Bing Predicts: NFL Week 17

Paula Pasche
24/7 Wall St.

The legend known as “Jimmy G” has changed the outlook for the San Francisco 49ers -- since taking over as starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo has led the 49ers to four straight wins. Garoppolo also stumped Bing Predicts with a 44-33 upset win over the playoff-bound Jacksonville Jaguars.

Bing correctly predicted 13 of 16 games in Week 16. In addition to missing the Jaguars at 49ers contest, Bing also missed Cincinnati’s 27-16 upset of the Detroit Lions and the Seattle Seahawks’ surprising 21-12 win over the Dallas Cowboys.

Now onto Week 17, the final week in the regular season. It’s an interesting schedule with each of the 16 games featuring divisional opponents.

Plus, the NFL adjusted a few game times so that all contests with playoff implications that affect each other will be played at the same time. Seven games kick off at 1 p.m. EST, while the rest start at 4:25 p.m.

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The only game with playoff implications for both teams will be the Carolina Panthers at the favored Atlanta Falcons. The Panthers can clinch the NFC South title with a win and a New Orleans Saints loss. They can clinch a first-round bye with a win, a Saints loss, and a Los Angeles Rams loss. The Falcons will earn a wild-card berth with a win.

The outcomes of nine other games will have playoff implications for one of the teams. That includes getting into the postseason and/or the seeding position.

Some of the most storied NFL franchises will not be fighting for a playoff berth in Week 17. According to NFL media research group, NFL Research, this year marks the first time the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, and San Francisco 49ers will have missed the postseason since 1964. Those five teams have won a combined 21 Super Bowls.

Bing’s NFL predictions use team and player statistics and web activity to build a statistical model that takes into account historical data and real-time information (like injuries, suspensions, and lineup changes). Finally, social sentiment adds a unique wisdom-of-the-crowd factor to the model. Learn more about Bing Predicts.


Click here to see all Bing weekly NFL predictions

Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
> Bing Predicts winner: Detroit (72%)
> Kickoff time: 1:00 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Detroit -7
> Matchup history: Packers lead 100-69-7

Typically, this would be a game that could determine the NFC North champion, but this season it means nothing for for either team. The favored Lions (8-7) are coming off an embarrassing 26-17 loss at Cincinnati that cost them any chance of a playoff berth. Detroit looked unprepared to play a bad team. It’s a loss that could cost coach Jim Caldwell his job. The Lions won the first meeting between the two at Lambeau Field, 30-17, on Nov. 6.

The Packers (7-8) could never recover from losing Aaron Rodgers, who was out with a broken collarbone. They stuck with backup Brett Hundley, which looks more and more like a bad decision. They were shut out by the Vikings 16-0 on Christmas Eve. It was their second shutout at home this season, something that hasn’t happened since 2006.

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
> Bing Predicts winner: Indianapolis (51%)
> Kickoff time: 1:00 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Pick’em
> Matchup history: Colts lead 24-7-0

Tough to pick a favorite between these two teams -- neither has won a game in December. The nod goes to the Colts (3-12), who are at home and won the first matchup 20-14 on Nov. 5. Indianapolis lost 23-16 to the Ravens on Saturday for their sixth straight loss. They’ve lost nine of their last 10. Ouch. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who led the NFL in receiving yards last year, had just his second 100-yard receiving game of the season. The Colts score only 16.1 points per game, 30th in the NFL, while their defense gives up 26.1 points a game -- 31st in the league.

The Texans (4-11) were no match for the Steelers, who thrashed them 34-6 on Monday night. Perhaps the only positive was that wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins continued his string with a touchdown catch in every home game this season. Injuries have been devastating to this bunch, as the team has lost five straight. DeShaun Watson and J.J. Watt are at the top of the most-missed list.

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
> Bing Predicts winner: Minnesota (77%)
> Kickoff time: 1:00 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Minnesota -13
> Matchup history: Vikings lead 59-52-2

The favored Vikings (12-3) have sewn up the NFC North title. However, they can clinch a first-round bye with a win over the Bears, or with losses by the Panthers and the Saints. They’re coming off a 16-0 defeat of the Packers at Lambeau Field, where the temperatures were bone chilling with a windchill of 0 degrees. If the Vikings warm up by Sunday, they should complete their sweep of the Bears with no problem. Minnesota won the first matchup, 20-17, on Oct. 9. The Vikings have the best scoring defense in the NFL, yielding just 16.1 points per game, and they hold opponents to only 280.9 yards a game, also tops in the league.

