It’s been a long year, but we are finally at the end of the NFL regular season. There aren’t any Saturday or Monday Night Games, meaning only one day to determine the remaining playoff teams. It’s been an entertaining and unexpected regular season, but now it’s time to close out 2018 with a bang. Let’s see who will win and who will go home with my NFL Regular Season Finale Predictions.
Clinched: Saints (NFC South and Home-Field Advantage), Bears (NFC North), Seahawks (Playoff Berth), Rams (NFC West), Cowboys (NFC East)
Rams clinch First-Round Bye: win/tie OR Bears loss/tie
Bears clinch First-Round Bye: win + Rams loss
Vikings clinch Playoff Berth: win/tie OR Eagles loss/tie
Eagles clinch Playoff Berth: win + Vikings loss
Eliminated Teams: Detroit, Green Bay, Detroit, Atlanta, Carolina, Tampa Bay, Washington, New York Giants, San Francisco, Arizona
Clinched: Chiefs (Playoff Berth), Chargers (Playoff Berth), Patriots (Playoff Berth), Texans (Playoff Berth)
Chiefs clinch AFC West and Home-Field Advantage throughout the Playoffs: Win OR tie + Chargers loss/tie OR Chargers loss + Patriots loss/ tie + Texans loss/ tie OR Chargers loss + Patriots loss/tie (Chiefs clinch at least a tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over Texans)
Chiefs clinch AFC West and First-Round Bye: Chargers loss + Patriots loss/tie OR Chargers loss + Texans loss/tie OR Chargers loss (Chiefs clinch at least as tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over Texans)
Chiefs clinch AFC West: Chargers loss OR tie + Chargers tie
Chargers clinch AFC West and Home-Field Advantage throughout the Playoffs: win + Chiefs tie OR tie + Chiefs loss
Chargers clinch AFC West: Chiefs loss OR tie + Chiefs tie
Chargers clinch AFC West and First-Round Bye: Chiefs loss + Patriots loss/tie OR Chiefs loss + Texans loss/tie OR Chiefs loss
Patriots clinch Home-Field Advantage throughout the Playoffs: win + Chiefs loss + Chargers loss
Patriots clinch First-Round Bye: win OR tie + Texans loss/tie OR Ravens loss/tie + Texans loss + Titans loss/tie
Texans clinch AFC South and Home-Field Advantage throughout the Playoffs: win + Patriots loss/tie + Chiefs loss + Chargers loss (Texan clinch a tie in a strength of victory tiebreaker over Chiefs)
Texans clinch AFC South and First-Round Bye: win + Patriots loss/tie OR win + Chiefs loss + Chargers loss (Texans clinch in a strength of victory over Ravens) OR tie + Patriots loss OR Colts-Titans tie + Patriots loss + Ravens win (Texans clinch a tie in strength of victory tiebreaker over Ravens)
Texans clinch AFC South: win/tie OR Colts-Titans tie
Ravens clinch AFC North and a First-Round Bye: win + Patriots loss + Texans loss + Colts-Titans doesn’t end in a tie OR win + Patriots loss + Texans loss (Ravens clinch in a strength of victory tiebreaker over Texans)
Ravens clinch AFC North: win OR Steelers loss OR tie + Steelers tie
Ravens clinch a Playoff Berth: Chargers tie + Chiefs loss
Colts clinch AFC South: win + Texans loss
Colts clinch Playoff Berth: win
Titans clinch AFC South: win + Texans loss
Titans clinch Playoff Berth: win
Steelers clinch AFC North: win + Ravens loss/tie OR tie + Ravens loss
Steelers clinch Playoff Berth: win + Colts-Titans tie
Eliminated Teams: Cleveland, Cincinatti, Jacksonville, Miami, Buffalo, New York Jets, Oakland, Denver
Now with the picks!
Last Week’s Score: 11-5
Overall Score: 147-93
Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10) @ Houston Texans (10-5)
The Jacksonville Jaguars are terrible. They’ve lost 9 of their last 11 games, and things aren’t looking much better because they’re playing the Texans, who still don’t have the AFC South on lock. The Texans need to win this game if they’re going to win their division, but they also need a tie in the Colts-Titans game.
New York Jets (5-10) @ New England Patriots (10-5)
Sam Darnold’s rookie year has been a bust. Although he’s missed a few games because he got hurt, he’s tied for Big Ben for the lead in picks with 15. Now they head to Foxborough, Mass for their bi-annual mugging at the hands of Tom Brady and the Patriots. This game won’t be pretty.
Dallas Cowboys (9-6) @ New York Giants (5-10)
The Dallas Cowboys have officially clinched the NFC East after teabagging the Bucs, winning their third NFC East Championship in five years. We’ll see if they can make it past their first game though. The Giants have lost two straight games after slaughtering the Redskins, and things aren’t looking too good for the G-Men. Cowboys-Giants games are always close, and this game will look to be a battle between two of the NFL’s top running backs in Zeke and Saquon. I’m going to go with Dallas to beat the Giants, and potentially end Eli’s career on a bad note.
Atlanta Falcons (6-9) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-10)
The Buccaneers crapped the bed against the Dallas Cowboys, once again putting up lots of yards, but not a lot of points. Thanks Tampa, you gave Cowboys fans a reason to be arrogant tools for a year. The Falcons have had a good season when it comes to offense, but their injuries on defense wound up costing them big time. I’m going to pick the Falcons to eviscerate Tampa’s bad defense, and end the season on a high note.
