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NFL Picks, Week 17: Predictions against the point spread

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Let's see who Jesse likes in the final week of the regular season.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Last week of the regular season which can always be a hard week to make picks because you never know what teams are warming their cars in the parking lot and thinking about next week's vacation instead of winning a football game, but I'll see what I can do.

Detroit Lions (+7.5) at Green Bay Packers Under 47.5

The Packers are terrific at home, but the  Lions potentially have the kind of defense that could cause problems for the Packers offense much like  the Bills defense did because the Lions can create pressure by just using four and then playing coverage underneath. This is a big game for both teams, the winner will win the division. Somehow with all the weapons the Lions have on offense they can't score, which is why I like the under in the game. I also think it could be closer than people think though I don't think the Lions can win it here in Green Bay.

Pick: Lions lose by less than 7

Jacksonville Jaguars (+9.5) at Houston Texans Under 40.5

I don't think the Texans have enough on offense to be favored by 9.5 against anybody, but I also don't think they take the Jaguars lightly. The Texans can still theoretically make the playoffs. The Jaguars keep this game close, but lose.

Pick: Jaguars cover the spread

Cincinnati Bengals (+3.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers Over 48

The Bengals came up big in a prime time game which was something I wasn't sure they could do. Now they get another one in prime time against the offensively potent Steelers and I don't think they will fare so well.

Pick: Steelers cover the spread

Indianapolis Colts (-7) at Tennessee Titans Over 46.5

Will the Colts rest starters and coast? That's the big question here. If not I think this game isn't that close. The Titans should be checking out already.

Pick: Colts cover the spread

Cleveland Browns (+13) at Baltimore Ravens Under 39.5

I don't generally like giving double-digit points against divisional opponents. And I feel this way for this game too. The Ravens are a team still hoping to make it into the playoffs and the Browns would love to play spoiler. Joe Flacco plays anything like he did last week the Browns will win this one outright, but I expect him to play a lot better.

Pick: Browns lose by less than 13

Buffalo Bills (+5) at New England Patriots Under 44

The Patriots have a ridiculous record against the Bills with Tom Brady as the quarterback (I think it's 19-2 now), but the Bills defense has kept it close against good quarterbacks this year and there's also a possibility the Patriots could ease off the gas pedal early and remove Tom Brady ... especially if the Bills get a couple of good hits on him early (though BB generally likes to play pedal to the medal). The Patriots can't gain anything from this game because they have locked up the number one seed.

Pick: Bills cover the spread

New York Jets (+6) at Miami Dolphins Under 42

The Jets haven't quit on Rex Ryan though he is assuredly going to lose his job. The Dolphins started the season well and looked like one of the better teams in the league about six weeks ago but have struggled down the stretch. The Dolphins are the better team, but the Jets might be playing more inspired.

Pick: Jets cover the spread

Carolina Panthers (+3.5) at Atlanta Falcons Under 47.5

This game is for all the marbles. Winner of this game gets to host a playoff game next weekend at 7-9 or 7-8-1 if you're the Panthers. I'm personally rooting for a tie, how fun would that be a 6-8-2 team hosting a playoff game? Anyway for the game: last week the Falcons were able to generate a pass rush for really the first time this season, but that is a mirage. I think the Panthers are playing better football right now and the Falcons are no longer the unstoppable force at home.

Pick: Panthers cover the spread
Chicago Bears (+6) at Minnesota Vikings Over 44

The Vikings are a promising young team, but are they 6-point favorites? The Bears still have plenty of offensive talent and I think they'll come out and play one inspired game even though it looks like they have taken the last month off, just call it a hunch.

Pick: Bears win outright

San Diego (+1) at Kansas City Chiefs Over 40

This game line has probably moved by the time you're reading this because Alex Smith won't be playing. The Chargers should be favored and need this game for the playoffs. They should come out and play well. I think the Chargers win this game by at least three.

