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2008 Week 17 NFL Game Previews

Archived Previews From The Week 17 Games of the 2008 NFL Football Picks Season

2008 Week Seventeen NFL Matchup Previews

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

St. Louis Rams (2-13) @ Atlanta Falcons (10-5)
Time: 1:00pm ET
Spread: Atlanta – 15
Over/Under: 44
Preview: The St. Louis Rams will look to salvage their season, which has been a major struggle on Sunday in Atlanta. The Rams will attempt to knock the Falcons out of a chance at the NFC South title. If Atlanta can win, and Carolina falls as New Orleans, the Falcons would be declared division champs, due to tiebreaker rules. The Rams have lost nine straight games, including a 17-16 loss to San Francisco. In the loss, the Rams led 16-3 heading into the fourth quarter only to allow two late 49er touchdowns. The Rams have been outscored 434 – 205 on the season. For Atlanta, the Falcons picked up a huge 24-17 win over the Minnesota Vikings. In the win, Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan threw for 134 yards and a touchdown, and running back Michael Turner ran for 70 yards and a touchdown. The Falcons are 10-5 on the season, and will be in the playoffs. Their playoff position will be decided by several factors in week 17. The Falcons have out scored opponents 360 – 298 on the season. Atlanta is 6-1 at home, while the Rams are 1-6 on the road.

New England Patriots (10-5) @ Buffalo Bills (7-8)
Time: 1:00pm ET
Spread: New England – 6.5
Over/Under: 42
Preview: In the AFC East, the defending AFC Champions must come up with a win, and hope for a Miami loss to win the division. The wildcard position is still up in the air, but a loss would eliminate all hope. The Patriots are coming off a 47-7 pounding of the Arizona Cardinals in the snow Sunday. New England has now scored 48 points per game in their last two games; both wins. The Patriots Matt Cassell has taken over for Tom Brady and been very effective, throwing for 3615 yards and 21 touchdowns in 14 starts. The Patriots have won five of seven games on the road this year. For Buffalo, after their 4-0 start, they have won just three of their next 11 and fallen from the playoff picture. Buffalo did pick up a win on Sunday; 30-23 over Denver. The win for the Bills was their 7th overall, and are now one short of .500 for the season. Despite being under .500 the Bills have outscored opponents by a total of seven points on the season. Quarterback Trent Edwards has thrown for 2571 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season, missing several games with injuries. This is a rematch of a November 9th game in Foxboro in which the Patriots won 20-10.

Kansas City Chiefs (2-13) @ Cincinnati Bengals (3-11-1)
Time: 1:00pm ET
Spread: Cincinnati – 3
Over/Under: 38
Preview: In a battle of two teams that had major struggles during the 2008 season the 2-13 Kansas City Chiefs travel to Cincinnati to take on the 3-11-1 Bengals. Kansas City has lost three straight, including a 38-31 defeat at the hands of the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The Chiefs two wins this season came to Denver at home, and at Oakland. The Chiefs are led in touchdowns by tight end Tony Gonzalez, who has caught nine. Quarterback Tyler Thigpen has completed 211 of 384 passes for 2417 yards and 17 touchdowns on the season. The Chiefs are 1-6 on the road this season. For Cincinnati, coming in with a 2-4 home mark, the Bengals look to complete the season winners of three straight. Cincinnati has knocked off Washington and Cleveland in back to back weeks. On Sunday the Bengals defense shut out the Cleveland Browns, a week after only allowing Washington to score 13 points.

Detroit Lions (0-15) @ Green Bay Packers (5-10)
Time: 1:00pm ET
Spread: N/A
Over/Under: N/A
Preview: The Detroit Lions have already made history, and on Sunday will look to avoid even bigger history. On Sunday, the New Orleans Saints beat the Lions 42-7, and this week they will head to Green Bay and attempt to win in the regular season finale. The Lions have been outscored 486 – 247 on the season. Detroit and Green Bay played in week two in Detroit, in which the Packers won 48-25. For Green Bay, the Packers have lost five straight games, with four of them coming by four points or less. The Packers got 260 passing yards from Aaron Rodgers, but special teams mistakes caused the Packers to falter on Monday Night. The Packers have outscored opponents 388 – 359. Green Bay is 3-4 at home, and 3-2 against NFC North foes this season.