Detroit Lions (5-10) @ Green Bay Packers (6-8-1)
The Packers should’ve lost to the Jets last week, but A-Rod decided he wasn’t having any of it, throwing for more than 400 yards and 2 rushing TDs. The Lions have been awful this year, losing 2 straight games, including a humiliating loss to the Minnesota Vikings. In what has truly been a let-down for both of these teams, I’m going to pick the Packers to beat the Lions and finish what has been an awful year.
Carolina Panthers (6-9) @ New Orleans Saints (13-2)
NOLA may bench their starters after they’ve clinched the #1 seed, but The Panthers collapsed after putting in Taylor Henicke. Even if the Saints don’t play their starters, they’re still winning this game thanks to a phenomenal showing from Taysom Hill and Teddy Bridgewater. Taylor Henicke isn’t going to win in the Superdome.
Miami Dolphins (7-8) @ Buffalo Bills (5-10)
A battle between two eliminated AFC East rivals to close out the year could be a good game, but the Dolphins and Bills are two teams that have bad defenses, and inconsistent passers. The season’s been a loss for both of these squads, especially the Dolphins, who after a 4-2 start, went on to win 3 of their last 9. The Bills season has been awful. Nathan Peterman opened the year as the starter, and when Allen eventually took over, he got injured and missed several key games, which made Buffalo’s season even worse. I’m going to pick the Bills to end their season on a high note thanks to a dominant rushing performance from Josh Allen.
Los Angeles Chargers (11-4) @ Denver Broncos (6-9)
The Chargers may have crapped the bed against the Ravens last week, but they have a chance to secure the AFC’s #1 seed. The Broncos got a bad Christmas present when they got humiliated by Jon Gruden’s Raiders on Monday Night Football. I’m going to pick the Chargers to win this game in dominant fashion, and do their best to secure the top seed.
Arizona Cardinals (3-12) @ Seattle Seahawks (9-6)
The Seahawks are back in the playoffs thanks to a surprisingly strong run game, and a good defense, and they just knocked off Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs in what was a season defining win. Now they host the Cardinals, who currently have secured the #1 overall pick, and the services of Nick Bosa. Since they have the #1 pick, they might as well preserve the tank by letting Seattle run all over them.
Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) @ Washington Redskins (7-8)
Why the hell did the Redskins cut DJ Swearinger? I get that he made critical comments, but so did Mason Foster and he’s a frickin captain. I would understand suspending DJ, but not outright cutting him. He’s a hell of a player, and was the leader of a Redskins defense that can’t tackle. Now they host the Philadelphia Eagles, who need to win this game and the Vikings to lose in order to sneak into the playoffs. The Eagles shouldn’t have any problem whatsoever in dispatching of the NFL’s perennial infirmary.
San Francisco 49ers (4-11) @ Los Angeles Rams (12-3)
The Rams aren’t losing this game. The Niners may have given them a scare last year because they rested their starters, but the Rams have a chance for a First-Round bye. Even if Todd Gurley doesn’t play, the Rams shouldn’t have a problem here.
Oakland Raiders (4-11) @ Kansas City Chiefs (11-4)
Pat isn’t going to sit because the Chiefs have a chance to get Home-Field Advantage. Not only will Pat hit 5000 yards, but he’ll throw for at least 4 TDs in the first half in what will be a bloodbath.
Cleveland Browns (7-7-1) @ Baltimore Ravens (9-6)
The Cleveland Browns have had a great season, and if they hadn’t kept Hue Jackson and fired him after their 0-16 campaign, they could be in contention to win the AFC North. Instead, they could potentially play spoiler for the Ravens. This is a dream matchup between two Heisman Trophy winning QBs in Baker Mayfield and Lamar Jackson. It’ll be an entertaining game, and will be down to the wire. I’m going to pick the Ravens to edge out the Browns and get in the playoffs.
Cincinatti Bengals (6-9) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (8-6-1)
After losing to Saints last week, the Steelers now have a chance to miss the playoffs. However, they’re playing the Bengals. The Steelers always have the Bengals’ number, and since the Bengals have Jeff Driskel, this should be a walk in the park for the Steelers.
Chicago Bears (9-6) @ Minnesota Vikings (8-6-1)
The Bears have a chance to get a First-Round bye, and the Vikings NEED to win this game to get into the playoffs, but they host the dominant Chicago Bears. It’s kinda crazy how everyone had these teams completely wrong, myself included. Before trading for Khalil Mack, everyone had the Bears written off, and had the Vikings as a Super Bowl favorite after signing free agent star QB Kirk Cousins. This is going to be a tough pill to swallow for Vikings fans, because the Bears are going to win this game thanks to their dominant defense.
Sunday Night Football: Indianapolis Colts (9-6) @ Tennessee Titans (9-6)
Just a couple of months ago, everyone had the Colts and Titans written off. Now they have a chance to punch their playoff ticket, and a division crown to boot. The Titans have won their fourth straight game, barely escaping a crippled Redskins team. The Colts beat the New York Giants The winner of this game could not only get a playoff spot, but win the AFC South as long as Houston loses. I’m going to pick the Colts to pick up the W over a mediocre Titans squad and end their season.