NFL Week 17 picks, odds: Steelers upset Browns, Washington takes out Philly, Panthers scare Saints

The NFL did it. Somehow, someway the NFL managed to finish the season. Wednesday games, Friday games, no Broncos quarterbacks, no Browns wide receivers, whatever. It didn’t matter — the NFL figured out how to jam in 17 weeks of football without having to expand the regular season. 

That’s a win for the league. At times it felt a little ham-fisted, but we should give credit to Roger Goodell and his crew here: the NFL implemented a plan, stuck to said plan and adjusted when things went sideways. The league created stringent protocols, cranked up the intensity when outbreaks occurred and absolutely hammered teams who didn’t follow said protocols. 

No one wants to credit the NFL because it’s way more fun to bash the commish and his cronies for missing layups. The reality is getting an entire season in wasn’t easy and the NFL did a heck of a job handling the issues that popped up. Not everyone got a fair shake (hello, Steelers) and there were definitely some moments where we didn’t think the season would happen. But we made it and we should be pretty thankful for a full season of professional football. 

Let’s make sure the playoffs happen too.

N.Y. Jets (2-13) at New England (6-9)

1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Latest Odds:

New England Patriots
-3

This is quite the disgusting affair. A streaking, two-win Jets team is coming to New England to battle a very wounded Bill Belichick and a horrific Patriots offense. New England wants — has to? — run the ball and the Jets are good at one thing on defense: stopping the run. New York is giving max effort and I’m not sure the same can be said for the Pats, who are probably ready for this nightmare season to end. The Jets can’t move in the draft order so why not just go and push the trident Josh Allen jammed in Belichick’s chest on Monday a little deeper in Week 17? 

The Pick: Jets 21, Patriots 17Best Bets: N/A

Dallas (6-9) at N.Y Giants (5-10)

1 p.m. ET (Fox)

Latest Odds:

Dallas Cowboys
-1.5

The winner of this game gets a serious sweat on Sunday night: if the Eagles can take out Washington, then either the Cowboys or the Giants will end up winning the division. If the Cowboys try and force feed Ezekiel Elliott then I have serious concerns about their chances to win, because New York is a strong team up the middle. I’m a little concerned this is the Dexter Lawrence game and Andy Dalton gets smothered on the interior. But the Giants don’t have enough guys on the back end to cover the Cowboys’ myriad wide receivers, so I’ll take Dallas and Dalton in this early afternoon tilt. 

The Pick: Cowboys 31, Giants 17Best Bets: N/A

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Minnesota (6-9) at Detroit (5-10)

1 p.m. ET (Fox)

Latest Odds:

Minnesota Vikings
-6.5

This is just too many points for a game where neither team should be caring. The Lions got sandblasted by the Buccaneers last week, but they were missing a bunch of coaches for that tilt. Not that they’re a good team or anything (they’re not), but they should be able to sneak through the backdoor against the Vikings in one of the several completely meaningless Week 17 games. 

The Pick: Vikings 27, Lions 21Best Bets: N/A

Pittsburgh (12-3) at Cleveland (10-5)

1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Latest Odds:

Cleveland Browns
-9

This line is off the board now because of Cleveland’s COVID concerns. But it got as high as Browns -10, which was just an absurd overreaction to the news Ben Roethlisberger would be missing on Sunday. There’s a ton of Browns players who are out for this one, including cornerback Denzel Ward, who is a critical player on Cleveland’s defense. Logic says you bet the Browns in a must-win spot against Mason Rudolph, but I think Pittsburgh shows up and causes problems for their division “rival” in this spot. I wouldn’t bank on a lot of points from either squad, but the Steelers aren’t just going to completely roll over. I would take them getting anything more than a touchdown.

