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Dec. 29, 2007

NFL - Week Seventeen predictions

by Andrew Kung, Online Sports Editor and Copy Editor, Pia Nargundkar, Online Editor-in-Chief and Nitin Sukumar, Online News Editor and Copy Editor
Well we've come to the end of yet another eventful season in the National Football League. In the final installment of weekly predictions, we have our say on an busy Week Seventeen. For our Redskins, a matchup against the Cowboys directly dictates our playoff hopes. In the Meadowlands, New England's quest for perfection takes its final turn. Elsewhere across the league, teams play for playoff seeds and/or draft position.

After a roller-coaster ride atop the leaderboard, Pia has once again taken command, although Nitin and Anshul are still well within striking distance. Andrew, not so much (it's okay, he won the SCO fantasy football league). Can Pia repeat, or will she cede her crown? Check back later this week, as we bring you the results of our little contest, as well as a look back at some of the most memorable moments of 2007. Till then, we bid you farewell and have just one thing left to say: Go Redskins!

Standings:

Last weekSeason total
Pia 12-4149-91
Nitin 11-5 148-92
Anshul10-6 146-94
Andrew 10-6 140-100


Saturday December 29, 2007

New England Patriots (15-0) at New York Giants (10-5)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
New England New England New England New England

Andrew says: Sadly, last week's apocalyptic upset did not actually come to fruition. Maybe this week... In any case, I'd like to show some love for Laurence Maroney, who finally showed up last week just in time to lead Team Andrew to the SCO fantasy football crown.

Nitin says: Tom Coughlin would rather play with full health going into the playoffs than try to stop New England from making history.

Pia says: Hey ho, into the record books they go.

Anshul says: With the Giants likely resting some of their starters, including their top reciever Plaxico Burress, the Patriots will achieve perfection easier than most people thought.


Sunday December 30, 2007

Dallas Cowboys (13-2) at Washington Redskins (8-7)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Dallas Washington Washington Washington

Andrew says: The Redskins seem to do better when I pick against them. Here's hoping I'm wrong one last time.

Nitin says: The 'Skins are red hot going into this week and control their own fate for a playoff berth. T.O. is out and Tony Romo probably won't risk re-aggravating his thumb injury.

Pia says: With Todd Collins at the helm, what could go wrong?

Anshul says: T.O. is out and other key starters may not see a lot of playing time for the Cowboys, so this game should be all Redskins. Just the win we need to get into the playoffs with some momentum.

Seattle Seahawks (10-5) at Atlanta Falcons (3-12)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Seattle Seattle Seattle Seattle

Andrew says: Seattle will probably be the worst 11-win team in recent memory after Seneca Wallace leads them past the Falcons. Boy, does the NFC West stink.

Nitin says: Except for Baltimore and Miami, no team in the league needs to play starters to beat Atlanta.

Pia says: Regardless of whether or not Mike Holmgren decides to rest his starting players, Atlanta is going to get steamrolled.

Anshul says: Atlanta is probably the biggest disappointment this year, even more than Miami. An easy win for Seattle to roll into the playoffs.

Cincinnati Bengals (6-9) at Miami Dolphins (1-14)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Miami Cincinnati Cincinnati Cincinnati

Andrew says: At this point, who cares? One win, two wins, both these teams have serious issues.

Nitin says: Cincinnati has alternated wins and losses too often this year, but a rebuilding, high school level football team like Miami can end that trend for the Bengals.

Pia says: I gave up hope for the Dolphins long ago; now I only want to know what "the Tuna" can do for these big fish next season.

Anshul says: Cincinnati has been a pretty big disappointment this year, but Miami has been even worse. A game that doesn't matter, but Cincinnati will win to at least finish the season decent.

Carolina Panthers (6-9) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-6)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Tampa Bay Carolina Carolina Carolina

Andrew says: It may be meaningless, but it's still a rivalry game. The Bucs can't be happy with all the Pro Bowl snubs.

Nitin says: Matt Moore showed some guts last week against Dallas; if he wants to have a shot at the starting job next year he'll have to put up another strong performance against Tampa.

