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NFL Week 17: Playoff Scenarios, Lines & Predictions – SportsUntapped.com
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Added December 29th, 2011 by Chalk

NFL Week 17: Playoff Scenarios, Lines & Predictions
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On the final Sunday of the NFL’s regular season and the first day of 2012, as many as 12 games could have playoff implications, determining which teams get the final seven playoff spots, and how the 12 playoff teams will be seeded. We’ve broken down all the possibilities and have juggled our crystal balls to determine how everything will shake out.

Early Games:

Bills +11 @ Patriots
Patriots clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win. The Bills may have beat Tebow last week, but the Patriots win this one.

Panthers +8 @ Saints
The Saints need to win this and have the 49ers lose to the Rams to get the NFC’s No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. The Saints should take care of their business.

Jets +1.5 @ Dolphins
To get into the playoffs as the AFC’s No. 6 seed, the Jets need to win this one and have the Bengals and Titans both lose, plus either the Broncos or Raiders lose. I’m a little surprised the Jets are underdogs here, I think they take of their business here.

Titans -3 @ Texans
The Texans are already assured the No. 3 seed and don’t have much to play for other than ending a two-game losing streak and trying to get some momentum. The Titans can get the AFC’s No. 6 seed and a return match with the Texans provided they win and get a lot of help: they need the Bengals to lose, plus the Jets to win and either the Broncos or Raiders lose, or have the Jets lose while both the Broncos and Raiders win. Matt Hasselbeck’s experience should help the Titans get the win here.

49ers -11 @ Rams
The 49ers might be doing a little scoreboard watching since their game only matters if the Saints win their game, but the 49ers can wrap up a first-round bye with a win against the 2-13 Rams and shouldn’t have any problems winning this one.

Lions -3.5 @ Packers
The Packers have already clinched home-field advantage until the Super Bowl, so they have nothing to play for.  For the Lions, a win means the No. 5 seed and a first-round matchup at either the Giants or Cowboys. If they lose, they still get the No. 5 seed if the Falcons lose or tie later, but if the Falcons win, the Lions drop to the No. 6 seed and possibly a tougher first-round game at either the Saints or 49ers.  The Lions should be able to get this win against a lot of second-stringers for the Packers.

Late Games:

Ravens -1.5 @ Bengals
If the Patriots lose their early game, the Ravens could have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win. If New England wins, the Ravens still need a win to get a first-round bye provided the Steelers win this week. If the Ravens lose and Pittsburgh wins, Baltimore falls to the No. 5 seed. The Bengals can get the No. 6 seed with a win over the Ravens, or if the Jets lose and the Raiders or Broncos also lose. Our pick: Ravens.

Chargers +2.5 @ Raiders
To make the playoffs, the Raiders need a win and help. If they win and the Broncos lose, the Raiders get the No. 4 seed as AFC West champs. If the Broncos win their game, the Raiders need the Bengals lose, plus to have the Jets win or the Titans lose. This one should be awfully close, but the Raiders pull it out.

Chiefs +3.5 @ Broncos
With a win, the Broncos win the AFC West and get the No. 4 seed. A loss and a Raiders win ends Denver’s season. Kyle Orton should have plenty of motivation to lead the Chiefs over the team that dumped him earlier this season, so we like him over one more Tebow miracle.

Steelers -7 @ Browns
Steelers win this, but provided the Ravens win in Cincinnati, it won’t matter.

Buccaneers +12 @ Falcons
If Detroit wins over Green Bay early, the Falcons will have nothing to play for and be in the playoffs as the No. 6 seed. Either way, we take the Falcons.

Night Game:

Cowboys +2.5 @ Giants
This is a virtual play-in game like last year’s Rams-Seahawks matchup, with the winner walking away division champs and with the NFC’s No. 4 seed, and the loser waiting till next year. The Cowboys probably find a way to make it through.


Our projected playoff seedings:

Byes: #1 Patriots, #2 Ravens
First Round Games: #6 Titans @ #3 Texans; #5 Steelers @ #4 Raiders

Byes: #1 Packers, #2 49ers
First Round Games: #6 Falcons @ #3 Saints; #5 Lions @ #4 Cowboys

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