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NFL Week 17: Previews, predictions

Jets at Bills, 1

Line/OU: ??? Jets clinch first playoff berth since 2010 with win or tie, or Steelers' loss or tie. Jets have chance to win 11 games for first time since 2010, and just second time in past 17 seasons. They have also won five straight. Ryan Fitzpatrick is 131 of 203 for 1,525 yards with 13 TDs and one INT in past five. With 3,724 yards passing, he is 284 shy of breaking single-season franchise record set by Joe Namath in 1967. Bills have won four straight against AFC East rival, their longest streak since winning six in row spanning 1995-97. They have chance to finish 8-8 or better in consecutive seasons for first time since 1998-2000. Sammy Watkins has 24 catches for 543 yards and six TDs in past five games.

Jones: ?? Readers: ??

Steelers at Browns, 1

Line/OU: ??? Steelers must win and Jets lose for Pittsburgh to earn postseason spot. Steelers 27-6 vs. Browns since 1999. QB Ben Roethlisberger is 19-4, including one playoff win against Browns, and 44-16 overall against AFC North. DeAngelo Williams needs 101 yards to eclipse 1,000 rushing this season. Antonio Brown (123 catches) needs seven receptions to set team single-season record and could have field day against injury-depleted Browns secondary. Browns coach Mike Pettine is 3-17 in past 20 games after 7-4 start in 2014. QB Johnny Manziel will miss finale with concussion. Team has had 14 players diagnosed with concussions since start of training camp.

Jones: ?? Readers: ??

Patriots at Dolphins, 1

Line/OU: ??? Patriots have lost their past two in Miami. QB Tom Brady has 21 INTs against Dolphins, more than against any other team. He's 6-7 in Miami. In past two games against Dolphins, TE Rob Gronkowski has nine catches for 209 yards and two TDs. Pats have 14 turnovers, second fewest in NFL. They rank second with 48 sacks. Miami's Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 30 times in seven games against New England. He has been sacked 44 times to tie for most in league. Dolphins have allowed franchise-record 4,085 yards passing and tied team record by giving up 31 TD passes.

Jones: ?? Readers: ??

Ravens at Bengals, 1

Line/OU: ?? Bengals have won four straight in series, their most consecutive victories against Ravens. Cincinnati has clinched AFC North and gets No. 2 seed with win and Broncos loss. They could match best mark in franchise history at 12-4. In two starts replacing injured Andy Dalton, AJ McCarron has completed 66 percent for 392 yards, two TDs, no INTs. TE Tyler Eifert was cleared from concussion protocol after missing past two games. Only team with two players in double digits for sacks: DE Carlos Dunlap (13½) and Geno Atkins (10). S Reggie Nelson is tied for league lead with eight INTs, two shy of Deltha O'Neal's club record. Ryan Mallett went 28-of-41 for career-high 274 yards and TD in Ravens debut vs. Steelers. Kamar Aiken had team-high eight catches for 66 yards. He has at least eight catches in past two games.

Jones: ?? Readers: ??

Jaguars at Texans, 1

Line/OU: ?? Houston clinches first AFC South title since 2012 with win or Colts loss. QB Brian Hoyer starts after missing past two games with concussion. DE J.J. Watt needs half-sack to join Reggie White as only players with 15 or more in three of their first five NFL seasons. Jaguars' Blake Bortles has franchise-record 35 passing TDs this season. He needs 179 passing yards to move past Mark Brunell (4,367) for team record for most in single season. Allen Robinson needs 8 yards receiving to become second player in franchise history with 1,300-yard receiving season. He's tied for first in NFL with team-record 14 TD receptions.

Jones: ?? Readers: ??

Titans at Colts, 1

Line/OU: ?? Colts need win, Texans loss and seven other games to break right way to make fourth straight playoff appearance. QB Andrew Luck will miss seventh straight game with lacerated kidney and partially torn abdominal muscle. Backup Matt Hasselbeck trying to come back from injured throwing shoulder, and third-stringer Charlie Whitehurst went on injured reserve Monday. If Hasselbeck doesn't play, Colts will go with former Bucs starter Josh Freeman or former Cardinals backup Ryan Lindley, who joined team Tuesday. Titans have lost three straight, six of past seven, and eight straight to Colts. Tennessee locks up No. 1 overall draft pick with loss. Rookie QB Marcus Mariota out for second straight game with sprained right knee. Backup Zach Mettenberger 0-9 as starter.

