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NFL 5 81 Billick: NFL Week 17 Look Ahead 31463910 Brian Billick looks ahead to Week 4 Brian+Billick+looks+ahead+to+Week+4 NFL

Our Super Bowl-winning coach breaks down all of the week's action on FOXSports.com.


Cheat Sheet: Peter Schrager picks the winners

 

Handicapping Week 4

 


Laces Out: Off-the-cuff picks for Week 4

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NFL 5 81 Billick: NFL Week 17 Look Ahead 31505093 Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET on NBC) Dallas+Cowboys+at+Washington+Redskins++%28Sunday%2C+8%3A20+p.m.+ET+on+NBC%29 NFL

The winner of this game will win the NFC East. If the Redskins win, they will post the best record within the division, if the Cowboys win, both teams will have a 9-7 record, a split season series at 1-1, and the same divisional record of 4-2. The next tiebreaker would be a common game record in which the Cowboys hold the advantage by one game. Earlier this week, Robert Griffin III was named the only rookie quarterback out of this stellar class to make the Pro Bowl, but I’m betting he would trade that in for a win on Sunday. To do so, he will need to outperform maybe the hottest quarterback in the league, Tony Romo. Romo threw for 441 yards in the Thanksgiving Day game against the Redskins that the Cowboys eventually lost.

Pick: Redskins

Week 17: Scoreboard | Playoff scenarios | More NFL coverage

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NFL 5 81 Billick: NFL Week 17 Look Ahead 31505092 St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX) St.+Louis+Rams+at+Seattle+Seahawks+%28Sunday%2C+4%3A25+p.m.+ET+on+FOX%29 NFL

The Rams beat the Seahawks in Week 4 and contained Russell Wilson better than anyone else this season. In that game, Wilson threw for just 160 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions. The Seahawks have scored 150 points in their last three games and that is good for the second-most points in a three-game span in league history. While the Seahawks have already clinched a playoff spot, they can actually win the division with a win coupled with a 49ers loss. As for the Rams, they are officially out of the playoff picture, but a win would mean the first winning season since 2003 and an undefeated record within the division.

Pick: Seahawks | Watch preview

Week 17: Scoreboard | Playoff scenarios | More NFL coverage

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NFL 5 81 Billick: NFL Week 17 Look Ahead 31505091 Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX) Arizona+Cardinals+at+San+Francisco+49ers++%28Sunday%2C+4%3A25+p.m.+ET+on+FOX%29 NFL

The last time these teams met was in Week 8 on Mondy Night Football when Alex Smith was an amazing 18 of 19 for 232 yards and 3 touchdowns. Smith’s 94.7 completion percentage set an NFL record for a quarterback with a minimum of 15 attempts in a game, but that wasn’t the only impressive performance of the day. The 49ers defense held the Cardinals to just seven rushing yards while also tallying four sacks on the day. Obviously, the 49ers will be starting Colin Kaepernick rather than Smith on Sunday, but we are yet to see if pulling Smith was the right move in the long run. The 49ers are averaging fewer yards per game and more turnovers per game under Kaepernick than when Smith was the starter.

Pick: 49ers

Week 17: Scoreboard | Playoff scenarios | More NFL coverage

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NFL 5 81 Billick: NFL Week 17 Look Ahead 31505090 Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX) Oakland+Raiders+at+San+Diego+Chargers+%28Sunday%2C+4%3A25+p.m.+ET+on+FOX%29 NFL

The Raiders have not scored a touchdown in either of their last two games and with Carson Palmer injured, the Raiders will look to either Matt Leinart or Terrelle Pryor to end the drought this week. Leinart saw the majority of the snaps in relief of Palmer last week with Pryor taking only three plays, but the latter may have an increased role on Sunday. The Chargers will miss the playoffs for the third consecutive season and have lost three consecutive home games against Baltimore, Cincinnati, and Carolina heading into this game. Phillip Rivers is 10-3 against the Raiders in his career and has lost just five games in the month of December compared to 25 wins. This may be Norv Turner’s last game in San Diego, but he will go out with a win.

Pick: Chargers

Week 17: Scoreboard | Playoff scenarios | More NFL coverage

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NFL 5 81 Billick: NFL Week 17 Look Ahead 31505088 Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS) Miami+Dolphins+at+New+England+Patriots+++%28Sunday%2C+4%3A25+p.m.+ET+on+CBS%29 NFL

The Patriots beat the Dolphins in Week 13 to secure the AFC East for their fourth consecutive division title and 12th-straight winning season. In that game, former Dolphins receiver Wes Welker had 12 receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown. Those 12 catches were exactly half of the completions Tom Brady had on the day. Look for big numbers again from both Brady and Welker as the Patriots need a win plus losses from either Houston, Denver or both to better their seed in the playoffs, but could also drop to the No. 4 seed with a loss and a Ravens win.