Chicago Bears (9-6) @ Houston Texans (7-8)
Time: 1:00pm ET
Spread: N/A
Over/Under: N/A
Preview: The Chicago Bears have pulled off two straight games in overtime, behind Robbie Gould field goals. Chicago’s win on Monday Night over the Green Bay Packers moved them into a tie for the top spot in the NFC North. The Bears must beat the Texans on Sunday, and hope for a Vikings loss to the New York Giants to win the NFC North. Chicago has scored 351 points and allowed just 319 on the season. Rookie running back Matt Forte has run for 1188 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. Forte was the main ingredient in the game tying touchdown drive that tied the game 17-17 on Monday Night. For Houston, the Texans would love nothing else but to knock a team out of contention. Houston, after winning four straight games were 27-16 victims to the Oakland Raiders. Matt Schaub threw for 255 passing yards and Steve Slaton ran for 66 yards in the loss. The Texans are attempting to finish the season at .500 with a win. The Bears are 3-4 on the road, while Houston is 5-2 at home.

Tennessee Titans (13-2) @ Indianapolis Colts (11-4)
Time: 1:00pm ET
Spread: Tennessee – 3
Over/Under: 38
Preview: The top seed in the AFC will try to stay fresh and healthy on Sunday when they head to Lucas Oil Stadium to square off with the red hot Indianapolis Colts. Tennessee is coming off an impressive 31-14 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 13-2 record Tennessee holds is the best in all of football. In the win on Sunday quarterback Kerry Collins completed 20 of 29 passes for 216 yards and a touchdown. Both Chris Johnson and LenDale White ran for rushing touchdowns against the vaunted Pittsburgh defense. Justin Gage also caught five passes for 104 yards and a touchdown. For the Colts, winners of eight straight games, they have wrapped up a wildcard spot in the AFC playoffs. Indianapolis is coming off a come from behind win over Jacksonville on Thursday night. Peyton Manning threw for 364 yards in the win, his second straight game of 300+ passing yards, and fourth overall in 2008. The Colts have outscored opponents 354 – 298 on the season. This is a rematch of a October 27th Titans 31-21 win in Nashville. The Titans are 6-1 on the road this year, while the Colts are 5-2 at home.

New York Giants (12-3) @ Minnesota Vikings (10-5)
Time: 1:00pm ET
Spread: N/A
Over/Under: N/A
Preview: The New York Giants have wrapped up the # 1 seed in the NFC. Now the Giants will look to knock the Minnesota Vikings out of the playoff picture. The Giants are coming off a 34-28 overtime win over the Carolina Panthers to move to 12-3 overall. Running back Derrick Ward ran for a career high 215 yards, while Brandon Jacobs was the garbage man picking up three rushing touchdowns. The Giants win snapped a modest two game losing streak. New York has scored 408 points on the season, while allowing 274. The Giants are 5-2 on the road this season. Things are simple for the Minnesota Vikings – a win on Sunday, and they are in the postseason as NFC North Champions. A loss, and a Bears win, and Chicago wins the division. The Vikings are coming off a 24-17 loss to the Atlanta Falcons. In the loss quarterback Tavaris Jackson threw for 233 yards and rushed for 76 more. The Vikings are out scoring opponents 359 – 314 on the season.  Minnesota comes in with a 5-2 home mark thus far in 2008.

Carolina Panthers (11-4) @ New Orleans Saints  (8-7)
Time: 1:00pm ET
Spread: Carolina – 3
Over/Under: 53
Preview: The Carolina Panthers only needed a 50 yard field goal to clinch home field advantage all the way to Tampa Bay for the Super Bowl. A miss field goal and an overtime touchdown by the Giants erased that chance, and led to the gap narrowing inside the NFC South. The Panthers lead Atlanta by one full game in the division, but Atlanta holds the tiebreaker, so a Carolina loss and Atlanta win, and the Falcons claim the division and knock Carolina to the # 5 position in the playoffs. If the Panthers win, they win the division and come away with the # 2 seed, and a first round bye. Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams continued his assault on a MVP type season with 108 yards and four touchdowns in the game. Williams has rushed for 20 touchdowns on the season, leading the NFL. Williams is also fourth in the NFL in rushing yards with 1337 trailing Peterson, Turner and Portis. For New Orleans, the Saints have a chance to finish the season above .500. After a 42-7 blow out win over the Detroit Lions on Sunday they moved their road record to 2-6 on the year. The Saints, without running back Reggie Bush got 351 passing yards from Drew Brees, and 77 rushing yards from Pierre Thomas. The Saints have scored 432 points, and allowed 360 on the season. Carolina is 3-4 on the road, while New Orleans is 6-1 at home. This is a rematch of a October 19th Panthers win in Carolina 30-7.

