NFL Week 17 open thread

posted at 12:31 pm on December 29, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Today, the NFL finishes up its 2013 season, and as usual, there’s plenty of room for teams to secure playoff spots. That’s even true for the 7-8 Pittsburgh Steelers, but they’re going to need a lot of help. First, though, they have to beat the Browns at home, and that shouldn’t be too difficult a task. The Steelers are only 4-3 at home, but the Browns are 1-6 on the road. Pittsburgh has turned their season around, winning five of the last seven and going 7-4 after an 0-4 start. Steelers win 31-20 … and then hope for help. Miami, Baltimore, and San Diego all have to lose for the Steelers to prevail based on division record.

Last week, I went 6-1 to improve my season record to 47-36-1. Can I run the table today? Let’s find out with these games with playoff implications:

  • Packers at Bears (4:25 pm ET, Fox) – Da Bears got crushed last week in Philadelphia, and Green Bay gets Aaron Rodgers back today. Whoever wins becomes division champ; whoever loses sits out the post-season. With Rodgers back in action, I’m picking Green Bay, even on the road, 31-24.
  • Panthers at Falcons (1 pm, Fox) - The Falcons are far out of the chase, but Carolina has to win to secure the NFC South championship. If they lose and the Saints win, New Orleans wins the title and the first-round bye, while Carolina has to play next week in the wild-card game. That means the first string will take the field … and the Falcons will depart with another loss. Panthers 27-20.
  • Rams at Seahawks (4:25 pm, Fox) – After losing their first home game in two years to the Arizona Cardinals, Seattle has to win today to secure home-field advantage throughout the playoffs as well as their division title. They could be either the #1 seed, the #2 seed, or a wild card depending on results from today. They should be able to take care of business against the competitive Rams, 34-17, assuming they’re not looking too far ahead.
  • Eagles at Cowboys (8:30 pm, NBC) – Since there isn’t a Monday night game this week, this is the finale to the season — and it looked good until Tony Romo had to have back surgery this week. Kyle Orton will take over for Romo, and Jon Kitna will back him up, but the two veterans are running into a Philadelphia buzz saw that has won six of their last seven after promoting Nick Foles to the starting QB position. They trounced the Bears last week at home, and should beat the Cowboys this week on the road — in a closer game, but not that close. Eagles 35-20.
  • 49ers at Cardinals (4:25 pm, Fox) - San Francisco already has a playoff spot clinched, but could win the NFC West if Seattle loses again and they beat the Cardinals. Arizona has to win to even have a shot at the playoffs, but they also need New Orleans to lose … to Tampa Bay … at home. The two games play concurrently, so the Cardinals will pull out the kitchen sink today. Both teams are hot at the moment, too, but I’ll pick the Cardinals to edge the 49ers at home, 27-24, maybe in OT. They may end up an 11-5 team that sits home for the playoffs.

What about the Steelers? Will they get the help they need? I’ll offer bonus picks for those games:

  • Baltimore at Cincinnati (1 pm, CBS) - Baltimore isn’t a road team this year. Cincinnati wins this one.
  • Jets at Dolphins (1 pm, CBS) - I’ll be rooting for the Jets, but they’re also not a road team. They need this to go .500 this year, and the Dolphins are a big rival, so let’s let hope prevail in picking the Jets.
  • Chiefs at Chargers (4:25 pm, CBS) - Kansas City has nothing to prove today; they can’t improve their seeding, and they’ll have to play on the road next week no matter what as a wild card. They’ll be resting their key players at some point today, while San Diego has been hot. Obviously I’ll be rooting for KC, but San Diego should be able to win here, and get into the playoffs if Baltimore and Miami lose.

And here’s your feel-good NFL story of the week — the grace and sportsmanship of Wade Phillips:

Upon further review, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning shouldn’t have set the NFL record for touchdown passes in a season last weekend, Houston Texans interim coach Wade Phillips said Friday.

