Falcons', Seahawks' playoff hopes highlight Gunner's picks

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Falcons', Seahawks' playoff hopes highlight Gunner's picks

Derrick Gunn makes his Week 17 NFL picks.

Eagles vs. Cowboys, Sunday, 1 p.m. on FOX
We've just about reached the finish line of the 2017 NFL season, and while this game is meaningless to the Eagles in terms of playoff positioning, it does have significance for a few reasons. The players say they'd like to finish off this run with a franchise-best 14 regular season wins, and they'd like to head to the postseason on a winning note. But at what cost are the Eagles willing to achieve those goals?

It's no secret the offense needs some work after their Christmas night performance against Oakland, but how long do you keep the starters in? Nick Foles says he's preparing this week to start and work on a few things. Over the last two games, the defense has started at a sluggish pace but finished strong. As for Dallas, the Cowboys are going home after Sunday to begin a long offseason. Head coach Jason Garrett says all healthy bodies will play. 

I say minimize the risk and get the starters out no later than halftime. You can't afford to have another key player injured before the start of the second season. Ezekiel Elliott will play the Birds for the first time this year, and you know Dallas will try to establish their run game. It will be interesting to see how Doug Pederson handles this one. I say Dallas wins this one by default because Pederson pulls everybody he can and we get to see what Nate Sudfeld, who has never played in a regular game, looks like under center.

Green Bay at Detroit, Sunday, 1 p.m. on FOX
What a disaster this season has been for the Packers. Once Aaron Rodgers went down, so did their hopes of a deep playoff run. Now the Pack heads to Detroit to close out the year with Brett Hundley at quarterback, who has been up and down. Wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams and running back Aaron Jones are not likely to play. The Lions should ensure the Packers’ first losing season since 2008.

Pick: Lions

Houston at Indianapolis, Sunday, 1 p.m. on CBS
Both teams have lost quarterbacks this season and coaches Chuck Pagano and Bill O’Brien are both on the hot seat. A win in this game for either coach doesn’t guarantee their job is safe. I’ll take the Colts at home just because I have to pick one of them.

Pick: Colts

Chicago at Minnesota, Sunday, 1 p.m. on FOX
Bears head coach John Fox has failed three straight years to turn his team around. So is his tenure over? Vikes QB Case Keenum has had an outstanding season and has helped put Minnesota in a prime position for a first-round bye with a win. The Vikings will get to sit the first round of the playoffs out.

Pick: Vikings

New York Jets at New England, Sunday, 1 p.m. on CBS 
Rumors of Jets head coach Todd Bowles being let go after three seasons were squashed Friday, when he was given a two-year extension. The Pats can wrap up a first-round bye with a win. No need to think much about this one. The Jets will end up with their second straight 5-11 season.

Pick: Patriots

Washington at New York Giants, Sunday, 1 p.m. on FOX
Is this the last time Washington fans will see Kirk Cousins in a Redskins uniform? The Giants are depleted in the secondary. Safety Landon Collins and cornerback Janoris Jenkins are out with injuries, and cornerback Eli Apple is suspended for conduct detrimental to the team. Cousins will pick the Giants apart.

Pick: Redskins

Cleveland at Pittsburgh, Sunday, 1 p.m. on CBS
The Steelers are hoping New England will stumble, but they'll have to settle for being the No. 2 seed. Antonio Brown is out, but it doesn't matter. The Browns will become the second team in NFL history to finish 0-16.

Pick: Steelers

Carolina at Atlanta, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Plain and simple, Atlanta wins and it's in. Carolina could still win the NFC South, but only if New Orleans loses and the Panthers win. I see the Falcons slipping in the playoff back door.

Pick: Falcons

Kansas City at Denver, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
The Chiefs are locked into the No. 4 seed. Both teams will get a look at their future signal callers. Chiefs rookie Patrick Mahomes gets the start, making his NFL debut. The Broncos’ Paxton Lynch has gotten game reps at this level, and because of that experience, I’ll take Denver.

Pick: Broncos

Jacksonville at Tennessee, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Even though they have already won the AFC South, the Jaguars will play their starters. The Titans must win and get help to get in. This game is so big for Tennessee that Demarco Murray was considering playing with a torn MCL, though he has been ruled out. The Titans will win, but it may not save them.

Pick: Titans

San Francisco at L.A. Rams, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
The Rams are taking an interesting approach. They could end up with the three-seed but are expected to sit Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, Aaron Donald and others. QB Jimmy Garoppolo has Niners fans excited about the future because he's led his team to four straight wins. Since the Rams don't seem to care about this outcome, I’ll pick the Niners.

