LOS ANGELES, December 30, 2017 — 50 years ago on the final day of 1967, the game that will live forever was played. The Green Bay Packers played the Dallas Cowboys in “The Ice Bowl.” On the final day of 2017, the National Football League will play its final regular season games of the year.
While the 1958 NFL championship game between the Baltimore Colts and New York Giants is known as “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” The Ice Bowl is far more significant.
The Ice Bowl
One year earlier the Packers defeated the Cowboys in the 1966 NFL Championship game 34-27. On fourth and goal at the two in Dallas, an interception in the end zone preserved the Green Bay win. The rematch was played at Lambeau Field. The weather was 13 degrees below zero, with a wind chill making it much colder than that.
The cold weather football played in 2017 is nothing compared to that brutal game. The toughness of the elements was matched only by the toughness of the players and coaches.
With 16 seconds left in the game, the Packers took their final timeout. They faced third and goal at the Dallas one yard line.
Let’s get the hell out of here
Trailing 17-14, a pass play if incomplete would still allow the tying field goal on four down. Yet the weather conditions were far too brutal for overtime. Green Bay quarterback Bart Starr wanted to try a quarterback sneak. If he was stopped, the clock would run out. Coaches today play for the tie. Vince Lombardi went for it all, win or lose on one play.
He told Starr, “Run it and let’s get the hell out of here!”
The field was frozen that day. The images from that game and that final play are frozen in time forever. Green Bay guard Jerry Kramer leveled a devastating wedge block on Dallas defender Jethro Pugh. Starr snuck across the goal line and the Packers had the 21-17 victory.
The Packers won their third straight NFL championship and their fifth championship in seven years. Following each of their last two championships, the Packers won a new game against the rival American Football League called the Super Bowl. After winning Super Bowls I and II, Lombardi retired from the Packers. Green Bay forever became known as Titletown.
The Super Bowl is now called the Lombardi Trophy.
2017 NFL Playoffs
So as NFL teams in 2017 fight for playoff spots and the right to win a championship, it is vital to remember what they are fighting for. The goal is to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy. This is done through hard work, blood, sweat, and guts.
Lombardi famously remarked, “Winning isn’t everything. Its the only thing.”
The first step to winning the Super Bowl starts on the 50th anniversary to the day of the Ice Bowl.
With that, here is the NFL 2017 Week 17 Preview and Bettor’s Guide.
There were no games on Thursday or Saturday and there is no Sunday night game because of New Year’s Eve. There is no Monday night game. All 16 games are being played on Sunday to maximize the number of teams playing their starters. The fight for a legacy begins on the golden anniversary of the greatest legacy. All point spreads are provided by FootballLocks.com and all game times are Eastern.
Sunday, December 30, 2017, 1:00 p.m.
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions (-6.5):
Both the 7-8 Packers and 8-7 Lions are out of the playoffs. Jim Caldwell may be fired after the game. Expect the Lions to play hard for Caldwell at home. With Aaron Rodgers out, this is a mismatch. Lions cover.
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (-5):
Both coaches might be fired after the game despite both teams playing much of the year with backup quarterbacks. Go with the home field. Colts win but fail to cover.
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-12):
John fox might be fired after the game. The 12-3 Vikings with a win will lock up a first round bye. A loss could force them to play on Wildcard weekend. Mike Zimmer’s defense will overwhelm Mitchell Trubisky. The spread is high, but the Vikings are hungry. Vikings cover.
New York Jets at New England Patriots (-15.5):
The Patriots with a win lock up home field throughout the playoffs. If they lose, they could lose that. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady love running up the score against the Jets. The spread is very high, and the Jets have been competitive all year. However, this is the type of game where the Patriots play like demons possessed. Patriots cover.
Washington Redskins (-3) at New York Giants:
The 7-8 Redskins want to get to .500 while the Giants may be seeing Eli Manning’s final game in the Big Apple. Given that thousands of people will stand in freezing cold weather to watch the ball drop in Manhattan, standing in freezing weather for Manning’s possible finale is not so crazy.
Memories aside, the Giants are awful. Redskins cover.
Dallas Cowboys (-3) at Philadelphia Eagles:
The 13-2 Eagles have locked up home field throughout the playoffs and Doug Peterson is resting his starters. Despite being 8-7 and out of the playoffs, Jerry Jones has said Jason Garrett is not being fired. Even with backups, the home crowd would love to end the year humiliating hated Dallas.
Upset special, Eagles win outright.
