Breaking down all the Week 17 NFL matchups, with suggested picks against the spread. Follow Samantha on Twitter at @previtee.
Happy Week 17, everyone! This season has absolutely flown by. Hopefully by now, your fantasy playoffs are done (if they’re not, you should have a chat with your commissioner next year), and you can sit back and enjoy some great football ahead.
Week 17, as we know, can be pretty chaotic. Lots of coaches will sit players in the interest of preserving them for the forthcoming playoffs (or next season) if not much is on the line. This means you’ll see a bunch of guys you’ve never heard of taking snaps and we really have no idea how long, if at all, starters will play. Take note that there are no Thursday or Monday night games this week, and there are a bunch of 4:30 games on the slate, so be sure to plan accordingly.
Please keep in mind that by the time you’re reading this, the line may have shifted depending on breaking news during the week, or money flowing through the market. Good luck in Week 17!
Sunday 1:00 PM EST
NY Jets at New England, -13.5
With their 24-12 win on Sunday, the 10-5 Patriots have clinched the AFC East for their tenth straight season. In doing so, they have also ousted the Texans for the second seed in the AFC and are currently in position for a first round bye. The Jets, meanwhile, lost in overtime to the Packers 44-38 and fall to 4-11 on the season. In the effort, Sam Darnold actually completed 24 of 35 attempts for 341 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. It appears he’s improved of late in spite of their lack of coaching talent and I am optimistic to see him develop in the future. This line seems too big for a divisional game where I foresee some starters on the Patriots side sitting out. I’ll take the Jets to cover the points on the road.
Jacksonville at Houston, -7.5
The 10-5 Texans dropped a road game to Nick Foles and the Eagles on Sunday 32-30 and fall behind the Patriots into the third seed in the AFC.
They’ll face divisional opponents, the Jacksonville Jaguars, at home this week, who may need to start quarterback Blake Bortles in this game after Cody Kessler’s injury and poor performance. The Texans will need a win here, as well as a Patriots loss to secure the first round bye, since they lost their head-to-head matchup in September. This line opened at -10 and has moved down to a touchdown, and I think you’re getting value here: Give me the Texans to win and cover the 7.5 points.
Miami at Buffalo, -3.5
The 7-8 Dolphins were eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday after an ugly, 17-7 loss to the Jaguars. In the effort, they only accrued 183 total yards, making it the fifth time in this very disappointing season that they haven’t accrued 200 yards of total offense. Their locker room and front office are in disarray and the team as a whole seems dejected. For the Bills, accruing 5 wins this season has probably exceeded everyone’s expectations. They lost their last matchup against the Patriots 24-12, but managed to cover the spread and have kept games close since rookie quarterback Josh Allen returned. With the Dolphins having to make the road trip to the icy tundra and their morale in the toilet, give me the Bills to win and cover the spread.
Atlanta at Tampa Bay, -1.5
The 6-9 Falcons picked up another win against divisional opponents, the Panthers, last week in Charlotte 24-10. In the game, quarterback Matt Ryan completed 15 passes on 26 attempts for 239 yards, three touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He spread the ball around the field to multiple receivers, and running back Brian Hill was featured heavily. They have another NFC East matchup this week against a team that has also been eliminated from the playoffs. The 5-10 Buccaneers lost their third straight game last week to the Cowboys 27-20. This line opened at Atlanta being favored by a point and has moved in Tampa’s favor. Neither team has been particularly good at covering in any situation this season, but I’ll give the talent edge to Atlanta. Give me the Falcons to cover the road chalk this week.
Detroit at Green Bay, -7.5
The Packers, despite picking up an overtime 44-38 win against the Jets on Sunday, have been eliminated from playoff contention at 6-8-1. It was basically a one man show, as quarterback Aaron Rodgers attempted 55 passes for 37 completions, 442 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions and had two rushing touchdowns to top that off. On the other side of the ball, the 5-10 Lions, who have also been eliminated from the playoff hunt, lost 27-9 to divisional rivals, the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Matthew Stafford’s performance wasn’t quite as impressive, completing only 18 passes for 116 yards and no touchdowns. In fairness, he has been dealing with a back injury, which did prompt coach Matt Patricia to substitute in Matt Cassel. This line opened at -9 and I think you’re getting value at -7.5. I’ll take the Packers to win this one in Lambeau and blow out the Lions by more than a touchdown.
