Bing Predicts NFL Week 17

Written by:
December 27, 2018
Sean M. Haffey // Getty

Bing Predicts: NFL Week 17

It all comes down to this. The last Sunday of 2018 serves as judgement day for a handful of playoff hopefuls. A wild Week 16 made things much more clear—breaking the hearts and muddying the waters for some teams while breathing unexpected life into others.

The Pittsburgh Steelers’ playoff fate lies in the hands of Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns. The Indianapolis Colts started the season 1-5, and now control their own postseason destiny. The defending Super Bowl champions, the Philadelphia Eagles, need help, but last week’s comeback over the Houston Texans means a chance to defend their title remains alive.

More than half of the NFL teams have been eliminated officially from playoff contention, but the final week of the regular season brings several postseason-deciding contests, including the following:

—Eagles @ Redskins: The Eagles need a win and a Vikings’ loss to earn the second and final wild-card spot.

—Browns @ Ravens: If the Ravens can hold off the Browns, they’ll be champions of the AFC North.

—Bengals @ Steelers: The Steelers can’t edge their way into a wild-card spot, so they’ll need a victory and a Ravens’ loss to win the AFC North and earn a playoff berth.

—Bears @ Vikings: If the Vikings take down the Bears, who have already clinched the NFC North, they are in the playoffs.

—Colts @ Titans: Win and get in while the loser watches the postseason at home.

Guiding you through every game is Bing Predicts, which leverages search, social, and historical statistics to forecast the week’s winners and losers. Read on for Week 17 predictions.

ALSO: See how Bing predicted the entire season here.

Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10) @ Houston Texans (10-5)

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans

Game time: Sunday, Dec. 30, 1 p.m. EST

Historical matchup: Houston Texans lead series 20-13-0

Despite their loss, the Houston Texans clinched a playoff berth on Sunday when the Pittsburgh Steelers came up short against the New Orleans Saints. It was a heroic performance from second-year quarterback Deshaun Watson, throwing for two touchdowns and 339 yards and running for two more while leading his team back from down 13 in the fourth quarter. Houston ultimately fell short 32-30 to the Philadelphia Eagles, but should be optimistic with the impressive play from Watson as of late.

2018 has been a nightmare for the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team expected to do big things after nearly earning a trip to the Super Bowl last season. They already suffered a 20-7 loss at the hands of the Texans this season, a game where quarterback Blake Bortles was benched for Cody Kessler. Last week, in a 17-7 victory over the Miami Dolphins, it was Kessler that was benched in favor of Bortles.

The Texans can clinch the AFC South with a victory and would fall to the sixth seed with a loss. They'll have to press forward without receiver Demaryius Thomas, who was put on injured reserve with an achilles injury.

Bing Predicts: Houston Texans

Bing Predicts Winner: Houston Texans (74% chance)

See more on the Houston Texans

New York Jets (4-11) @ New England Patriots (10-5)

New York Jets @ New England Patriots

Game time: Sunday, Dec. 30, 1 p.m. EST

Historical matchup: New England Patriots lead series 64-54-1

The New England Patriots fell into some good fortune last week after the Texans came up short, 32-30, to the Philadelphia Eagles on a last-second field goal. Despite losing two of its three games, New England can secure the second seed or better for the ninth-consecutive season with a home victory over the AFC East-rival New York Jets. While the Patriots look a bit older and a step slower than fans are used to, struggling to a 24-12 Week 16 victory over the Buffalo Bills, we should never count out Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

New York has found their quarterback of the future in Sam Darnold, but the rookie signal-caller had his ups and downs this season. His 300-plus yards and three touchdowns in the Jets' 44-38 loss to the Green Bay Packers was enough to earn praise from Aaron Rodgers, but the first-year man threw just two more touchdowns (17) than interceptions (15) this season. New York is expected to part ways with head coach Todd Bowles at season's end.

Of the many reasons to bet on the Patriots this week, including the fact that a win gives the team a first-round bye, they are undefeated at home this season and the Jets have lost 10-straight to Brady at Gillette Stadium.

Bing Predicts:New England Patriots

Bing Predicts Winner: New England Patriots (77% chance)

See more on the New England Patriots

Dallas Cowboys (9-6) @ New York Giants (5-10)

Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants

Game time: Sunday, Dec. 30, 1 p.m. EST

Historical matchup: Dallas Cowboys lead series 65-46-2

The Dallas Cowboys clinched the NFC East crown last week with a 27-20 victory over the Buccaneers, which saw quarterback Dak Prescott throw for one touchdown and rush for another, while their defense scored on its own, courtesy of a Jaylon Smith scoop-and-score touchdown.