Pick: 49ers

Buffalo at Miami, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
The Bills are in a must-win situation and still need help. They beat the Dolphins two weeks ago. They'll do it again.

Pick: Bills

Oakland at L.A. Chargers, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
The Raiders are going nowhere but home after Sunday. As for the Chargers, like a number of other teams, their playoff equation is two parts — a win plus losses elsewhere. I don't see the Chargers’ season extending beyond this game, but I do see them beating Oakland.

Pick: Chargers

Arizona at Seattle, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
Russell Wilson has been to the playoffs every year he's been in the league. If the Seahawks win this one, Wilson becomes the first QB in NFL history to have double-digit wins in his first six years in the league. Making a sixth consecutive trip to the playoffs depends on the Seahawks winning and Atlanta losing. Wilson will make history by beating the Cards, but Seattle’s playoff run comes to an end.

Pick: Seahawks

New Orleans at Tampa Bay, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on FOX
What a turnaround for the Saints from 0-2 to the top of the NFC South. The Saints have been better this season with Drew Brees throwing less. Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram are a dynamic 1-2 running punch. The Saints will win to clinch the division title.

Pick: Saints

Cincinnati at Baltimore, Sunday, 4:25 p.m. on CBS
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis has more lives than a cat. In 15 years with Cincy, he's 0-7 in playoff games, and this season will be his second straight losing campaign. The Ravens will not lose control of the five-seed, and the Bengals’ front office will come to its senses and finally replace Lewis.

Pick: Ravens

Eagles 2018 regular-season breakdown (Part 1)

Eagles 2018 regular-season breakdown (Part 1)

A game-by-game breakdown of the Eagles’ 2018 regular-season schedule.

For Weeks 9-17, click right here. Let’s break down Weeks 1-8 below.

Week 1: Falcons at Eagles
8:20 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Falcons come to Philadelphia for a third straight season. The Eagles won 24-15 at the Linc in 2016 and 15-10 last year in the conference semifinal round of the playoffs. The Eagles are 6-1 all-time against the Falcons at the Linc, with the only loss coming in 2012. They’re 19-14-1 all-time vs. the Falcons and 11-6-1 at home. The Falcons’ last win over the Eagles came in 2015 at the Georgia Dome. Going back to 2000, the Eagles have won 10 of the last 14 games against Atlanta.
Week 2: Eagles at Buccaneers
1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018
Raymond James Stadium

The Eagles travel to Tampa for the first time in five years to face the Buccaneers. They’re 4-3 all-time in Tampa and 3-1 at Raymond James. The Bucs beat the Eagles 45-17 at the Linc in 2015 in their last meeting. The Eagles won in 2013 in the last game in Tampa. Overall, the Eagles are 10-8 against the Bucs.
Week 3: Colts at Eagles
1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

From 1996 through 2006, the Eagles lost four straight to the Colts by an average of 25 points. But they’ve won the two matchups since, at the Linc in 2010 and at Lucas Oil Stadium in 2014. Including their years in Baltimore, the Eagles are 9-10 all-time vs. the Colts and 5-5 at home but just 1-0 at the Linc. Since the Colts moved to Indianapolis, the Eagles are 4-5 against them.
Week 4: Eagles at Titans
1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 30, 2018
Nissan Stadium

The Titans have won four of the last five games against the Eagles, although the Eagles won the last meeting, 43-24, at the Linc in 2014. The Eagles are 7-4 all-time against the Titans/Oilers franchise and 3-2 on the road, but the last road win was the House of Pain game at the Astrodome in 1991. The Eagles  are 0-2 against the Titans in Nashville.
Week 5: Eagles vs. Vikings
4:25 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles have won seven of their last nine games against the Vikings, including a 38-7 rout in last year’s NFC Championship Game at the Linc. They are 4-1 at the Linc vs. the Vikings, 10-6 in Philly and 14-13 all-time in a series dating back to 1962. Since 1980, the Eagles have won 14 of 20 matchups, including all four postseason meetings. The Eagles have won eight of their last nine home games against the Vikings, with the only loss coming in 2010.
Week 6: Eagles at Giants
8:20 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 14, 2018
MetLife Stadium

The Eagles are 9-2 in their last 11 meetings with the Giants in East Rutherford, and their last three wins on the road against the Giants have come with different coaches at the helm – Chip Kelly in 2014, Pat Shurmur in 2015 and Doug Pederson in 2017. The Eagles’ only losses at MetLife Stadium since it opened in 2010 came in 2012 and 2016.
Week 7: Panthers at Eagles
1 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles and Panthers meet for the fifth time in seven years. The Eagles beat Carolina 28-23 in Charlotte, N.C., last October, and won the last meeting in Philadelphia 45-21 in 2014. The Eagles are 7-4 all-time vs. the Panthers, 4-2 at home and 3-2 at the Linc. The Eagles’ last home loss to Carolina came in 2012, late in Andy Reid’s final season as head coach.
Week 8: Eagles at Jaguars
9:30 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018
Wembley Stadium, London

