NFL Sports

NFL: Week 17 Picks Against the Spread

Davante Adams

Well, The Game Haus is one non-disastrous week away from finishing the NFL regular season in the black against the spread. After an 8-7-1 mark last week, the season record sits at 119-114-7. Picks are bolded, outright upsets have an asterisk, and all spreads are from rtsports.com at the time of writing.

Bucs at Falcons (-1)- Two teams whose defenses are the primary reasons for bad seasons will finish out the slate against each other. Take the home team whose entire coaching staff probably is not going to get fired Monday. Heads are getting ready to roll in Tampa Bay. Atl 30 TB 17

Panthers at Saints (-7)- We already know the road to the Super Bowl will go through New Orleans. Thus, Teddy Bridgewater will start for the Saints as they rest their future Hall of Fame starter. Bridgewater may still be good enough to start on half of the teams in the NFL and the Panthers are so beat up that the Saints are still a touchdown favorite, even with their foot off the gas. Vegas is telling you something here. Listen. NO 27 Car 17

Cowboys at Giants (-6.5)- The Giants are 4-3 since their Week 9 bye and have performed well in the “playing for pride” situation this year. The NFC East champion Cowboys don’t have a particularly deep roster to begin with and are likely to be resting guys for the playoffs. Nyg 21 Dal 13

Lions at Packers (-8)- Aaron Rodgers seems significantly less pouty with Mike McCarthy gone. He is nothing if not a fierce competitor. Guys like that make the difference in “meaningless” games, but these teams are separated by just one win. This is too big a number. GB 21 Det 17

Jaguars vs Texans (-6.5)- Houston’s situation is pretty unique. They are in the playoffs but could be in any one of the six seeding positions. The offensively challenged Jags are the perfect opponent to ensure landing somewhere on the higher end of that spectrum. Hou 24 Jac 17

Dolphins at Bills (-5.5)- Miami quit last week while they still had faint playoff hopes. Expect a similar effort or lack of effort as they go on the road in a cold-weather city to close out the year. Despite a revolving door a quarterback, Josh Allen is Buffalo’s guy for the future and the Bills have been a tough out pretty much all year. Buf 20 Mia 10

Jets at Patriots (-13.5)- Rookie Sam Darnold has six touchdown passes to just one interception since returning from injury. His passer rating has been in the triple digits in each of the last two weeks. He can lead his team to cover here, but nothing more. For all the talk about what’s wrong with the mighty Patriots, they are still going to get a first bye and at least one home playoff game. They are the safe bet to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl once again. NE 31 Nyj 20

Bears at Vikings (-4.5)- Both teams have something to play for here, but the Bears window for a playoff bye only opens if the Rams stumble against San Francisco, which is not likely. The Vikings season continues with a win and could end without one. Desperation wins here. Min 24 Chi 17

Bengals at Steelers (-14.5)- The Steelers need a win and help to reach the playoffs, they’ll get the first part of that equation done, but this is way too many points. Pittsburgh plays down to its competition. That’s the one predictable thing about them. The Bengals have not been terrible in the last month. The Steelers have lost to or struggled with Denver, Jacksonville, Oakland, and the pre-Baker Mayfield version of the Browns. This line is easy money. Pit 28 Cin 20

Baker Mayfield
Photo: USA Today

*Browns at Ravens (-6)- Speaking of Mayfield, he and the Browns would rather not help the Steelers into the playoffs. However, if it means knocking the former Browns franchise out of the playoffs, that scenario becomes much more appealing. There has been a certain swagger about the Browns ever since Mayfield took over. This is their Super Bowl. The Ravens’ offensive limitations with Lamar Jackson at the helm are bound to catch up with them sooner rather than later. Cle 20 Bal 17

Chargers (-6.5) at Broncos- Denver matches up pretty well with the Chargers as we saw earlier this year, but Denver is banged up and has clearly quit on Vance Joseph after making the Raiders look like the ‘85 Bears last week. This is also a big one for Los Angeles in terms of playoff seeding. Lac 24 Den 14

Raiders at Chiefs (-14)- The only thing preventing the outright upset call here is guts. The Raiders have been much improved the last few weeks while the playoff-bound Chiefs have struggled the last two weeks. Apart from two games against the Cardinals and Bengals, opposing offenses have had their way with the Chiefs defense all year long. If the offense gets contained even a little bit, this team is in trouble. Kansas City is 31st in total defense.

However, last week’s performance aside, the Raiders defense has been just as bad this year. The Chiefs won a 40-33 shootout in Oakland a few weeks ago. A similar result should surprise no one here. KC 38 Oak 35

Eagles (-6.5) at *Redskins– Josh Johnson has given the Redskins a chance to win and then some in his starts. Everyone is well aware of what Nick Foles and company did last year, but this isn’t last year. Even if the door opens, the Eagles are just too inconsistent to make the playoffs. Was 24 Phi 21

49ers at Rams (-10)- The Rams finish with the Cardinals and 49ers sets up really nicely for them heading into the playoffs. They needed to fine-tune some things after a couple rough outings. Neither opponent has the horses to hang with them, even on their worst day. Expect that fine-tuning process to continue here as they lock up a first-round playoff bye. Lar 33 Ari 21

Cardinals at Seahawks (-13)- This game is of little consequence to the Seahawks who have already locked down a wild-card playoff spot. Still, Pete Carroll has said he does not like resting players. Even if he does do that here, his backups are probably better than Arizona’s first unit. Sea 30 Ari 13

Andrew Luck
Photo: A to Z Sports Nashville

Colts (-3) at Titans- You would think that a playoff elimination game like this would require going deeper than the quarterback matchup. However, when it is Andrew Luck playing at an MVP level and the opposition is countering with a banged Marcus Mariota or Blaine Gabbert, there is no need to go beyond that. Ind 28 Ten 17

 

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