The Pick: Steelers 21, Browns 17Best Bets: Steelers +10

Miami (10-5) at Buffalo (12-3)

1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Latest Odds:

Buffalo Bills
-3

Another game where the line is off the board, and it’s probably going to stay that way until we find out whether or not Tua Tagovailoa was a close contact of Ryan Fitzpatrick, who has already been ruled out of Sunday’s game after testing positive for COVID. It’s also another game where people are just blindly assuming the Dolphins will roll the Bills because Buffalo doesn’t care about this game. I think the Bills will care more than people think — they are guaranteed the No. 2 seed with a win and that means multiple home playoff games in addition to avoiding the Chiefs until the AFC title game. The Steelers could easily beat the Browns, and if Buffalo doesn’t come to play they’d fall to the third seed. I don’t think they want that. And I’m not confident Tua shreds the Buffalo B-team either.

The Pick: Bills 24, Dolphins 13Best Bets: Under Tua passing yards down to 190

Atlanta (4-11) at Tampa Bay (10-6)

1 p.m. ET (Fox)

Latest Odds:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
-6.5

The Buccaneers are likely going to end up as the fifth seed in the NFC but they’re not locked into that spot yet. A Rams win and a Bucs loss would send Tampa to the sixth seed, which would mean the Buccaneers would face one of the Packers, Saints or Seahawks instead of facing one of Washington, Dallas or the Giants. Which would you rather play? No disrespect to the WFT defensive line, which could give Tom Brady some fits, but the answer is very obvious. The fifth seed is a huge advantage for non-division winners this season because of the watered down NFC East. Bruce Arians knows this. Tom Brady knows this. They will want to lock in that seed and roll into the postseason with two blowout victories.

The Pick: Buccaneers 35, Falcons 17Best Bets: Buccaneers -6.5, Tom Brady over pass TD 1.5 (up to -150)

Baltimore (10-5) at Cincinnati (4-10-1)

1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Latest Odds:

Baltimore Ravens
-13

The Bengals are a fun little story down the stretch here, with a pair of inspiring upset victories over the last two weeks. But the Ravens are a very different beast. They’re running the football extremely efficiently at the moment and the Bengals were just carved up by the corpse of David Johnson. This could be a 2019-level game from Lamar Jackson on the ground, and I would anticipate a big game from former Buckeye J.K. Dobbins as well. The Ravens have done a tremendous job of smothering questionable teams.

The Pick: Ravens 41, Bengals 10Best Bets: Ravens -13 (anything under 14 is fine), Lamar over rush yards, Dobbins over rush yards

Tennessee (10-5) at Houston (4-11)

4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)

Latest Odds:

Tennessee Titans
-7.5

We need to see the final status for Deshaun Watson before doing anything with this game, but I tend to lean towards the Texans here. I mostly love the over and pretty much any rushing yardage prop number for Derrick Henry, who dropped a monster on the Texans in an identical spot last year (32 carries, 212 yards, three rushing touchdowns). Henry will have his way on the ground, but the Titans don’t have the defensive chops to keep Watson and Brandin Cooks from storming in the backdoor.

The Pick: Titans 35, Texans 31Best Bets: Watson over pass yards, Henry over rush yards, Over 56.5

Jacksonville (1-14) at Indianapolis (10-5)

4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)

Latest Odds:

Indianapolis Colts
-14

I think the easy route here is to assume the Jags will get blown out again, a la last week against the Bears. But the Jaguars have cinched the No. 1 seed and, despite missing plenty of players including James Robinson and D.J. Chark, should have enough firepower to keep this within two scores. The Colts can blow people out, but the way they operate on offense and defense with a big lead doesn’t lend itself to covering these huge numbers. Mike Glennon and Philip Rivers will be repping NC State (aka QBU) in this one and we could see plenty of points scored. Jonathan Taylor could have an absolute field day here against a Jags defense that simply cannot stop the run. 

The Pick: Colts 35, Jaguars 28Best Bets: Jonathan Taylor over rush yards (anything under 95 honestly)

L.A. Chargers (6-9) at Kansas City (14-1)

4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)

Latest Odds:

Los Angeles Chargers
-3.5

Don’t bet on this game. Why? Well for starters, betting on the Chargers is a fool’s errand. And secondly, the Chiefs are going to sit Patrick Mahomes, and Tyreek Hill won’t be playing, as he’s already been ruled out. It’s just flirting with disaster. I’d grab the points because the depth on the Chiefs roster is so good they should be able to hang, but only if I’m required to pick a winner like I am here.