Pia says: If San Francisco can manage to win against the resting Bucs, then I am sure Carolina can do it as well.

Anshul says: With Tampa Bay likely resting some of their key players, Carolina should be able to win. This looks like a good game to find a starting quaterback for next year for the Panthers.

New Orleans Saints (7-8) at Chicago Bears (6-9)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Chicago Chicago New Orleans New Orleans

Andrew says: The schedule-makers envisioned this a late-season clash between NFC titans. Hoo-boy, were they wrong! The top NFC teams entering 2007 have both stunk it up, but look for the Bears D and Kyle Orton to muster one last stand to end a miserable season on a relatively high note.

Nitin says: The Chicago D put up another tough stand for the second week in a row.

Pia says: The Saints will make up for their weak season start and keep their playoff hopes alive.

Anshul says: Chicago has nothing to gain in this game, but the Saints have everything to gain. Despite the Bears playing well as of recent, New Orleans should win to put pressure on the Vikings and Redskins.

San Francisco 49ers (5-10) at Cleveland Browns (9-6)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Cleveland San Francisco Cleveland Cleveland

Andrew says: This game may not have playoff implications, but it definitely has implications on the size of Derek Anderson's upcoming free-agent contract.

Nitin says: The game is basically meaningless for Cleveland unless Tennessee ties Indianapolis. My guess is that Derek Anderson won't be playing. I've always been a Brady Quinn fan, but putting the offense in his hands against Nate Clements and Patrick Willis won't turn out well.

Pia says:Even though this game is meaningless for the Browns, Cleveland's second-stringers still have what it takes (which isn't much, mind you) to beat San Francisco.

Anshul says: Derek Anderson has been playing badly recently, but the Browns' playoffs hopes rest on the Titans, despite this game's outcome. Still, their offense should produce enough to beat the 49ers.

Detroit Lions (7-8) at Green Bay Packers (12-3)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Detroit Green Bay Green Bay Green Bay

Andrew says: Jon Kitna can't be happy right now. And remember, he has God on his side. Save for their six-game losing streak, the Lions haven't been that bad, and the resting Packers have their eyes only on a different D-initialed city.

Nitin says: Green Bay will regain some momentum with the win after a disastrous loss last week.

Pia says: The Packers have had a sore spot for the Bears this season, but aren't going to let the Lions spoil their pre-playoff momentum. Sorry Kitna, maybe next season your predictions will see fruition.

Anshul says: Green Bay threw away their home-field hopes last week against Chicago, but they know how important a win is here to gain momentum for the playoffs.

Jacksonville Jaguars (11-4) at Houston Texans (7-8)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Houston Jacksonville Jacksonville Jacksonville

Andrew says: Finishing an even 8-8 for the first time in franchise history is a step in the right direction for the upstart Texans. If they muster a reliable running game, the Texans are a team to watch in 2008.

Nitin says: Another tough call since Jacksonville has no reason to play starters. This dangerous team is so good it doesn't even matter who plays.

Pia says: Jacksonville would be at the head of two of the other AFC divisions, so don't let its number five seed fool you - these big cats aren't messing around.

Anshul says: Jacksonville is definitely the most underrated team this season. Though the Texans are playing well and the Jags may not play starters, Jacksonville is good enough to take care of business.

Buffalo Bills (7-8) at Philadelphia Eagles (7-8)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Buffalo Philadelphia Philadelphia Philadelphia

Andrew says: After all they've gone through this year, I have a soft spot for the Bills. And plus, I always enjoy watching a division rival fall.

Nitin says: McNabb has made it clear he wants to stay in Philly and he's shown his commitment in the last three weeks.

Pia says: The Eagles may not be in the playoff hunt, but Donovan McNabb is playing for his job this Sunday.

Anshul says: Both teams are out of the playoffs but have been playing well recently. The Eagles' defense should have an edge in this matchup which would give Philly the win.

Pittsburgh Steelers (10-5) at Baltimore Ravens (4-11)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Baltimore Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh

Andrew says: After entering the season with tremendous hopes, these Ravens must have a chip on their shoulder. A meaningless win against the hated Steelers may hurt their draft hopes, but it could go a long way morale-wise. After this debacle of a season, how does Brian Billick still have a job?

