ATL (4-11) @ TB (10-5) / TB -6.5
- Will the Tampa starters, mainly Tom Brady, play in this game and if so for how long? If the answer to the above question is yes and it's for the majority of the game then this should be an open and shut case. However, if we only see a quarter or two from the Bucs starters, which is what we expect as they don't have much to play for in this game, then don't be shocked to see Atlanta get a victory here. As things stand right now, we are splitting the difference and considering the short comings the Falcons have defensively, rushing the football, and protecting the QB we are leaning the way of the Bucs even if they start resting their guys at some point in time. The real value here however will probably be on the spread because TB is getting almost 7 points and that seems like way too high of a number for a team that has scoring inconsistencies and is probably looking ahead to the playoffs at this time.
MIA (10-5) @ BUF (12-3) / BUF -4.5
- For the Bills this game doesn't really mean all that much, however for the Dolphins it's win and you're in. Right now Buffalo is coy with the status of Josh Allen, but we anticipate that he sits and even if he does play that it won't be for all that long. We would guess that this is the case for the majority of starters for the Bills and that could be exactly the advantage the Dolphins need. Simply put, as a legitimate contender in the AFC the Bills gain nothing by risking a meaningless injury in the last game of the season. The main storyline for the Dolphins is probably that Ryan Fitzpatrick is on the COVID list which means that he won't be able to bail out Miami if they struggle offensively again. Our suggestion for this game is to track the status of Josh Allen as we get closer to Sunday if you want to put big money on the game, but if you're looking for great value early on then go with Miami outright and on the spread as they opened as underdogs.
BAL (10-5) @ CIN (4-10-1) / CIN +11.5
- A very simple playoff clinching scenario for the Ravens, win and you're in. And thankfully for them they get the Bengals who will all but guarantee the Ravens are a lock to get in. And sure we realize the Bengals are on a bit of a winning streak but there is NO chance that it continues vs an upward trending Baltimore team that has EVERYTHING to play for here. We anticipate that the Ravens and Lamar Jackson will be able to score at will vs this Bengals defense and on the flip side the Bengals will have a much tougher time vs this Baltimore defense compared to facing Houston last week. The only remote question mark about this game is the spread as it's one of the largest of the week and if the Ravens go up big they could rest their starters and allow the Bengals to get some garbage time points. However, at the end of the day we just think the gap between these two teams on every level is too large so we lean Baltimore on the spread too.
PIT (12-3) @ CLE (10-5) / CLE -6.5
- Another game with playoff implications as the Browns need to win to get in the playoffs. On paper this is probably the toughest game for one of the fringe AFC playoff teams, but with the news that Ben Roethlisberger isn't playing things all of a sudden drastically change. We all remember what the Steelers looked offensively without Big Ben last year and it was tragic to say the least. Mason Rudolph is not a good NFL QB plain and simple and we will yet again see the Steelers have to solely rely on their defense if they want to win this game. That's not to say this is impossible as this is still a good defense even though it has faded throughout the year but it will nonetheless be a tall task. The X-factor for this game will be the play of Baker Mayfield for the Browns and the players he has available around him as the Browns are experiencing a bit of a COVID outbreak. With that being the case we actually expect a bit of a lower scoring game that could be very close throughout but ultimately the Browns just have too big of an advantage at QB that we go their way. The spread though right now is a very good value for the Steelers.
DAL (6-9) @ NYG (5-10) / NYG +2.5
- One of the rare games on the week where both teams have everything to play for as a win could lead to a playoff appearance with some outside help (Washington losing). As of late the Cowboys have had some offensive success as Dalton has seemingly gotten more comfortable with the plethora of offensive weapons at his disposal. On the flip side the Giants will have to rely on their defense per usual as offensively they have a suspect offensive line with a QB that is hampered which is clearly taking away from his mobility that he relies on so much. While the Dallas defense might be one of the easier matchups the Giants have faced recently we just don't have enough faith in the Giants offensively to keep pace with the scoring of Dallas. That's not to say that the Cowboys will have an offensive explosion but if this game is a close affair where all you need is 20-23 points to win we trust the Cowboys a lot more. The spread is practically a pick'em so you're better off going with Dallas there as well in our opinion.
