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Jan. 1, 2017

NFL Week 17 Predictions

by Ellie Williams, Staff Writer, Nate Bodner, Staff Writer, Ryan Handel, Staff Writer and Benjamin Yokoyama, Online Sports Editor
As we enter the final weekend of regular season football, Ellie remains in a commanding five game lead. The playoff picture in the AFC is set, but the Raiders can grab the top spot in the conference with a win and losses by the Chiefs and Patriots. Elsewhere in the conference Pittsburgh and Houston edged out their divisions, knocking the Ravens and Titans out of contention. Miami grabbed the last playoff spot. The NFC is a whole other story. The Redskins can make the playoffs with a win and a non-tie in the NFC game between the Lions and Packers. Should the game end in a tie, both teams would advance. Dallas has locked up the top spot, but Atlanta can clinch a first round bye with a win, making Seattle play a first round game. Stay tuned next week as we reveal our last NFL predictions of the season for the entire playoffs!

Standings:
Ellie: 147-91
Nate: 142-96
Ryan: 141-97
Ben: 141-97

Patriots at Dolphins
Ben: Patriots
Nate: Patriots
Ryan: Patriots
Ellie: Patriots

Ben says: The Pats are famous for their Week 17 restings, but they'll want to prove to Miami that they remain the team to beat in the AFC East.
Nate says: Even while resting key players, Belichick and the Pats will out-duel Miami
Ryan says: The Patriots will not let up as they are still fighting for a #1 seed.
Ellie says: Patriots are looking to finish strong, while the Dolphins have been inconsistent all season.

Jaguars at Colts
Ben: Jaguars
Nate: Jaguars
Ryan: Colts
Ellie: Colts

Ben says: Last week Blake Bortles showed fans why he is such a highly touted player. Let's hope he can keep it going and make the Jaguars competitive in the years to come.
Nate says: The Jags catastrophic season will end on a high note, now that Gus Bradley is gone.
Ryan says: The Jaguars will end another terrible season with another terrible game.
Ellie says: Indianapolis is still a top ten offensive team, that should be enough to get them past the woeful Jags.

Panthers at Buccaneers
Ben: Panthers
Nate: Panthers
Ryan: Panthers
Ellie: Panthers

Ben says: The first of two tough NFC South matchups, the Panthers will make it through this game headed in the right direction for next year.
Nate says: In a game that means pretty much nothing, Cam Newton, the more experienced QB, will have the edge.
Ryan says: The Panthers will try to set up momentum for a strong 2017.
Ellie says: Carolina has found their stride although it's too late in the season to matter.

Bears at Vikings
Ben: Bears
Nate: Vikings
Ryan: Bears
Ellie: Vikings

Ben says: The Vikings are down in the dumps. Even the defense, their pride and joy, is banged up and as incapable as their offense.
Nate says: The Bears have a lot of problems to work out this offseason. Problems that will not be solved in enough time to beat a mediocre team like the Vikings
Ryan says: With no AP and no motivation, expect the Vikings to drop one here.
Ellie says: The Vikings have fallen apart but still should be able to beat the terrible Bears.

Browns at Steelers
Ben: Steelers
Nate: Steelers
Ryan: Browns
Ellie: Steelers

Ben says: The Browns got their win so it's over now.
Nate says: One win is all they deserve.
Ryan says: The Steelers will rest their starters and let the Browns get a win.
Ellie says: Steelers second string can still beat the Browns.

Bills at Jets
Ben: Bills
Nate: Bills
Ryan: Bills
Ellie: Bills

Ben says: Sure they lost last week in OT, but Rex Ryan didn't deserve to be fired given the mediocre team he's been working with all year.
Nate says: One of the best run games in the league vs one of the worst defenses.
Ryan says: Even EJ Manuel can beat the poor Jets.
Ellie says: The Bills want to finish up the season with some dignity after the firing of their coach.

Cowboys at Eagles
Ben: Eagles
Nate: Cowboys
Ryan: Cowboys
Ellie: Cowboys

Ben says: The Cowboys will likely be resting a few players, and the Eagles will likely do some experimenting for Carson Wentz that'll show why scouts believe he can be great.
Nate says: Even with Dak getting limited snaps, the Cowboys back up QB’s should get the job done.
Ryan says: It doesn't seem like Garrett is the type of coach to rest his players.
Ellie says: Eagles have shown signs of life but just don't have the talent to beat Dallas.

