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Week 17 NFL Picks

The New York Jets and Brandon Marshall are heading to the playoffs… unless Rex Ryan gets in the way. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Week 15: 12 – 4 – 0
Last Week: 11 – 5 – 0
Season: 153 – 87 – 0

Early Games (1:00PM ET)

Jets at Bills
Hard to believe Mario Williams will be cut after averaging nearly 13 sacks a year in Buffalo prior to this season. At this point, given that Buffalo’s defense was significantly worse than it was a year ago, are we sure Rex Ryan is even a decent coach? That Bills team is too talented not to win 10 games. Ryan can somewhat salvage a forgettable season by ruining New York’s. The Jets are in the postseason with a victory, which would be Brandon Marshall first playoff appearance. That’s incredible. Todd Bowles did an impressive job of turning that franchise around in a year. JETS If I were Charles Barkley; Jets -2.5

Patriots at Dolphins
The Patriots need a win to clinch the AFC’s top seed. Miami needs Sunday afternoon to end as quickly as possible. PATRIOTS If I were Charles Barkley; Patriots -10

Saints at Falcons
It only took 16 weeks for the Falcons and Matt Ryan to realize throwing jump balls 50 yards downfield to Julio Jones is a good idea. I’ll never forget how badly Atlanta wasted one of the best receiving seasons the NFL has seen since Marvin Harrison’s 2002 campaign. FALCONS If I were Charles Barkley; Falcons -5.5

Ravens at Bengals
The Bengals are trending toward another 1st round playoff exit. The Andy Dalton injury certainly provides a valid excuse, but that’ll still be a tough sell to locals that have been disappointed on Wildcard Weekend five of the last six years. BENGALS If I were Charles Barkley; Bengals -9.5

Steelers at Browns
When the Eagles fired Andy Reid three years ago it was a necessary move for the franchise, but does that mean it was right? Look around the NFL today, how many coaches are better than Reid? Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll for sure. Ron Rivera and Bruce Arians are probably better coaches, too. Maybe even John Harbaugh, but that’s it. Reid’s teams are almost always a playoff competitor. The same can’t be said for Tom Coughlin’s Giants or Sean Payton’s Saints. Mike Tomlin has two to three horrendous games a season. Last week’s debacle in Baltimore likely cost his Steelers a playoff berth. Reid is a punching bag for his poor game management, and rightfully so to some degree. However, it’s impossible to deny that Reid is one of the top five to seven coaches in the NFL. STEELERS If I were Charles Barkley; Steelers -11

Jaguars at Texans
I was hoping the AFC South title would come down to this game. I would have loved to see Blake Bortles and the Jaguars offense in a pressure game. TEXANS If I were Charles Barkley; Jaguars +6.5

Titans at Colts
Here’s what we’ve learned from the NFL in the last half-decade: Winning 11 games in each of your first three seasons is a death sentence. Jim Harbaugh did it in San Francisco and the 49ers couldn’t kick him out the door fast enough. Chuck Pagano did the same for the Colts and will likely coach his final game for Indy on Sunday. COLTS If I were Charles Barkley; No Line Yet

Redskins at Cowboys
The NFC East was amazing this year. Nothing sums up a disastrous season for the NFL’s marquee division more than an 8-7 team having nothing to play for in Week 17 BECAUSE THEY ALREADY CLINCHED THE DIVISION. REDSKINS If I were Charles Barkley; Redskins +3.5

Eagles at Giants
Chip Kelly is gone, but his legacy will reek like seafood and diapers in a dump yard for years to come. Thanks again, “genius.” EAGLES If I were Charles Barkley; Eagles +3.5

Lions at Bears
I may have been wrong about Jim Caldwell this season. Detroit isn’t awful and Matthew Stafford and the offense appear to have found a groove under new offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter. The Lions fell victim to two fluke losses in the first five weeks and never recovered until it was too late. LIONS If I were Charles Barkley; Lions +1

Afternoon Games (4:05PM ET)

Buccaneers at Panthers
I’m one of the many that believe losing last week was a good thing for Carolina. The pressure of maintaining a perfect season is not helpful to a team with Super Bowl aspirations. The 2007 Patriots were clinging to life in three of their final four games of that historic season. Carolina now gets a fresh start heading into the postseason, assuming of course they don’t give away the top seed this week. PANTHERS If I were Charles Barkley; Panthers -10.5

Raiders at Chiefs
My apologies for all the Andy Reid love lately. Chip Kelly made me realize what I once had and how I took it for granted. As a musician once said, “You don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone.” I think it’s funny that Todd Bowles and Sean McDermott were pretty much fired by the Eagles when Andy Reid was in full-on panic mode to win now. Fast-forward a few seasons and both Bowles’ and McDermott’s defenses rank in the top 6 this season. McDermott’s defenses have been in the top 10 each of the last 4 seasons. I can’t help but wonder what the Eagles would look like now if Reid didn’t run the Eagles in such a frenetic state over his final three seasons. Also, Reid’s record in Kansas City is 30-17. Chip Kelly’s record in Philadelphia was 26-21. CHIEFS If I were Charles Barkley; Raiders +7.5

Chargers at Broncos
I’m not convinced starting Brock Osweiler is the right call. At least you can trust that Peyton Manning knows what he’s doing, even if he can’t… you know… actually do it. I don’t know, I just haven’t liked what I’ve seen from Osweiler to believe he’s a better option than a healthy Manning. Also, why isn’t John Elway catching heat for ditching John fox – a legitimately good coach – for a coach that finished with a sub .500 record after 8 years in the putrid AFC South? BRONCOS If I were Charles Barkley; -9

Seahawks at Cardinals
This should still be a fun game, but there’s a chance the Cardinals bail at some point in the 2nd half if Carolina runs away from Tampa Bay. I understand why people think Seattle would prefer to go to Washington, D.C. I just don’t get why traveling to Green Bay or Minnesota is such a daunting task for Seattle? Green Bay’s offense is a mess and Seattle just crushed the Vikings four weeks ago. SEAHAWKS If I were Charles Barkley; Seahawks +7

Rams at 49ers
I may have wagered some money way back in August on the Rams finishing with at least eight wins. A foolish idea, I know, but a late season rally has provided some hope of getting my money back. Come on, Jeff Fisher, you’re the king of 8-8. Don’t let me down. RAMS If I were Charles Barkley; Rams -3.5

Sunday Night (8:30PM ET)

Vikings at Packers
Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL and his games are pretty much unwatchable. That’s how bad Green Bay’s offense is now. It’s depressing. At this point, the Packers may have better luck if they keep two tight ends in for pass protection and roll the dice with Rodgers going 3 on 7 in the air. Can’t be any worse than what they’re doing now. PACKERS If I were Charles Barkley; Packers -3


If I were Charles Barkley;
Week 15: 8 – 8 – 0
Last Week: 7 – 9 – 0
Season: 122 – 114 – 4

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