MIN (6-9) @ DET (5-10) / DET +7.5
- Not too much to get excited about in this game in all honesty. Both of these teams are out of the playoffs and looking forward to the draft at this point in time. These are the scenarios where it's toughest to predict a Week 17 game because anything can happen. Assuming both sides play their starters for the entirety of the game we will go with the Vikings to win the game because as bad as their defense is they are probably facing the worst defense in the NFL. And offensively the Vikings have a lot more talent at the skill positions than the Lions. Due to these decisive advantages the bet we like the most is the Vikings outright and are also leaning their way on the spread.
NYJ (2-13) @ NE (6-9) / NE -3.5
- I hate everything about this game truth be told. And maybe that's simply because I am actually leaning the way of the Jets which seems insane but my belief is that the Patriots are fully committed to rebuilding via the draft. A win here for the Patriots could very well cost them the chance to get a top tier player while the Jets are securely locked into the #2 spot. And if you think back to the first time these teams played the Patriots barely ended up getting the victory. New England is broken offensively and while the Jets defense is a good matchup it's too little too late for the Patriots. The best bet here other than not betting the game altogether is probably just to go the Jets the way of the spread but we are also going out on a limb and saying the Jets are somewhat gifted a win by the Patriots here.
GB (12-3) @ CHI (8-7) / CHI +5.5
- Good news for the Bears it's win and you're in, bad news though you play the Packers who also need to win to secure the #1 seed in the NFC and they absolutely crushed you the first time around. The truth is that the extremely easy part of the Bears schedule has finally ended and they won't be bailed out by the Packers resting their starters. This is where the clock strikes midnight and we are reminded yet again that the Bears are a bad football team with a bust at the QB position and an offense that can't be relied on. Making matters worse is that Chicago will be without several key secondary starters which means Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams will feast. To be fair though the loss of Bakhtiari for GB on the offensive line is a HUGE blow but we tend to believe that Aaron Rodgers is good enough to overcome this loss and beat an inferior team this week. For what it's worth we do think this will be a closer game compared to last time and aren't considering the spread a lock here but when it comes to outright winner the Packers are a slam dunk.
LV (7-8) @ DEN (5-10) / DEN +2.5
- The first time these two teams played the Raiders waxed the Broncos but that was a point in time where the Raiders were actually in playoff contention. Now with both teams eliminated, despite that the Raiders might have the better team it's anybody's game. The Raiders definitely have the more reliable offense but at the same time their defense is a liability. We tend to believe that the Broncos can have enough offensive success in this game and wouldn't be shocked to see a high scoring affair that both teams have a chance to win. The spread certainly reflects this thought and at the end of the day we believe Denver can split this series and get the upset victory.
TEN (10-5) @ HOU (4-11) / HOU +7.5
- Tough loss for the Titans last week vs GB but they still control their own destiny and can be division champs as long as they win on Sunday. While we do ultimately think they can get the job done the Texans won't just roll over here. This is a divisional clash where both offenses can score and both defenses let up a bunch of points. That means that this will come down to Deshaun Watson vs Ryan Tannehill and company. In a vacuum while we do like Watson more so the complimentary pieces around Tannehill are significantly better and despite their defensive issues they are still better off in that area than the Texans. Either way though we expect this to be a very high scoring game and don't anticipate a blowout as the Texans should give the Titans everything they want and more. At the end of the day though we still view the Titans as the more complete team and are riding with them outright but see the Texans as good value getting over a TD on the spread.
JAX (1-14) @ IND (10-5) / IND -14.5
- It might seem unfair but the Colts could very well finish the season 11-5 and still not make the playoffs. You can probably guess who we like outright here as the Colts should be a lock to win as they have to in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. Ironically enough if the Colts had just beaten the Jaguars in Week 1 they wouldn't be in this scenario but there's no changing that now. And even though the Colts lost to the Jaguars all that time ago we know that was a fluke as the Jaguars have lost 14 straight since then and the Colts have found their footing and are the clearly better team. We expect the Colts to thoroughly win here vs an atrocious Jaguars defense where the only question is the spread but we will give the Colts the benefit of the doubt as they get revenge on their Week 1 loss.