Nitin says: Washington looks headed to the playoffs while Baltimore... HA! Life is good in D.C.

Pia says: After nine straight losses, the Ravens can only be playing for a great draft pick.

Anshul says: See you next season Ravens. Get healthy. Find a permanent quarterback.

St. Louis Rams (3-12) at Arizona Cardinals (7-8)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Arizona Arizona Arizona St. Louis

Andrew says: Ken Whisenhunt ends his first season in the desert with a .500. For long-suffering Cardinal fans, that's a feat worth celebrating.

Nitin says: When was the last time Torry Holt got ticked off? Never. That can't be a good sign.

Pia says: The Rams are as bad as they have been all season; everyone's just forgotten about them because the Dolphins are even worse.

Anshul says: The beginning of the season, the Rams were expected to be top NFC contenders. Now, they're trying to end the season at .250. Arizona has not been much better but have a better record through a moderate schedule.

Minnesota Vikings (8-7) at Denver Broncos (6-9)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Minnesota Denver Minnesota Minnesota

Andrew says: It's officially time for Mike Shanahan and crew to consider the R-word. Rebuild? It hasn't been thrown around since the pre-John Elway days, but after this season's atrocities, it merits consideration.

Nitin says: Minnesota needs a ton of help offensively to complement Adrian Peterson. Teams are starting to realize Tarvaris Jackson is a joke and are beginning to focus solely on the star rookie.

Pia says: Denver can only hope that their slide won't last into next season as well.

Anshul says: It's do or die time for the Vikings. Last week, Tarvaris Jackson's first pass was intercepted. He is going to need to step up big to get his team into the playoffs and now is the time to do it. I'll be hoping for a Viking's loss to take pressure off the Redskins, but that may not work out so well.

Tennessee Titans (9-6) at Indianapolis Colts (13-2)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Tennessee Tennessee Indianapolis Tennessee

Andrew says: So Marvin Harrison may finally suit up this week (that must have been one heck of a bruise). Still, the focus is on Vince Young's shoulders to carry the Titans into the playoffs with a win. With Jim Sorgi looking to get extensive looks, it's more than possible.

Nitin says: The Titans have always played well against the Colts and have everything on the line this game. Coach Dungy probably won't risk starting the injury prone Bob Sanders.

Pia says: Tennessee may need this win really badly, but come on, they barely beat the Jets last week. The Jets.

Anshul says: Indy may be resting some starters and the Titans need this win. They lose and it's all over.

San Diego Chargers (10-5) at Oakland Raiders (4-11)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
San Diego San Diego San Diego San Diego

Andrew says: It'll be the Darren Sproles and Michael Turner show at the Black Hole.

Nitin says: L.T. went for 4 TDs and nearly 200 yards rushing the last time these two teams squared off. San Diego will be able to avoid a couple of tough matchups in the playoffs if they can secure the number three seed.

Pia says: The Chargers need this win to secure the number three AFC seed, while the Raiders are granting their rookie quarterback his first NFL start. With Shawne Merriman back, it looks like it's going to be "Lights Out" in Oakland.

Anshul says: Finally, it's JaMarcus Russell's time to shine. Oakland has the second-worst pass offense in the league and I can't wait to see what the first-round draft choice can do in his first career start. Still, San Diego is not a forgiving place and should give him a proper welcome to the NFL.

Kansas City Chiefs (4-11) at New York Jets (3-12)
Andrew Nitin Pia Anshul
Kansas City New York New York Kansas City

Andrew says: Herm Edwards gets the best of his former team in yet another game that pits two teams jockeying for draft position.

Nitin says: Both teams have been a mess from Week One. Homefield advantage will win it for the Jets.

Pia says: Can you believe these teams were both in the playoffs last year? I think I hear Jim Mora's voice in the distance..."Playoffs? I just hope we can win a game!"

Anshul says: Both these teams did not fall apart during the season. They started off terrible. Does this game even matter?



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