By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
This is it: the final week of the regular season! So many big games are on tap, most with postseason implications. Be sure to tune in to ESPN Honolulu and CBS 1500 to catch the action!
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On to this week’s picks:
♦ MIAMI @ BUFFALO: No QB this week. With Ryan Fitzpatrick testing positive for COVID, Hawaii’s Tua Tagovailoa gets the start in Miami’s biggest game of the season. A win here and the Dolphins lock up a playoff spot. The Bills, meanwhile, are locked in as the AFC’s No. 2 or No. 3 seed. Expect Buffalo to play it safe and rest their key players. Does that mean the Dolphins will pull this out? I think so. Pick: DOLPHINS
♦ GREEN BAY @ CHICAGO: It’s fitting that these two rivals would meet in the regular-season finale with so much on the line. Led by MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay would clinch the home field advantage and a first-round bye with a win on Sunday. The Bears, meanwhile, need to beat the Packers to secure a playoff berth. Mitch Trubisky has done a fine job for Chicago lately. This Sunday, it won’t be enough. Pick: PACKERS
♦ PITTSBURGH @ CLEVELAND: Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has already announced his plans to sit his key players on Sunday, including QB Ben Roethlisberger. Cleveland, of course, is fighting for its first postseason appearance since forever (well, 2002). The Browns can still back their way into the playoffs, but they would rather win here and end any doubt. Everything’s on the line here. Pick: BROWNS
♦ DALLAS @ N.Y. GIANTS: The Cowboys are 6-9. The Giants are 6-10. Unbelievably, both teams are still in the playoff hunt. If the Washington Redskins falter against Philadelphia on Sunday, the winner of the Cowboys-Giants game will win the NFC East. How nuts is that? While we weren’t looking, Dallas has quietly won three straight to get themselves in this position. They’ll make it four. Pick: COWBOYS
♦ LAS VEGAS @ DENVER: These bitter rivals have nothing to play for on Sunday except pride and maybe a spot or two in next year’s draft. A lot of Raiders fans want to see Marcus Mariota get the start, but Derek Carr should get the nod. Even with their embarrassing late-season slide, the Raiders are still the better team. But are they motivated? I think Drew Lock and the Broncs want this more. Pick: BRONCOS
♦ ARIZONA @ L.A. RAMS: It’s really this simple: If Arizona wins, they’re in. If they lose, they’re out. The Rams will also clinch a playoff berth if they win tomorrow. Rams QB Jared Goff is out this week after having surgery on his thumb. In steps backup John Wolford, who will be taking his very first snap as an NFL player. No pressure there. I expect the Cards to unleash their offense and let Kyler Murray go wild. Pick: CARDINALS
Last Week: 5-1
Season to Date: 65-31 (.677)
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