Week 17 Tips
December 29, 2012
By Kevin Rogers
All six playoff spots in the AFC are spoken for heading into Week 17, even though the seedings can change with different results. The NFC still has two postseason berths up for grabs going into the final week, as five clubs have an opportunity to make the playoffs. The Redskins and Cowboys hook up in Washington for the NFC East title, while the Vikings control their destiny for the final Wild Card berth in the NFC. We'll take a look at the three day games that have an impact on the NFC playoff race, starting with the big long shot in New Jersey.
Eagles at Giants (-7, 46) - 1:00 PM EST
Philadelphia was the league's biggest disappointment in 2011 and is a nominee for that same honor in 2012 with a 4-11 record. The Eagles can spoil New York's shot at returning to the postseason by pulling off the season sweep of their division rivals. The Giants started their Super Bowl run last season with a home victory over the Cowboys in Week 17 to qualify for the playoffs. The task isn't as easy this time around, as New York needs a win plus losses by Chicago, Minnesota, and Dallas just get to the Wild Card round.
The Eagles welcome back Michael Vick to the lineup after the quarterback has missed the last six games with a concussion. Vick led Philadelphia to a 19-17 triumph as a 1 ½-point favorite way back in Week 4, the last home victory for the Eagles. Since that win, the Eagles have covered three times in 11 tries, but all three ATS wins came away from Lincoln Financial Field.
The Giants have been outscored, 67-14 in road losses at Atlanta and Baltimore the last two weeks. The Ravens ran out New York, 33-14 as short home 'dogs last Sunday as Baltimore racked up 533 yards of offense. Tom Coughlin's club owns a 2-5 SU/ATS record the last seven weeks, while scoring 16 points or less in the previous four defeats. New York has been one of the top 'under' teams in the league by producing the 'under' 11 times this season, including in six of the last seven weeks.
Bears (-3, 45) at Lions - 1:00 PM EST
The only way to for Chicago to save its season is with consecutive road wins the final two weeks. The Bears completed the first obstacle with flying colors in a 28-13 blowout of the Cardinals as seven-point favorites, as Lovie Smith's defense scored a pair of touchdowns. Now, Chicago needs a victory at Ford Field, coupled with a Minnesota loss at Green Bay to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2010.
The Lions enter Sunday's contest trying to finish off a season to forget at 4-11 following last Saturday's blowout loss to Atlanta. Detroit, just one season removed from making the playoffs, has allowed at least 31 points in five losses during a seven-game skid, while losing three home games by four points or less. The Lions had plenty of opportunities in their last meeting at Chicago in Week 7, but committed a handful of turnovers in the red zone in a 13-7 loss.
Since starting the season at 7-1, the Bears have won just two of their previous seven contests. Chicago has covered only twice in this cold stretch with victories over Minnesota and Arizona. The Bears' offense can shoulder the blame, scoring 17 points or less in all six losses this season, as the only game in which they put up less than 17 was the victory over Detroit. The 'over' is 5-2 in Chicago's seven road games, as one of the 'unders' came with a 50 ½ total in a Week 2 loss at Green Bay.
Packers (-3 ½, 46) at Vikings - 4:25 PM EST
Green Bay needs a win to secure a first-round bye, while Minnesota goes for its fourth straight victory and a shot at the playoffs for the first time since 2009. The Vikings are staying alive thanks to solid road triumphs at St. Louis and Houston, including a 23-6 dismantling of the AFC South champion Texans as 7 ½-point 'dogs last week.
Minnesota has quietly turned into one of the league's best home squads with a 6-1 record at Mall of America Field, with the lone loss coming on a Thursday night in October to Tampa Bay. The Vikings own a perfect 3-0 SU/ATS record as a home 'dog this season, including wins over the Bears, Lions, and 49ers. Leslie Frazier's team has dropped five straight meetings with the Packers dating back to 2009, as Green Bay is 3-0 SU/ATS the last three trips to Minneapolis.
The Packers were the talk of the NFL last season at 15-1, but fizzled out in a second-round playoff loss to the Giants. Green Bay has flown under the radar this season at 11-4, while winning nine of their last 10 games. In two of their four losses, Green Bay has squandered late fourth-quarter leads at Seattle and Indianapolis, as the Packers could have been the top seed in the NFC, but also may play the first weekend with a loss plus a San Francisco win. Mike McCarthy's team has hit the 'under' in five of the last six games, as you can blame Green Bay's offense for an 'over' in a 55-7 rout of Tennessee last Sunday.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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