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With a 20-3 win over the Browns on Sunday, the Bears (5-10) avoided losing to the only winless team in the NFL. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has three touchdown passes and five interceptions in the last five games. Coach John Fox could join a long line of unemployed NFL coaches next week.

New York Jets at New England Patriots
> Bing Predicts winner: Patriots (79%)
> Kickoff time: 1:00 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: New England -16
> Matchup history: Patriots lead 62-54-1

With a win, the favored Patriots (12-3) can earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Tom Brady, perhaps the top MVP candidate, has thrown four touchdowns and five interceptions in December, but he solidified his excellent season through the first 11 games with a 26-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. New England won the first matchup against the Jets, 24-17, on Oct. 15. The Patriots have not lost at home since Oct. 1. Perhaps we’ll get our first look at outside linebacker James Harrison in a Patriots’ uniform. After his release by the Steelers this week, the 39-year-old Harrison signed with New England. Harrison is the Steelers’ all-time sack leader with 80.5 sacks.

The Jets (5-10) have lost three straight, including Sunday’s 14-7 loss to the Chargers. Running back Bilal Powell was the Jets’ standout with 19 carries for 145 yards and a touchdown. In Bryce Petty’s two games as a starter replacing the injured Josh McCown, he has thrown three interceptions and one touchdown.

Washington Redskins at New York Giants
> Bing Predicts winner: Washington (66%)
> Kickoff time: 1:00 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Washington -3.5
> Matchup history: Giants lead 99-68-4

Too little too late for the Redskins (7-8), who have won two straight, including Sunday’s 27-11 win over the Broncos. No surprise they are the favorite over the Giants (2-13), who have lost five consecutive games. In Sunday's win over Denver, Kirk Cousins, who can become a free agent, threw three touchdown passes and one interception. It might have been his last home game for the Redskins. Washington won the first meeting with the Giants, 20-10, on Thanksgiving.

Eli Manning — known as the Pride of the Giants — could play in his final game. Manning, who turns 37 on Jan. 3, has not been the reason for the Giants 2-13 record. He threw for two interceptions in the 23-0 loss to Arizona on Sunday, but in the previous week he had 434 passing yards in the loss to the Eagles. Manning, the first overall draft pick in 2004, has also completed 63% of his passes this season, which is better than his career average of 59.9%. One problem with the Giants' 13 losses -- the most in the history of the venerable franchise -- is they give up 384.9 yards per game, more than any team in the NFL.

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
> Bing Predicts winner: Dallas (57%)
> Kickoff time: 1:00 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Dallas -2
> Matchup history: Cowboys lead 65-52-0

The Cowboys (8-7), who are coming off a 21-12 loss to Seattle, have nothing to lose. Maybe that’s why they’re the favorite. Quarterback Dak Prescott is expected to start, although backup Cooper Rush could see playing time. Prescott threw for just 182 yards and two interceptions in the loss to the Seahawks. In his return after a six-game suspension, running back Ezekiel Elliott carried 24 times for 97 yards.

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The Eagles (13-2) routed the Cowboys 37-9 in their first meeting on Nov. 19. They were less impressive when they clinched NFC home-field advantage with a 19-10 win over the Raiders on Monday night. Quarterback Nick Foles, who is completing 50% of his passes, will never be confused with injured Carson Wentz. Foles was 19-of-38 for 163 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The Eagles had season lows in total yards (216) and first downs (12). They were 1-for-14 on third downs. It would not be a surprise if Philadelphia, once thought of as a possible Super Bowl contender, gets knocked out of the playoffs early.

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
> Bing Predicts winner: Pittsburgh (78%)
> Kickoff time: 1:00 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Pittsburgh -14
> Matchup history: Steelers lead 73-58-0

Even though the Steelers (12-3) have clinched a first-round bye they should have no trouble at home dismissing the woebegone Browns. PIttsburgh is coming off a 34-6 rout of the Texans. Ben Roethlisberger has completed 69.6% of his passes in the last three games. The Steelers will still be without wide receiver Antonio Brown (partially torn calf muscle), who is expected to return for the postseason. Brown still leads the NFL in receiving yards (1,533), while running back Le’Veon Bell ranks third in rushing yards with 1,291. The Steelers edged the Browns 21-18 in the regular season opener.

If the Browns (0-15) have waited until their final game to show us their best stuff, the joke is on them. Unless they find a way to upset Pittsburgh, they will be the second NFL team to finish a season 0-16, joining the 2008 Detroit Lions.

