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Week 17 games

Jets (6-9) at Bills (5-10)

1 p.m.

Bills by 3½, 39

The best news about today is it's the last time we'll be inundated with talk about the Jets' wretched QB situation. Then again … Who are we kidding? Mark Sanchez, above, and Tim Tebow will get their share of airtime. As for stuff that matters — you know, the game — the Bills would be wise to feed C.J. Spiller against the No. 27 rush defense. He leads all backs at 6.5 yards per carry.

Bills 26, Jets 20

Ravens (10-5) at Bengals (9-6)

1 p.m.

Bengals by 2½, 41

The Ravens have nothing to gain, being locked into the No. 4 seed. The Bengals also can't improve on their seed, No. 6, but entering the postseason with some confidence can only help a team with so many young key players. Andy Dalton, above, threw three interceptions in his playoff debut last season, a loss to the Texans. Are they better this season? We'll find out soon enough.

Bengals 27, Ravens 23

Bears (9-6) at Lions (4-11)

1 p.m.

Bears by 3, 45

It's come to this for the Bears. Not only must they win to make the playoffs, they need help from the Packers. What happens when a team goes on a second straight late-season swoon? You lose control of a firm grip. I have no faith the Bears would win a playoff game, but they get the edge here. Lions WR Calvin Johnson, above, likely surpasses 2,000 yards, but look for Chicago to force a couple of turnovers.

Bears 24, Lions 23

Texans (12-3) at Colts (10-5)

1 p.m., Ch. 10

Texans by 7, 46½

A win earns the Texans a bye and is the difference between going to the Pats or Broncos or playing in the comforts of their dome. Despite the sentimentality of coach Chuck Pagano's return in Indy, this is too big for the Texans to foul up. The question is if DE J.J. Watt, above, gets two sacks to tie Michael Strahan's record (221/2). Indy has given up an alarming 40 (tied for ninth most).

Texans 28, Colts 23

Panthers (6-9) at Saints (7-8)

1 p.m.

Saints by 5, 54

As badly as 2012 has gone for the Saints, is it really tragic to finish 8-8 and with three straight wins? Amid the suspensions and last-place defense, give QB Drew Brees, above, credit for another outstanding season. He needs 209 passing yards for 5,000 for the second straight season. If the Saints address their defense — no small chore, I know — they will make noise in 2013.

Saints 30, Panthers 27

Browns (5-10) at Steelers (7-8)

1 p.m.

Steelers by 10, 34½

The Steelers will be watching the playoffs at home for only the second time under coach Mike Tomlin. Given their early elimination and struggles this season, you might wonder how they will fare today. Then you find out someone named Thad Lewis, above, will start at QB for the Browns. The Steelers get to .500, and given all their injuries this season, they're probably not that far away from a postseason run.

Steelers 29, Browns 13

Eagles (4-11) at Giants (8-7)

1 p.m.

Giants by 7, 46

Is this farewell for coach Andy Reid in Philly? And what about QB Michael Vick, above? It probably is. And the pair would love to go out with a road win over their division rival. However, you have to prefer the veteran Giants with slim playoff hopes over a team where everyone's got one foot out the door. The Giants, win or lose, have some serious evaluating to do during the offseason.

Giants 27, Eagles 23

Jaguars (2-13) at Titans (5-10)

1 p.m.

Titans by 7, 46½

Well, they schedule 16 games, so I suppose those games must be played. Even this one. Consider this the final opportunity for QB Chad Henne, above, to convince the Jags brass Tim Tebow is not needed. The prevailing theory is the little-used Jets backup will end up in northern Florida. The Titans have their own QB issues, unless Jake Locker's 10 touchdown and 11 interceptions turn you on.

Titans 23, Jaguars 20

Chiefs (2-13) at Broncos (12-3)

4:25 p.m.

Broncos by 16, 42

There's no chance the Broncos call off the dogs. They need a win to secure a bye, and hosting the Chiefs pretty much guarantees a victory. If that happens, some unlucky foe might have to face Peyton Manning, above, at home in January. The Chiefs have had a rough year, including the suicide of LB Jovan Belcher. There will be more news when coach Romeo Crennel is likely fired.

Broncos 33, Chiefs 16

Packers (11-4) at Vikings (9-6)

4:25 p.m., Ch. 13

Packers by 3½, 46

The Vikings' Adrian Peterson, above, needs 207 yards to tie Eric Dickerson's rushing record of 2,105. Against the Packers on Dec. 2, he got 210. So he can pull this off. The bigger question: Can the Vikings win and keep their playoff hopes alive? With Green Bay playing for a bye, something says the Vikings come up a wee bit short. That said, the Packers can't slip up — even a little.

Packers 28, Vikings 26

Dolphins (7-8) at Patriots (11-4)

4:25 p.m., Ch. 10

Patriots by 10½, 46½

The Patriots haven't looked like themselves the past two games. Beating Jacksonville by just one score after being dismantled by the 49ers (for a half) has to have gotten their attention. You know coach Bill Belichick is dialed in, meaning he'll have something up his sleeve for Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill. It's not a tough choice to take Tom Brady, above, in a game the Pats need for a chance at a bye.

Patriots 29, Dolphins 17

Raiders (4-11) at Chargers (6-9)

4:25 p.m.

Chargers by 9½, 39½

Here's another goodbye game, with coach Norv Turner widely presumed to be fired by San Diego. The Chargers haven't progressed and wasted prime opportunities for playoff success. But his players will put it on the line for him. Look for a big day from the defense. QB Terrelle Pryor, above, makes his first start for the Raiders. The other option, Matt Leinart, wasn't good either.

Chargers 26, Raiders 16

Rams (7-7-1) at Seahawks (10-5)

4:25 p.m.

Seahawks by 10½, 41½

Anyone still surprised by the Seahawks' season just isn't paying attention. The infallible formula for success in the NFL is strong defense, highlighted by a fierce pass rush, and an efficient quarterback. CB Richard Sherman has seven picks and DE Chris Clemons 111/2 sacks. And the 2,868 passing yards for Russell Wilson, above, aren't staggering, but his 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions are.

'Hawks 24, Rams 14

Cardinals (5-10) at 49ers (10-4-1)

4:25 p.m.

49ers by 16½, 39

The 49ers have been on a roller coaster. They played, arguably, their best offensive game of the season at New England on Dec. 16 only to lay an egg in Seattle last week. Lots of things are still within reach for the 49ers, including a division title and bye. But first things first. Today, they need to play 49ers defense. Look for LB Aldon Smith, above, to add to his team-record 191/2 sacks.

49ers 35, Cardinals 17

Cowboys (8-7) at Redskins (9-6)

8:20 p.m., Ch. 8

Redskins by 3, 48½

When the NFL pushed more division games to the final weeks, this is the kind of contest it had in mind: a winner-take-all with the NFC East crown on the line. If there's any carryover from the first meeting is arguable, but QB Robert Griffin III shredded the Cowboys on the road in that game. Here's another opportunity. The Cowboys, by the way, are 4-11 over the past 20 years when the temperature at kickoff is 40 degrees or colder, like it will be tonight. Their last win? Dec. 27, 2009 … at Washington.

Redskins 28, Cowboys 26

Week 17 games 12/29/12 [Last modified: Saturday, December 29, 2012 10:16pm]

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