The 49ers have stumbled recently, they have to win this week to give them a chance to secure a first round bye.
Entering the last week of the season I'm sitting at 153-87. That's ok but not great. I'd like to be over 170 for the season, but it is what it is at this point. Let's finish strong.
With teams resting players and teams out, I'll also take a look at the postseason and offseason for the teams in addition to my picks.
Tampa Bay at Atlanta - A game where one team has everything locked up and another team is out of the playoffs is tough to pick.
The Bucs are a young team with a good core on offense. They need to bring in some more pieces on defense to keep getting better. I like where they are going.
The Falcons are headed to the playoffs and have the #1 seed. Everyone, including me, have been asking what the Falcons can do in the postseason. A running game and good defense are key to consistent play in the postseason. Turner is a little older but Rodgers adds a nice change of pace for him. This is a complete team but we all want to see them do something in the postseason. I think they've had a good regular season and I think they'll win a game, but I don't see them going to the Super Bowl this year. Maybe next year will be their year.
Bucs win because Falcons rest players.
NY Jets at Buffalo - This game is going to get attention because of the Jets QB situation. The bottom line is that there will be a lot of bad football being played.
The Jets have a lot of work to do this postseason. They have to figure out their front office and Coaching situation. Then they need to figure out their QB situation. From there they need to build talent on both sides of the ball.
The Bills spent a lot of money on defense last season and it did not work out. They have talent at RB, WR and I even like their TE. I think they need to get a new coach and look for talent all over the team this offseason.
Bills win a hard game to watch.
Baltimore at Cincinnati - Both of these teams have things wrapped up and can't really improve their position in this game. I expect them both to rest players and not show too much before the postseason.
The Ravens are still trying to figure out their new offense and getting their defense healthy. Ray Lewis is active but he will not be on the field. The Ravens have to get their offense rolling if they have any chance of making it deep into the playoffs. With Houston, New England and Denver all strong teams, I do not see the Ravens going anywhere this postseason.
The Bengals are a good young team with solid talent on both sides. They are building for the future and will overtake the Ravens in the division next season. With the Steelers and Ravens aging the Bengals are in position to win this division for years to come.
The Bengals win a game where neither teams shows much.
Chicago at Detroit - The Bears need a win and some help to make the playoffs. The Bears have been up and down this season and it follows Jay Cutlers play. The Bears have to protect Cutler if they expect to win this game. The Bears have a top WR for the first time ever and have some weapons on offense. If they had a solid offensive line, they would be a favorite to win the Super Bowl.
The Lions are a train wreck. As a Lions fan I've watched every game this season and they are as frustrating as ever. They did not address their biggest need in the defensive backfield last offseason and they've been paying the price all year. It's not an excuse but they have had a ton of injuries to the WR's, DB's and Javid Best's career may be over. Jim Schwartz has one more year in Detroit to get things straightened out.
I'm going to take the Lions at home, but it's my last hope as a fan.
Jacksonville at Tennessee - This is another tough game to watch with nothing on the line. The Jaguars are probably going to be looking for a new coach and may be bringing Tebow to town.
The Titans need to figure out what they want to do with Locker at QB and address both sides of the ball.
Not a lot worth talking about, I'll take Tennessee.
Houston at Indianapolis - Surprisingly the Colts have less to play for than the Texans in this game. Houston needs to win to clinch home field throughout the playoffs. Foster suffered a huge heath scare last week but seems to be doing better. The Texans have had a few rough weeks but I still think they're one of the strongest teams in the AFC.
The Colts have their playoff position locked up and they will be playing next week. This has been a great story but the bottom line is that they are not going very deep into the playoffs.
Texans have something to play for and they win.
Green Bay at Minnesota - This is a great match-up between two division rivals that both have something to play for. The Packers can lock-up a first round bye and the Vikings need a win to make the playoffs.
The Packers need to get all of their players back on defense to see what they can really do this postseason. They have the weapons are on offense to win games in the postseason but they do not have the defensive talent to go far.
The Vikings have literally made it this far on the legs of AP. Peterson will make it to 2,000 yards but I do not expect to see him beat Dickerson's record. Ponder is not a Super Bowl QB and even if they make the playoffs they're not going anywhere.
