2012-13 NFL Fox Sports Previews: Week 17 by @mini_buddha[caption id="attachment_729" align="aligncenter" width="475"] Jared Wickerham / Getty Images[/caption] Ok kids – this is it! The final week of the regular season and in the famous words of Vincent Vega: (Language Warning On This Clip) http://youtu.be/uYSt8K8VP6k?t=15s So, “It breaks down like this!” The big games are in the NFC, where the last wildcard spot and the NFC East are up for grabs. We’ve got five teams fighting for them – the Redskins, Vikings, Bears, Cowboys and Giants. The big games are:
- Cowboys @ Redskins
- Eagles @ Giants
- Bears @ Lions
- Packers @ Vikings
Philadelphia Eagles (4-11) @ New York Giants (8-7)Time & Date: Monday December 31 , 5:00am. Coverage: LIVE on Fox Sports 2 and Fox Sports 2 HD w/Replay at 1:00pm on Tuesday on Fox Sports 3 and Fox Sports 3 HD (See TV Guide for info). Ooooh baby – here’s a way to start your New Year’s Eve with a bang! Get yourself up at 5:00am and make every last minute of 2012 count. A divisional rivalry game, two teams that just plain don’t like each other, seriously emotional sendoffs for an outgoing coach, the return of a marquee QB and an outside shot of a playoff spot. Could you write a better script? Get the coffee machine fired up, it’s gonna be a good ‘un! The Eagles: This is one hell of a (likely) sendoff for Andy Reid! The Eagles have nothing to play for except: 1) It’s likely to be Reid’s last game (despite Reid’s obvious flaws, remember that he has been the Eagles coach since 1999, has made the playoffs nine times, and has an overall record of 130-92 as a head coach in the NFL) 2) Michael Vick is coming back for what could be his last game as an Eagle because Nick Foles is injured. Vick will be motivated on so many levels to perform. He’ll want to prove all the doubters wrong and show the league that he still has the skills to be an elite QB. 3) They hate the Giants and would love to destroy any last hopes of making the playoffs this season. The Giants: The defending Super Bowl champions have been so disappointing this year. Part has been injury (to various defenders, Bradshaw and Nicks) and part has been some horrible losses, but mainly it’s been the defense. The Giants’ defense is ranked 30th in the league. An almost unthinkable effort after how good they were last year. Watch out for: Vick and Reid. They will be out not just to win a game, but to protect a legacy. Final word and prediction: The bookies have New York as 10.5 point favourites here and I can totally understand why. BUT, I love the Eagles here – so much to prove, so much emotion and desire. I’m picking the Eagles to win this one 32-27!
Green Bay Packers (11-4) @ Minnesota Vikings (9-6)Time & Date: Monday December 31 , 8:25am Coverage: LIVE on Fox Sports 2 and Fox Sports 2 HD w/Replay at 3:00pm on Fox Sports 3 and Fox Sports 3 HD (See TV Guide for info) It’s go time for the NFC North as well. The unlikely run of the Vikings continues on the back of All-Day Adrian Peterson. The Vikings have everything to play for here – if they win here at home, they’re in the playoffs. However, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers also have a lot to play for. They’re safe in the playoffs, but if they win they guarantee themselves a bye in week one and move themselves one win closer to the Super Bowl. The Packers: Now when we talk about the Packers being successful, we always assume it’s thanks to Aaron Rodgers – and it is (he’s the top rated passer in the league with 35TDs and only eight INTs), but it’s also about the Packers improving defense. The Green Bay D is now rated the 10th best in the league and has been very solid all year. The Vikings: Minnesota is winning on the back of their run game (all hail Lord Peterson) and their defense (all hail Lords Jared Allen and Brian Robison). Their passing game behind Christian Ponder has been awful. Ponder (who I felt was a great QB prospect after watching his progress last year), has not been good, racking up only 15TDs and 12 INTs. Watch out for: Adrian Peterson’s numbers – he needs 102 to become only the seventh player ever to rush for 2,000 yards in a season. AP needs 208 to break the all-time single season rushing record and you just never know, given the Packers rush defense isn’t great – ranking 22nd and giving up an average of 4.4 yards per rush (ranking 23rd in the NFL). Final word and prediction: I know the Vikings have a real shot, but I just can’t bring myself to tip against Green Bay. Packers 26-20.
Many. many thanks to all of you for reading this column this season and I’ll see you next year!