Jones: ??? Readers: ???

Redskins at Cowboys, 1

Line/OU: ??? Cowboys going for season sweep of Redskins for second time in past three seasons. Dallas trying to avoid most losses since going 1-15 in 1989, the year owner and GM Jerry Jones bought club. Cowboys have clinched last in NFC East, but with victory can have winning record in division (4-2) for third consecutive year. Redskins enter Week 17 with division title or playoff berth in hand for first time since 1999. Kirk Cousins is first Washington player with at least 300 yards passing and at least four TDs with no INTs in consecutive games. He has 20 passing TDs with three interceptions for 115.8 passer rating, and four rushing TDs in past nine games. TE Jordan Reed has 25 catches for 333 yards and five TDs in past three games.

Jones: ??? Readers: ???

Eagles at Giants, 1

Line/OU: ??? Eagles fired coach Chip Kelly this week, so offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur will coach finale. Philadelphia's Sam Bradford needs 95 passing yards for third 3,500-yard season. DeMarco Murray has 633 yards rushing after leading league at 1,845 with Dallas and winning offensive player of year in 2014. Tom Coughlin might be coaching final game with Giants after missing four straight playoffs, their longest drought since 17 straight seasons (1964-80). It's their third straight losing season, first time for that since eight straight (1973-80). Eli Manning needs three TD passes to tie team single-season record of 36 set by Y.A. Tittle in 1963. WR Odell Beckham returns after one-game suspension for dangerous play.

Jones: ?? Readers: ??

Lions at Bears, 1

Line/OU: ??? Lions coach Jim Caldwell could be out after two seasons even though team has won five of seven after 1-7 start. Matthew Stafford has thrown 14 TDs, one INT in past five games. Stafford threw for season-high 405 yards in first game against Chicago. Theo Riddick leads NFL backs with 76 catches. Bears' Jay Cutler has five TDs, one INT over past three games. With expiring contract, two-time Pro Bowl RB Matt Forte could be playing final game for Bears. Jeremy Langford tied for third among rookies with six rushing TDs, ranks fifth with seven total TDs.

Jones: ??? Readers: ???

Saints at Falcons, 1

Line/OU: ??? Saints gave Falcons first loss of season after 5-0 start. That started streak of seven losses in eight games, including six straight, for Atlanta. Saints' Drew Brees has more than 30 TD passes for eighth straight year. Saints trying to avoid first 10-loss season since 2005. Sean Payton became coach in 2006. Falcons' Julio Jones second player in NFL history with at least 125 catches and 1,700 yards receiving, joining Marvin Harrison (2002). QB Matt Ryan, Brees and Pats' Tom Brady only players with 4,000 yards passing each of past five years, including 2015. RB Devonta Freeman fifth in NFL with 1,540 total yards: 980 rushing, 560 receiving.

Jones: ?? Readers: ??

S'hawks at Cardinals, 4:25

Line/OU: ??? Seahawks have tiebreaker against Vikings, not against Packers for NFC wild-card round. Cardinals get homefield advantage throughout playoffs with win and loss by Panthers. Seattle's Russell Wilson (109.3) and Arizona's Carson Palmer (107.7) are 1-2 in NFL QB rating. Cardinals haven't swept season series against Seattle since 2009. Seahawks are only NFC West team Cardinals coach Bruce Arians hasn't beaten in Arizona. Seahawks, Cardinals only two NFL teams in top five in defense and offense. Cardinals need 45 yards to break single-season franchise record of 6,345 set in 1984. Palmer needs 75 yards to break franchise record for yards passing, 4,614 by Neil Lomax in 1984. Rookie RB David Johnson needs one TD to be first Cardinal since Roy Green in 1983 to score 14 TDs in season.