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
> Bing Predicts winner: New Orleans (81%)
> Kickoff time: 4:25 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: New Orleans -9
> Matchup history: Saints lead 32-19-0

The Saints (11-4) can clinch the NFC South title with a win or a Carolina loss. It’s a big reason they are favored. Plus, the Bucs (4-11) have lost their way. New Orleans topped the Falcons 23-13 on Sunday in a key game for both teams. The Saints made two defensive stands inside their own 2-yard line, and rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore made highlight reels everywhere with an interception off his backside, a rare feat indeed. The Saints’ offense ranks second in the NFL, averaging 395.7 yards per game. The Saints handled the Bucs, 30-10, in their first meeting on Nov. 5.

Tampa Bay, one of the NFL’s most disappointing teams this season, is coming off a 22-19 loss to the Panthers -- it was the team's fifth straight loss. Jameis Winston had a good day, completing 21 of 27 passes for 367 yards and one touchdown, while wide receiver Mike Evans had his first 100-yard game of the season (six catches, 107 yards). The Bucs’ defense, ranked 31st in the NFL, allows 381.7 yards per game.

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
> Bing Predicts winner: Baltimore (72%)
> Kickoff time: 4:25 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Baltimore -10
> Matchup history: Ravens lead 22-21-0

The Ravens' (9-6) easiest way into the postseason is to beat the Bengals (6-9). Baltimore is favored but would be wise to learn a lesson from the Lions, who were knocked out of playoff contention with a 27-16 loss at Cincinnati on Sunday. Detroit was heavily favored also. In the Ravens’ 23-16 win over the Colts on Saturday, Joe Flacco completed 76.3% of his passes for 237 yards and a pair of touchdowns. They shut out the Bengals 20-0 in the regular season opener.

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The Bengals have struggled since they started the season 0-3. They’ve lost three of their last four in what has not been a great year for quarterback Andy Dalton, who has two touchdowns and four interceptions in the last three games.

Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
> Bing Predicts winner: Denver (53%)
> Kickoff time: 4:25 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Denver -2.5
> Matchup history: Chiefs lead 60-55-0

The favored Broncos (5-10) will give Paxton Lynch his second start this season as long as he’s good to go after recovering from a high ankle sprain. Lynch, a 2016 first-round pick, also started in Week 12. Broncos coach Vance Joseph said they are not throwing in the towel. The Broncos are coming off a 27-11 loss to the Redskins. In that game, quarterback Brock Osweiler threw for 193 yards and an interception.

The Chiefs (9-6) are locked into the AFC’s fourth seed -- no matter the results. Perhaps that is why quarterback Alex Smith could sit this one out and let Patrick Mahomes get some work. Smith threw for 304 yards and a touchdown in the 29-13 win over the Dolphins on Sunday. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill had six catches for 109 yards. Rookie running back Kareem Hunt has averaged 120.6 rushing yards in the past three contests and ranks second in the NFL with 1,292 rushing yards. Kansas City topped the Broncos, 29-19, in their first matchup on Oct. 30.

San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
> Bing Predicts winner: Los Angeles (63%)
> Kickoff time: 4:25 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Los Angeles -7
> Matchup history: 49ers lead 68-65-3

The Rams (11-4) have clinched the NFC West (their first title since 2003) and have no chance at a first-round bye. Even though nothing is on the line, they’re favored in this game after they edged the 49ers, 41-39, in Week 3. Running back Todd Gurley has joined the NFL MVP conversation. He is tops in the NFL with 1,305 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns to lead the league’s highest scoring offense (31.0 points per game). Coach Sean McVay, 31, deserves credit for turning this franchise around in his first season.

The 49ers (5-10) are one of the best stories in the NFL even though they will not be in the playoffs. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has four wins in four starts. In the 44-33 upset over the Jaguars, Garoppolo threw two touchdown passes and ran in for another against the NFL’s third stingiest defense. After a trade from the Patriots, Garoppolo has brought a new energy to a team that started the season 1-10.

Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers
> Bing Predicts winner: Los Angeles (66%)
> Kickoff time: 4:25 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Los Angeles -7.5
> Matchup history: Raiders lead 63-51-2

The favored Chargers (8-7) are still in the playoff hunt and can make it through with one of these scenarios. If they win, they need a Titans loss or tie, with a Bills loss or tie; or a Titans loss or tie with a Ravens win or tie. If they tie, the Chargers can make the postseason with a Titans loss and a Bills defeat or tie. All the key games kick off at 4:25 p.m., so the teams won’t know their fate before the game. In their first meeting on Oct. 15, the Chargers eked out a 17-16 win. In Sunday’s 14-7 win over the Jets, Philip Rivers completed just 55% of his passes for 290 yards and a score. Running back Melvin Gordon carried the ball for 81 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Antonio Gates finished with six catches for 81 yards and a touchdown.

