FOX Sports South walks the plank of potential embarrassment by chronicling five bold predictions for NFL Week 17, an ambitious gallery that could be way off the mark come Sunday night. There's no fear of failure here, though. Just educated guesses. (Photos: David Manning/Brace Hemmelgarn/Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)
Thrice As Nice
BOLD PREDICTION #1: Arian Foster will notch three TDs against the Jaguars ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Foster (above) has racked up 100 total yards and/or one touchdown in all seven clashes with the Jaguars -- with robust averages of 123 total yards and one TD. 2) The all-world back has tallied multiple touchdowns three times this season. 3) The Jaguars' strength lies with their red-zone passing defense, meaning Texans QB Case Keenum likely won't register more than one TD pass. 4) Jacksonville has the NFL's 27th-ranked rush defense, allowing 128 ground yards per game. 5) Foster has an outside shot (160 total yards) at posting the third 1,700-yard campaign of his stellar career.
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Better Late Than Never
BOLD PREDICTION #2: Doug Martin will post his first 100-yard rushing effort of the season ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Through 10 games, Martin has collected double-digit targets nine times. 2) Martin (above) rushed for 96 yards against the Panthers in Week 15. 3) The Saints (Martin's Week 17 foe) have the NFL's 29th-ranked rush defense, allowing 130 ground yards per outing. 4) Martin hasn't cracked the century mark in rushing in 15 games. However, that particular breakthrough came against the Saints (144 yards, September 2013). 5) Tampa Bay hasn't scored more than 17 points in five outings. In other words, it's time to ride Martin (1,926 yards/12 TDs in 2012) ... and build some momentum for the offseason.
The Best Offense Is A Good Defense
BOLD PREDICTION #3: The Dolphins defense/special teams will net two scores on Sunday ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Miami owns the NFL's fourth-ranked pass defense, allowing only 211 yards per game. 2) The Dolphins hold above-average rankings with sacks (38), fumble recoveries (10), INTs (14) and defensive TDs (3). 3) The Jets' QB tandem of Geno Smith and Michael Vick have combined for 15 INTs. 4) Miami's long overdue for a kick-return touchdown. 5) Cameron Wake (above) ranks among the NFL leaders in sacks (11.5) and forced fumbles (3). 6) In all likelihood, Rex Ryan will be coaching his last game with the Jets. But last week's solid effort against the Patriots (losing by one at home) won't be duplicated.
Break On Through
BOLD PREDICTION #4: Torrey Smith will eclipse 120 yards receiving in the finale ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Smith (right -- 45 catches, 684 yards) has accounted for 10 touchdowns since Week 4. 2) Last Sunday, Smith collected a season-high 12 targets. 3) Of his past five home outings against the Browns, Ravens QB Joe Flacco (left) has tallied 300 yards passing and/or multiple TDs four times. 4) Cleveand, which has dropped four straight, essentially has nothing to play for on Sunday. No Johnny Manziel ... plus, the Browns defense has surrendered 24-plus points eight times. 5) The wild-card-contending Ravens got only 33 rushing yards from their hit-or-miss backfield last week. Smith has been a reliable anchor for three months.
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports
BOLD PREDICTION #5: Lions-Packers will be the week's highest-scoring game ... AT STAKE: The winner takes the NFC North and earns a first-round playoff bye ... REASONS TO BELIEVE: 1) Since 2009, the Lions and Packers have combined for an average of 48.8 points at Lambeau Field. 2) Since Week 7, Packers RB Eddie Lacy (right) boasts stellar averages of 114 total yards and one TD. In that span, Lacy has hit 100 total yards and/or one score every time. 3) MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers (calf) has averaged 301 yards passing/3.3 TDs at home this season. 4) At Lambeau Field in 2011, Lions QB Stafford (left) established single-game highs for his career, passing for 520 yards and five TDs. 5) In his past six games, Lions RB Joique Bell has collected 100 total yards and/or one TD five times. (Photos: Tim Fuller/David Manning-USA TODAY Sports)