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NFL Week 17 picks, early afternoon non-Bills open thread

Get set for a New Year’s Eve full of NFL football!

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

As we head into Week 17 of the NFL season, the stakes have never been higher. With playoff implications and draft positions on the line, every game will play a crucial role in determining the fate of numerous teams. In this article, I will provide my predictions for the winners of all the upcoming games and discuss the impact these outcomes will have on the postseason picture and draft order.

From thrilling divisional matchups to games with potential playoff berths at stake, Week 17 promises to be filled with high-stakes drama and excitement. Join me as I break down each game and forecast the winners for the upcoming NFL action.

Miami Dolphins at Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m. EST (CBS)

This is the time of year, every year that the Dolphins do the unthinkable and fall apart. A win today would end all the drama for them and lock up the AFC East. But no Jalen Waddle against this Ravens defense makes things more difficult, and I am all for the drama. Lamar Jackson is aiming for his second MVP and winning out would go a long way towards that goal.

The Ravens will win and Bills fans rejoice

Atlanta Falcons at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m. EST (CBS)

The Bears have started to piece together flashes that should make their fan base excited. They will still add two top 10 talents in the draft next year and they really aren’t as far behind other teams as it may seem. But the Falcons are playing to stay alive in their division. Any hopes of a playoff berth rely on them first winning their last two games.

Atlanta will win and keep the dream alive.

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans, 1 p.m. EST (FOX)

The Texans get C.J. Stroud back at just the right time. The AFC South has three teams sitting at 8-7 and hopeful for things to fall their way. Stroud has the opportunity to try and make the playoffs in his first season. The Titans have found a spark on offense since starting Will Levis, but this game will need one of his best performances if they are to pull this win out.

Stroud for offensive rookie of the year, Texans will win.

Las Vegas Raiders at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. EST (CBS)

This is a game that is a toss up for me. The Raiders have been up and down all season, they’ve given up 63 points to the Chargers and they’ve beat the Chiefs. You never know what team is going to show up when you watch the Raiders. The Colts just needed health this season and I think they would have been able to compete with anyone. They’ve been able to keep afloat with a strong run game and just enough from Gardner Minshew.

The Colts run away with this one.

Carolina Panthers at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1 p.m. EST (CBS)

The Jaguars will be without Trevor Lawrence but should be good enough to beat the Panthers. There’s a chance for the Jaguars to still win the division and make the playoffs, so regardless of who is starting at quarterback, this is a must win game for them.

I’ll take the Jaguars when their backs are against the wall.

Los Angeles Rams at New York Giants, 1 p.m. EST (FOX)

The Rams have been fun to watch over the last few weeks of the season. Their offense has been efficient and has scored with ease. They have found a run game and both of their wide receivers can create separation to make things easy for Matt Stafford. The Giants have gone back to Tyrod Taylor as starter and are just hoping for something positive to end the year out.

I’m taking the Rams here in a blowout in New Jersey.

Arizona Cardinals at Philadelphia Eagles, 1 p.m. EST (FOX)

The Eagles are one of the best teams in the entire NFL that I don’t believe in. They aren’t the dominant team we all expected and even though they are winning games, they aren’t doing it convincingly. The Cardinals are looking ahead to the draft, but Kyler Murray isn’t. It was just last season where people mentioned Murray in a conversation with the top 10 quarterbacks in the league. This game won’t change that conversation, but it could go a long way for Kyler’s confidence going forward.

I’m going with the Cardinals to beat the spread but the Eagles will pull the win out.

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m. EST (FOX)

I can’t believe I have been giving Baker Mayfield compliments over the last month. But he has led the Buccaneers offense to a 4 game win streak and the current lead to the NFC South. The Saints are a game back but seem to be unraveling while the Buccaneers are excited about their future with Baker.

The legend of Baker the Buccaneer grows with a win here.

San Francisco 49ers at Washington Commanders, 1 p.m. EST (FOX)

The 49ers just went through a week of everyone doubting them and questioning whether or not they’re for real after being dominated at home by the Ravens. There’s no way they lose to the Commanders here. Expect a bounce back, statement win.

McCaffrey might need a huge day for MVP talk, so the 49ers win big.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Seattle Seahawks, 4:05 p.m. EST (FOX)

The Seahawks have been disappointing to me this season. I expected them to be at the top of their division and for Geno Smith to be in conversations as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFC. That hasn’t happened. The Steelers are only going to go as far as their quarterback takes them, and even when Kenny Pickett was healthy, he wasn’t taking them far at all. Coach Tomlin will always have his team compete, but I don’t see their luck turning around until they find another solution at quarterback. DK Metcalf will have a huge day and help determine some fantasy championships.

Seahawks with the win.

Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos, 4:25 p.m. EST (CBS)

The Broncos are in shambles from the top to the bottom. The way they’ve handled benching Russell Wilson has been nothing short of embarrassing and I hope he is able to get out of there with as much money as possible. But the Chargers are equally out of sorts. Injuries and interim coaches have them looking forward to adding talent in the draft and finding the new leadership to make those decisions.

The Broncos should have enough to overcome all the inactives on the Chargers side. The Broncos will win and cover the spread.

Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs, 4:25 p.m. EST (CBS)

It’s not often the Chiefs watch Patrick Mahomes have a bad game and it’s even less likely that they watch him have two bad games in a row. The Bengals can still find ways to play spoiler and make things difficult for other teams looking for playoff positioning. But it doesn’t happen today against the Chiefs.

Look for the Chiefs to cover the spread and get into playoff mode.

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings, 8:20 p.m. EST (NBC)*

These teams are fighting for second place in a division that has belonged to them for years. Both teams can blame injuries for their seasons derailing, but I am not sure either team would be a challenge for the division even if they were healthy. The Vikings have better weapons on offense and the better team in my opinion overall.

I’ll take the Vikings to win and send Green Bay to 3rd place in the NFC North.

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