NFL Point Spread Picks Week 17
Sunday, December 31 - NFL ATS Picks
NFL Odds Courtesy of Sports Interaction
1:00 PM EST Kickoff
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Browns are tantalizingly close to pulling off an immaculate season of losing, and the Steelers want to help Cleveland achieve this rare feat. Incredibly, the spread for this matchup is less than a touchdown, indicating that somebody thinks the Browns have a chance at pulling off an upset. Pittsburgh does not want to head into the playoffs will a loss to Cleveland, making this spread a no-brainer. This opportunity’s about wagering on the Browns losing more than the Steelers winning.
Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers -6.0
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
The Green Bay Packers risked the health of the best quarterback in the NFL for a fraction of a chance to make the playoffs this season. When they lost to Carolina, Aaron Rodgers returned to the sideline, as did the Packers odds of winning any remaining games. Brett Hundley did his best, but there’s a chance he might finish the season without a TD pass, which would extend a futility record. The Lions should win a meaningless game at home.
Pick: Detroit Lions -7.0
Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens
Win and you’re in. That’s the goal facing the Baltimore Ravens, who were lucky enough to draw one of the easiest schedules in the AFC to finish the regular season. The Ravens should consider themselves fortunate that they play in a division which includes the Browns, providing two free wins. Cincinnati wanted to impeach Andy Dalton at the beginning of the season, and never recovered from the tough start. The Bengals don’t care while the Ravens have everything to lose.
Pick: Baltimore Ravens -9.0
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
Technically, the Minnesota Vikings have a 99% chance of earning a first-round bye, with the Panthers owning a less-than-one percent chance of finishing ahead of the Vikings in the NFC standings. The Chicago Bears should be proud of their 2017 season, which included stunning wins against the Steelers and the Ravens, powered by a top ten NFL defense. Chicago’s offense is third worst in the NFL because of weak QB play. The Vikings already beat the Bears in Windy City, which points to a rout in Minnesota.
Pick: Minnesota Vikings -12.5
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
Philly’s locked up their first-round bye while the Dallas Cowboys can’t make the playoffs without divine intervention wiping an NFC team of the face of the earth. The Eagles have absolutely nothing to prove, especially after earning victories and securing the NFC East without Carson Wentz. Despite playing at home, the Eagles will be considered the underdogs, while the Cowboys have been winning games that don’t mean much all season. Pick the Cowboys for another Pyrrhic victory on Sunday.
Pick: Dallas Cowboys -3.0
New York Jets at New England Patriots
New England started the season with a shocking home loss against the Kansas City Chiefs, and they’ll finish the year playing high-quality football like everyone expected. Before the season, the Jets were considered a candidate for a 0-16 season, but the Browns stepped up to earn that type of infamy. Similar to Pittsburgh, the Patriots locked up their first-round bye, but a loss to the Jets could ruin home advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
Belichick and Brady won’t end the season the way they started, but a spread larger than two touchdowns seems extreme.
Pick: New York Jets +15.5
Washington Redskins at New York Giants
This could be the ultimate worthless game of the day, pitting two teams which were absolutely decimated by injuries all season long. Somehow, Washington won seven games despite more than 20 players eventually landing on the injured reserve. Tough to believe, but the Giants had the bigger hurdle to overcome because their ex-coach drained all the joy out of playing competitive football in New York. Similar to the Colts and the Texans, nobody truly wins this matchup, even if Washington’s more likely to be the victor.
Pick: Washington Redskins -3.5
4:25 PM EST Kickoff
Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans
One of the more fascinating games of the afternoon involves the Titans fighting against the division-rival Jaguars. Jacksonville’s already wrapped up the division and can’t move up or down in the standings, regardless of the outcome. Apparently, the Jags will still field their starters, despite the risk of injury against a motivated Titans squad who need to win to secure a playoff spot. Expect the Jaguars to take the latter half of the game off to preserve their health for the playoffs, leading to a Titans win.
Pick: Tennessee Titans -1.5
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
Remember when coach McDermott benched Tyrod Taylor against the Chargers and lost 54-24 because the backup QB threw five interceptions? Bills fans certainly recall this profoundly stupid decision which cost Buffalo their first playoff spot since 1999. Instead of enjoying an inspiring finish to the regular season, the Bills will carry on as the team with the longest playoff drought in North American sports – worse than the Browns. If you’re not a Bills fan, give thanks for not rooting for Buffalo.
Pick: Buffalo Bills -2.5
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons
One of the most fascinating games of the day will be the Panthers facing the Falcons in Atlanta. These teams are solid NFL clubs with something to win, which doesn’t describe many of the clashes this Sunday. These teams have similar defensive ratings, while the Falcons produce slightly fewer points than the Panthers. The Falcons play at home and could be kicked out of the playoffs, motivating the likelihood of an Atlanta win. A Panthers victory isn’t likely to give them the division title over the Saints.
Pick: Atlanta Falcons -4.0
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
These two teams have been terrible for most of the NFL season, although the Texans deserve respect for enduring a terrible swath of injuries which robbed the team of Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt. Indianapolis should have an edge because they’re playing at home. Without Watt, Houston plummeted to the worst defense in the NFL. Indy has the second worst defense in the league, along with a limp offense. If possible, both of these teams would lose this afternoon. Instead, pick the Texans to cover.
Pick: Houston Texans +5.5
New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The New Orleans Saints enjoy a fabulous opportunity to wrap up the division title by playing against a truly awful team. Jameis Winston had an on-field nervous breakdown during his version of the fumblerooski, which involved actually turning over the football. There’s nothing to indicate that the Bucs will transcend an entire season of poor gridiron to kick their division rivals off their NFC South perch. Take advantage of yet another solid opportunity with a spread under seven points.
Pick: New Orleans Saints -6.5
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
The Chiefs already stumbled into clinching the AFC West division, mostly because rivals like the Broncos, Chargers and Raiders weren’t interested in playing winning football. What could’ve been the most competitive division in the NFL turned into the worst, leading to a situation where the division winner could finish with fewer than ten wins. Neither Denver nor Kansas have anything to prove, but the Chiefs will likely rest starters for the playoffs, handing this game to an awful Denver squad.
Pick: Denver Broncos -4.0
Oakland Raiders at Los Angeles Chargers
Similar to other divisional matchups, this game could’ve meant a lot to both teams. Instead, the Chargers need to win to fulfill a 31% chance to make the playoffs, while Oakland has nothing to play for anymore. They’ll whimper all the way to Las Vegas over the next couple of years, destroying the legacy of the black-and-silver. In the meantime, the Chargers will take care of the Raiders, just in case the Titans and/or Ravens let Los Angeles into the playoffs.
Pick: Los Angeles Chargers -7.0
San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams
The Rams will probably rest their starters because they have nothing to gain in the last game of the regular season. Los Angeles won the NFC West, but have no chance to earn a first-round bye in the playoffs. San Francisco has been thrilled with the Garoppolo trade, because Jimmy looks like he learned how to QB during his time as backup to Brady.
The 49ers have been one of the better stories in the second half of the season, winning four in a row and five of their last six. Expect San Francisco to finish with a five-game win streak to end 2017.
Pick: San Francisco 49ers -5.0
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks were demoralized by a 42-7 beating at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams in week 15, which reduced Seattle’s odds of making the playoffs to 30% during the last week of the regular season. Their NFC West rivals would love to finish their season on a high note, but the Cardinals lost to the Seahawks in Arizona during week 10. This time, these teams play in hostile Seattle environs, which greatly favors the Seahawks. Seattle wants to win to finish the season, potentially sneaking into the playoffs.
Pick: Seattle Seahawks -9.0
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