This could be a game where some Dallas starters are given rest, as they will be right back in action on wild-card weekend. They are currently entrenched in the fourth seed in the NFC playoff picture and have no chance at earning a first round bye.

The Giants are playing for pride and looking to end the season on a high note. A win on Sunday would mean a 5-3 record in the second half of the season and a respectable rebound from their disastrous 1-7 start.

While New York brass ought to be thinking about their future at quarterback, coach Pat Shurmur insists that Eli Manning will once again start on Sunday, though he was non-committal when asked if rookie Kyle Lauletta would be put into the game eventually.

Bing Predicts: New York Giants

Bing Predicts Winner: New York Giants (66% chance)

See more on the New York Giants

Atlanta Falcons (6-9) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-10)

Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Game time: Sunday, Dec. 30, 1 p.m. EST

Historical matchup: Atlanta Falcons lead series 26-24-0

When taking a look atop the leaderboard for the major offensive counting stats this season, it would come as a surprise that all of Matt Ryan's and Julio Jones' successes has equated to only six wins and thus a meaningless Week 17 for the Atlanta Falcons.

Jones eclipsed 1,500 receiving yards for the third time in his career while Ryan has posted the second-best QB rating of his career (108.5), behind only his 117.1 rating during his 2016 MVP campaign.

Ultimately, the Falcons' defensive woes were too much to overcome for even their high-powered offense.

For the Buccaneers, the revolving door at quarterback may see fifth year signal-caller Ryan Griffin get a look under center on Sunday. With Ryan Fitzpatrick becoming a free agent at the end of the year, Griffin will again serve as the backup to Jameis Winston, and the possibility of Griffin getting game action intrigues coach Dirk Koetter.

Bing Predicts: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bing Predicts Winner: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (51% chance)

See more on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Detroit Lions (5-10) @ Green Bay Packers (6-8-1)

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers

Game time: Sunday, Dec. 30, 1 p.m. EST

Historical matchup: Green Bay Packers lead series 100-71-7

Don't tell Aaron Rodgers this last game of the season doesn't matter. Green Bay may be eliminated from postseason contention, but last week was proof the two-time MVP will not give up on his teammates. Rodgers led what has become a routine come-from-behind victory to avoid the Packers first winless road season since 1958. The 44-38 overtime win was the seventh time since 2012 he's led a comeback charge after his team has trailed by 14 or more points in the fourth quarter, which is the most in the league in that timeframe.

The Lions are guaranteed to finish last in the NFC North and aren't playing for anything other than pride. Their 27-9 loss to the Minnesota Vikings means double-digit losses for the first time since 2012, making the inaugural season for head coach Matt Patricia one with limited highlights. Detroit is tied for sixth-worst in points-per-game and has lost four of its last five games.

The Packers will be looking for a new head coach this offseason, while the Lions should undergo a complete retool on offense.

Bing Predicts: Green Bay Packers

Bing Predicts Winner: Green Bay Packers (74% chance)

See more on the Green Bay Packers

Carolina Panthers (6-9) @ New Orleans Saints (13-2)

Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints

Game time: Sunday, Dec. 30, 1 p.m. EST

Historical matchup: Series tied 24-24-0

The New Orleans Saints have clinched the #1 overall seed in the NFC after an epic 31-28 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. The Carolina Panthers have lost seven-straight, including a 24-10 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, and are officially eliminated from the postseason. This AFC South matchup is largely meaningless, but needs to be played nonetheless.

Expect the Saints to rest most of their starters; while it's unclear who will start at quarterback for the Panthers as Cam Newton will likely sit the rest of the season with a shoulder injury and backup Taylor Heinicke injured his elbow after falling on it in his first-career start. If Heinicke can't go, the Panthers will have only one healthy QB on their roster in Kyle Allen who was elevated from the practice squad after Newton was injured.

The only concerns for the New Orleans Saints in this contest are staying healthy and making sure not to lose momentum heading into January.

