On Sunday, the regular season comes to a close with two very important games (and by "very important" I mean at least one of the teams is trying to win). Yeah, it's a shame the Vikings and Browns need to rely on somebody else's backups to get into the playoffs, but they should have thought of that before they included copious amounts of interceptions in last week's game plans. I think fans just need to look at the situation optimistically -- losing the tie-breakers will cost the Browns and Vikings a playoff berth, but it will improve their draft position.

Speaking of draft position, if I want to be picked in the first round of next year's "NFL Picks Columnist Fantasy Draft" I'm going to need to push my record over the .500 mark with a 10-6 week. On that note, let's move onto the picks.

New England at New York Giants (-13.5): Attention Tom Coughlin: If the Patriots get into the Red zone, you might want to think about double teaming Randy Moss. Or triple teaming him. In fact, why not just line up the whole defense in front of him. I don't care if it's 1st and goal from the 1-yard line -- dare Bill Belichick to run it in. The other 31 NFL teams have lost the war, but if they can keep Moss from the receiving touchdown record they can win one battle. Pick: New England

New Orleans at Chicago (+1): The Saints need a lot of help to make the playoffs which is why I'm recommending they follow this list of 36 things that can bring them luck. The team should pay particular attention to "meeting 3 sheep," "sleeping facing south," "putting a dress on inside out," and "carrying an acorn on your person." Pick: Chicago

Detroit at Green Bay (-3): Packers punter Jon Ryan had one of the worst games in the history of the league last week. He fumbled a snap, had two kicks blocked, and booted another punt only 9 yards. What most people don't know is that Ryan also injured two cheerleaders in pre-game warm ups when he struck them with errant punts. Pick: Detroit

Buffalo at Philadelphia (-7.5): Donovan McNabb and Andy Reid both maintain that McNabb will be back next year, but I'm not so sure. After McNabb left practice on Thursday he turned his parking pass, a team-issued jock strap, and his key the practice facility's VIP bathroom. Pick: Philadelphia

Carolina at Tampa Bay (+3): The Panthers placed Julius Peppers on injured reserved, which symbolically is a fitting end to a disappointing season. The good news is that now when the team looks back on reasons for their poor play they can make themselves feel better by adding "and Julius Peppers was hurt." It won't even matter that the team still stunk when he was healthy. Pick: Carolina

Jacksonville at Houston (-6.5): A win will give the Texans their first ever non-losing season, but that's not all the history that could be made on Sunday. The team says it's also close to getting rid of the stench that's been lingering around the section 237 bathrooms since Reliant Stadium first opened. Pick: Houston

Seattle at Atlanta (-1): The Seahawks are in the playoffs for the 5th straight season. That's the longest streak in the NFC and ties them with the Patriots for the longest streak in the NFL. The Falcons are streaking too -- this is their third straight week without a coach resigning. Pick: Seattle

San Francisco at Cleveland (-10): So Derek Anderson might not lead the Browns to the playoffs after all. I doubt Brady Quinn would have done any better, but his Browns team in Madden '08 did finish the season 12-4. (Although is should be noted that Quinn traded himself and a 4th round pick for Peyton Manning after a 1-3 start.) Pick: Cleveland

Minnesota at Denver (+6): The Broncos have a chance to play spoiler against the Vikings. That could be a lot more fun than the role of "cupcake" they've been playing the last few weeks. Pick: Minnesota

Pittsburgh at Baltimore (-3.5): It's safe to say this season was a disappointment for the Ravens. On the bright side, now they know the answer to the question of what would happen if their five most important players missed large chunks of the season. Pick: Pittsburgh

Cincinnati at Miami (+3): Here is a Dolphins timeline from last Sunday evening: 7:17 p.m. -- The Dolphins officially lock up the first pick in the draft. 7:19 p.m. -- Mel Kiper Jr. calls wanting to know who the team will pick. 7:27 p.m. -- Kiper Jr. e-mails the team to ask about the pick again. 7:38 p.m. -- A telegram arrives at team headquarters asking that somebody call Kiper Jr. back before 8:00 p.m. 7:58 p.m. -- Kiper Jr. arrives at his 8:00 p.m. hair appointment. Pick: Miami

San Diego at Oakland (+9): You know how the great players give it everything they have whether they're winning by 30, losing by 30, or tied in the final minute? Phillip Rivers has that gift, only it's for trash talking. Rivers' uncanny ability to not let the scoreboard affect the movement of his lips is matched only by Ray Lewis. One day Rivers might even surpass Lewis -- assuming he keeps the Chargers starting quarterback job long enough. Pick: San Diego

St. Louis at Arizona (-6): The end of the season will come as a relief to many of these players. Torry Holt can finally stop leaving profanity-laced passing game advice in Scott Linehan's suggestion box, Marc Bulger will get some time to let his bones heal, and Matt Leinart will longer have to call everyday to say he's "getting treatment" in L.A. Pick: St. Louis

Dallas at Washington (-9): Tony Romo has found that the best treatment for his injured thumb is spending more time with Jessica Simpson. Pick: Washington

Kansas City at New York Jets (-6.5): Do you realize that if the Patriots win and the Jets and Browns lose Bill Belichick will have won more games this year than the combined total of his three most recent disciples? I wonder if Eric Mangini has a bet with his old boss about this? That could be what's driving the Patriots towards 16-0 -- not all those silly records and a place in NFL history. Pick: Kansas City

Tennessee at Indianapolis (+6.5): To help make up for the fact that the Colts aren't really trying to win the game, RCA Dome officials promise to pipe in double the crowd noise that they usually do. Pick: Indianapolis

Last Week: 6-9 Season: 111-114-10

Got something to say to Eric? E-mail him at extramustardnflpicks@gmail.com

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