NFL PICKS — WEEK 17 Black and Blue Clas­sic: Vikes-Pack to de­cide NFC North

Winnipeg Free Press - Section D - - SPORTS - By Barr y Wilner

AH, t he Black and Blue Di­vi­sion. We re­mem­ber it well. So do the Vik­ings and Packers, who meet at Lam­beau Field Sun­day night to de­ter­mine the cham­pion of the lat­est in­car­na­tion of the Black and Blue, the NFC North.

The visi­tors en­ter the game with a lot more pos­i­tives than the hosts. Min­nesota (No. 9 in AP Pro32) comes off routs of the Bears and Gi­ants to get to 10-5. Green Bay (No. 10, AP Pro32), also is 10-5, but be­gan the year 6-0 and comes off be­ing an­ni­hi­lated by Ari­zona last week.

The Vik­ings are three-point un­der­dogs in a place where they haven’t won since 2009.

“This is what it’s all about this time of the year. It’s time to buckle up and keep grind­ing. We know the op­por­tu­nity is there in front of us,” said line­backer Chad Green­way, one of three play­ers on the ac­tive ros­ter who were around for the last Vik­ings di­vi­sion ti­tle in 2009.

It’s also time for the Packers to wake up, par­tic­u­larly an of­fence that has stag­nated de­spite hav­ing Aaron Rodgers at quar­ter­back.

“I have faith in the foot­ball team re­gard­less of what hap­pened (in Ari­zona),” coach Mike McCarthy said. So do we. PACKERS, 23-17

KNOCK­OUT LEAGUE TIP: Any­one who has sur­vived in a knock­out league to this point is a ge­nius. Pro Picks is not and fell again last week with PIT TSBURGH. We’ll fin­ish off the sea­son with DEN­VER.

No. 21 New Or­leans (plus 3½) at No. 14 At­lanta. Fal­cons are primed to end sea­son the way they be­gan it. BEST BET: FAL­CONS, 30-23

Detroit (plus 1) at Chicago The other NFC Nor th game, a who-cares af fair.

UP­SET SPE­CIAL: LI­ONS, 29-26

Philadel­phia (plus 3) at New York Gi­ants Have a feel­ing the Gi­ants will play harder for Tom Cough­lin than the Ea­gles will for in­terim coach.

GI­ANTS, 30-28

New York Jets (mi­nus 3) at Buf­falo Have a feel­ing the Jets will play harder for Todd than the Bills will for Rex.

JETS, 21-20

Pitts­burgh (mi­nus 10) at Cleve­land Last place the Steel­ers want to end their sea­son is in Cleve­land. Sorr y.

STEEL­ERS, 37-20

Seat­tle (plus 3½) at Ari­zona Sim­ply put, the Car­di­nals are the bet ter and health­ier team.

CAR­DI­NALS, 20-16

San Diego (plus 9) at Den­ver The Bron­cos des­per­ately need a bye in the playof fs and will grab it.

BRON­COS, 26-13

Oak­land (plus 7) at Kansas Cit y Can’t see the Chiefs slow­ing down against archri­val, but it will be tight.

CHIEFS, 17-13

Tampa Bay (plus 10) at Carolina The Pan­thers made things tough on them­selves with first loss, must play reg­u­lars now.

PAN­THERS, 27-13

New Eng­land (mi­nus 9) at Miami The Pa­tri­ots made things tough on them­selves with loss to the Jets, must play reg­u­lars now — if they have enough of them.

PA­TRI­OTS, 21-16

Bal­ti­more (plus 7) at Cincin­nati The Ben­gals still kick­ing them­selves af ter blow­ing 14-point lead in Den­ver.

BEN­GALS, 20-10

Jack­sonville (plus 6) at Hous­ton Tex­ans could stum­ble here and blow the di­vi­sion, but we see them squeez­ing in.

TEX ANS, 23-21

Ten­nessee (plus 6) at In­di­anapo­lis The Colts need too much to hap­pen to get the AFC South crown. Los­ing here ends any hopes.

TI­TANS, 19-14

St. Louis (mi­nus 3) at San Francisco We like how the Rams have looked the last three weeks, es­pe­cially on de­fence.

RAMS, 16-10

Wash­ing­ton (plus 3) at Dal­las The Red­skins have lit tle mo­ti­va­tion other than mo­men­tum.

COW­BOYS, 17-16

2015 RECORD: Against spread: Week 7-7, Sea­son (113-110-6). Straight up: Week 9-7, Sea­son (147-93) Best Bet: 7-8-1 against spread, 9-7 straight up. Up­set spe­cial: 8-8 against spread, 5-11 straight up.

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