Jones: ?? Readers: ??

Chargers at Broncos, 4:25

Line/OU: ??? Denver, with win or Chiefs loss, clinches 15th AFC West title. Broncos can join Oakland (1972-76) as only teams to win five straight AFC West crowns. They are first team in NFL history to have three comeback wins of 14 or more points against playoff teams in same season. Demaryius Thomas (1,187) and Emmanuel Sanders (1,036) became 10th tandem in Denver history to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving. Chargers' Malcom Floyd playing in final game after announcing retirement. He has 321 catches for 5,550 yards, 34 TDs. Philip Rivers needs 239 yards passing to break team's single-season mark held by Hall of Famer Dan Fouts, who threw for 4,802 in 1981. LB Manti Te'o is three tackles shy of 100 for season.

Jones: ??? Readers: ??

Raiders at Chiefs, 4:25

Line/OU: ??? Chiefs have won four of past five vs. Oakland. Chiefs have won franchise record-tying nine straight after five-game losing streak. Kansas City has outscored opponents by 144 points during win streak. K.C. is plus-15 in turnover differential, second in NFL to Carolina (plus-19). Raiders trying to finish 8-8, matching best finish since 2003. S Charles Woodson playing final game of 18-year career. Played his first at Arrowhead Stadium on Sept. 6, 1998. He's tied for fifth in NFL history with 65 INTs, and tied with Rod Woodson and Darren Sharper for most defensive TDs (13). Derek Carr needs 207 yards passing for 4,000. That would give Oakland 4,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher (Latavius Murray) and 1,000-yard receiver (Amari Cooper) for first time in franchise history.

Jones: ?? Readers: ??

Rams at 49ers, 4:25

Line/OU: ??? Rams spent week practicing in California's wine country after last week's game in Seattle. St. Louis seeks first four-game winning streak since seven-gamer in 2003. Win ends streak of eight straight losing seasons for Rams. Rookie Todd Gurley has one 100-yard game in past eight after doing it in each of first four starts. Loss leaves Niners with worst record since going 4-12 in 2005. Their nine losses by double digits are tied for second most in franchise history, behind 10 in 2004. Blaine Gabbert had two TD passes and no INTs last week for second time in 34 career starts. Niners are third in NFL allowing 17 points per game at home. They rank 31st with 31.5 points per game given up on road.

Jones: ?? Readers: ??

Vikings at Packers, 8:30

Line/OU: ?? Vikings seeking first NFC North title since 2009. Packers seeking fifth straight North crown. Green Bay playing for third straight season with North title on line in regular-season finale, having beaten Chicago two seasons ago and Detroit last season. QB Aaron Rodgers has passer rating of 121.6, for 1,548 yards with 14 TDs and three INTs in six career prime-time games against Minnesota. LB Clay Matthews needs two tackles to pass his career high of 83 set in 2010. He has not had tackle in two straight games. Win last week over Giants secured Vikings' first playoff berth since 2012. Adrian Peterson enters Week 17 first in league in rushing (1,418 yards), looking for third career rushing title. Stefon Diggs is tied for third in team history with Paul Flatley (1963) and Sammy White (1976) for single-season receptions for rookie with 51. S Harrison Smith had franchise-record fourth interception return for TD last week against Giants.

Jones: ?? Readers: ??

Game text from Times wires.

This season we've asked Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones and readers to forecast the NFL results. To make your picks, go to tampabay.com/bucs:

Jets at Bills, 1

Line/OU: Jets by 2½; 41½ Jets clinch first playoff berth since 2010 with win or tie, or a Steelers loss or tie. Jets have chance to win 11 games for first time since 2010 and just second time in past 17 seasons. They have won five straight. Ryan Fitzpatrick is 131-of-203 for 1,525 yards with 13 TDs and one INT in past five. With 3,724 yards passing, he is 284 shy of breaking single-season franchise record set by Joe Namath in 1967. Bills have won four straight against their AFC East rival, their longest streak since winning six in row spanning 1995-97. They have chance to finish 8-8 or better in consecutive seasons for first time since 1998-2000. Sammy Watkins has 24 catches for 543 yards and six TDs in past five games.

