NFL Week 17 Predictions (2020-21)

Carson Zorn, Sports Writer

This is it. The final regular season week of the 2020-21 NFL Season. It’s been a wild ride, but I’m just so happy we got a full season. That said, it is now officially do or die time for teams that are still trying to make the playoffs. So, let’s get to my week 17 predictions and final playoff seeding.

 

Week 16 Takeaways:

-The Vikings need to rebuild their defense if they want any shot at getting to the postseason next year.

-Alvin Kamara just made a strong bid to win Offensive Player of the Year.

-Yes Tom Brady is good, but his performance against the Lions defense is a little overhyped.

-The Lions basically need to start from scratch as a team.

-The 49ers defense is going to be scary good when everyone gets back next year. Look at how good it is without their stars.

-The Cardinals can’t ask Kyler Murray to throw 50 times a game behind that O-Line.

-Ryan Fitzpatrick deserves a spot in the hall of fame for that throw.

-Don’t worry Raiders fans, Gruden only has 7 years left on his contract.

-The Giants have one of the worst offenses in the NFL.

-The Ravens are heating up at the right time.

-Only the Falcons could lose a game from a Pro Bowl kicker missing a chip shot.

-The Chiefs have not looked like the best team in the NFL recently.

-The Browns loss is only slightly on Baker. The real question is Kevin Stefanski’s coaching. Why did he have Mayfield throw the ball 53 times with no WRs to throw to, and only try to run the ball 15 times?

-Mitch Trubisky is playing for both his and Matt Nagy’s jobs.

-The Jaguars have secured Trevor Lawrence. Congratulations Jaguars fans, make sure to thank the Jets.

-If the Bengals offense looks this good with Brandon Allen at QB, I can’t wait for Joe Burrow to come back.

-DeShaun Watson and JJ Watt deserve so much better than the Texans.

-The Colts are not a second half team, mostly because Frank Reich doesn’t know how to run the ball in the second half to protect the lead.

-The Steelers needed that win for anyone to still consider them somewhat legit.

-The Panthers are the definition of average.

-Washington really needs Alex Smith in order to win.

-Drew Lock is not the answer for the Broncos.

-Justin Herbert will be the only QB to challenge Patrick Mahomes in the AFC West for the foreseeable future.

-Okay so, maybe Carson Wentz wasn’t the problem.

-Andy Dalton finally looks comfortable as the starting QB.

-The Rams offense should be way better than it is.

-The Seahawks defense is finally showing up. 

-If the Titans can’t get Derrick Henry going, they won’t be able to get Ryan Tannehill going.

-I don’t see any team in the NFC beating the Packers in the playoffs.

-The Bills have officially taken over the AFC East.

-The Patriots offense has no talent outside of the O-Line.

 

Record:

Last Week: 9-7

Total: 146-93-1

 

Week 17 Predictions:

 

Sunday 1:00 Games:

 

Vikings vs Lions:

This game doesn’t mean anything for either team. They are both out of the playoff hunt, and have been for a little while now. Unfortunately, due to a family tragedy the Vikings will not have RB Dalvin Cook for this game, (Condolences to him and his family for their loss) but I don’t think they necessarily need him to beat the Lions. The Lions are not a good team on defense, and if QB Matthew Stafford is out, they’re an even worse team on offense. The Vikings actually have a pretty solid offense, so I like their chances to win this one.

Vikings Win 27-19

 

Falcons vs Buccaneers:

As far as I know, the Buccaneers won’t be resting their starters, and that is all I need to know to predict a win for them. The Falcons always find crazy ways to lose games, and they’ll do it again this week against the Buccaneers.

Buccaneers Win 31-24

 

Jets vs Patriots:

At this point, I honestly have no clue what to think of the Jets. They’re obviously still a really bad team, but they’ve recently proven they can beat really good teams. The Patriots are not a good team, and only barely beat the Jets earlier this year. So, I’m going to do something I have not yet done this season: I’m going to predict a Jets win. The Jets can’t move up or down in their draft positioning, so they have no reason to intentionally lose this game, and what would be a more fitting end to the Patriots season then losing to the Jets?

Jets Win 24-21

 

Dolphins vs Bills:

As long as the Bills play their starters, they should have no problem winning this game, and I think they have the motivation to play their starters. If the Bills could win, they lock up the number two seed and home field advantage until they play the Chiefs, and having home field advantage would be huge for the Bills. A Bills win could also potentially knock the Dolphins out of the playoffs. So, I’m going to assume the Bills play their starters. The Dolphins won’t have QB Ryan Fitzpatrick to bail Tua out this week when he ultimately struggles against the Bills improving defense, so I’m going to predict a Bills win that knocks the Dolphins out of the playoffs.

Bills Win 30-23

 

Steelers vs Browns:

If the Browns win this game, they’re in the playoffs. Luckily for them, the Steelers are going to be resting some of their starters. So, hopefully the Browns can take advantage of that and clinch their first playoff berth in 18 years, and I think they will.

Browns Win 23-14

 

Cowboys vs Giants:

This game could potentially decide who wins the NFC East. Whoever wins this game needs Washington to lose in order to make the playoffs, but it could happen. I like the Cowboys’ chances to win this game. Andy Dalton has really come into his own as the starting quarterback for the Cowboys, and has looked darn near perfect over the last couple of weeks. On the Giants side of the football, their offense is dormant and can’t get anything going. So, I’ll take the Cowboys to win this game.

