The end of the 2017 NFL regular season is here with Week 17 taking place this Sunday on New Year’s Eve. There are twelve teams that will make the playoffs and nine of those teams are already known. What we need to know is who the AFC’s two wildcard teams are with four teams (Baltimore, Tennessee, San Diego, and Buffalo) fighting for two spots. In the NFC, there’s one spot left with only Atlanta or Seattle able to claim it. Some of the seeding needs to be sorted out too with the Panthers trying to win the NFC South from the Saints. I’ll get into the playoff scenarios when I focus on the individual teams.
Every game on the schedule this week is a divisional game. If you’re wondering, the NFC dominated the head to head battle against the AFC, which I tweeted out earlier in the week.
There’s no Thursday, Saturday or Monday game this week. There’s not even a Sunday night game. Every game is taking place at either 1pmET or 4:25pmET Sunday with teams dealing with similar playoff scenarios playing at the same time.
This is the hardest week to pick games because there are going to be a bunch of teams resting key players heading into the playoffs. Some bad teams may sit starters just because they want to put in some younger guy to see what they can get from him. A lot of it is a crapshoot, so if you’re betting, please be smart about it. I’m a heavy bettor and even I take it easy in Week 17 every year because you just never know.
Last Week’s Results:
11-5 Straight Up (158-82 Season, .658)
9-6-1 Point Spread (122-113-5 Season, .519)
Note: The point spreads I use come from VegasInsider. All times listed are in the Eastern Time zone.
Chicago (5-10) @ Minnesota (12-3) -12 [1:00pm SUN]
The Vikings haven’t clinched the two-seed and that first round bye yet, so they’ll be trying to win this game one week after a road shutout against the Packers. I don’t think the Bears offense will be able to do much since they are so limited in the passing game this year (second to last in the NFL).
The Pick: Minnesota 27-13
Green Bay (7-8) @ Detroit (8-7) -7 [1:00pm SUN]
The Lions have a much better QB advantage with Matt Stafford, who is likely playing hurt, against Brett Hundley, so give me the home team here. The Packers should bounce back next year with a healthy Aaron Rodgers. I think the awful play of Hundley makes Rodgers look like the MVP favorite next year because we can see how bad the Packers are without him.
The Pick: Detroit 33-16
NY Jets (5-10) @ New England (12-3) -15.5 [1:00pm SUN]
New England needs this week to lock up the top seed in the AFC because if they lose and the Steelers win then it goes to the Steelers. The Jets have lost three straight, the offense is brutal with Bryce Petty at QB and I don’t see them doing much in this game. The Patriots will probably run RB Dion Lewis a lot, keep QB Tom Brady from taking big hits and win easily.
The Pick: New England 31-10
Houston (4-11) @ Indianapolis (3-12) -4 [1:00pm SUN]
Two terrible teams going nowhere. Doesn’t really matter. Let’s go Colts at home.
The Pick: Indianapolis 23-17
Washington (7-8) -3.5 @ NY Giants (2-13) [1:00pm SUN]
It’s a meaningless game that Washington should win since they have more talent. A Giants loss means they lock up the no. 2 pick in the draft. It will be interesting to see if they draft a QB in that spot because Eli Manning is probably going to retire in a year or two and it may be the right time to draft the heir apparent.
The Pick: Washington 24-20
Dallas (8-7) -2.5 @ Philadelphia (13-2) [1:00pm SUN]
The reason Dallas is favored on the road is that the Eagles have already clinched the top seed in the NFC meaning they have a bye next week. Philly will be resting their key guys. The Cowboys are eliminated, so they have nothing to play for and may choose to sit star players like QB Dak Prescott and RB Ezekiel Elliott because why risk injuries? Good luck picking the winner.
The Pick: Dallas 23-20
Cleveland (0-15) @ Pittsburgh (12-3) -13 [1:00pm SUN]
As I mentioned in the New England game, the top seed in the AFC is still up for grabs, so Pittsburgh will try here. That’s bad news for the Browns, who are likely going to finish 0-16 one year after being 1-15. What a brutal time to be a Browns fans. At least it can’t get worse next year! See that, Browns fans, I’m trying to be positive for you.
The Pick: Pittsburgh 30-13
Carolina (11-4) @ Atlanta (9-6) -4 [4:25pm SUN]
Hey look, it’s a meaningful game! Yes! If the Falcons win they are the six seed in the NFC while the Panthers are already in. It’s big for the Panthers because if they win and the Saints lose then the Panthers win the NFC South, which means a home game next week in the playoffs.