Cleveland Browns (4-11) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4)
Time: 1:00pm ET
Spread: Pittsburgh – 10.5
Over/Under: 32
Preview: The Cleveland Browns will try to snap a streak of five straight games without scoring an offensive touchdown. Ironically, the Browns have lost all five of those games. The Cleveland offense has not scored since a Monday November 17th game at Buffalo. The Browns quarterback Glen Dorsey only picked up 68 passing yards in the 14-0 loss to rival Cincinnati on Sunday. The Browns are 4-11 on the year, and reports have head coach Romeo Crennell coaching his last game for Cleveland on Sunday. Pittsburgh will come into this game with absolutely nothing on the line, but don’t look for the Steelers to take it easy on Cleveland. The Steelers have the # 2 position locked up in the AFC playoffs, but are coming off a disappointing 31-14 loss to the Tennessee Titans. The Steelers had won five straight games before the loss. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 331 yards, with 109 going to Hines Ward on Sunday but it was not nearly enough. The Steelers have out scored opponents 316 – 223 on the season. Pittsburgh is 5-2 at home, while the Browns are 3-4 on the road. This is a rematch of the Steelers 10-6 win in Cleveland on September 14th.

Oakland Raiders (4-11) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-6)
Time: 1:00pm ET
Spread: Tampa Bay – 13
Over/Under: 39
Preview: The Oakland Raiders are coming off a 27-16 win over the Texans, to slow them down. In the win, Justin Fargas rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown. Oakland held the Texans to just three second half points. On the year the Raiders have been outscored 364 – 232. Oakland is 2-5 when playing on the road this season. For Tampa Bay, after a 9-3 start, three straight losses have sent them to the outside looking in regarding the playoff chase. Tampa Bay has lost to Carolina, Atlanta and San Diego in their last three games. Some speculation has led to the demise of the team to defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin, who is reportedly heading to the University of Tennessee, with his son Lane Kiffin. Jeff Garcia threw for 232 yards in the loss, including 127 to his top receiver Antonio Bryant on Sunday. The Buccaneers had very little ground game with Garcia leading the charge with just 45 yards. Tampa Bay comes into the game winners of six of seven at home.

Dallas Cowboys (9-6) @ Philadelphia Eagles (8-6-1)
Time: 4:15pm ET
Spread: Philadelphia – -1.5
Over/Under: 43
Preview: Even after the devastating home loss to Baltimore, the Dallas Cowboys still need just one win to get into the postseason. After a very rocky 2008 season, getting to the playoffs is quite the relief for Dallas. Losing several key players to injury, plus the drama of Tony Romo, Jason Witten and Terrell Owens, Dallas has never solely been focused on the game of football. They will have to focus on Sunday heading to the city of brotherly love, where the Eagles would love nothing better than to knock the Cowboys out of contention. Philadelphia lost a key chance to sneak into the playoff picture on Sunday with a 10-3 loss to the Washington Redskins. In the loss the Eagles were shut out of the end zone. Part of the offensive struggles for the Eagles was wide receiver DeSean Jackson, and numerous dropped passes, including one in the end zone that could have tied the game up at 10, with just over 3:00 to go. The Eagles have had their own share of drama this season, with the benching of quarterback Donovan McNabb, and his relationship with head coach Andy Reid. This is a rematch of a Monday Night game in mid September in which the Cowboys topped the Eagles 41-37. Dallas is 3-4 on the road this year, while the Eagles come in with a 5-2 home mark.

Miami Dolphins (10-5) @ New York Jets (9-6)
Time: 4:15pm ET
Spread: New York Jets – 2.5
Over/Under: 42
Preview: The Miami Dolphins control their own destiny now with the Jets loss to Seattle. The Dolphins at 10-5 are tied atop the AFC East with New England, but currently hold the tiebreaker over the Patriots. A Miami win, and the Dolphins win the division, one year after winning just one game last season. The Dolphins need a fourth quarter touchdown to top the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday 38-31. Chad Pennington has got the last laugh since the Jets shipped him in the off-season, throwing for 3453 yards and 17 touchdowns on the season. The Dolphins’ Reggie Brown has ran for 10 touchdowns this season, with several of them coming from the vaunted Wildcat formation. For the Jets, a 0-4 west coast record may be what separates them from a postseason appearance. New York must beat Miami, and hope for a Buffalo win over the Patriots to win the division. In the loss on Sunday, the Jets only scored three points, as Brett Favre was intercepted twice. New York has out scored opponents 388 – 332 on the season. The Dolphins are 5-2 thus far on the road, while the Jets are 5-2 at home.  This game is a rematch of opening season Jets 20-14 win in Miami.

Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10) @ Baltimore Ravens (10-5)
Time: 4:15pm ET
Spread: Baltimore – 12.5
Over/Under: 35.5
Preview: The Jacksonville Jaguars will attempt to take to the road and knock a divisional foe out of the playoff contention. The Jaguars at 5-10 are coming off a Thursday night loss to the Indianapolis Colts 31-24. In the loss, Jacksonville led 24-14 heading into the fourth quarter, only to give up 17 points. Jacksonville has been outscored 340 – 295 on the season. The Jaguars are 3-4 when playing in road games this season. The Baltimore Ravens come into the game at 10-5 on the season, a game behind the Steelers in the AFC North. Baltimore is coming off a 33-24 win in Dallas on Saturday. The win for the Ravens kept their playoff chances alive. Baltimore is tied with Miami and New England for the final playoff spot, in which one will take the AFC East (Miami/New England) and one of the other two will take the AFC wildcard position. The Ravens have scored 358 points on the season and allowed 237. Baltimore is 5-2 when playing at home this season.

Seattle Seahawks (4-11) @ Arizona Cardinals (8-7)
Time: 4:15pm ET
Spread: Arizona – 6
Over/Under: 45
Preview: The Seattle Seahawks made head coach Mike Holmgren’s last home game a memorable one; knocking off his former quarterback Brett Favre 13-3 on Sunday. Now Seattle will try to send Holmgren out in style for the entire 2008 season. Seattle has won two straight games, over the Rams and the Jets, and will look to score their first three game win streak of the season. In the win on Sunday quarterback Seneca Wallace passed for 175 yards, while Maurice Morris rushed for 116. The Seahawks have been out scored on the season by a 358 – 273 mark. For Arizona, the Cardinals will look to get back on track, after falling on Sunday 47-7 to New England on Sunday. The Cardinals have lost two in a row, and four of their last five, with their lone win in that span coming over St. Louis 34-10. The Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner, after ten games was looking like a possible MVP candidate has slowed down considerably completing just 6 of 18 passes on Sunday. The Cardinals will play in the postseason regardless of the outcome of this game, but Arizona players and fans would feel much more comfortable heading into the postseason above .500. The Cardinals and Seahawks played on November 16th in Seattle with the Cardinals winning 26-20. The Cardinals are 5-0 against NFC West foes.

Washington Redskins (8-7) @ San Francisco 49ers (6-9)
Time: 4:15pm ET
Spread: San Francisco – 3
Over/Under: 37
Preview: In what will be the final game for both teams, the Washington Redskins will travel across the country for a non conference battle with the San Francisco 49ers. Washington is coming off a 10-3 win over the Eagles to move to above .500. The win assured the Redskins of no worse than a .500 season. Every team in the NFC East will finish above .500 in 2008. Washington was not so lucky in the playoff picture, as numerous teams stand above them. The Redskins have scored 241 points, allowing 269 on the season. For San Francisco after their slow start and the firing of head coach Mike Nolan, the 49ers look to end the season on a high note. The 49ers are coming off a come from behind 17-16 win over divisional foe St. Louis on Sunday. The 49ers have won four of their last five games. Washington is 4-3 on the road, while San Francisco is 3-4 in home games this season.

Denver Broncos (8-7) @ San Diego Chargers (7-8)
Time: 8:15pm ET
Spread: San Diego Chargers -9
Over/Under: 50
Preview: In a winner take all match up between two AFC West teams, the Denver Broncos will head to San Diego to take on the Chargers. Denver comes in with an 8-7 overall record, but losers of two straight; at Carolina and to Buffalo. The Broncos simply could not stop Buffalo on Sunday, falling 30-23. The Broncos got 359 passing yards from quarterback Jay Cutler, as Brandon Marshall caught 129 of the yards, but the Broncos passing game was held out of the end zone. The Broncos on the season have been out scored 396 349. San Diego comes into the game winners of three straight games, all three to keep there slim playoff chances alive. Now San Diego finds them with one game left, only having to win; albeit at home. The Chargers are 4-3 when playing at home, while Denver is 4-3 on the road. In the 41-24 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday Phillip Rivers threw for 287 yards and LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 90. San Diego has scored 387 points and allowed 326 on the season. This is a rematch of the controversial September 14th game at Denver in which the Broncos won 39-38 on a last second two-point conversion.


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