JONES: Jets 21, Bills 17 |READERS: Jets 81.8 percent

Steelers at Browns, 1

Line/OU: Steelers by 11; 47 Steelers must win and have Jets lose for Pittsburgh to earn postseason spot. Steelers 27-6 vs. Browns since 1999. QB Ben Roethlisberger is 19-4, including one playoff win against Browns, and 44-16 overall against AFC North. DeAngelo Williams needs 101 yards to eclipse 1,000 rushing this season. Antonio Brown (123 catches) needs seven receptions to set team single-season record and could have field day against injury-depleted Browns secondary. Cleveland coach Mike Pettine is 3-17 in past 20 games after 7-4 start in 2014. QB Johnny Manziel will miss finale with concussion. Team has had 14 players diagnosed with concussions since start of training camp.

JONES: Steelers 38, Browns 14 READERS: Steelers 84.8 percent

Patriots at Dolphins, 1

Line/OU: Patriots by 10; 46½ Patriots have lost their past two in Miami. Tom Brady has thrown 21 INTs against Dolphins, more than against any other team. He's 6-7 in Miami. In past two games against Dolphins, TE Rob Gronkowski has nine catches for 209 yards and two TDs. New England has 14 turnovers, second fewest in NFL. It ranks second in league with 48 sacks. Miami's Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 30 times in seven games against New England. He has been sacked 44 times, tying for league high. Dolphins have allowed franchise-record 4,085 yards passing and tied team record by giving up 31 TD passes.

JONES: Patriots 28, Dolphins 14 READERS: Patriots 90.9 percent

Ravens at Bengals, 1

Line/OU: Bengals by 9½; 41½ Bengals have won four straight in series, their most consecutive victories against Ravens. Cincinnati has clinched AFC North and gets No. 2 seed with win and a Broncos loss. They could match best mark in franchise history at 12-4. In two starts replacing injured Andy Dalton, AJ McCarron has completed 66 percent for 392 yards, two TDs, no INTs. TE Tyler Eifert was cleared from concussion protocol after missing past two games. Only team with two players in double digits for sacks: DE Carlos Dunlap (13½) and Geno Atkins (10). S Reggie Nelson is tied for league lead with eight INTs, two shy of Deltha O'Neal's club record. Ryan Mallett went 28-of-41 for career-high 274 yards and TD in Ravens debut last week in win over Steelers. Kamar Aiken had team-high eight catches for 66 yards. He has at least eight catches in past two games.

JONES: Bengals 24, Ravens 10 READERS: Bengals 84.8 percent

Jaguars at Texans, 1

Line/OU: Texans by 6½; 45½ Houston clinches first AFC South title since 2012 with win or a Colts loss. QB Brian Hoyer starts after missing past two games with concussion. DE J.J. Watt needs half-sack to join Hall of Famer Reggie White as only players with 15 or more in three of their first five seasons. Jaguars' Blake Bortles has franchise-record 35 passing TDs this season. He needs 179 passing yards to move past Mark Brunell (4,367) for team record for most in single season. Allen Robinson needs 8 yards receiving to become second player in franchise history with 1,300-yard receiving season. He's tied for first in league with team-record 14 TD receptions.

JONES: Texans 26, Jaguars 13 READERS: Texans 87.9 percent

Titans at Colts, 1

Line/OU: Off the board Colts need win, Texans loss and seven other games to break right way to make fourth straight playoff appearance. QB Andrew Luck will miss seventh straight game with lacerated kidney and partially torn abdominal muscle. Backup Matt Hasselbeck trying to come back from injured throwing shoulder, and third-stringer Charlie Whitehurst went on injured reserve Monday. If Hasselbeck doesn't play, Colts will go with former Bucs starter Josh Freeman or former Cardinals backup Ryan Lindley, who joined team Tuesday. Titans have lost three straight, six of past seven, and eight straight to Colts. Tennessee locks up No. 1 overall draft pick with loss. Rookie QB Marcus Mariota out for second straight game with sprained right knee. Backup Zach Mettenberger 0-9 as starter.