Phillips said the NFL informed the Texans that Broncos receiver Eric Decker‘s second touchdown catch from Manning on Sunday shouldn’t have counted because Decker was juggling the ball.

Phillips acknowledged that the league’s mea culpa wouldn’t reverse Manning’s record, but he couldn’t help but get a dig in before he left.

“Poor Manning,” Phillips said. “He thought he broke the record.”

Come on, man.


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…Detroit Lions
…*No Comments*…

KOOLAID2 on December 29, 2013 at 12:32 PM

Steelers win, but miss the playoffs. No way the Dolphis lose to the Jets, right?

22044 on December 29, 2013 at 12:34 PM

The NFL has a video out this morning about how 5 major offensive categories will be broken today, while the defense continues to be hi-jacked by the NFL’s referees. It’s all about liability protection and the NFL’s thinking that more offense means more audiences.

Welcome to flag football!

Rovin on December 29, 2013 at 12:41 PM

Come on, man.

That’s what I say. It was ruled a touchdown and it’s not like Manning’s not going to make any more touchdowns this season. What a crybaby, Wade. Cry. Baby. My son is a Brady fan and posted that story on my facebook just to gloat hahaha.

scalleywag on December 29, 2013 at 12:46 PM

I want to see Kitna get in the game.

rbj on December 29, 2013 at 12:49 PM

E-A-G-L-E-S.

celtic warrior on December 29, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Go Cards, go Bucs!

Darksean on December 29, 2013 at 1:03 PM

i would love to see a 4 way tie for last play slot. just cool

gerrym51 on December 29, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Today, the NFL finishes up its 2013 season, and as usual, there’s plenty of room for teams to secure playoff spots a Jets fan’s heart is broken.

JetBoy on December 29, 2013 at 1:06 PM

If your constantly adjusting the rules to benefit the offense then obviously records will constantly be broken.

gerrym51 on December 29, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Well, since my Colts are in and aren’t playing for anything today, I’ll be rooting for the spoilers. Go Jets and Cow oys.

tommyboy on December 29, 2013 at 1:17 PM

…looks like the Lions… get to practice punting!

KOOLAID2 on December 29, 2013 at 1:43 PM

http://hotair.com/headlines/archives/2013/12/28/do-atheists-exist/comment-page-1/#comment-2555224

davidk on December 29, 2013 at 1:48 PM

…?…

KOOLAID2 on December 29, 2013 at 1:56 PM

Ed, sorry but the Steelers are going no where. They have not repented for their pimping and support of obama and obamacare. I grew up in Pittsburgh and was a fan when they would barely win one or two games a season. When they blew off Johnny Unitas back in the day, I thought that was bad but pimping for the lackluster boy wonder begs a curse. Just think Ed if Phil Robertson had stayed with football and not gone on to be Duck Dynasty, there may never have been a Bradshaw era with the black and gold. Bradshaw admits that Phil was better than him.

crosshugger on December 29, 2013 at 1:56 PM

NFL Week 17 open thread

davidk on December 29, 2013 at 2:02 PM

NFL Week 17 open thread

davidk on December 29, 2013 at 2:02 PM

…you did good…battling on the Dec. 26 MSLSD religion thread…and I thought you got lost!
(:->)

KOOLAID2 on December 29, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Go Cards, go Bucs!

Darksean on December 29, 2013 at 1:03 PM

I’ll second that! If only the Cards had beaten the Rams in the first game or the Eagles we wouldn’t be in this predicament.

MeAlice on December 29, 2013 at 2:31 PM

Praying for the Chargers.

abobo on December 29, 2013 at 2:58 PM

…you did good…battling on the Dec. 26 MSLSD religion thread…and I thought you got lost!
(:->)

KOOLAID2 on December 29, 2013 at 2:12 PM

Thanks.