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The Raiders (6-9) put up a fight on Monday night, but the Eagles prevailed 19-10. Running back Marshawn Lynch was busy with 25 carries for 95 yards. Derek Carr deserved a lump of coal for his 140-yard effort with two interceptions and one touchdown. He completed just 51.7% of his passes.

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
> Bing Predicts winner: Seattle (72%)
> Kickoff time: 4:25 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Seattle -7
> Matchup history: Tied 18-18-1

The Seahawks (9-6) can clinch a playoff berth with a win and a Falcons loss. Seattle broke a two-game losing streak with a 21-12 win over the Cowboys on Sunday that eliminated Dallas from the postseason. In that game, Russell Wilson threw two touchdown passes and had nine carries for 29 yards. The Seahawks topped the Cardinals, 22-16, in their first meeting on Nov. 9.

The Cardinals (7-8) have never lost at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field with Carson Palmer at quarterback. Trouble is, Palmer is out and Drew Stanton is in. Stanton led Arizona to a 23-0 shutout of the Giants on Sunday. In that game, veteran wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had nine catches for 119 yards and a touchdown, while Stanton, in his third start this season, threw two touchdown passes and two interceptions.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
> Bing Predicts winner: Jacksonville (61%)
> Kickoff time: 4:25 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Tennessee -6
> Matchup history: Titans lead 26-20-0

The favored Jaguars (10-5) have clinched the NFC South title and have no shot at earning a bye week. Still, after a 44-33 loss to the 49ers, it might be a good time to get back on the winning track before the postseason starts. Jacksonville has bounced back from its previous four losses with wins of 37, 21, 27, and 20 points. In Sunday’s loss to San Francisco, quarterback Blake Bortles threw for 382 yards, three interceptions, and two touchdowns. He has to be better than that. Running back Leonard Fournette finished with 70 yards from scrimmage with a rushing touchdown.

The Titans (8-7) won the first matchup with the Jaguars, 37-16, in Week 2. They need this win to earn a playoff berth after dropping three straight, including Sunday’s 27-23 loss to the Rams. The last three losses were by five points or fewer. Quarterback Marcus Mariota passed for 275 yards, while wide receiver Corey Davis had six catches for 91 yards.

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
> Bing Predicts winner: Atlanta (53%)
> Kickoff time: 4:25 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Atlanta -3
> Matchup history: Falcons lead 27-18-0

The Falcons (9-6) need a win to punch their playoff ticket. Perhaps that is why they’re favored, along with the fact that they’re at home. If they lose, they could still make the postseason if the Cardinals beat the Seahawks. Carolina won the first matchup on Nov. 5, 20-17. The Falcons lost 23-13 to the favored Saints on Sunday, when wide receiver Julio Jones had seven receptions for 149 yards. Quarterback Matt Ryan passed for 288 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, while he was sacked five times.

The Panthers (11-4) can clinch the NFC South with a win and a Saints’ loss. There’s also a scenario where they could clinch a first-round bye with a win and losses by the Saints, the Vikings, and the Rams. Cam Newton didn’t have his best game (160 yards, one interception) in the 22-19 win over Tampa Bay, but he scored the game-winner on a two-yard touchdown run with 35 seconds remaining. He also completed 4-of-7 passes for 52 yards in the final three minutes. Newton is always a threat.

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Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
> Bing Predicts winner: Buffalo (61%)
> Kickoff time: 4:25 PM EDT (Sunday)
> Game spread: Buffalo -2.5
> Matchup history: Dolphins lead 60-46-1

The favored Bills (8-7) still have a shot at the playoffs, but they need some help. First things first -- they must win. If they win and Baltimore loses, the Bills are in. Or, if the Bills win and both the Titans and the Chargers lose, they are in. Got that? The Bills lost 37-16 to the Patriots on Sunday when quarterback Tyrod Taylor was sacked six times while passing for 281 yards.

This is a huge game for the Bills, while the Dolphins (6-9) were eliminated on Sunday after losing 29-13 to the Chiefs. Quarterback Jay Cutler will need to have a better day than he did in the teams' first matchup -- the Bills won that one, 24-16, in Week 15. In that game, Cutler threw three interceptions.

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