HAPPY New Year’s Eve! 720 picks later and we have reached the end of another incredible year. The end of 2017 also signals the end of the NFL season and rather than bore you with picks from all 16 NFL games, I’m only looking at the matches that have an impact on the playoff picture. There are eight NBA games that will help us bring in the new year too, so for the last time this year let’s pick some winners!
Last Sunday Picks: 6 – 6
Overall: 409 – 311
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Chicago Bulls (13-22) at Washington Wizards (20-16)
YES, Nikola Mirotic is the greatest Chicago Bull ever. No he and his squad won’t upset the Wizards.
Verdict: Wizards W
Image from wizofawes.com
Minnesota Timberwolves (22-14) at Indiana Pacers (19-17)
THE Timberwolves seem to have found their groove while Indiana is trending in the other direction. I still think the T-Wolves have another gear they can reach, but they won’t find it until after the All-Star break. Even if Oladipo goes 35+ they will win.
Verdict: Timberwolves W
Brooklyn Nets (13-22) at Boston Celtics (29-10)
WITH no incentive to tank and a fast-paced style of play the Nets could blow the Celtics off their own floor to close out the year. Could, but won’t.
Verdict: Celtics W
Los Angeles Lakers (11-23) at Houston Rockets (25-9)
THE first of Houston’s five straight L’s came at the hands of the Lakers back before Christmas. With Chirs Paul back in uniform it’s hard to see a scenario where the Rockets don’t get revenge.
Verdict: Rockets W
Dallas Mavericks (12-25) at Oklahoma City Thunder (20-16)
WE are experiencing a rare season where even the crappy teams can dethrone good ones on any given night. Dallas has done so against the Raptors, Pacers and Pelicans in their last three and with Paul George still sidelined they will make it four straight.
Verdict: Mavericks W
Charlotte Hornets (13-22) at LA Clippers (15-19)
DWIGHT Howard is not known for being nimble and soft on his feet, but against the Warriors, he was at his best with a season-high 29 points. With a healthy Blake Griffin back for LA it sets up an intriguing matchup with the Hornets my pick in this one.
Verdict: Hornets W
Memphis Grizzlies (11-25) at Sacramento Kings (12-23)
AFTER being cooked by the Warriors and Suns respectively in their last match these West cellar dwellers are eager to end the year on a high. In a situation like this I usually default to the team with the best player, therefore Memphis gets the nod. Just.
Verdict: Grizzlies W
Philadelphia 76ers (16-19) at Phoenix Suns (14-23)
THE hype around ‘The Process’ in Philly has quietened considerably after a 4-10 record in December. They have been without Embiid for nearly half those games, but he is expected to play against the Suns. Translation, Sixers win.
Verdict: 76ers W
Cleveland Browns (0-15) at Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3)
I know that this game has no playoff implications, but it does have a chance to be a part of history. With a first-round bye locked up, none of the Steelers Killer B’s (Bell, Brown, Big Ben) are expected to play giving the Browns a chance to avoid being the second 0-16 team in NFL history. Sorry Cleveland I don’t have faith.
Verdict: Steelers W
Image from ftw.usatoday.com
Carolina Panthers (11-4) at Atlanta Falcons (9-6)
PERHAPS the most important game on Sunday, the Falcons and Panthers still have something to play for. Carolina can steal the division crown with a win and a Saints loss while the Falcons can clinch a playoff seed with a Seahawks L or a victory at home. It’s tough to read both these teams with inconsistent performances so far, but I think ATL will come out firing and earn their 10th win of the year.
Verdict: Falcons W
Buffalo Bills (8-7) at Miami Dolphins (6-9)
IF only. That’s what the Bills will be left saying to themselves after Sunday. They will beat Miami, but will miss out on the playoffs because of that game against the Chargers. Poor Nathan Peterman won’t be able to show his face in Buffalo ever again.
Verdict: Bills W
Jacksonville Jaguars (10-5) at Tennessee Titans (8-7)
LOCKED into the 3rd seed the Jags can put their feet up on Sunday. Tennessee, on the other hand, needs to win or for both the Bills and Chargers to lose to see playoff action. I really want to see Jacksonville smack their division rivals out of the playoffs and given the Titans form they won’t need to swing too hard.
Verdict: Jaguars W
Image from nytimes.com
Oakland Raiders (6-9) at Los Angeles Chargers (8-7)
WITH a playoff spot still potentially up for grabs the Chargers need a win over their division rivals to stay in the hunt. LA also needs other results to fall their way, and if the football gods are nice to us we will get to see them in the postseason.
Verdict: Chargers W
Arizona Cardinals (7-8) at Seattle Seahawks (9-6)
OH how the mighty have fallen. The ‘Legion of Boom’ is a shell of itself after they have been ravaged by injuries. They need a Falcons loss and a win against the Cardinals to see the playoffs, but I’m predicting that neither of those things will happen. Better luck next year.
Verdict: Cardinals W
New Orleans Saints (11-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11)
YOU could almost skip over this game. The Saints aren’t falling out of the playoffs, yet if they slip up against the Bucs and the Panthers beat Atlanta, then they will be on the road in week one of the playoffs. While I still think they aren’t a serious SuperBowl threat, they still have enough firepower to dethrone Tampa.
Verdict: Saints W
Cincinnati Bengals (6-9) at Baltimore Ravens (9-7)
THE Ravens aren’t about to let Marvin Lewis have a fairytale send off to close out the season. Their playoff fate isn’t guaranteed yet, and a win over Cinci will lock them into the 5th seed. Who would have thought Joe Flacco could steer Baltimore to double-digit wins?
Verdict: Ravens W