Carolina at New Orleans, -7.5
The 6-9 Panthers will finish out the season on the road against the Saints after having lost their last seven straight games. They’ve only managed to score 19 points over their last two games, with quarterback Cam Newton sitting out last week in favor of backup Taylor Heinicke. Heinicke threw three picks last game and also suffered a season ending elbow injury, moving Kyle Allen up the depth chart. Meanwhile, the 13-2 Saints will sail into this game having already secured the one seed in the NFC. They won’t have much incentive to play any starters, so it’s tough to tell what could end up happening here. That said, I think even with New Orleans sitting starters, they’re probably still a better team than Carolina. I’ll take the Saints to cover the spread.
Dallas at NY Giants, -7.5
The Cowboys got back on the horse after snapping their long win streak and picked up a 27-20 win against the Buccaneers. At 9-6 and with the tie break, they’ve secured the NFC East and have nothing else left to play for. The Giants, meanwhile, almost bounced back against the Colts, but lost 28-27 last Sunday and have fallen to 5-10 in this disappointing season. They have seem to come back to life in their last few games, I suppose playing for pure pride at this point. Dallas has actual incentive to sit starters in this game with zero upside, but 7.5 points are too many to lay with Eli Manning and the Giants – I’ll take the Cowboys with the points.
Sunday 4:25 PM EST
Philadelphia at Washington, +6.5
Could we possibly be witnessing another Philadelphia miracle? The 8-7 Eagles have now won two straight games with backup quarterback Nick Foles under center, and they did so against two top tier teams (the Rams and Texans, respectively). As we speak, they have a 23% chance of making the playoffs per the Upshot over the Vikings, who are 8-6-1. They will play NFC East divisional rivals, the Redskins, who have fallen to 7-8 after their 25-16 loss to the Titans on Sunday. Backup quarterback Josh Johnson only completed 13 passes on 23 attempts for 153 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. He has been unimpressive since Alex Smith went down, and I love Philadelphia’s momentum coming into this game. I’m taking the Eagles to cover this game on the road in a must-win spot.
Cleveland at Baltimore, -5.5
With their huge 22-10 win on Sunday against the Chargers, the Ravens now sit atop the AFC North at 9-6 ahead of the Steelers. Quarterback Lamar Jackson broke 200 passing yards for the first time this season, completing 12 passes off 22 attempts and a touchdown. The Baltimore defense was also able to quell the red hot Chargers, holding Rivers to only 181 yards, zero touchdowns, and two interceptions. They’ll finish out the season against divisional rivals, the Browns, at home, currently with a 76% chance of making the playoffs/winning the division. The Browns, meanwhile, are 7-7-1, and are quietly on a three game win streak having won 26-18 against the Bengals last week. It’s been a pleasure watching these two rookie quarterbacks develop as the season has progressed, and I’m excited for this game. With much more on the line here, I’ll take the Ravens to win and cover the points at home.
Arizona at Seattle, -8.5
The 9-6 Seahawks pulled off an impressive upset win against the Chiefs at home in prime time last Sunday. They’ve picked up a ton of momentum heading into the playoffs with only the seeding up in the air at this point. On the Arizona side of the ball, the Cardinals put up a mere nine points on Sunday against the Rams as rumors of Steve Wilks’ departure circle about. At 3-12, they’re presently in line for the first pick of the 2019 draft. Seattle will have incentives to sit starters, especially in a cupcake matchup like this one. That said, the Cardinals complete offensive ineptitude scares me away from picking them at any number. This line is up to two touchdowns at most books and I’d still take Seattle. Give me the Seahawks to go out with a bang, win, and cover the spread.
