Friday, December 30, 2016

NFL Picks, Week 17


Note that both CBS and FOX have doubleheaders on Sunday. Also note that all 16 games are being played on Sunday. 

The majority of the country (in terms of map coverage, not necessarily number of households) will see 
New England at Miami (CBS, 1 PM)
Dallas at Philadelphia (FOX, 1:00 PM) 
Oakland at Denver (CBS, 4:25 PM)
New York Giants at Washington (FOX, 4:25PM)

The entire country will see 
Green Bay at Detroit (NBC, 8:30)

Home teams in CAPS.

Houston (+3) over TENNESSEE
Neither team has anything to play for. Houston because they are locked into the AFC's 4 seed (they should just rename the 4th seed the AFC South Division Entrant at this point), and Tennessee because they are eliminated. Both teams are starting their backup quarterbacks, but Houston is doing so on purpose (having benched Brock Osweiler) and Tennessee is starting Matt Cassel (because of Marcus Mariota's broken leg). When Matt Cassel is giving points, take them.

Buffalo (-3.5) over NEW YORK JETS
I have been saying it for weeks now, the Jets are mailing in the end of their season. And they don't even have Rex Ryan on the other sideline anymore to inspire them to care.

Baltimore (+1) over CINCINNATI
I know playing for Player X is a trite, overused, and not especially accurate storyline for these types of games, but Steve Smith is so respected (and feared) league-wide, that I say the emotional boost of winning for the retiring Smith will help lift the Ravens over the 5-9-1 Bengals. That plus the fact the Ravens are the better team.

INDIANAPOLIS (-4.5) over Jacksonville
I said last week that a simple coaching change wouldn't be enough to fix he debacle that Blake Bortles has turned into, and then he went out and put up a line of 26/38, 325 yards, 1 TD/0 INT. So yeah, that take isn't looking as good as I'd hoped. But I'm doubling down on it. Bortles looked good at home, let's see if his newfound improvement travels. I say no.

Chicago (+6.5) over MINNESOTA
Too many points for that Minnesota offense. This will be a dull affair, and it will be low-scoring. Take the points.

Carolina (+5) over TAMPA BAY
The Buccaneers won't be able to get up for this game as they've been all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. Yes they can still qualify, but it would take a win, a Green Bay loss, and about 6 other games breaking correctly for it to happen. Oh, and one of those 6 results they need is for the Redskins to tie the Giants.

Cleveland (+6) over PITTSBURGH
The Steelers are openly talking about resting pretty much everyone on offense as they're locked into the 3rd seed. Another dull affair with little scoring, and another spot where I'm taking the points.

MIAMI (+9.5) over New England
The Patriots went into Miami last year needing a win to clinch home field advantage, came out with an ultra-conservative game plan, lost the game, lost home field advantage, and ended up losing in Denver in the playoffs. I don't see New England making that mistake again, but Miami is its own house of horrors for the Pats and this Miami team is better than that one, even with Tannehill out. The spread is simply too high for my tastes.

New Orleans (+7) over ATLANTA
The Saints seem to be finishing strong too late for it to matter yet again, and they will be motivated to spoil Atlanta's shot at a first round bye. I don't see the Falcons running away with this one.

Arizona (-6.5) over LOS ANGELES
To say the Rams offense is stumbling to the finish line would be a gross oversell. Arizona will put up points and the Rams will be glad to leave this season behind as soon as the clock hits zero.

Kansas City (-5.5) over SAN DIEGO
The Chiefs are good, and have a chance to clinch a bye, while the Chargers are bad and have nothing to play for. And they have the moving to LA drama hanging over them, so it's not like they'll get a boost from playing at home.

Seattle (-9.5) over SAN FRANCISCO
This is entirely based on my lack of respect for the talent on the 49ers. I do not have any idea what I'm going to see from the Seahawks offense week to week, but I remain confident they will show enough to put away San Francisco.

Oakland (+1.5) over DENVER
The Broncos offense is broken enough that even playing against the soft Raider defense won't jump start them, and I'm not sure how motivated Denver will be to win this game and help the Chiefs team that had their defensive tackle throw a touchdown pass late in last Sunday's game.

WASHINGTON (-7.5) over New York Giants
The Giants are locked into the 5 seed, so it's hard to see them not resting players in this one, and the Redskins are all but into the playoffs with a win.

Green Bay (-3) over DETROIT
Everything about the last month of this season points to the Packers demolishing the Lions to grab the NFC North title.

Last week: 7-9 (.438)
Season: 115-116-9 (.498)

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