The Tom Coughlin era could be coming to an end on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. It doesn’t seem real that I might be watching Coughlin on the Giants sideline for the final time and it shouldn’t be, but until it’s official, I will hold out hope that ownership gives him at least one more year.
It’s the final week of the regular season and with 27 games left in the NFL season, barring an epic disaster, this picks season is going to end above .500. With Week 17, we’re faced with a lot of meaningless games between teams that have nothing to play for and will begin their offseason on Monday and teams that have already locked up their seed and will likely rest their starters for all of the majority of their final game. That makes these picks the hardest of the season, but also the easiest to write.
DALLAS -3.5 over Washington
Somewhere someone who isn’t a Cowboys fan or a Redskins fan is going to bet on this game and watch it in its entirety. Think about that.
New York Jets -3.5 over BUFFALO
A must-win game for the Jets, well that is unless the Steelers lose to the Browns, and of course standing between the Jets and controlling their own fate for a postseason berth is Rex Ryan, who you could say has stood between them and a postseason berth since 2011. It’s hard to see the Jets not winning this game after they were able to knock off the Patriots (even if the Patriots looked like they could care less about winning) in Week 16. If the Jets lose this game and the Steelers beat the Browns, it might be the worst regular-season loss in the history of the Jets. For once, will the Jets not be the same old Jets?
INDIANAPOLIS -6.5 over Tennessee
The Colts need some help to get in the playoffs, but they’re not going to get it. The Texans are going to win and the Colts’ postseason streak under Chuck Pagano will come to an end.
CINCINNATI -7.5 over Baltimore
This game is important for the Bengals’ postseason chances because it gives A.J. McCarron another game under his belt heading into the playoffs. If McCarron truly believes he can launch a Tom Brady-like career as a backup who took over for an injured starter, he’s going to need all the real-game experience he can get before Wild-Card Weekend.
New England -9.5 over MIAMI
It’s nearly impossible to beat the Patriots at Gillette in the postseason and all the Patriots have to do to clinch home-field advantage in the AFC is to beat the Dolphins who have been waiting for the offseason for months. After the Patriots barely tried to beat the Jets last week, and still nearly did, it might take even less of an effort to get past the Dolphins and make sure they host the Broncos in a potential AFC Championship Game matchup. The Dolphins might be the only thing standing between the Patriots and another red carpet walk to the Super Bowl and that’s not good for anyone.
CHICAGO -1.5 over Detroit
Somewhere someone who isn’t a Bears fan or a Lions fan is going to bet on this game and watch it in its entirety. Think about that.
Pittsburgh -10.5 over CLEVELAND
Somehow the Steelers lost to Ryan Mallett and the Ravens in a potential must-win game for a playoff berth and now they need some help. The Steelers should be able to easily handle the Austin Davis Browns, but it’s going to take a Jets loss in Buffalo for the Steelers to survive their embarrassing loss to the Ravens.
HOUSTON -6.5 over Jacksonville
A Texans win and they’re in and the way they have been able to beat up on their division this season makes this the easiest pick of the week.
NEW YORK GIANTS -3.5 over Philadelphia
This could be the last game of the Tom Coughlin era and here I am hoping the Giants lose. If the Giants win, they get a lower draft pick and have to play the Seahawks in Seattle in 2016. If the Giants lose, they get a better draft pick and play the Rams in London in 2016. No Giants fan should be rooting for the Giants on Sunday.
ATLANTA -4.5 over New Orleans
Somewhere someone who isn’t a Falcons fan or a Saints fan is going to bet on this game and watch it in its entirety. Think about that.
DENVER -7.5 over San Diego
A Patriots loss and Broncos win gives the Broncos home-field advantage in the AFC playoffs and means there might be a chance that the Patriots don’t get to the Super Bowl. If the Broncos have to go to Gillette for the AFC Championship Game, I might as well start hoping the Cardinals, Panthers or Seahawks can beat them in February.
SAN FRANCISCO +3.5 over St. Louis
Somewhere someone who isn’t a 49ers fan or a Rams fan is going to bet on this game and watch it in its entirety. Think about that.
KANSAS CITY -6.5 over Oakland
From 1-5 to 11-5? If the Chiefs beat the Raiders in Week 17, they will finish the season on a 10-game winning streak and be the hottest team in the league entering the playoffs with what looks like a first-round game at Houston.
CAROLINA -10.5 over Tampa Bay
A Panthers win clinches them home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs and that should be reason enough for them to go full out against a Buccaneers team with absolutely nothing to play for.
ARIZONA -4.5 over Seattle
The Cardinals say they are going to play to win this game even if things aren’t going their way out in Carolina. If the Cardinals do play to win and play the way they have over their first 15 games, the Seahawks won’t win. But if Bruce Arians decides to get to his bye week as healthy as possible, this pick won’t stand a chance.
Minnesota +3.5 over GREEN BAY
Once again, I’m picking the Vikings because my girlfriend is a Vikings fan, who hates the Packers the way she hates the San Francisco Giants, and because the Vikings have been so good to me this year in my picks. Let’s finish the regular season on a winning note.
Last week: 5-11-0