LA Chargers at Denver, +2.5
The Chargers were bested at home 22-10 against the Ravens and fall to 11-4 on the season. With the Chiefs loss on Sunday, they still have a 13% chance of capturing the division, though their matchup in Mile High is much tougher than Kansas City’s. The 6-9 Broncos also took a loss on Monday night against the Raiders 27-14. They haven’t won or covered their last three games and have actually been unimpressive at home against the spread this year. This line opened at +4, but has shot up to +6.5/7 in most places. I obviously love LA at -2.5, but at any number under a touchdown, I’ll take the Chargers laying the points on the road.
Chicago at Minnesota, -5.5
The Bears were good enough on Sunday to pull off a 14-9 win against the 49ers. At 11-4 and having clinched the NFC North weeks ago, they still have a 14% chance at a first round bye. They’ll be on the road against a Minnesota team whose playoff hopes will come down to this game. The Vikings picked up a crucial 27-9 win against the Lions on Sunday and moved to 8-6-1 on the season. Quarterback Kirk Cousins had a nice outing, completing 21 passes of 28 attempts for 253 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions.
I don’t think Matt Nagy and the Bears take their foot off the gas pedal completely, but the Vikings clearly have much more to play for coming into this game. Additionally, Minnesota is 6-2-1 as favorites and 4-2-1 at home this season against the spread. I’m taking the Vikings to win this game and cover the 5.5 points.
Oakland at Kansas City, -14.5
The Raiders picked up a sneaky 27-14 win on Monday night against the Broncos and move to 4-11 on the season. They come into this game as two touchdown underdogs against the Chiefs, who have already clinched playoff berth and have an 87% chance of winning their division. Their 11-4 record is a bit deceiving, however, because they have now lost two straight and have not looked the same after the departure of running back Kareem Hunt. The Raiders should be tanking in order to secure a high draft pick next year, but Jon Gruden would probably like nothing more than to give it his all and steal a win from Andy Reid’s Chiefs. I doubt that will happen but I’ll take the Raiders to keep it within two touchdowns this week.
San Francisco at LA Rams, -9.5
Nick Mullens and the 49ers were bested 14-9 on Sunday against the Bears and have fallen to 4-11 on the season. Their offense was mostly quieted by Chicago’s powerful defense, but had decent performances from George Kittle and Kendrick Bourne. They’ll travel to Los Angeles to face off against the Rams, who picked up a win against the Cardinals 31-9 in Week 16. At 12-3, they won’t get the one seed in the NFC, but they still have an 86% chance of getting a bye in the first round. Sean McVay’s squad is a serious contender for the NFC title and beyond, but they have shown some permeability of late, having lost two straight prior to last week. San Francisco has also shown they can be a nuisance after winning against the Seahawks and Broncos in those same weeks. I am fairly confident the 49ers can keep this one within the 9.5 points.
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, -14.5
The Steelers lost a heartbreaker in New Orleans 31-28 last week and have fallen behind the Ravens in the AFC North.
At 8-6-1, they now only have a 24% chance of making the playoffs and will close out the season against their rivals, the 6-9 Bengals. These two teams faced off in mid October of this year in a game in which the Steelers won 28-21 on the road. This time, Cincinnati, of course, will be without quarterback Andy Dalton and will have to rely on Jeff Driskel under center. In their Week 16 loss to the Browns, Driskel wasn’t quite good enough, completing 68% of his passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns. These two teams always play each other tough, and I’m confident Pittsburgh wins this one outright, but two touchdowns are too many to lay in a divisional matchup in Week 17. I’m taking the Bengals to cover the 14.5 points on the road.
Sunday 8:20 PM EST
Indianapolis at Tennessee, -1.5
We will wrap up the regular season with a decisive AFC South showdown: Both the Colts and Titans come into this matchup at 9-6 and jockeying for the last wild card spot in the AFC. These two teams met in Week 11 of this season in a game in which the Colts bested the Titans 38-10, making Andrew Luck’s record against the Titans 10-0. This line has actually moved from Tennessee being favored by a point to Indianapolis laying three points, most likely in light of quarterback Marcus Mariota; he suffered a stinger on his right side last week and may have to be replaced by Blaine Gabbert. Regardless of who’s under center for Tennessee, I love Indy in this spot and I think Luck makes it 11-0. Colts win, Colts cover.