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I served in the US Navy as a Nuclear Propulsion Operator aboard an aircraft carrier from 2002-08. I engage in political activism in Democratic circles and occasional engagement with issues concerning Women and LGBT Rights. I have a cat and I am an Uncle. All opinions expressed in my blog are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization that I represent.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 NFL SEASON WEEK 17






It's the final week of the regular season. 240 regular season games (plus the 2012 Presidential Election) and it has come down to the final 16 games of the regular season.

The AFC has their six teams for the playoffs, but the only issue remaining is the seeding. The Colts and Bengals are locked in as the AFC's Wild Card teams as the 5th and 6th seeds. The Ravens could improve their seeding from the 4 to the 3 seed, but it looks like Baltimore will be playing the first weekend of the playoffs.

New England has the most to gain with a win plus losses by either the Broncos or Texans. Combined with a win plus a loss by one of those teams, New England earns a first round bye into the divisional round. If both the Broncos AND Texans lose, the road to the Super Bowl in the AFC goes through Foxboro, MA. You can't count out the Patriots in the playoffs, but since 2001 New England has appeared in the Super Bowl when they had a bye week or homefield advantage. When New England played in the divisional round during the Belichick-Brady Era, they have not made a Super Bowl appearance. It would be unwise to count New England out of the championship chase.

Denver right now has the AFC's #2 seed. A win would secure that spot. Include that with a Houston loss and the AFC road to New Orleans goes through the Mile High City. Denver currently has the longest winning streak in the NFL at 10 games. Their last loss was against the Patriots in Week 5. The Broncos are a different team now than what we saw at the beginning of the season. Their matchup against Kansas City is a battle between one of the best teams against one of the worst teams. Yeah, the Chiefs sent 5 players to the Pro Bowl but they will likely end up with a Top 5 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft in April 2013.

Houston is currently the AFC #1 seed. Their objective is simple: win and get homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. If Houston loses, then every Texans fan will suddenly be rooting for the Dolphins (New England's opponent) and Chiefs (Denver's opponent). Last time I checked Vegas, the Patriots are a 10-point favorite at home over Miami and the Broncos are a 16-point home favorite over Kansas City. Bleacher Report's NFL picks in those games are showing a unanimous consensus pick for the Patriots and Broncos. It's probably best that the Texans take care of business at Indianapolis. Houston concerns me. They started the season 11-1, but have lost 2 of their last 3 games. The New England game in Week 14 had some parallels to their first loss of the season against Green Bay in Week 6. The Texans can do better, but I don't know if they will make it to the Super Bowl with the way they have been playing lately.

Meanwhile in the NFC, four of the six spots are claimed. Among one of those spots is the NFC #1 seed by the Atlanta Falcons. Are the Falcons the quietest #1 seed in recent memory? The Falcons haven't exactly blown anyone out on their schedule, but that was until their 34-0 win against the Giants in Week 14.

The battle for the NFC's #2 seed is among three teams: Green Bay, San Francisco, and Seattle. Green Bay is probably playing the best among these three followed by Seattle and then San Francisco. San Francisco was part of the best-team-turnover that has taken place over the month of December. At first it was Houston, then New England beat Houston at home. So the Patriots were crowned best team. Then the 49ers beat the Patriots in New England. So the 49ers were the best team. Then the Seahawks obliterated the 49ers recently. And now Seattle is one of the best teams.

Green Bay clawed their way to their second consecutive NFC North Title and is probably in the best position to claim the NFC #2 seed. San Francisco can snatch it with a win plus a Green Bay loss. I wouldn't sleep on any of these teams.

However, should both Green Bay and San Francisco lose their games and Seattle win, then the Seahawks win the NFC West and the NFC #2 seed and this play back from Week 3 has a direct impact on the playoff race:


Seattle at worst will end up as the 5th seed and currently has the title of "TEAM NO ONE WANTS TO FACE IN THE FIRST ROUND."

The two spots remaining are the second Wild Card spot and the NFC East Title. Four teams are in contention for the last Wild Card spot while two teams are in contention for the NFC East.

Currently the Vikings are 9-6 and are in the #6 seed. Again, simple: win and in. Lose and need help from the Lions, Eagles, and Redskins. The Bears who appear to be in another late season free fall need to win their game plus do the unthinkable... root for the Packers.

The Giants who have made a habit of living dangerously over the last few seasons are in again in the same position. They need to win AND root for the Lions, Packers, and Redskins to win their games.

The Redskins have two paths to the playoffs: either beat Dallas to claim the NFC East or get into the playoffs as the 6th seed with losses by the Bears and Vikings.

Beating Dallas would make the entry into the playoffs better.

The other team in contention for the NFC East is the Dallas Cowboys. For the third time in five seasons, Dallas is facing a win-or-go home situation. In 2008, the Cowboys were blown out by the Eagles 44-6 in Philadelphia. Last season the Giants beat Dallas 31-14 in New York as part of the Giants run to their second Super Bowl title in four years. That game was also the final game of the entire regular season, Game 256.

This year's Cowboys-Redskins season finale is in the Game 256 slot.

Washington has won their last 6 games including the 38-31 win over the same Cowboys in Dallas on Thanksgiving Day. Part of the Redskins winning streak is due to the play of quarterback Robert Griffin III who is in the argument with two other playoff bound rookie quarterbacks (Colts Luck and Seahawks Russell) for the NFL's Rookie of the Year Award.

Meanwhile the Cowboys have won 3 of their last 4 games since Thanksgiving Day. Maybe these aren't the same old sorry Cowboys...

Well, this is it.

I now lead Monica by one game with one week to play. Will I hold her off in the final week or does Ms. Roberts claim the title of best NFL prognosticator for 2012 or do we end up tied again?

Here are the picks for Week 17.

WEEK 16:            12-4
TOTAL:        153-87-1

BREAKDOWN OF RECORD
MONICA
NOON
3PM
NIGHT
HOME
AWAY
TV
≤ 8 PTS
OT
WK 15
11-5
8-3
2-1
2-0
5-3
7-1
3-2
3-2
0-1
TOTAL
152-88-1
89-46
32-24-1
32-17
87-38-1
67-49
65-34
68-55-1
11-10-1

Kickoff Times are Central Time
Picks Indicated in BOLD
Sunday Day Games for the Dallas-Fort Worth Area are indicated with (DFW)



SUNDAY (12/30) DOUBLE-DOUBLEHEADER


NOON FOX
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants (DFW)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons
Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions
Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints

NOON CBS
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (DFW)
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
New York Jets at Buffalo Bills


3PM FOX
Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (DFW)
Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks

3PM CBS
Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (DFW)
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers


SUNDAY NIGHT, GAME 256
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys, NBC 7:20 PM

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