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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.