PATRIOTS THIS WEEK

Patriots (12-3) vs. Jets (5-10), 1 p.m. (CBS)

Outlook: No resting Tom Brady because the Pats must win (or hope for a very unlikely Steelers loss) to clinch home-field throughout playoffs, aka, a free pass to the Super Bowl. New England only won the earlier meeting 24-17, but the Jets are piloted now by Bryce Petty, who’s been terrible.

Spread: Patriots -161/2

Prediction: Patriots 34-10

GAME OF THE WEEK

Panthers (11-4) at Falcons (9-6), 4:25 p.m. (FOX)

Outlook: Tempted as I was to place the Game of the Week sash on Cleveland-Pittsburgh as the 0-15 Browns try to avoid historic ignominy, here’s a division rivalry with actual stakes. Carolina is playoff-clinched but its seeding is in play. Atlanta, more desperate, must win to assure itself a playoff spot — or must pray heavily favored Seattle loses at home. The Panthers have won seven of their past eight overall, beat the Falcons in an earlier meeting 20-17 and are 3-1 in season finales at Atlanta. Nevertheless, give me Matt Ryan at home.

Spread: Falcons +4.

Prediction: Falcons, 27-24.

UPSET OF THE WEEK

49ers (5-10) at Rams (11-4), 4:25 p.m. (FOX)

Outlook: This is among a handful of Week 17 games with screwball betting lines based on playoff-clinched teams maybe resting starters. For example, we know RB Todd Gurley and star DT Aaron Donald will sit for the Rams, who have secured their first division title since 2003. I still like the Rams at home. They’ll want some tailwind heading into playoffs. Plus, Jimmy Garoppolo — 6-0 as a starter, including 4-0 with Niners — is bound to Garoppolose sometime, right?

Spread: 49ers +31/2.

Prediction: Rams 23-20.

OTHER GAMES

Bills (8-7, -21/2) over At Dolphins (6-9), 23-17: To reach the playoffs for the first time since 1999, the Bills must beat Miami, and either have the Ravens lose or have the Chargers and Titans both lose. With little cause but a hunch, I see Miami finishing strong with a home upset over a Bills squad that is only 2-5 away. So Miami continues the long Bison playoff drought, at least.

 At Lions (8-7, -7) over Packers (7-8), 23-20: Give us Green Bay with the points but Detroit outright in a result that might save Jim Caldwell’s job. Both teams are out of playoff contention.

 At Colts (3-12, -4) over Texans (4-11), 19-17: Line opened even but swung sharply to the Colts in an ugly matchup. I get it. Houston is 1-6 away and T.J. Yates is redefining awful.

 At Vikings (12-3, -13) over Bears (5-10), 31-13: Minnesota QB Case Keenum should get an MVP vote or two. I’m serious. Vikings need to win (or hope Carolina loses) to clinch a first-round bye. Done. Almost forgot: Bye bye, John Fox.

 Washington (7-8, -3) over At Giants (2-13), 21-17: Eli Manning’s last game as a Giant? Hey, we’ve got to find some reason to watch this, right?

At Eagles (13-2, +3) over Cowboys (8-7), 23-20: That Philadelphia is unbeaten at home but a home underdog owes to the Eagles having already clinched home-field throughout the playoffs, so no stakes. But that goes for eliminated Dallas, too. Who knows how much starters will play, but still like the better team at home.

 At Steelers (12-3, -121/2) over Browns (0-15), 24-6: Will the Browns join the 2008 Lions as the only 0-16 teams? Steelers would claim home-field throughout the playoffs by winning only if the Patriots lose. Cleveland Coach Hue Jackson says he’ll fulfill a promise and jump into Lake Erie. May have no choice. Fans will be chasing him with torches and pitchforks.

 Chiefs (9-6, +31/2) over At Broncos (5-10), 17-10: Another bizarre betting line because Kansas City is locked into the No. 4 AFC playoff seed and will start rookie Patrick Mahomes at QB. But Paxton Lynch, almost as green, goes for Denver.

 At Titans (8-7, -31/2) over Jaguars (10-5), 24-21: And the parade of oddball bet-lines continues. Jacksonville is in the playoffs but says it won’t rest starters. The Titans make the playoffs by winning but likely miss if they lose. Give me the home team with the must-win stakes.

 At Chargers (8-7, -8) over Raiders (6-9), 27-23: The Chargers have won eight of the past 11 but it’s win-and-pray here. To make the playoffs, L.A. must win and then receive the gift of losses by the Titans, and either the Bills or Bengals.

 At Seahawks (9-6, -10) over Cardinals (7-8), 24-10: Playing for its life, Seattle must win and hope the Falcons lose at home to Carolina to slip into the postseason. Arizona has won three of its past four trips to Seattle but Coach Bruce Arians erred telling his players, “We know that’s our home field.” Bulletin board, anyone?

 Saints (11-4, -7) over At Buccaneers (4-11), 31-16: New Orleans began the season 0-2 but can clinch the NFC South and enhance its playoff standing with a win. Tampa Bay’s defense vs. Drew Brees is a mismatch.

 At Ravens (9-6, -101/2) over Bengals (6-9), 23-17: Ravens should be thinking must-win here. Win and they make the playoffs, lose and they would need both the Bills and Titans to lose. Cincinnati’s offense will struggle with Baltimore’s defense. Oh, and farewell to Marvin Lewis, who in 15 years as the Bengals’ coach won the same number of playoff games (zero) as you and I did.

Last week: 12-4 overall, 7-8-1 vs. spread

Season: 147-93, 100-124-16

– Greg Cote, Miami Herald