Week 17 NFL Picks: Finalizing Playoff Implications
A lot hangs in the balance as we prepare for the final week of the 2015 NFL regular season. Some coaches are waiting on pending pink slips, some could still play their ways back into their job and a bunch of teams have some work to do before knowing where they’ll be seeded in the playoffs.
It’s the most hectic week of pro football during the regular season, and you want to throw some NFL betting into the mix. That’s a dangerous game when you consider all of the different variables, but it’s certainly not one that is a waste of time. We’ll help out the best we can by breaking down each contest and showing you the best way to lean via our NFL picks in week 17:
(-3) Jets @ Bills
Rex Ryan hosts his former team on Sunday, as his Bills are out of the playoffs and the Jets are trying to get in. With a win, New York is almost certainly in, so even though Ryan will hate to lose here, it’s tough to see the Jets come up short. There is some sweet revenge on the other side for Ryan Fitzpatrick, too, while the Jets have been the better team all year. They also won the previous meeting this season, so I like them to win and cover.
Pick: Jets 27, Bills 17
(-10) Patriots @ Dolphins
New England is still trying to lock up home field advantage in the AFC and need to win to do so, so look for Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski to play deep into this one. Miami is lifeless and out of the playoff picture, so a big blowout is likely.
Pick: Patriots 37, Dolphins 20
Saints @ Falcons (-5.5)
New Orleans beat the Falcons at home earlier this year to end a 5-0 start to the year, and Atlanta really hasn’t been the same since. They seem a bit revitalized after taking down the Panthers last week, though, and tend to play far better at home. I’m not big into this spread, but I’ll take the Falcons to win a close shootout.
Pick: Falcons 30, Saints 27
Lions @ Bears (pick’em)
This does feel like a total pick’em, seeing that both teams are 6-9 and have been pretty competitive on the year. Chicago has oddly been atrocious (1-6) on their home field, though, while the Lions have looked like a pretty decent team throughout the second half of the season.
Pick: Lions 24, Bears 23
Eagles @ Giants (-4)
This should be another pick’em, as the Giants and Eagles play little defense and have nothing to play for with their division decided. Fans can hope for an exciting shootout at least, but with Chip Kelly already canned, the Giants at least have continuity (for now) on their side. Odell Beckham Jr. returns from a one-game ban and should give Big Blue a boost, as well.
Pick: Giants 31, Eagles 26
Redskins @ Cowboys (-4)
There’s an argument to be made that the Redskins could sit most of their starters with nothing to gain but a 9-7 record in this game, but Dallas is tossing the inept Kellen Moore out there. The Redskins have the division locked up, but they don’t want to be 8-8 or lose to Dallas. Look for them to do enough to close the season strong and sweep the ‘Boys.
Pick: Redskins 17, Cowboys 13
Titans @ Colts (-6)
Indy has a very small chance at a playoff spot yet, but Josh Freeman figures to start under center. Tennessee is also down their main quarterback, but Zach Mettenberger is a little more promising. Things are caving in around the Colts, so a season finale loss seems fitting.
Pick: Titans 19, Colts 16
Ravens @ Bengals (-9.5)
Baltimore has fought pretty hard all year despite starting off in ugly fashion, but the Bengals are at home and still have a shot at home field advantage if they can win this week. The Ravens should do enough to beat the spread, but I can’t see them winning in Cincy.
Pick: Bengals 27, Ravens 20
(-11) Steelers @ Browns
If Johnny Manziel (concussion) were starting I’d at least give the Browns a chance to play spoiler here, but I can’t do that with Austin Davis under center. Pittsburgh is on the road but they know they need a win for even a shot at the playoffs. Look for them to win big.
Pick: Steelers 34, Browns 10
Jaguars @ Texans (-6.5)
The story is much the same for the Texans, who just about have the AFC South wrapped up but still may need a win this week to make it official. Luckily they have Brian Hoyer back and their defense is still looking strong. Being at home against a 5-win team can’t hurt, either.
Pick: Texans 23, Jaguars 10
Raiders @ Chiefs (-7)
Oakland is probably a good amount better than their 7-8 record suggests, and there’s no doubt they’ll hope to win so they can at least avoid yet another losing season. That will be tough on the road against a Chiefs team that is shooting for their ninth win in a row.
Pick: Chiefs 27, Raiders 23
Chargers @ Broncos (-9)
San Diego is about as lifeless as they come thanks to injuries and a lack of a running game. The Broncos simply need to not bury themselves in this one, as they have the defensive advantage and are at home.
Pick: Broncos 33, Chargers 10
Buccaneers @ Panthers (-11)
Carolina gets quite a tasty spread here despite the Bucs being a competitive 6-9 and also giving them a hard time earlier this year. I don’t think Jameis Winston and co. stage the upset with Carolina fighting to hold onto home field advantage, but I do think they give Cam Newton and the Panthers a fight.
Pick: Panthers 27, Buccaneers 21
Seahawks @ Cardinals (-6.5)
Seattle can’t really improve their playoff positioning, but a win on the road this week splits the season series with Arizona and would also move them to 10-6. As much as they’ll want it, they’re beaten up with injuries on offense and the Cards badly want to pull off the sweep.
Pick: Cardinals 26, Seahawks 23
(-3.5) Rams @ 49ers
The Rams could have mailed it in a few weeks back but they earned a big road upset win over the Seahawks last week and will be shooting for a solid 8-8 finish here. The Rams are the better team and have much more momentum, while San Francisco slides to an ugly season with their fourth straight loss.
Pick: Rams 17, 49ers 9
Vikings @ Packers (-3)
In one of the biggest games of the week, Adrian Peterson leads his Vikings into Lambeau Field to try to take the NFC North crown away from the Packers. The division is certainly on the line, but even bigger is the right for home field when these two teams likely square off again in the playoffs. It’s anyone’s guess what goes down in the post-season, but for this game, I expect Green Bay to lay down the law.
Pick: Packers 24, Vikings 17
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