Bing Predicts: New Orleans Saints

Bing Predicts Winner: New Orleans Saints (58% chance)

See more on the New Orleans Saints

Miami Dolphins (7-8) @ Buffalo Bills (5-10)

Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills

Game time: Sunday, Dec. 30, 1 p.m. EST

Historical matchup: Miami Dolphins lead series 61-47-1

An all-too-familiar scene is the Buffalo Bills and the Miami Dolphins in a Week 17 matchup with no chance at an AFC East title. Neither the Bills nor the Dolphins will be playing in January: Each team now has sights set on 2019, but bringing a divisional triumph into the offseason remains important for these foes.

The Dolphins' up-and-down season, for all intents and purposes, came to an end Sunday after a 17-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The offense ended the season on a sour note, amassing less than 200 total yards for the third time in four games, and their two consecutive losses means the Dolphins will miss the postseason for the second-straight season.

Similar to Miami, many questions must be addressed this offseason in Buffalo. The Bills think they've found their quarterback of the future in dual-threat Josh Allen, but the rookie struggled to remain consistent in the games he started this season.

Sunday's matchup will be an opportunity to try out a few new things for both squads, but with no playoff implications, there isn't much of a reason to tune in.

Bing Predicts: Buffalo Bills

Bing Predicts Winner: Buffalo Bills (60% chance)

See more on the Buffalo Bills

Los Angeles Chargers (11-4) @ Denver Broncos (6-9)

Los Angeles Chargers @ Denver Broncos

Game time: Sunday, Dec. 30, 4:25 p.m. EST

Historical matchup: Denver Broncos lead series 66-51-1

Despite Patrick Mahomes II and the Chiefs dominating the headlines throughout the regular season, the Chargers and veteran Philip Rivers have quietly put themselves into position to make a run at the AFC West title and home field advantage in the postseason if things break their way in Week 17.

If Los Angeles can take care of business against the Broncos on Sunday in Denver, they would win the AFC West with a Chiefs loss to the Raiders. Otherwise, even with 12 wins, they'll be stuck as a wild-card and forced to play on the road throughout the playoffs.

As focused as they are on the Broncos, a team they lost to at home back in November, the result between the Raiders and Chiefs in Kansas City will go a long way to determining the Chargers path to the Super Bowl.

For Denver, this could be the final game of the Vance Joseph era, as speculation about his future as the coach of the Broncos only grew following a 27-14 loss to the lowly Raiders in the season finale of Monday Night Football.

Bing Predicts: Los Angeles Chargers

Bing Predicts Winner: Los Angeles Chargers (72% chance)

See more on the Los Angeles Chargers

Arizona Cardinals (3-12) @ Seattle Seahawks (9-6)

Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks

Game time: Sunday, Dec. 30, 4:25 p.m. EST

Historical matchup: Serie tied 19-19-1

So often, fans have seen an NFC wild-card team “get hot at the right time” and make a run through the playoffs. The Giants did it twice and won Super Bowls with Eli Manning. The 2010 Packers followed a similar path. This year, the Seahawks seem to have earned that label of the dangerous team you don't want to have to play come January.

Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes last Sunday, helping the Seahawks beat the Chiefs 38-31, clinching a playoff berth as one of the two wild-cards in the NFC.

After losing back-to-back one-score games mid-season to the Chargers and Rams, Seattle has won five of their last six games. All six of their losses this season have been by a single score.

While they are currently the fifth seed in the NFC, coach Pete Carroll doesn't plan on resting any starters when they meet the Cardinals to close out the regular season. In the first meeting between these two teams, the Seahawks squeaked out a 20-17 win to spoil the first career start of Arizona rookie quarterback Josh Rosen. Expect the Seahawks to be a little more convincing this time around as they round into postseason form.

Bing Predicts: Seattle Seahawks

Bing Predicts Winner: Seattle Seahawks (61% chance)

See more on the Seattle Seahawks

Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) @ Washington Redskins (7-8)

Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins

Game time: Sunday, Dec. 30, 4:25 p.m. EST

Historical matchup: Washington Redskins lead series 86-76-5

Fighting for their playoff lives, the Eagles were once again able to pull out an impressive win while being led by backup quarterback and reigning Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles. Foles lit up the Texans' vaunted defense for 471 yards and four touchdowns last week in a 32-30 walkoff win, which was capped off by a Jake Elliott 35-yard field goal. Now, Philadelphia needs a road win in Washington and a Vikings' loss to the Bears in order to keep their title defense alive.