And thanks for watching my six.

davidk on December 29, 2013 at 3:05 PM

Bye-Bye Metrodome – saw two World Series wins and some awesome games in you but damn you are a cheap dump.

gophergirl on December 29, 2013 at 3:09 PM

I think Jon Kitna is quite brave, foolhardy but brave to volunteer to put himself in the firing line of the “Philadelphia buzz saw” … E-A-G-L-E-S :)

philly_PA on December 29, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Praying for the Chargers.

i think they are going to get a chance.

gerrym51 on December 29, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Praying for the Chargers.

i think they are going to get a chance.

gerrym51 on December 29, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Well Ed just became a huge Chiefs fan.

radjah shelduck on December 29, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Three of four prerequisites met for the Steelers playoff hopes: Pit win, Miami lost, and Baltimore lost. Now, will San Diego cooperate and loose to KC?

Ace ODale on December 29, 2013 at 4:11 PM

On the bottom end, Houston picks first in the draft and St Louis (Thanks, RGIII!) gets the second, and Jacksonville takes third.

Ace ODale on December 29, 2013 at 4:16 PM

Bye week for Carolina. Go Panthers.

nobar on December 29, 2013 at 4:25 PM

Well, the only real suspense in DC now is when Shanahan is going to be fired.

Happy Nomad on December 29, 2013 at 4:26 PM

Go Iggles!

profitsbeard on December 29, 2013 at 5:13 PM

‘Skins lose 20 – 6, mercifully ending a 13-loss season and thus the agony of millions of fans. Now, I hope Snyder has the balls to ditch the Shanahans, their used up read option offense and get some people who can actually coach the team back to winning.
.
If not, more disaster awaits.

ExpressoBold on December 29, 2013 at 5:15 PM

San Diego and Pittsburgh both have a chance. who would have thunk it-not me.

gerrym51 on December 29, 2013 at 5:29 PM

Cheifs!

davidk on December 29, 2013 at 5:36 PM

I’m a Cowboys fan :(

I hope they get their stuff together for next season.

terryannonline on December 29, 2013 at 5:54 PM

And the goofy play of the day happens in Chicago on what appears to be an incomplete pass by Aaron Rodgers but is ruled a fumble as Julius Peppers knocked the ball loose and after a few seconds of confusion, the Packers’ Jarrett Boykin picks up the ball and runs it in for a TD. Play stands after review. Packers lead. I think more craziness lies ahead in the second half.

stukinIL4now on December 29, 2013 at 6:08 PM

Quietly in the bayou, Drew Brees at this point in the game (3rd quarter) has a QB rating of 158.3-and that does not include the TD he tossed a few seconds ago to make it 42-17 New Orleans.

Del Dolemonte on December 29, 2013 at 6:47 PM

Cardinals,,, oh well.

wolly4321 on December 29, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Brees’ QB rating remained at 158.3 even after the most recent TD…because he ran it in himself.

Del Dolemonte on December 29, 2013 at 6:54 PM

Brees’ QB rating remained at 158.3 even after the most recent TD…because he ran it in himself.

some weeks Brees is great, Some weeks he’s not. how was he the last 2 weeks at St.louis and Carolina

gerrym51 on December 29, 2013 at 7:19 PM

For you BDS-ers, Patriots QB Tom Brady actually punted in today’s game. His punt went 32 yards in the heavy rain.

Final NE 34 BUF 20.

Del Dolemonte on December 29, 2013 at 7:27 PM

And the goofy play of the day happens in Chicago on what appears to be an incomplete pass by Aaron Rodgers but is ruled a fumble as Julius Peppers knocked the ball loose and after a few seconds of confusion, the Packers’ Jarrett Boykin picks up the ball and runs it in for a TD. Play stands after review. Packers lead. I think more craziness lies ahead in the second half.

stukinIL4now on December 29, 2013 at 6:08 PM

It has been a weird game!