JONES: Colts 20, Titans 10 READERS: Colts 84.8 percent

Redskins at Cowboys, 1

Line/OU: Cowboys by 4; 39½ Cowboys going for season sweep of Redskins for second time in past three seasons. Dallas trying to avoid most losses since going 1-15 in 1989, the year owner and GM Jerry Jones bought club. Cowboys have clinched last in NFC East, but with victory can have winning record in division (4-2) for third consecutive year. Redskins enter Week 17 with division title or playoff berth in hand for first time since 1999. Kirk Cousins is first Washington player with at least 300 yards passing and at least four TDs with no INTs in consecutive games. He has 20 passing TDs with three interceptions for 115.8 passer rating, and four rushing TDs in past nine games. TE Jordan Reed has 25 catches for 333 yards and five TDs in past three games.

JONES: Redskins 16, Cowboys 14 READERS: Redskins 84.8 percent

Eagles at Giants, 1

Line/OU: Giants by 5; 51 Eagles fired coach Chip Kelly this week, so offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur will coach finale. Philadelphia's Sam Bradford needs 95 passing yards for third 3,500-yard season. DeMarco Murray has 633 yards rushing after leading league at 1,845 with Dallas and winning offensive player of year in 2014. Tom Coughlin might be coaching final game with Giants after missing four straight playoffs, their longest drought since 17 straight seasons (1964-80). It's their third straight losing season, first time for that since eight straight (1973-80). Eli Manning needs three TD passes to tie team single-season record of 36 set by Y.A. Tittle in 1963. WR Odell Beckham returns after one-game suspension for dangerous play.

JONES: Giants 27, Eagles 14 READERS: Giants 72.7 percent

Lions at Bears, 1

Line/OU: Pick 'em; 45 Lions coach Jim Caldwell could be out after two seasons even though team has won five of seven after 1-7 start. Matthew Stafford has thrown 14 TDs, one INT in past five games. Stafford threw for season-high 405 yards in first game against Chicago. Theo Riddick leads NFL backs with 76 catches. Bears' Jay Cutler has five TDs, one INT over past three games. With expiring contract, two-time Pro Bowl RB Matt Forte could be playing final game for Bears. Jeremy Langford tied for third among rookies with six rushing TDs, ranks fifth with seven total TDs.

JONES: Bears 21, Lions 19 READERS: Lions 72.7 percent

Saints at Falcons, 1

Line/OU: Falcons by 6; 52½ Saints gave Falcons first loss of season after 5-0 start. That started streak of seven losses in eight games, including six straight, for Atlanta. Saints' Drew Brees has more than 30 TD passes for eighth straight year. Saints trying to avoid first 10-loss season since 2005. Sean Payton became coach in 2006. Falcons' Julio Jones second player in NFL history with at least 125 catches and 1,700 yards receiving, joining Marvin Harrison (2002). QB Matt Ryan, Brees and Pats' Tom Brady only players with 4,000 yards passing each of past five years, including 2015. RB Devonta Freeman fifth in NFL with 1,540 total yards: 980 rushing, 560 receiving.

JONES: Falcons 31, Saints 28 READERS: Falcons 51.5 percent

Seahawks at Cards, 4:25

Line/OU: Cardinals by 6; 47 Seahawks have tiebreaker against Vikings, not against Packers for NFC wild-card round. Cardinals get homefield advantage throughout playoffs with win and loss by Panthers. Seattle's Russell Wilson (109.3) and Arizona's Carson Palmer (107.7) are 1-2 in NFL QB rating. Cardinals haven't swept season series against Seattle since 2009. Seahawks are only NFC West team Cardinals coach Bruce Arians hasn't beaten in Arizona. Seahawks, Cardinals only two NFL teams in top five in defense and offense. Cardinals need 45 yards to break single-season franchise record of 6,345 set in 1984. Palmer needs 75 yards to break franchise record for yards passing, 4,614 by Neil Lomax in 1984. Rookie RB David Johnson needs one TD to be first Cardinal since Roy Green in 1983 to score 14 TDs in season.

