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New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning passes against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of their NFL football game in Arlington, Texas December 11, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Stone (MIKE STONE)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning passes against the Dallas Cowboys in the first half of their NFL football game in Arlington, Texas December 11, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Stone (MIKE STONE)

Predictions

NFL Week 17 picks against the spread Add to ...

SUNDAY

Washington Redskins (5-10) at Philadelphia Eagles (7-8)

WASHINGTON plus 9

In the end, people can point to the 2011 Philly “Dream Team” and say: “They were only half-bad.”

The pick EAGLES

Tennessee Titans (8-7) at Houston Texans (10-5)

TENNESSEE minus 3

The Texans have the No. 3 seed in the AFC locked up and will likely coast with backups after the half.

The pick TITANS

Indianapolis Colts (2-13) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-11)

INDIANAPOLIS plus 4

After back-to-back wins at home, the Colts hit the road one last time. Jaguars star Maurice Jones-Drew claims the NFL rushing title in a game not even Colts/Jags fans will be watching.

The pick COLTS

San Francisco 49ers (12-3) at St. Louis Rams (2-13)

SAN FRANCISCO minus 11

All the 49ers have to do to claim a first-round playoff bye is win. The Rams are riding a six-game losing skid that will likely end with coach Steve Spagnuolo being fired.

The pick 49ERS

Chicago Bears (7-8) at Minnesota Vikings (3-12)

CHICAGO plus 1

Journeyman quarterback Josh McCown wasn’t totally awful for Chicago last week. Throw in a Bears defence playing for pride and it should be enough.

The pick BEARS

Detroit Lions (10-5) at Green Bay Packers (14-1)

DETROIT minus 4

The last time Detroit won at Lambeau Field, Brett Favre was an Atlanta Falcon.

The pick PACKERS

Carolina Panthers (6-9) at New Orleans Saints (12-3)

CAROLINA plus 8

New Orleans will have one eye on the San Francisco game, and quarterback Drew Brees will play just long enough to ensure Pats QB Tom Brady doesn’t usurp him as the single-season passing-yardage record holder.

The pick PANTHERS

New York Jets (8-7) at Miami Dolphins (5-10)

NEW YORK plus 2

After huffing and puffing all season, will the real Jets please stand up.

The pick JETS

Buffalo Bills (6-9) at New England Patriots (12-3)

BUFFALO plus 11

After wrapping up home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs last week, the Pats have nothing to play for, a situation the Bills know all too well.

The pick PATRIOTS

Seattle Seahawks (7-8) at Arizona Cardinals (7-8)

SEATTLE plus 3

Ah, what could have been: The mantra of a pair of teams battling for the glory of an 8-8 season. Seattle coach Pete Carroll’s rah-rah approach is a factor.

The pick SEAHAWKS

San Diego Chargers (7-8) at Oakland Raiders (8-7)

SAN DIEGO plus 3

The Raiders have multiple playoff-entry options, all hinging on a win. The crushing defeat San Diego took last week took the wind out of its sails.

The pick RAIDERS

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11) at Atlanta Falcons (9-6)

TAMPA BAY plus 12

The Falcons will know before they take the field (Lions at Packers at 1 p.m. ET) whether they can climb to the NFC’s No. 5 seed with a win. If they are playing for nothing, this could be ugly.

The pick BUCCANEERS

Kansas City Chiefs (6-9) at Denver Broncos (8-7)

KANSAS CITY plus 4

Kyle Orton started the season as the Broncos’ opening-day quarterback and closes it out with a chance to keep Tim Tebow and Co. from ascending to the promised land of the playoffs.

The pick BRONCOS

Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4) at Cleveland Browns (4-11)

PITTSBURGH minus 8

With Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger doubtful with his sprained ankle, expect Pittsburgh tailback Rashard Mendenhall to pound away at Cleveland’s 30th-ranked rushing defence.

The pick STEELERS

Baltimore Ravens (11-4) at Cincinnati Bengals (9-6)

BALTIMORE minus 3

It’s a case of who wants it more: a win for the Ravens will give them a first-round bye; a win for the Bengals and they’ll clinch just their third playoff appearance in 21 seasons.

The pick RAVENS

Dallas Cowboys (8-7) at New York Giants (8-7)

DALLAS plus 3

The game of the week by a country mile. Win and you’re in. You can’t simplify it any more than that.

The pick GIANTS

Last week 7-8-1

Season 117-111-12

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