Cowboys Win 31-21

 

Ravens vs Bengals:

The Ravens path to the playoffs is simple. Beat the Bengals and you’re in. But, the Ravens have been in this situation before, and missed the playoffs. However, this year the Ravens are clearly a better team than this Bengals squad that’s down to a second or third stringer at almost every position. So the Ravens will win this game, and make the playoffs.

Ravens Win 27-13

 

Sunday 4:25 Games:

 

Jaguars vs Colts:

The Colts need to win this game plus a little help to make the playoffs. While the Colts are 10-5 and the Jaguars are 1-14, the Jaguars one win on this season was against the Colts. There’s also a huge chance that the Jaguars attempt to play spoiler, because they already have the number one pick locked up. But, at the end of the day, the Colts will want to win more, especially if one of the AFC Wild Card teams loses in the early window.

Colts Win 24-16

 

Titans vs Texans:

Titans RB Derrick Henry needs 223 rushing yards to cross 2,000 yards on the season, and I think he gets it in this game. The Titans have been a pretty hot and cold team this year, but their offense has almost never been the problem (minus the games against the Packers and Bengals). The Titans should blow out the Texans, clinch the division and go into the playoffs with a head full of steam.

Titans Win 38-26

 

Cardinals vs Rams:

This game has possibly the most playoff implications of any game this week. Both of these teams are fighting for Wild Card spots in the NFC. The Rams can lose this game, but as long as the Bears lose, they’re in. The Cardinals have to win this game to get in. From the injury reports, it seems as though John Walford will be the starting QB for the Rams, and the Cardinals will be starting Kyler Murray on one leg. So, this should be interesting. The Rams could potentially win this game on their defense alone, but their offense will likely not be able to move the ball whatsoever. As long as Kyler Murray plays, I’ll take the Cardinals to win a close one.

Cardinals Win 17-13

 

Saints vs Panthers:

It recently came out that the Saints will not have any of their Running Backs because of a COVID outbreak. That is a tough loss for a Saints offense that was already running thin on talent. Now Drew Brees, who still does not look 100%, will have to lead an offense without even a third string RB and no Michael Thomas with playoff seeding on the line. Call me crazy, but I just don’t see the Saints winning this game. The Panthers aren’t a great team but I think both their offense and defense will do enough to beat this hurt Saints team, and spoil their chances at the number one seed.

Panthers Win 27-21

 

Packers vs Bears:

This is a big game for both teams. If the Packers win, they clinch the number one seed in the NFC, and the road to the Super Bowl runs through Lambeau Field. If the Bears lose, there’s a chance they don’t make the playoffs unless the Cardinals lose as well. Both teams will be playing their hearts out, but it’s pretty clear that the Packers are the far better team here, and will win the game.

Packers Win 35-30

 

Chargers vs Chiefs:

The Chiefs clinched the number one seed in the AFC last week, and therefore are resting basically all their starters this week. So, the Chargers have a shot to finally beat their division rivals, and I think they’ll do it. The Chargers have too much talent on their roster to not beat the Chiefs backups, and unless Anthony Lynn somehow has the worst coaching game of his career, the Chargers should win.

Chargers Win 24-14

 

Seahawks vs 49ers:

The Seahawks have an outside shot at the number one seed in the NFC, and it all starts with winning this game, which I predict they’ll do easily. The 49ers took care of business against the Cardinals last week, but I don’t think it’s a big secret that the Seahawks are a better team than the Cardinals. The 49ers will be back and better than ever next year, but they’re going to end this season with a loss to the Seahawks.

Seahawks Win 23-17

 

Raiders vs Broncos:

At the beginning of the year, I was told by multiple people not to sleep on these teams, and now here we are with both of them having losing seasons and another missed year at the playoffs. This game is meaningless for both teams, but I’m going to take the Broncos to win it, just because I think it’ll be hilarious to see the look on Raider fan’s faces when they realize Gruden has another seven years on his contract. 

Broncos Win 31-28

 

Sunday Night Game:

 

Football Team vs Eagles:

This is how the regular season will finish. This game will decide the NFC East. If Washington wins, they win the division and get into the playoffs. If they lose, it will be either the Cowboys or the Giants. While Alex Smith is expected to be back at QB for Washington, I think the Eagles with Jalen Hurts at QB will play spoiler and win. It would be a disappointing end to the season for Washington, but I think that’s how it’s going to go. 

Eagles Win 24-23

 

Now, as an added bonus, I will put the expected playoff seedings based on my predictions down below. Here are your 2021 NFL Playoff teams:

 

AFC:

1. Kansas City Chiefs (14-2)

2. Buffalo Bills (13-3)

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)

4. Tennessee Titans (11-5)

5. Baltimore Ravens (11-5)

6. Cleveland Browns (11-5)

7. Indianapolis Colts (11-5)

 

First Round Playoff Matchups:

Bye: (1) Chiefs

(7) Colts vs (2) Bills

(6) Browns vs (3) Steelers

(5) Ravens vs (4) Titans

 

NFC:

1. Green Bay Packers (13-3)

2. Seattle Seahawks (12-4)

3. New Orleans Saints (11-5)

4. Dallas Cowboys (7-9)

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5)

6. Arizona Cardinals (9-7)

7. Los Angeles Rams (9-7)

 

First Round Playoff Matchups:

Bye: (1) Packers

(7) Rams vs (2) Seahawks

(6) Cardinals vs (3) Saints

(5) Buccaneers vs (4) Cowboys

 

Well those are my week 17 predictions. Thanks for going through the season with me, and remember to enjoy some football this weekend!