After losing their first three games against the Jaguars, the Eagles have won the last two, in Jacksonville in 2010 by 25 points and at the Linc in 2014 by 17 points. The Eagles are 1-2 against the Jaguars in Jacksonville, with the losses coming in 1997 and 2002. The Eagles have never played a regular-season game in London. The Jaguars have played every year since 2013 at Wembley, where they are 3-2.

Eagles 2018 regular-season breakdown (Part 2)

Eagles 2018 regular-season breakdown (Part 2)

A game-by-game breakdown of the Eagles’ 2018 regular-season schedule.

For Weeks 1-8, click right here. Let’s break down Weeks 9-17 below.

Week 9: Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018
Bye week

Week 10: Cowboys at Eagles
8:20 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Cowboys have given the Eagles more trouble than any other division team of late, winning four of the last seven meetings and five of the last six at the Linc. The Eagles’ only home wins over the Cowboys since 2009 have been in 2011 and 2016. The Eagles overall are 52-66 against the Cowboys, 28-29 in Philly and 6-9 at the Linc. The Eagles haven’t swept the Cowboys since 2011. They lost, 6-0, to the Cowboys on the last day of last season with Nate Sudfeld playing most of the game at quarterback.

Week 11: Eagles at Saints
1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018
Mercedes-Benz Superdome

The Eagles are 17-13 all-time vs. the Saints but have lost five of seven meetings dating back to 2006. They beat the Saints at the Linc in 2015 after losing to them in a playoff game in 2014. Their last game in New Orleans was a 28-13 loss in 2012. They last won in New Orleans late in the 2007 season. Overall, they’re 8-9 in New Orleans but they’re 8-5 since the Saints moved from Tulane Stadium to the Superdome.

Week 12: Giants at Eagles
1 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles are 16-4 in their last 20 games against the Giants, including a four-game home winning streak. A win at the Linc this year would give the Eagles their longest home winning streak against the Giants since they won five straight from 1988 through 1992. The Eagles last year swept the Giants for the third time in the last four years, with the two wins coming by a total of just eight points. The Eagles are 84-86-2 all-time vs. the Giants, including a 10-6 record at the Linc.

Week 13: Redskins at Eagles
8:15 p.m., Monday, Dec. 3, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles swept the Redskins last year for the first time since 2013 after losing five straight against their division rivals. Overall, the Eagles are 78-86-6 against the Redskins in a series that dates back to 1934. They’re 39-42-3 at home against the ‘Skins and 8-7 at the Linc. The Redskins have beaten the Eagles six times in their last 12 meetings at the Linc.

Week 14: Eagles at Cowboys
4:25 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018
AT&T Stadium

The Eagles have won six of their last eight games in Dallas, losing only in 2012 by five points and in 2016 in overtime. Their 28-point margin of victory at AT&T Stadium last November was the Cowboys’ ninth-worst home loss ever. Their last three home losses by 28 or more points have been against the Eagles. The Eagles are 24-37 all-time against Dallas on the road but 6-4 at AT&T Stadium.

Week 15: Eagles at Rams
8:20 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018
LA Memorial Coliseum

The Eagles have won five straight games against the Rams, including two wins in St. Louis, two at the Linc and last year’s comeback in L.A. after losing Carson Wentz for the season. The Eagles are 21-19-1 all-time against the Rams, 6-11-1 on the road and 1-5 at LA Coliseum. Their last loss to the Rams was a meaningless late-season game in 2004. Their last loss to the Rams in Los Angeles came in 1977.

Week 16: Texans at Eagles
1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 23, 2018
Lincoln Financial Field

The Eagles have never lost to the Texans, beating them in Houston in 2006 on opening day and in 2014 and in Philly in 2002 and 2010, with all four wins by double digits and by an average of 13 points per game. The Texans and Jets are the only current NFL franchises the Eagles have never lost to.

Week 17: Eagles at Redskins
1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 30, 2018
FedEx Field

The Eagles have lost three of their last four games at FedEx Field, with those three losses coming by an average of about four points per game. They did win by 10 points last year during their nine-game winning streak, their biggest win in Landover since 2010. The Eagles are 37-44-3 all-time vs. the Redskins on the road, including three games played in Boston in the 1930s. They’re 12-9 all-time at FedEx Field.