Pick: Patriots

Week 17: Scoreboard | Playoff scenarios | More NFL coverage

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NFL 5 81 Billick: NFL Week 17 Look Ahead 31505086 Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX) Green+Bay+Packers+at+Minnesota+Vikings+%28Sunday%2C+4%3A25+p.m.+ET+on+FOX%29 NFL

This game has huge playoff implications as the Vikings can clinch a playoff spot with a win and the Packers can clinch a first-round bye with a win, but all eyes will be on Adrian Peterson as he approaches 2,000 rushing yards for the season. He needs just 102 yards to break the 2K barrier, but with 208 yards, he would break Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record of 2,105 set in 1984. 208 yards aren’t out of reach for Peterson as he rushed for 210 in his last game against the Packers and has gone over the 210-yard mark twice in his past four games. If the Vikings beat the Packers on Sunday, there is a strong likelihood that they will turn around and play again next week at Lambeau field in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

Pick: Packers

Week 17: Scoreboard | Playoff scenarios | More NFL coverage

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NFL 5 81 Billick: NFL Week 17 Look Ahead 31505089 Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET on CBS) Kansas+City+Chiefs+at+Denver+Broncos++%28Sunday%2C+4%3A25+p.m.+ET+on+CBS%29 NFL

The Broncos can still better their playoff scenario by clinching a first-round bye with a win and they can even earn home-field advantage with a win and a Houston loss. The Chiefs are playing for something too … with a loss, they will secure the first overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft. When these two teams met in Week 12, the Broncos had their worst offensive output of the season with just 17 points and was the only time the entire season they scored less than 21 in a game. While Peyton Manning has dominated the headlines in Denver, Von Miller is also putting together a season that is worthy of defensive player of the year consideration. He ranks third in the NFL with 17.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, an interception and a defensive touchdown.

Pick: Broncos

Week 17: Scoreboard | Playoff scenarios | More NFL coverage

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NFL 5 81 Billick: NFL Week 17 Look Ahead 31505087 Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET on CBS) Jacksonville+Jaguars+at+Tennessee+Titans++%28Sunday%2C+1+p.m.+ET+on+CBS%29 NFL

The Jaguars ended a seven-game losing streak by defeating the Titans in Week 12 in Chad Henne’s first start of the season. Ever since, the Jaguars have found two breakout receivers that could be the big playmakers this offense needs for years to come. Cecil Shorts has 979 receiving yards on the season and needs just 21 more to be the first 1,000 yard receiver since Jimmy Smith in 2005. Justin Blackmon had five catches, one for a touchdown, against the Titans and has 58 on the season for 786 yards, both team rookie records. The Titans have lost four of their last five and owner Bud Adams was vocally upset after their loss last week … the second such outburst of the season. Adams may have already made up his mind about head coach Mike Munchak, but a loss to the Jaguars will most definitely make the decision easier.

Pick: Titans

Week 17: Scoreboard | Playoff scenarios | More NFL coverage

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NFL 5 81 Billick: NFL Week 17 Look Ahead 31505085 Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET on CBS) Cleveland+Browns+at+Pittsburgh+Steelers++%28Sunday%2C+1+p.m.+ET+on+CBS%29 NFL

The Steelers have won 16 of the last 18 games against the Browns, but Cleveland is currently in possession of bragging rights after a Week 12 win. In that game, the Steelers fumbled the ball eight times, losing five of them and also threw thee interceptions for a total of eight turnovers in the game. The biggest difference between then and now is that Ben Roethlisberger is back after missing that game with a rib and shoulder injury, although he has yet to win a game since his return. The Steelers have lost three straight while Big Ben has completed just 54 percent of his passes and the offense has averaged about four points fewer from Weeks 14-16. The Browns are dealing with their own quarterback injuries as Brandon Weeden sustained a shoulder injury last week and backup Colt McCoy finished the final two quarters. It is yet to be announced who will start on Sunday.

Pick: Steelers

Week 17: Scoreboard | Playoff scenarios | More NFL coverage

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NFL 5 81 Billick: NFL Week 17 Look Ahead 31505081 Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET on FOX) Philadelphia+Eagles+at+New+York+Giants++%28Sunday%2C+1+p.m.+ET+on+FOX%29 NFL

Even though the Giants have won two of the last five Super Bowls, they have struggled mightily to beat their division rivals over the same span. The Eagles have won seven of the last eight meetings between the two teams, including four in a row at the Giants’ home field. The Giants struggled to contain Michael Vick in Week 4 as he passed for 241 yards and a touchdown while adding another 49 yards on the ground. Vick will once again be the starting QB after Nick Foles broke his hand last week and this could be Vick's last game for the Eagles. The Giants are still in the playoff hunt, but need a win and losses from Dallas, Chicago and Minnesota.