JONES: Cardinals 28, Seahawks 21 READERS: Cardinals 69.7 percent

Chargers at Broncos, 4:25

Line/OU: Broncos by 9; 41½ Denver clinches 15th AFC West title with win or a Chiefs loss. Broncos can join Oakland (1972-76) as only teams to win five straight AFC West champion­ships. They are first team in league history to have three comeback victories of 14 or more points against playoff teams in same season. Demaryius Thomas (1,187) and Emmanuel Sanders (1,036) became 10th tandem in Denver history to eclipse 1,000 yards receiving. Chargers' Malcom Floyd plays in final game after announcing retirement. He has 321 catches for 5,550 yards, 34 TDs. Philip Rivers needs 239 yards passing to break team's single-season mark held by Hall of Famer Dan Fouts, who threw for 4,802 in 1981. LB Manti Te'o is three tackles shy of 100 for season.

JONES: Broncos 19, Chargers 10 READERS: Broncos 84.8 percent

Raiders at Chiefs, 4:25

Line/OU: Chiefs by 7; 43½ Chiefs have won four of five vs. Oakland. They won franchise record-tying nine straight after five-game skid. Kansas City has outscored opponents by 144 points in win streak. It's plus-15 in turnover differential, second in NFL. Raiders trying to finish 8-8, matching best finish since 2003. S Charles Woodson plays final game of 18-year career. Played his first at Arrowhead Stadium on Sept. 6, 1998. He's tied for fifth in NFL history with 65 INTs, and tied with Rod Woodson and Darren Sharper for most defensive TDs (13). Derek Carr needs 207 yards passing for 4,000. That would give Oakland 4,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher (Latavius Murray) and 1,000-yard receiver (Amari Cooper) for first time in franchise history.

JONES: Chiefs 30, Raiders 20 READERS: Chiefs 90.9 percent

Rams at 49ers, 4:25

Line/OU: Rams by 3½; 37½ Rams spent week practicing in California's wine country after last week's game in Seattle. St. Louis seeks first four-game winning streak since seven-gamer in 2003. Win ends streak of eight straight losing seasons for Rams. Rookie Todd Gurley has one 100-yard game in past eight after doing it in each of first four starts. Loss leaves Niners with worst record since going 4-12 in 2005. Their nine losses by double digits are tied for second most in franchise history, behind 10 in 2004. Blaine Gabbert had two TD passes and no INTs last week for second time in 34 career starts. Niners are third in NFL allowing 17 points per game at home. They rank 31st with 31.5 points per game given up on road.

JONES: Rams 23, 49ers 21 READERS: Rams 75.8 percent

Vikings at Packers, 8:30

Line/OU: Packers by 3; 45½ Vikings seeking first NFC North title since 2009. Packers seeking fifth straight North crown. Green Bay playing for third straight season with North title on line in regular-season finale, having beaten Chicago two seasons ago and Detroit last season. Aaron Rodgers has passer rating of 121.6, for 1,548 yards with 14 TDs and three INTs in six career prime-time games against Minnesota. Eddie Lacy averaging 107 yards rushing on 23 carries in five career games against Vikings, though Packers' entire starting offensive line and Lacy are listed on injury report. LB Clay Matthews needs two tackles to pass his career high of 83 set in 2010. He has not had tackle in two straight games. Win last week over Giants secured Vikings' first playoff berth since 2012. Adrian Peterson enters Week 17 first in league in rushing (1,418 yards), looking for third career rushing title. Stefon Diggs is tied for third in team history with Paul Flatley (1963) and Sammy White (1976) for single-season receptions for rookie with 51. S Harrison Smith had franchise-record fourth interception return for TD last week against Giants.

JONES: Packers 27, Vikings 16 READERS: Packers 57.6 percent

Game text from Times wires

NFL Week 17: Previews, predictions 01/02/16 [Last modified: Saturday, January 2, 2016 9:32pm]
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