Washington has lost five of their last six and will have Josh Johnson start his third game at quarterback after leg injuries knocked out both Alex Smith and Colt McCoy for the year. McCoy was hurt in the previous meeting between these two rivals, which Philadelphia won 28-13. Carson Wentz also gave way to Foles in that game after injuring his knee.

With one eye on the Bears and Vikings in Minnesota, Eagles faithful will be glad to know that Chicago coach Matt Nagy will play all of his starters in an effort to overtake the Rams as the #2 seed in the NFC playoff picture and earn a first-round bye.

Bing Predicts: Philadelphia Eagles

Bing Predicts Winner: Philadelphia Eagles (69% chance)

See more on the Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers (4-11) @ Los Angeles Rams (12-3)

San Francisco 49ers @ Los Angeles Rams

Game time: Sunday, Dec. 30, 4:25 p.m. EST

Historical matchup: San Francisco 49ers lead series 69-66-3

The Rams lost out on home field advantage in the NFC, which now belongs to the Saints, but they still have their sights set on a first-round bye, which they can earn with a win over the 49ers on Sunday.

Earlier this season, the Rams smacked the 49ers 39-10 behind three touchdowns from Todd Gurley. Now, playing at home, they are a good bet to avoid an upset at the hands of San Francisco, who can only benefit by continuing to lose and improve their chances at the second or third overall pick in next April's NFL Draft. It remains unclear if Gurley will be available Week 17.

If the Rams were to lose, though, the consequences could be severe. A Rams' loss and a Bears' win over the Vikings would mean that Chicago would move in to the #2 seed in the NFC and the Rams know first-hand how difficult it can be to go into Soldier Field, face the Bears' daunting defense in the frigid cold, and come out victorious.

Bing Predicts: Los Angeles Rams

Bing Predicts Winner: Los Angeles Rams (75% chance)

See more on the Los Angeles Rams

Oakland Raiders (4-11) @ Kansas City Chiefs (11-4)

Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs

Game time: Sunday, Dec. 30, 4:25 p.m. EST

Historical matchup: Kansas City Chiefs lead series 64-53-2

It's simple for the Chiefs: A win over the woeful Oakland Raiders and the road to the Super Bowl in the AFC runs through Kansas City. Despite Sunday night's 38-31 shootout loss to the Seattle Seahawks, the Chiefs still have the inside track at the AFC West after the Los Angeles Chargers couldn't take care of business on Saturday.

If it was indeed the last game in the Oakland Coliseum, the Raiders went out on a high note after a 27-14 victory over the rival Denver Broncos—a silver lining in an otherwise bleak season.  

The question now is can the Chiefs come out on top when it matters most? Their four losses this season came in four of their toughest matchups. Other than splitting the season series with the Chargers and victories over the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens—only one of the two AFC North teams will see the playoffs—every K.C. win came over teams that won't be playing in January. No one should worry about what the offense and MVP-favorite Patrick Mahomes II can do, but their second-worst defense should be cause for concern.

Bing Predicts:Kansas City Chiefs

Bing Predicts Winner: Kansas City Chiefs (79% chance)

See more on the Kansas City Chiefs

Cleveland Browns (7-7-1) @ Baltimore Ravens (9-6)

Cleveland Browns @ Baltimore Ravens

Game time: Sunday, Dec. 30, 4:25 p.m. EST

Historical matchup: Baltimore Ravens lead series 29-10-0

While the Cleveland Browns won't be participating this postseason, their final game of the season is pivotal in the AFC playoff picture. The Baltimore Ravens are currently in control of their own destiny: A win clinches the AFC North and could catapult them as high as the second seed while a loss may knock them out of the playoffs entirely.

Since rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson took over as the starting signal-caller, Baltimore has won five of its last six and has a new lease on the season. The obstacle is that Cleveland is not the punching bag that it used to be. The Browns have also won five-of-six and could finish above .500 for the first time since 2007. It's safe to say this game is far from meaningless for the reinvigorated squad. The Ravens earned a huge 22-10 victory over the surging Los Angeles Chargers last week while the Browns handled the Bengals 26-18.

Cleveland got the better of Baltimore 12-9 in Week 5, but those early season teams were shells of what they've grown into. This one could go either way.