The Pick: Chiefs 21, Chargers 17Best Bets: N/A

New Orleans (11-4) at Carolina (5-10)

4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)

Latest Odds:

New Orleans Saints
-6.5

Alvin Kamara was placed on the COVID list on Friday, which could potentially put him in jeopardy for missing the Saints’ playoff game. He’s definitely out for this tilt, so expect a heavy dose of Latavius Murray instead. The Saints are still playing for possibly the 1 seed and trying to fight off the Seahawks for the 2 seed as well, so they should have max effort. But the Panthers are better than their record and should be able to keep this game within a score. At the very least, Teddy Bridgewater is supremely capable of storming through the backdoor late.

The Pick: Saints 24, Panthers 21Best Bets: Panthers +6.5

Las Vegas (7-8) at Denver (5-10)

4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)

Latest Odds:

Las Vegas Raiders
-2.5

I don’t know if the wrong team is favored, per se, but I’m not sure the Raiders should be a road favorite against any reasonable defense. Denver’s down a ton of secondary players, though, so we could see Derek Carr slinging the ball around. They can’t stop anyone, though, so Drew Lock should be able to wing it as well. I think Denver feeds Jerry Jeudy in this spot and we see a ton of points scored. 

The Pick: Broncos 31, Raiders 27Best Bets: Over 51, Jerry Jeudy over receptions

Seattle (11-4) at San Francisco (6-9)

4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)

Latest Odds:

Seattle Seahawks
-7

The 49ers are doing an impressive job showing people they still care about a lost season, fighting for a win over the Cardinals last week. I expect them to do the same here, although it won’t be quite as easy against Seattle. Still, because of how Pete Carroll is handling the Seattle offensive approach these days, we shouldn’t expect the Seahawks to come out slinging. That should lend itself to the 49ers keeping this game close and extremely low scoring.

The Pick: Seahawks 21, 49ers 17Best Bets: Under

Green Bay (12-3) at Chicago (8-7)

4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)

Latest Odds:

Green Bay Packers
-4

Massive, massive game for the NFC playoff seeding here. The Packers need a win to lock up the No. 1 overall seed, but a loss could drop them as low as the No. 3 seed. The Bears can guarantee themselves a stunning spot in the playoffs with a win here. Chicago can also knock out Arizona with a win — if they lose, the Cardinals are in with a win. I think the Packers take care of business, but the loss of David Bahktiari is extremely concerning for the future of Green Bay. We should all intently watch how the offense works with his first game out. 

The Pick: Packers 31, Bears 17Best Bets: N/A

Arizona (8-7) at L.A. Rams (9-6)

4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)

Latest Odds:

Arizona Cardinals
-3

This game is a flat-out mess. The Rams are missing Jared Goff and will start John Wolford. The Cardinals will have Kyler Murray but it’s pretty obvious he’s not entirely healthy. I’m gonna side with the team not starting a guy without an NFL pass attempt in his career. 

The Pick: Cardinals 24, Rams 17Best Bets: Cardinals

Washington (6-9) at Eagles (4-10-1)

8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

Latest Odds:

Washington Football Team
-3.5

The Eagles are missing EVERYONE in this game based on the injury report released on Friday. Alex Smith might be back for Washington, so the WFTs are a great look here. Certainly Philly backups can do enough damage to keep them in this game and I don’t know if Washington just steamrolls the Eagles, but they have a significant advantage in terms of available players here.

The Pick: Washington 28, Eagles 17Best Bets: Washington -3

Published: 2021-01-02 14:17:34

Tags: #NFL #Week #picks #odds #Steelers #upset #Browns #Washington #takes #Philly #Panthers #scare #Saints

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