LAC (6-9) @ KC (14-1) / KC +3.5
- The Chiefs have already ruled out starters like Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins for this matchup and that list could grow as we get closer to kick off. But with nothing to play for at this point we can't blame the Chiefs one bit. Assuming that come Sunday the Chiefs are essentially coming out with their B team and treating this as a preseason game we can't advise betting on them here. While it's true that the Chargers are the masters of blowing leads and they could gift the Chiefs a meaningless game we tend to believe that you go with the team that will be playing their starters and can have success scoring. The Chargers satisfy that criteria and are our pick in this game. For what it's worth we like the Chargers more outright as they propensity to be in close games makes us a bit nervous on the spread where they have to win by more than a field goal.
ARI (8-7) @ LAR (9-6) / LAR -1.5
- What could have been the most entertaining game on the week as both teams are fighting for a playoff spot is now not quite on the same level as Jared Goff is injured and the Rams will have to rely on backup John Wolford. To be fair the Cardinals are also banged up at the QB position but Kyler Murray has already said that he will play despite not being 100%. The Rams will also likely be without Cooper Kupp who is on the COVID list and all of a sudden their offense has a lot of question marks. Thankfully, the LA defense is very talented and we expect them to keep the Rams in the game despite the absence of Jared Goff. At the end of the day though it might be too simplistic of a take but the Cardinals are the healthier team offensively right now and have the presumptive edge at QB. We're not saying that Wolford can't take advantage of this Arizona defense but right now in a game that will likely be close we give the edge to the team with the better chemistry and superior offensive experience, Arizona.
NO (11-4) @ CAR (5-10) / CAR +6.5
- Thankfully this is one of the seemingly very easy games to predict on the week. The Saints are the much better team compared to the Panthers to begin with and they won't have the luxury to rest their starters. Translation we will get the Saints' best effort as they technically could still get the #1 seed in the NFC and the bye that comes with it. On the other side the Panthers have a BUNCH of defensive starters that are questionable for this game so this one could get ugly fast. Even at full strength the Panthers would likely be blown out here as this Saints defense is the much better unit and offensively the Saints can pick apart the Carolina defense. With that in mind the Saints are one of our favorite locks outright and we tend to believe that the spread should be higher so we like the Saints there as well.
SEA (11-4) @ SF (6-9) / SF +5.5
- Even though they would need a LOT of help the Seahawks also technically have a chance at the NFC #1 seed. For that reason we expect Seattle to come out with their starters in this game and at least play them a portion of the contest. If that is the case then Seattle winning outright is the bet that makes sense on paper. Our worry however is that the help Seattle needs is for either GB and NO to lose which is VERY unlikely so the chance that Seattle takes their foot off the gas and starts resting key pieces sooner rather than later is very possible. We will still take Seattle to win outright though as they are the better overall team with health also playing a role in this game as has been the case for the entire season and the 49ers unfortunately. However, we are leaving the door open for SF to cover on the spread in this NFC West clash.
WAS (6-9) @ PHI (4-10-1) / PHI +1.5
- This game and essentially the entire NFC East comes down to the status of Alex Smith. We said it last week, without Smith under center Washington can not be trusted and will likely lose. And with bust, Dwayne Haskins, being cut the backup plan is currently Taylor Heinicke. All you need to know about Heinicke is that there is a reason that he was the 4th QB option for Washington. So with that being said the main thing to monitor is if Aex Smith plays here. If he doesn't the Eagles will likely demolish Washington as all they will need to do is score more than 14 points. And we realize that the Washington defense is good but every team has a breaking point and for Washington it's when they are without Smith. Now IF Alex Smith plays then the chances for Washington are obviously MUCH better. We still think that it would be a rather close game at that point since Smith will likely be very limited and the mobility of Hurts will aid the Philadelphia offense. But at the end of the day if Smith plays then we give the ever so slight advantage to Washington and if not then HAMMER the Eagles.
- BAL, GB, TEN, IND, NO