Pick: Giants | Watch Billick preview

Week 17: Scoreboard | Playoff scenarios | More NFL coverage

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NFL 5 81 Billick: NFL Week 17 Look Ahead 31505083 Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET on FOX) Carolina+Panthers+at+New+Orleans+Saints++%28Sunday%2C+1+p.m.+ET+on+FOX%29 NFL

Both of these teams are officially eliminated from the playoffs, but still are playing for pride within the division. The Panthers defeated the Saints 35-27 in Week 2, with Cam Newton posting his second-best passer rating of his career while adding another 71 yards on the ground. The Saints will once again ride the arm of Drew Brees as he leads the league in passing yards with 4,781, just 86 yards more than Matthew Stafford. He has the chance to be the first player since Warren Moon did it in 1990-91 to lead the league in passing yards for back-to-back seasons and would tie Dan Fouts in second place with four passing titles on his resumes.

Pick: Saints

Week 17: Scoreboard | Playoff scenarios | More NFL coverage

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NFL 5 81 Billick: NFL Week 17 Look Ahead 31505082 Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET on CBS) Houston+Texans+at+Indianapolis+Colts++%28Sunday%2C+1+p.m.+ET+on+CBS%29 NFL

Historically speaking, this is a very one-sided rivalry with the Colts holding the series lead at 17-4 and having never lost to the Texans at home. With that said, the Texans have now won three of the last five games including a 29-17 win just two weeks ago when the division was still entirely up for grabs. In that game, the Colts struggled to block J.J. Watt, as he accounted for three sacks to add to his league-leading 20.5. He needs just 2.5 more this week to break Michael Strahan’s single season record of 22.5, but don’t expect Andrew Luck to take a fall like Brett Farve did in 2001.

Pick: Texans

Week 17: Scoreboard | Playoff scenarios | More NFL coverage

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NFL 5 81 Billick: NFL Week 17 Look Ahead 31505080 Chicago Bears at Detroit Lions (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET on FOX) Chicago+Bears+at+Detroit+Lions++%28Sunday%2C+1+p.m.+ET+on+FOX%29 NFL

While I don’t buy it, some reports would lead you to believe that both teams are playing for the futures of their respective coaches. Jim Schwartz and the Lions were coming off a promising 10-6 season in 2011 and are now standing at 4-11 and in the thick of a seven-game losing streak, their longest in-season losing streak since going 0-16 in 2008. As for Lovie Smith and the Bears, they started the season 7-1 and are now in real trouble of missing the postseason altogether. To avoid that, they need a win coupled with a Minnesota loss or tie. If they lose, it would be the first time a Bears team fails to reach the playoffs after starting the season 7-1 since 1948, when George Halas was the head coach. With the Vikings not playing until the late afternoon game, the Bears don’t have to worry about scoreboard watching … they just need to handle their business first, then hope for some help later in the day.

Pick: Bears

Week 17: Scoreboard | Playoff scenarios | More NFL coverage

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NFL 5 81 Billick: NFL Week 17 Look Ahead 31505084 Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET on CBS) Baltimore+Ravens+at+Cincinnati+Bengals++%28Sunday%2C+1+p.m.+ET+on+CBS%29 NFL

While the Bengals are locked into the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoffs, the Ravens could still better their seed with a win and a Patriots loss to jump from No. 4 to No. 3 overall. If history is any indicator, the Ravens should feel pretty confident entering the game. Andy Dalton has yet to beat Baltimore in his career and the Ravens have won the last four head-to-head matches including a Week 1 trouncing, which is Cincinnati’s largest margin of defeat this season. There is a strong possibility that these two teams turn right around and face off in the wild-card round of the playoffs next week, so look for both teams to make a statement on Sunday.

Pick: Bengals

Week 17: Scoreboard | Playoff scenarios | More NFL coverage

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NFL 5 81 Billick: NFL Week 17 Look Ahead 31493078 New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET on CBS) New+York+Jets+at+Buffalo+Bills+%28Sunday%2C+1+p.m.+ET+on+CBS%29 NFL

These two divisional opponents kicked off the year with a Week 1 showdown which the Jets won 48-28. Those 48 points were a shock for Jets fans after witnessing four dismal preseason games in which the Jets offense looked more like a junior varsity high school team. Mark Sanchez had his best game of the season that day, throwing for 266 yards and three touchdowns. After being benched last week in favor of Greg McElroy, Sanchez will once again get the start for the Jets … possibly for the last time ever.

Pick: Jets

Week 17: Scoreboard | Playoff scenarios | More NFL coverage

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NFL 5 81 Billick: NFL Week 17 Look Ahead 31493079 Tampa Bay Bucaneers at Atlanta Falcons (Sunday, 1 p.m. ET on FOX) Tampa+Bay+Bucaneers+at+Atlanta+Falcons+%28Sunday%2C+1+p.m.+ET+on+FOX%29 NFL

These two teams met in week 12 with the Falcons squeaking out a one-point win in a game in which there were six lead changes. In that game, Vincent Jackson had five catches for 96 yards and now leads the NFL in yards per catch. With the Falcons already having clinched the No. 1 overall seed in the NFC playoffs, they have nothing more to play for, but if the Falcons go all in, the Bucs will need every yard of Jackson’s big play average to keep pace with Atlanta’s top-five scoring offense.

Pick: Falcons

Week 17: Scoreboard | Playoff scenarios | More NFL coverage

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