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (-7):
The Steelers have locked up a first-round bye but with a win . A New England loss can get home field throughout the playoffs. Cleveland is 0-15 and trying to become only the second team in NFL history to avoid the 0-16 ignominy. Pittsburgh often plays down to the level of their competition, but with so much on the line, Mike Tomlin will have his team focused. Steelers cover.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5);
The 11-4 Panthers have clinched a playoff spot but with a win and a New Orleans loss can clinch the NFC South. Carolina even has an outside shot at a first-round bye. For Atlanta, the stakes are even higher. If they win they are in the playoffs. If they lose and Seattle wins, Atlanta is out of the postseason entirely.
Atlanta has the offense and Carolina has the defense. Both teams are hungry, but Atlanta is more desperate. At home, trust them in a close one. Falcons win but fail to cover.
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens (-9.5);
The 9-6 Ravens have everything on the line. If they win, they make the playoffs. If they lose, they are most likely out. The Bengals are done and Marvin Lewis is resigning as coach after the game. Baltimore is peaking at the right time and will handle their business.
Buffalo Bills (-2.5) at Miami Dolphins;
Buffalo has the NFL’s longest playoff drought, having not made the postseason since the 1999 season. At 8-7, they can finally make the playoffs with a win and losses by other teams. Miami has nothing to play for. Having said all of that, they don’t call teams like the Dolphins spoilers for nothing. This could be Jay Cutler’s final game. Go with the home field. Upset special, Dolphins win outright.
New Orleans Saints (-7) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers;
In a stunning move, the Buccaneers announced that Dirk Koetter is not being fired. Meanwhile, the 11-4 Saints with a win lock up the NFC South. If the Saints lose and Carolina wins, the Saints fall to the Wildcard spot. Playing your first playoff game at home is plenty of motivation.
Saints win but fail to cover.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (-3);
The 10-5 Jaguars are locked into the three seed as AFC South champions. They will host a playoff game on Wildcard weekend. Normally a coach rests players in this situation, but Doug Marrone has an extra incentive to play his starters. The 8-7 Titans beat Jacksonville earlier this year.
With a Titans win, they make the playoffs. With a Titans loss, they most likely miss the playoffs. Doug Marrone and Mike Mularkey are actually not the same person, and Marrone would like nothing better than to knock his division rival out of the playoffs.
Tennessee was once 8-4, and a fourth straight loss could cost Mularkey his job. Jacksonville has the defense and are angry after a loss last week. The Titans are soft. Upset special, Jaguars win outright.
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (-3.5);
The 9-7 Chiefs have clinched the AFC West and are locked into the four seed. They will host a playoff game on Wildcard weekend. With nothing to play for, Walrus Lite Andy Reid is resting his starters. Rookie Patrick Mahomes will start his very first NFL game as Alex Smith rests. John Elway may fire Vance Joseph after this game, but Denver has won a couple games in recent weeks.
Against backups, Denver should be fine even with Paxton Lynch starting at quarterback. Broncos win but fail to cover.
Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers (-8);
This might be the strangest game of the day. Even though the Chargers are technically the home team, the Raiders have plenty of fans in Los Angeles. This game could come down to who actually has home field advantage, The Chargers are the better team. They are 8-7 and can make the playoffs with a win and some help. With a loss, the Chargers are out. The Raiders are a mess, but the defense has drastically improved in recent weeks. Jack Del Rio could be fired after the game, but this is doubtful. A more likely scenario is offensive coordinator Todd Downing being let go. If Derek Carr plays well, he can go toe to toe with Philip Rivers. In a season gone wrong, the Raiders would love to end the year ruining things for the former San Diego team. Upset special, Raiders win outright.
San Francisco 49ers (-3.5) at Los Angeles Rams;
The 49ers started 1-10 but have won four straight thanks to stellar play from jimmy Garoppollo. The 11-4 Rams have clinched the NFC West and will host a playoff game on Wildcard weekend. Sean McVay has concluded quite accurately that the difference between the three seed and four seed is almost nothing. Therefore, McVay is resting some starters. Against backups, the 49ers should be favored.
However, at home with a raucous crowd, the Rams will show surprising depth. Upset special, Rams win outright.
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks (-9.5);
The 8-7 Seahawks need to win and have Atlanta lose to make the playoffs. If Seattle loses, they are out. Arizona has nothing to play for, but this could be the final game for Bruce Arians, Larry Fitzgerald and Carson Palmer. They may all decide to retire, and Palmer is out injured. The Cardinals will play hard for Arians, but Seattle has everything to play for. At home with a crazed twelfth man, Seattle will take care of business.
The spread is high, and backup Drew Stanton is capable enough against a depleted Seattle defense. This could be the end of an era for the Legion of Boom. Seahawks win but fail to cover.