The Packers will win this game and secure the bye.
Miami at New England - The Patriots struggled last week coming off an emotional loss to the 49ers the week before. Tom Brady and company are fine and fans should not panic going into the postseason.
The Patriots need solid play out of their defense if they want to win in the postseason, that is the one question I have about this team.
The Dolphins are an interesting team. I did not expect much out of Tannehill and QB but it looks like he has some talent. I really want to see what he does next year.
Patriots win and try for their first round bye.
Carolina at New Orleans - This is a game that should have some meaning for the division or at least the playoffs. Unfortunately it means nothing but draft position.
The Panthers underachieved this season and Cam Newton experienced some growing pains. With the GM gone, I expect the Panthers to be in the market for a new coach. They need an offensive minded head coach or coordinator to mold Newton and a coach that can focus on building an adequate defense.
The Saints have struggled through a tough season with law suits and suspensions. Now they are faced with the possibility of losing their head coach. Whoever the coach is, they need to do some serious work with their defense.
I'll take the Saints just because Brees will be putting up some big numbers.
Philadelphia at NY Giants - This game should be the underachievers bowl. The Eagles have been terrible all season and have so much work to do it's hard to say where to start. Andy Reid is going to get fired and Michael Vick is on their way out of town so the first step will be coach and the second is a QB. It's too bad for Andy that things are ending this way.
The Giants have had a roller coaster season. The defense has underachieved and the offense has struggled at times. I think Nick or Bradshaw have been on the injury report and missed practice time almost all season. Eli isn't playing at an elite level and can't carry the team this season. The Giants need a lot of help to make the postseason, but we've seen stranger things. If they Giants make the playoffs they have the talent to win it all. Never underestimate this team.
Cleveland at Pittsburgh - It's not surprising that the Browns are out of the playoffs but it's shocking at the Steelers are out. The injury to Big Ben proved to be too much for this team to overcome and even when he was back they weren't clicking. They really need to address their aging defense this offseason.
The Browns have some young talent but they need to focus on their QB situation this offseason. Is Weeden the answer? Do they want to try McCoy anymore? They need to figure this out and move forward.
Steelers win at home.
Dallas at Washington - This is what Week 17 is all about. Winner take all NFC East Divison match-up. No surprise the Cowboys are in contention but it is a surprise the Redskins are here with a rookie QB.
The Cowboys had a rough stretch in the middle part of the season but they are playing well right now. Dez Bryant is playing out of this world and is making Romo and the rest of the offense look good. Murray is a huge addition and can really be the difference for this team.
The Redskins are a solid team that had a lot of parts in place before RG3 showed up. RG3 has matured very quickly and is an exciting player to watch. It's too bad that Morris' running game is being overshadowed by RG3 and the other rookie QB's, but he is a huge piece of the puzzle.
This is going to be a great game to watch and a tough one to call. I'm going to go with Romo on the road over the rookie at home.
Oakland at San Diego - Really nothing much to say about this game. The Raiders are falling apart with injuries at the QB position and the Chargers are in need of a new coach and talent on both sides of the ball.
Arizona at San Francisco - The 49ers were blown out on the road in an impossible spot last week. After winning the Pats game I'm not surprised they lost last week. That loss doesn't change my opinion of the 49ers and my pick for them to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
The Cardinals are holding an open practice this week to find a QB, anyone age 10-99 can show-up and tryout. It's a joke, but not by much.
St. Louis at Seattle - The Seahawks won a huge game for their franchise last week and have everyone in the country jumping on their bandwagon. I've been critical of this team and took some heat for not moving them up to #1 in my power rankings. While I am impressed with their last few weeks, I just still don't think I buy them as the NFC's best team.
The Rams are going in the right direction and the Seahawks better take them seriously, they can jump up and them.
Kansas City at Denver - The Broncos are playing for the top seed and the Chiefs are playing for the top pick. The Broncos are looking like one of the best teams in the league with Manning at QB. They have a running game, solid wide receivers and a serviceable defense. Do they have enough to get past Houston and New England? That's the big question. If they can get home field advantage, they may be headed to the Super Bowo.
This is the last week of the regular season and always the hardest to pick. We'll see how it turns out.