Saturday, December 29, 2007

NFL Week 17

The final week of the regular season is upon us and the primary hype in the league this week is tonight's Patriots-Giants game, which will be shown on the NFL Network, CBS and NBC. Here in the New York market it's also being shown on Channel 9.

That's what you call saturation coverage. Unfortunately, Bryant Gumbel is calling the game. Life has its tradeoffs, I guess.

New England is aiming for a perfect regular season, while the Giants have locked up the No. 5 spot in the NFC and will visit Tampa Bay next weekend. Hordes of Patriot fans have been snapping up tickets through StubHub and eBay, so it should be a raucous setting tonight.

New England fans will be more ornery once they find out they're parking in satellite lots where you can't tailgate on this lovely day. During construction at the Meadowlands, parking is limited to passholders. That should be amusing.

We've stumbled along under .500 all year, but have made up some ground with a 12-4 mark in Week 15 and a 10-6 tally last week, leaving the 2007 season mark at 107-122-10.

Is it possible to run the table and finish over .500?

Probably not. Let's find out.

GIANTS +13.5 Patriots: Giants have convinced themselves all the pressure is on the Patriots, and that may be true. But they better show up early. If they fall behind by 14 like they did last week in Buffalo, it'll be lights out and the last three quarters will be viewed from the bench. I think the Giants defense will be fired up and should be able to keep it close. In the end though, Patriots just have too much firepower for the Giants offense to keep up with. Patriots 31-20

Bills +7.5 EAGLES: Is this Donovan McNabb's last game with the Eagles? I said a long time ago he'd be the Bears starter in 2008. If anything, his play the past couple of weeks shows he's still got a little game left. Eagles 20-17

BUCCANEERS +3 Panthers: One of the absurd spreads this week, based on the theory teams will sit starters wholesale. Some indeed may. But still, Tampa needs to stay fresh going into the playoffs. Buccaneers 21-17

DOLPHINS +3 Bengals: Big Tuna is watching and a lot of jobs are on the line. Dolphins 20-17

PACKERS -4 Lions: After being smoked in Chicago last week, Packers want to iron out some kinks before the two-week layoff. Packers 31-10

JAGUARS +6.5 Texans: Another absurd spread. Jags playing to get to 12-4 and I doubt Jack Del Rio wants to screw up the huge momentum they have heading into next week's wildcard game, likely at Pittsburgh. Jaguars 20-17

Saints -2 BEARS: Over to 3 wood: "The Bears have the 25th rated offense and the 28th rated defense. The Saints have the 5th rated offense and the 29th defense. So both defenses are equally bad, but New Orleans has a much better offense than the Bears. The weather Sunday in Chicago is supposed to be 35 degrees and cloudy, not so bad. The Bears have absolutely nothing to play for and have IR'd a lot of their players to protect them. Therefore, I take the Saints in a close one. And so it is. Saints 27-24

FALCONS -1 Seahawks: I'm going with the weird spread on this one. Seattle has to fly cross-country twice with a playoff game next week. Maximum rest for these guys. Falcons 16-13

BROWNS -10 49ers: Browns will take frustration out on Niners. They will then pray the Colts show up. Browns 37-13

JETS -6.5 Chiefs: Second-most important game of the weekend at the Meadowlands. A distant second. Jets 24-13

Cowboys +9 REDSKINS: Do the Cowboys want to just roll over and let a hated rival into the playoffs? I don't think so. Still, Washington is on a roll. Redskins 23-20

Steelers -8.5 RAVENS: A poll was released this week that said Rosie O'Donnell is the most annoying celebrity in America. Brian Billick was voted most annoying coach. From 13-3 to 4-12. Great job! Steelers in the mix for the No. 3 seed and would like to avoid Jacksonville. Steelers 27-7

BRONCOS +3 Vikings: Vikings will be looking at the scoreboard. If the Skins are winning handily, they may fold quickly. Last week's loss was a killer. Broncos 27-20

Chargers -8.5 RAIDERS: Pittsburgh can waive goodbye to the No. 3 seed. Chargers 31-10

CARDINALS -6 Rams: Just watch, everyone will again have the Cardinals as a sexy playoff pick again next year. Same old. Cardinals 41-17

COLTS +6 Titans: I have to think the Colts want to avoid the fiasco two years ago where they rested for a month and then got rocked in their first playoff game. That, and why let a heated division rival win a playoff spot in your building? Colts 24-20

UPDATE: We went 7-8-1 for Week 17 making the final record for 2007 114-130-12.

I erred above in the season record and had left off a tie.

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