I’ve spent the last couple days battling a horrible flu. I did have a chance to study who may sit Week 17. I also explain which teams still have something to play for this Sunday.
A lot of weird stuff happens during the last week of the season. We are almost guaranteed to have some receiver or running back have 200+ yards or some backup quarterback pull a ‘Matt Flynn’ and throw for a ton of yards. Can Raiders backup QB Matt McGloin be this year’s Week 17 surprise?
We pick ever NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 17 of the 2016 NFL season.
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-4.5) – My pick is Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Panthers are banged up and they are looking ahead to the offseason. Tampa Bay might be doing the same after finding out RB Doug Martin failed a drug test. The Bucs are a young team and I think they really want to finish the season over .500. The Panthers are a little too banged up to give a darn. I’m taking the Bucs to cover.
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans (-3) – My pick is Tennessee Titans
If the Titans won last week, this game would have been for the AFC South crown. Tennessee lost more than the game when QB Marcus Mariota broke his leg. Matt Cassel will start for the Titans and he will be handing the ball off to running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry an awful lot. I don’t expect Cassel to throw more than 20 passes if they hope to win. The Texans already have the division and their seeding is set in stone. I have to take the Titans with the ground game to cover at home.
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers (-6) – My pick is Pittsburgh Steelers
The Browns finally won a game last week! They come into Pittsburgh with question marks about who will start since Robert Griffin III left last game with a concussion and Josh McCown is dealing with a finger injury. Cody Kessler has experience under his belt, so he could get the nod. I’m sure Cleveland would love to see RG3 get another shot to see what he can do. The Steelers will be sitting their top three players, but I still think they cover this one.
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (pk) – My pick is Baltimore Ravens
The Bengals struggled early this season without tight end Tyler Eifert. Once he came back, they won some games and started to look like previous years. Well, Eifert underwent back surgery and they will also be without start WR A.J. Green. They are just going to miss too many weapons. I have to take the Ravens in this game.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (-4.5) – My pick is Indianapolis Colts
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano really needs his team to finish strong. They would be 8-8 and it ‘could’ save his job. Let’s face it, Indy hasn’t showed up for entire quarters this season. They either get too far behind in the first quarter or give it up in the fourth. The Jags really shouldn’t win this game, since it would secure a higher draft pick. The Colts should cover on Sunday.
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (+9.5) – My pick is Miami Dolphins
This game is interesting. The Pats do need to win to secure homefield advantage, but could still get it if the Derek Carr-less Raiders happen to win. The Dolphins have already clinched a wild card spot, so these teams could face each other again if Miami wins their first game. I’m a believer in Dolphins QB Matt Moore. I said it the last two weeks, I honestly believe he is an upgrade over Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins will keep this one tight, so I’m taking the points.
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-6.5) – My pick is Chicago Bears
Bears QB Matt Barkley threw five interceptions at Washington last week. It killed them and had not shot in that game. The Vikings defense haven’t forced an interception in their last five games. If Chicago can feed the ball to RB Jordan Howard and limit Barkley’s risky passes downfield, I think they will keep this close. I have to take the points.
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles (-4.5) – My pick is Philadelphia Eagles
This is a coin-flip game. QB Mark Sanchez and RB Darren McFadden are due to start for the Cowboys since they don’t have anything left to play for this season. The Eagles did surprise a lot of folks by beating the Giants last week. They haven’t looked great recently, so I think they could cover this one. They aren’t an awful team at home. Dallas is hoping to get through this game without any injuries. I’m taking Philly to cover.
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets (+3.5) – My pick is Buffalo Bills
Oh man, this could be an awful game. The Bills are starting QB EJ Manuel and fired head coach Rex Ryan this week. The Jets will start QB Ryan Fitzpatrick who has been an interception machine even in the limited time he has recently played. I have to take the Bills to cover against the awful Jets.
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams (+6.5) – My pick is Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals are just now starting to play like they should have all season. They are scoring points and keep games close. QB Carson Palmer will get to start in his old stomping grounds where he won a Heisman at USC. I don’t have faith in the Rams to keep the pace against Arizona, so I’m taking the Cardinals to cover.
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos (-1) – My pick is Oakland Raiders
The Raiders will be without QB Derek Carr (broken leg) for the remainder of the year. They will start Matt McGloin, even if the Raiders won’t admit it, this is a sizable decline in talent. The Broncos have been outgained on the ground by an average of 120 yards per game the last month. The Raiders had a lot of success on the ground last week against the Colts. If McGloin can just hand off to Latavius Murray, DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard, the Raiders could squeak out a win. I’m taking Oakland to cover on the road.
Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers (+5.5) – My pick is Kansas City Chiefs
The Chargers are coming off a loss to the Browns, so they are limping into Week 17. They had so many injuries early in the year and it is catching up with them. They have lost four-straight games and are 0-4 ATS during the losing streak. The Chiefs should focus on running the balls since the Chargers have been horrible defending it. I have to take the Chiefs to cover.
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (-7) – My pick is Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons are playing for a first-round bye. If they lose, Seattle would need to lose and possibly Green Bay as well (I need to check on that), in order to still get a bye. This is still a huge game for Atlanta. Both teams come into this game pretty hot. The Saints come into this game with back-to-back wins against Arizona and Tampa Bay, which are solid wins. Atlanta has won three-straight games, but against the league’s basement dwellers. This cover could be close, but I’ll take the Falcons to cover against the spread.
New York Giants at Washington Redskins (-7.5) – My pick is Washington Redskins
The Giants are being coy about the amount of snaps QB Eli Manning will take against the Redskins. They are already locked into the #5 seed, so they might just play their starters a series and pull them for the rest of the game. I would like to take the Redskins to cover since the Giants will pack it in, but that extra half-point scares me. The Redskins need a win to make the playoffs, so they have a lot on the line. I’ll rolling the dice and take them to cover.
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (+9.5) – My pick is Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks have a shot at a first-round bye with a win and an Atlanta loss. The Niners are awful and they lost to the Seahawks 37-18 early in the season. I don’t like this large of a spread in Week 17, but I can’t stomach laying a single penny on the Niners…so give me the ‘Hawks.
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions (+3) – My pick is Green Bay Packers
Green Bay has slowly won me over again. They have won five-straight games and are 4-1 ATS in that stretch. They may have found their running back of the future in wide receiver Ty Montgomery as well. The Lions might be choking the division away after rolling over on the road against the Giants and Cowboys. Both of those teams are very good, but they were horrible in the second-half of the Dallas game last Monday night. I have to go with the hot hand, so give me he Pack to cover and clinch the NFC North.
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Sweetbob’s NFL picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob