As Detroit Lions fans, we're more than used to late-season meaningless games, but this year's Week 17 matchup, which now only symbolizes final goodbyes to the Metrodome and affects draft positioning, will be harder to stomach than most because of how the Lions choked away the NFC North. Many die-hard fans are still likely to tune in -- I guess I will -- but most also might be more willing to do some things during the game that they refused to do during previous Lions games this season, like take out the garbage or pay any attention to the old lady.
Unlike the first 15 games, we'll just be going through the motions. We already had a lifeless picks week this season, but this will be really zombie-like. Scott Linehan and Jim Schwartz have to know what I'm talking about.
I don't know for sure if either Linehan or Schwartz will be fired, but either way, they both have to feel like dead men walking. Linehan's offensive play calling has been a disgrace in key spots all season, predictable and boring if not for some elite talent. Schwartz has seen his team lose several leads in the second half or the fourth quarter, specifically. Neither has done anything to help this team improve despite having the weapons at their disposal. Nobody's seat should be chilly anyhow.
Here are the halfhearted Week 17 picks:
FALCONS (+6.5) over Panthers
Currently in the No. 2 spot in the NFC playoff picture, Carolina needs a win and Seahawks and 49ers losses to take the top spot. If the Panthers lose and the Saints win, they fall to a wild-card spot.
Packers (-2.5) over BEARS
Winner takes the NFC North garbled up and spit out by the Lions.
TITANS (-7) over Texans
Browns (+7) over STEELERS
Redskins (+3.5) over GIANTS
Ravens (+6) over BENGALS
Jags (+11) over COLTS
Colts don't have much to play for here.
DOLPHINS (-6) over Jets
Dolphins get in with a win in addition to a Chargers win or Ravens loss. If they lose, they're out.
VIKINGS (-3) over Lions
The Lions would blow out the Vikings after choking away the division, but I can't see the Vikings losing their last game at the Metrodome, with A-Pete or not, and I can't pick the Lions after what they've done to me the last
two weeks 28 years.
PATRIOTS (-9) over Bills
They've won several close ones, but the Patriots get the AFC's top seed if they win and the Broncos lose. The Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and having great upper management effect.
SAINTS (-12.5) over Bucs
Saints need a win and Panthers loss to take their division. A win gets them in as a wild card.
Broncos (-12) over RAIDERS
A win gives the Broncos home field throughout the AFC playoffs. They can do no worse than No. 2.
CARDINALS (+1) over 49ers
The Cardinals need a win and a loss from the Saints to get the final wild card. That'd be neat for them.
Chiefs (+9.5) over CHARGERS
Chargers need a win and losses (or ties) from the Ravens and Dolphins, while the Chiefs are already locked in as the No. 5 seed. Still, I think the Chiefs put up a better fight than Vegas lets on.
COWBOYS (+6.5) over Eagles
Rams (+11) over SEAHAWKS
Seahawks get the top spot in the NFC with a win, but I don't think it'll be a blowout.
STANDINGS: SEASON (LAST WEEK)
Northern Lite: 111-98-8 (5-11)
Me: 108-121-9 (12-4)
Elfuego51: 107-107-8 (9-8)
lions fan displaced in las vegas: 94-83-6 (8-8)
cram9030: 92-94-8 (11-5)
Big.Al: 90-65-5 (11-5)
jwitzsc: 57-56-3 (8-8) (6-3 on locks)
Jeremy Reisman's locks of the week: 12-14-1 (3-0)
MAISON G BLUE: 9-7
* denotes teaser (+14) (season: 56-8)