Ugly on December 29, 2013 at 7:28 PM

Ed, hope you’re taking your meds re: KC/SD game.

TXUS on December 29, 2013 at 7:29 PM

I really hate the Packers – blech

gophergirl on December 29, 2013 at 7:29 PM

Green Bay wins… wow

Ugly on December 29, 2013 at 7:32 PM

Brees’ QB rating remained at 158.3 even after the most recent TD…because he ran it in himself.

some weeks Brees is great, Some weeks he’s not. how was he the last 2 weeks at St.louis and Carolina

gerrym51 on December 29, 2013 at 7:19 PM

He ended with a 157.4

Final Saints 42, Tampa Bay 17

Del Dolemonte on December 29, 2013 at 7:33 PM

Wow, what a painful way to miss the playoffs!

Hot Gas on December 29, 2013 at 7:41 PM

It has been a weird game!

Ugly on December 29, 2013 at 7:28 PM

Almost every Packer game has been weird over the past month. I still can’t believe they won.

stukinIL4now on December 29, 2013 at 7:49 PM

Saturday Jan 4 Green Bay, WI

Scattered Snow Showers Day: Mostly cloudy with scattered snow showers. Highs around 25°F. Wind chill around 16°F. West southwest wind to 10 MPH, gusting to 19 MPH. Chance of precipitation near 35%.
Scattered Snow Showers Night: Mostly cloudy with scattered snow showers. Lows around 12°F. Wind chill around 4°F. West southwest wind to 6 MPH, gusting to 16 MPH. Chance of precipitation near 30%.
Sunday Jan 5
Scattered Snow Showers Day: Mostly cloudy with scattered snow showers. Highs around 19°F. Wind chill around 9°F. North northwest wind to 9 MPH, gusting to 18 MPH. Chance of precipitation near 40%.

As bad as the Niners played (after the first quarter), perhaps the Arizona Cardinals’ grounds-keepers decision to wet the field down is a blessing in disguise, given the footing conditions that will be in Green Bay next week.

Rovin on December 29, 2013 at 8:31 PM

Any team but Dallas or NE will make me happy.

diogenes on December 29, 2013 at 8:31 PM

Escobar, somersault, for the score… I have him at 7 on technique and 3 on form since he didn’t land on his feet.

ExpressoBold on December 29, 2013 at 9:26 PM

Well, the Chiefs choked again. They will certainly be one and done in the playoffs.

tommyboy on December 29, 2013 at 9:49 PM

And the goofy play of the day happens in Chicago on what appears to be an incomplete pass by Aaron Rodgers but is ruled a fumble as Julius Peppers knocked the ball loose and after a few seconds of confusion, the Packers’ Jarrett Boykin picks up the ball and runs it in for a TD.

stukinIL4now on December 29, 2013 at 6:08 PM

It does seem like a weird call, but the refs have been consistent in calling it that way. Matt Flynn got a similar call earlier this season. Unfortunately, it didn’t end as well for him.

Go Pack! NFC North Champs! :)

NbyNW on December 29, 2013 at 10:18 PM

It wouldn’t be a Cowboys game without a soul crushing 4th quarter pick, lol.

abobo on December 30, 2013 at 12:36 AM

I’m happy the Stoolers had their hearts ripped out when Succop missed his FG! That miserable bandwagon fan base doesn’t deserve to have that team in the PO’s either! Heinz Field was a 1/3 to half-empty every home game. Simply unacceptable from the self-proclaimed best fan base in the NFL!

ManWithNoName on December 30, 2013 at 10:50 AM

On the bottom end, Houston picks first in the draft and St Louis (Thanks, RGIII!) gets the second, and Jacksonville takes third.

1st pick – a QB, a couple of good DBs, at least three good O-liners and a field goal kicker. We can get by with what we have on the D-line. What a rank year from a rank team.

DanMan on December 30, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Seahawks :D

dont taze me bro on December 30, 2013 at 8:14 PM