrett Stidham has now been named starter for a benched Russell Wilson. Quite fitting. Stidham will have an easy first start against the woeful Chargers. Denver wins 24-18.

Pick: Broncos

***

Bengals(8-7) at Chiefs(9-6)

Kansas City has struggled mightily since their bye, but facing this bad Cincy defense is just what they need to keep their hold on the AFC West. Kansas City wins 23-20.

Pick: Chiefs

***

Sunday Night Football

Packers(7-8) at Vikings(7-8)

The Minnesota receiving corps will make the big plays needed to keep their Wild Card hopes alive, while crushing Green Bay’s Wild Card hopes, in this NFC North showdown. Minnesota wins 21-19.

Pick: Vikings

***

That’s how I see week 17 playing out. Leave us your picks, comments, and insight below! Happy New Year, Who Dat Nation!