Rutsey's Week 17 predictions

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (L) talks with quarterback Stephen McGee during a timeout...

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (L) talks with quarterback Stephen McGee during a timeout against the Philadelphia Eagles in the second half of their NFL football game in Arlington, Texas December 24, 2011. (REUTERS/Mike Stone)

Mike Rutsey, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:24 PM ET

1. Giants will win the NFC East crown

In the battle for the NFC East title I’m counting on Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo to come up with a flat-to-poor effort. There is no reason for anyone to think otherwise. In big games at the end of the season, history has shown time and again that Romo is far from his best. This time he will have an added burden. His throwing hand remains bruised and slightly swollen after he banged it against a Philadelphia Eagles helmet in last week’s loss. I like Eli Manning over Romo straight up but with a banged up Romo, that’s the icing on the cake.

2. The Tennessee Titans will grab the final wild card spot in the AFC

Forget the Bengals, forget the Jets, forget about the Raiders or the Broncos because the Tennessee Titans will kick the bejesus out of the Houston Texans and prance into the playoffs. The Texans offence has stalled under the direction of third-strong quarterback T.J. Yates and even the expected return of receiver Andre Johnson won’t revive it. The Titans were crushed 41-7 in Week 7 but will rebound here. The Bengals and Jets and one of Oakland and Denver will come up as losers. It’s Matt Hasselbeck time.

3. The Lions will beat the Packers

Okay, this is hardly going out on a limb as the Packers probably will rest everybody including the ball boy for what is a totally meaningless game for them. For the Lions, however, the game has plenty of meaning. With a victory they would grab the fifth seed in the NFC no matter what the Atlanta Falcons do against Tampa Bay. With a fifth-place finish the Lions would get to play the winner of Dallas/New York in the first playoff round. The sixth seed gets to travel to New Orleans and go up against the Saints. That’s all the incentive the Lions will need. The sight of Aaron Rodgers on the sidelines will have the Falcons crying.

4. Indianapolis will lose the No. 1 pick

This game could be the most riveting one to watch this weekend. Nobody who is a Colts fan will be cheering for them to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars and we mean nobody. A victory coupled with a St. Louis loss — and they play San Francisco — would give the Rams the No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft and that means Andrew Luck. If the Colts have any loyalty to the organization they will roll over and die to secure the No. 1 pick. If the Colts stink it out Sunday, the Rams will cry foul and we won’t blame them.

5. Broncos back into NFC West title.

Tim Tebow could complete his miracle season by conjuring up one last win but off his efforts the past two games we don’t see it, especially against a defence that will be as charged up as the Kansas City Chiefs. However, we also don’t like the Oakland Raiders and Carson Palmer at home against San Diego. The Chargers hate the Raiders and certainly won’t be doing them any favours by giving less than 100 percent. A Broncos loss and a Raiders loss gives the division title to Tebow.

This just in

Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew, who has 1,437 rushing yards, needs 136 rush yards to surpass Fred Taylor (1,572 yards in ’03) for most rush yards in a season in franchise history. Jones-Drew, with 62, also needs just one rush TD to surpass Taylor (who also has 62) for the most in team history. Jones-Drew has 74 career TDs, the most total TDs in club history ...If there is some good news for the Minnesota Vikings it is that running back Adrian Peterson had what was termed “successful” surgery on Friday. Five days after suffering a gruesome injury in a victory at Washington, Peterson had surgery on his left knee by Dr. James Andrews. He repaired the torn ACL and medial collateral ligament that was also damaged in the hit by Redskins safety DeJon Gomes. “We’ve received word that Adrian underwent successful knee surgery with Dr. James Andrews and is now resting comfortably,” Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said in a statement released by the team. “Adrian is in our thoughts, we wish him a speedy recovery and we look forward to seeing him when he returns to Minnesota.” ... New York Jets’ Rex Ryan reiterated his belief that embattled offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will return to the staff next season, as long as he isn’t hired by another organization as their head coach. “If he gets a head coaching job, then ‘See ya later.’ I’ll be happy to see that,” Ryan said. “Do I expect him back? It’s probably 50-50. I think there’s an opportunity for him to get a head coaching job.” Schottenheimer has been under fire this season for lack of consistency on offence ... Former coach Jon Gruden, who works as an analyst on Monday Night Football, has said he intends to remain in the broadcast booth. “I love my job and I’ll be back at ESPN with the guys,” Gruden told the Tampa Tribune. “I’m not going anywhere. I enjoy being with our ESPN team. I’m staying put.” Gruden is always in the rumour mill regarding vacant head coaching jobs. The latest one has him taking over in St. Louis.

 


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