2018 NFL Picks Week 17: A Josh Allen Hail Mary
Last Week: 9-7
Week 17 is always my least favorite week to make picks. Some playoff teams feel they don’t have anything to play for and rest enough starters to essentially concede the game. Others play their usual starters but take them out at halftime based on the results around the league. Hoping to reach .500 by the end of the regular season would require a 14-2 week, but if the VIkings can complete a hail mary to a tight end, anything can happen…right?
Buffalo Bills -3.5 vs. Miami Dolphins
Miami has nothing to play for after last week’s results, and they’ll be traveling to Buffalo in December to take on the league’s 3rd-ranked defense. A lack of motivation and a lack of creativity will leave the Dolphins short while Josh Allen continues terrorizing teams with his legs and the occasional downfield hurl.
Atlanta Falcons +1.5 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Neither team has much to play for, but I’m happy to get points taking the Falcons in this one. They haven’t lost to the Buccaneers in quite some time, and watching Jameis Winston fumble away another game is always entertaining.
New York Giants -6 vs. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys have their playoff position locked up, and the Giants have been playing better football of late (and for the whole season, really). I don’t believe much in the Giants offense without Odell Beckham Jr. around to inspire a tiny bit of fear in the secondary, but at home they should be able to comfortably beat a Cowboys team resting starters.
New Orleans Saints -9 vs. Carolina Panthers
Sean Payton has said he’ll be playing this game just like any other, but I’m really making this pick based on the Carolina quarterback situation. Last week they started Taylor Heinicke, but he was injured early in the game and played through it to disastrous effect. They’re now starting Kyle Allen, who hasn’t started a game since being drafted out of Houston. The Panthers are simply heading in the wrong direction, and I think they’ll be routed in New Orleans.
New York Jets +13 at New England Patriots
The Patriots need to win this game to sew up the 2-seed, but 13 points is just too much for this game. The Jets have played decently well since Sam Darnold recovered from his mid-season injury, and they should be able to put up a fight similar to the one the Bills gave New England last week. A comfortable win for the Patriots, but not by two touchdowns.
Houston Texans -7 vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Houston still has an outside shot at the 2-seed after blowing their comeback win in Philadelphia last week, but I’m picking this game based on the matchup between the Texans’ 7th-ranked defense and whoever Jacksonville decides to roll out at quarterback. Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins will put up enough points to cover a touchdown at home.
Detroit Lions +8.5 at Green Bay Packers
Detroit has quietly won their last three games against the Packers, and while they’re really nosediving to wrap up the season, the Packers have nothing to play for at all. I’d like the Packers if the spread was under a touchdown, but 8.5 is too many points for a meaningless game between two mediocre-or-worse teams.
Philadelphia Eagles -7 at Washington Redskins
Philadelphia needs this win to stay alive in the playoff hunt, and they’ll be going against a Washington team still starting Josh Johnson. I’ll take the oddly hot hand of Nick Foles in a must-win game here.
Los Angeles Chargers -6.5 at Denver Broncos
Injuries have really ravaged the Broncos this season. The Chargers can still take the Chiefs’ playoff spot if they lose to the Raiders, and they shouldn’t have any trouble beating up on this depleted Denver team.
Kansas City Chiefs -13.5 vs. Oakland Raiders
The Chiefs have been struggling lately, but they’ll be at home with a chance to lock up the top seed against Jon Gruden and the Raiders. They’ll get out to an early lead in this one and coast to a comfortable victory.
Chicago Bears +6 at Minnesota Vikings
I’m not sure why this line is so high. The Bears still have a chance at the 2-seed, though it would require the Rams losing to the 49ers. They’re also a better team than the Vikings, though, and their defense should give Kirk Cousins fits. I can see this being a low-scoring contest, and six points is a nice lead to have in that case.
Cleveland Browns +5.5 at Baltimore Ravens
The Browns have been playing very well since letting Hue Jackson go, and they have a chance to piss off another division rival in this game. The Ravens need a win to keep control of the AFC North, but their gameplan isn’t designed for big victories. They won’t be pulling away from anyone, especially a Browns team finally learning how to play on offense.
Los Angeles Rams -9.5 vs. San Francisco 49ers
The Rams need this win to hold on to their first-round bye, and the 49ers need this loss to stay towards the top of the draft order. If there was ever a time for the Rams’ offense to regain their form, it’s at home against San Francisco’s 23rd-ranked defense.
Cincinnati Bengals +14.5 at Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh really needs this game, and the Bengals have been falling precipitously since losing most of their team to injury, but covering more than two touchdowns in a rivalry game feels like a bit of a stretch. The Steelers just haven’t been that good lately, and this is too many points to pass up.
Seattle Seahawks -13.5 vs. Arizona Cardinals
At home against the team ranked dead last in both offensive and total DVOA, the Seahawks should be able to get a convincing win and firm up their playoff seeding. The Cardinals certainly don’t have anything to play for, and lock up the #1 pick with a loss. This one should be over quickly.
Indianapolis Colts -3.5 at Tennessee Titans
The line has shifted to -5 since Marcus Mariota was confirmed as out, but I still like the Colts at that number. Andrew Luck has a long, successful history against the Titans, and the Colts have been a better team all year. Their defense will have no problem slowing down Blaine Gabbert, and they’ll get a big win to make their way into the playoffs.
That's all for this week! Kick back, grab a drink, and feel free to blame me if you put money on these picks and come out behind. I won't compensate you, but maybe your significant others will send their wrath in my direction instead of yours.