Pick: Chargers

Philadelphia Eagles (+2.5) at New York Giants Over 52.5

The Giants are favored? The first time they played the Eagles blanked them 27-0 and the lasting image from the game was Victor Cruz laying on the ground in pain screaming. A lot has changed since then. The Eagles have been relying on Mark Sanchez (which explains why they were almost guaranteed a playoff spot recently). The other big difference between the Eagles early in the year and the Eagles now is at the beginning of the season the Eagles had an extraordinary number of big plays from their defense and special teams and those predictably dried up. On offense, the absence of Desean Jackson has made itself known this year as they are down a lot on big plays from last year, though the Giants do have a penchant for giving up big plays. Earlier in the year the Eagles abused and harassed the Giants offensive line, but last week the Giants played very well against very good Rams front seven. Perhaps the line has finally gelled and we'll see better play.

This game to me comes down to this: the Eagles are finishing out what has now suddenly become a very disappointing season. Meanwhile the Giants are playing well over the last month. They have a bad taste in their mouth from the 27-0 beating they took earlier in the year, and right now they are just playing better. Plus Eli Manning > Mark Sachez

Pick: Giants win by at least 3

Dallas Cowboys (-5.5) at Washington Redskins Under 49

Theoretically the Cowboys could end up with the first seed though it's highly unlikely so I don't think that'll be huge motivation. The Cowboys are banged up at quarterback and running back where Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray are playing through injuries. There shouldn't be any major reason to push these guys all game to win a game that likely won't have real implications on playoff seeding because of the Cowboys conference record. And again it would make sense for the Cowboys to play Romo and Murray on a limited basis.

Pick: Redskins cover the spread

New Orleans Saints (-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Under 47

The Buccaneers haven't been any good at home this year (or the road really) and the Saints don't usually play well on grass, but one team is quarterbacked by Drew Brees.

Pick: Saints win by more than 4

St. Louis Rams (+12.5) at Seattle Seahawks Under 41

The Rams played well in the division and have a chance to spoil the Seahawks homefield advantage for the playoffs. They are also coming off a bad loss to the Giants and should be amped up for this game. It's very hard to win in Seattle, but I don't like giving up double digit points in divisional games and the Rams defense and special teams play can keep them in any game.

Pick: Rams cover the spread
Arizona Cardinals (+6) at San Francisco 49ers Over 36.5

Ryan Lindley is absolutely terrible.

Pick: 49ers cover the spread

Oakland Raiders (+14) at Denver Broncos Over 48

The Broncos need a big performance from their offense to get ready for the playoffs they have struggled a lot recently. This is just another hunch feeling, but I think they get it.

Pick: Broncos cover the spread

Week 1 -- ATS: 8-7-1 Straight up: 12-4

Week 2 -- ATS: 7-8  Straight Up: 8-7

Week 3 -- ATS: 13-3  Straight up:14-2

Week 4 -- ATS: 6-7 Straight up: 7-6

Week 5 -- ATS: 9-5 Straight up: 10-4

Week 6 -- ATS: 10-4 Straight up: 8-5-1

Week 7 -- ATS: 8-6  Straight up: 8-6

Week 8 ATS: 9-6 Straight up: 10-5

Week 9 -- ATS: 8-5 Straight up: 8-5

Week 10 -- ATS; 6-7 Straight up: 8-5  Over/Under 6-7

Week 11 ATS: 7-6-1 Straight up: 8-6  Over/Under 7-7 Locks-2-1-1

Week 12 ATS:   8-7  Straight up: 12-3   Over/Under  9-6  Locks: 1-3

Week 13 ATS: 5-10  Straight up: 7-8  Over/Under 7-4

Week 14 ATS: 11-5  Straight up: 10-6 Over/Under 6-6

Week 15 ATS 6-8-1    Straight Up 11-5    Over/Under 10-6

Week 16: ATS: 6-10  Straight up: 8-8 Over/Under 10-6

Season -- ATS: 120-95-3  Straight up -- 139-74-1  Over/Under 55/42