Bing Predicts: Baltimore Ravens

Bing Predicts Winner: Baltimore Ravens (66% chance)

See more on the Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals (6-9) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (8-6-1)

Cincinnati Bengals @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Game time: Sunday, Dec. 30, 4:25 p.m. EST

Historical matchup: Pittsburgh Steelers lead series 63-35-0

The Steelers' playoff chances took a dramatic turn last Sunday after they fell to the Saints 31-28 in New Orleans. Pittsburgh was in the midst of a promising drive with under a minute to play and had worked their way into Saints' territory before JuJu Smith-Schuster fumbled on the New Orleans 34 yard-line, turning the ball over and ending the game.

With that, the Steelers are no longer in control of their wild-card aspirations: The Ravens are now in the driver's seat in the AFC North.

The Steelers will need to beat the Bengals, who have already cemented their spot as the last-place team in the division and could be wishing coach Marvin Lewis farewell after the game. Pittsburgh already beat Cincinnati 28-21 earlier this year.

Along with a win, Pittsburgh will also need the Browns, winners of three-straight and five of their last six, to go into Baltimore and beat the Ravens. The good news is that Baker Mayfield already beat Baltimore once, throwing for 342 yards in a 12-9 overtime victory.

Bing Predicts: Pittsburgh Steelers

Bing Predicts Winner: Pittsburgh Steelers (75% chance)

See more on the Pittsburgh Steelers

Chicago Bears (11-4) @ Minnesota Vikings (8-6-1)

Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings

Game time: Sunday, Dec. 30, 4:25 p.m. EST

Historical matchup: Minnesota Vikings lead series 60-53-2

Major implications exist in Sunday afternoon's NFC North bout. Although it would require a San Francisco 49ers' victory over the Los Angeles Rams, a first-round bye could be on the line for the Bears. The Bears can rest easy, though, as they've clinched at least the third seed in the NFC. For the Vikings, however, it's do or die. A home victory means the Vikings are in the playoffs for the second-straight season. A loss, and the red-hot Philadelphia Eagles would have to fall short to the already-eliminated Washington Redskins for Minnesota to earn a berth.

The Vikings took care of the Detroit Lions 27-9 on Sunday, keeping them firmly in the last wild-card slot. Quarterback Kirk Cousins hit tight end Kyle Rudolph on a 44-yard desperation pass as time expired in the first half to take 14-9 lead, and they never looked back.

The Bears' 14-9 victory over the Niners in Week 16 confirms they'll finish ahead of the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC. If the Vikings remain in the sixth seed, we could see a Chicago-Minnesota matchup in back-to-back weeks and for the third time this season. The Bears bested the Vikings 25-20 when the two squared off in November.

Bing Predicts: Minnesota Vikings

Bing Predicts Winner: Minnesota Vikings (64% chance)

See more on the Minnesota Vikings

Indianapolis Colts (9-6) @ Tennessee Titans (9-6)

Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans

Game time: Sunday, Dec. 30, 8:20 p.m. EST

Historical matchup: Indianapolis Colts lead series 32-16-0

Thanks to a Pittsburgh Steelers' loss Sunday, a playoff berth is on the line in Week 17's premier matchup. The Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans have scratched and clawed their way to 9-6, and now, one game decides which team will have their shot at a run to Atlanta to contend for Super Bowl LIIl.

Indy has been marvelous after their 1-5 start to the season: Minus a curious blip when the Colts were shut out 6-0 by the Jaguars, they have been unstoppable. Their 28-27 come-from-behind victory over the New York Giants was vintage Andrew Luck. The leading candidate for Comeback Player of the Year helped the Colts overcome a 14-point deficit and move into the sixth seed in the AFC: It was the sixth time he's led a comeback when trailing by 14 or more points since 2012 which ties him for second with future Hall of Famer Philip Rivers.

The Titans are in the midst of a four-game winning streak, and they defeated the Washington Redskins 25-16 despite starting quarterback Marcus Mariota exiting the game with a stinger. Whether it's Mariota or backup Blaine Gabbert calling the signals may not matter, as running back Derrick Henry has been the team's key to success. Tennessee is 5-0 when Henry carries the ball 15 or more times, and despite gaining only 84 yards on the ground in Sunday's victory, he has amassed almost 500 rushing yards over the last three games combined.

It's win and get in Sunday night in Tennessee.

Bing Predicts: Indianapolis Colts

Bing Predicts Winner: Indianapolis Colts (57% chance)

See more on the Indianapolis Colts 

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