Texans at Titans
Ben: Texans
Nate: Titans
Ryan: Titans
Ellie:Texans

Ben says: For a second there I thought the Titans had something going.
Nate says: Mariota won’t be able to play, but the Titans offense is still dangerous and explosive, everything the Texans offense is not.
Ryan says: The Texans are another team that should be resting their players.
Ellie says: Titans have lacked in identity all season. Pretty sure they won't find it week 17.

Ravens at Bengals
Ben: Ravens
Nate: Ravens
Ryan: Ravens
Ellie: Ravens

Ben says: The Bengals have been hit hard this season, and the Ravens appear to be back in business for years to come with an excellent, young defense.
Nate says: Bengals have been ruined by injuries, and will let the season putter out against division rivals.
Ryan says: The crippled Bengals will hobble to the season’s finish line.
Ellie says: Ravens always find a way to lose late but maybe this is their lucky week.

Chiefs at Chargers
Ben: Chiefs
Nate: Chiefs
Ryan: Chiefs
Ellie: Chiefs

Ben says: The Chiefs will sweep up before an easy first round playoff matchup against one of the weaker division winners.
Nate says: Defense wins games.
Ryan says:The Chiefs will fight hard for homefield advantage.
Ellie says: Chiefs are better on both sides of the ball.

Raiders at Broncos
Ben: Raiders
Nate: Broncos
Ryan: Raiders.
Ellie: Broncos

Ben says: The Broncos have to be disappointed in themselves for losing with a defense like that.
Nate says: The Raiders have already clinched, so they won’t risk any other big injuries.
Ryan says: Matt McGloin will build some much-needed confidence heading into the playoffs.
Ellie says: I don't have confidence in a Raiders team without Derek Carr.

Seahawks at 49ers
Ben: Seahawks
Nate: Seahawks
Ryan: Seahawks
Ellie: Seahawks

Ben says: Even though half their team will likely be removed for fear of injury, Seattle will still beat San Fran.
Nate says: Seattle could most likely beat San Francisco with their practice squad.
Ryan says: The 49ers train wreck season comes to a merciful end here.
Ellie says: 49ers stink on ice.

Cardinals at Rams
Ben: Cardinals
Nate: Cardinals
Ryan: Cardinals
Ellie: Cardinals

Ben says: Arizona and Carolina have been the most disappointing teams all season. The Cards will have to pull out this win to keep Bruce Arians as their head coach next year.
Nate says: Arizona is the biggest disappointment of the season in the NFL, so you can bet they’ll take out their frustration on the unfinished Rams team.
Ryan says: The Cardinals might have a suspect defense, but even they can stop the Rams.
Ellie says: Arizona proved they're better than their record last week in Seattle.

Saints at Falcons
Ben: Falcons
Nate: Falcons
Ryan:Falcons
Ellie: Falcons

Ben says: The NFC South matchups have been the most unpredictable all season, but Atlanta is a real offensive juggernaut.
Nate says: This offense is just too good to beat. With playoff positioning at risk, Atlanta will go all out against New Orleans
Ryan says: Julio Jones and the Falcons will cruise into the playoffs with an easy win.
Ellie says: Both teams have strong offenses and abysmal defenses, this game might come down to the last possession.

Giants at Redskins
Ben: Redskins
Nate: Redskins
Ryan: Redskins
Ellie: Redskins

Ben says: I've picked them all year, and while beating the Bears is no big whoop, Washington showed their offense can score on any defense.
Nate says: Win and we’re in! I trust Kirk and the offense to come up clutch.
Ryan says: The Redskins will give all they have to earn a playoff spot.
Ellie says: The Redskins have something to play for in this game, while the Giants will be trying to avoid injury before the playoffs.

Packers at Lions
Ben: Packers
Nate: Packers
Ryan: Packers
Ellie: Packers

Ben says: Matthew Stafford's fourth quarter magic has been fun to watch (except in the Redskins game), but in this winner-take-all it'll be too little too late.
Nate says: Green Bay has been on a hot streak, and it isn’t likely to end with the division and possibly playoffs at stake.
Ryan says: Aaron Rodgers in on fire. There's no chance he loses here.
Ellie says: The Packers will continue their solid second half.



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