Week 17 NFL Picks Against the Spread

Week 17 NFL Picks Against the Spread

With plenty of meaningful games on the slate this NFL week, we like the Bucs to beat the Panthers and clinch the NFC South and for the Bills to top the Bengals in the game of the week on Monday night. Here are all our picks for Week 17.

As we head into Week 17, nine of the NFL’s 14 playoff spots have been clinched, and eight teams have been eliminated. That leaves plenty to play for—seeding, homefield advantage, playoff berths—for the majority of the league.

Lines are from FanDuel as of Wednesday night. Stats are from TruMedia/Pro Football Focus unless otherwise noted. Now, on to the picks.

Week 16 record: 7-9
Season record: 123-110-7

Dallas Cowboys at Tennessee Titans (+12.5)

Bizarre situation for the Titans. They have literally nothing to play for in this game. Tennessee cannot earn a wild-card berth, and the Titans’ playoff hopes come down to a Week 18 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. If they win that game, they’re AFC South champs and will host a playoff game. If they lose that game, they’re out. So, there’s no incentive for the Titans to play starters or anyone who’s dealing with even a slight injury this week against Dallas. And that’s why a bunch of guys will be sitting.

As for the Cowboys, they have a lot to play for. Winning the NFC East is highly unlikely, but not impossible. They need to win their last two and have the Eagles lose their last two. Dak Prescott was fantastic in a win last week against the Eagles, but this Cowboys defense is not what it was earlier in the season.

This is an especially tough game to pick, so I’m just going to go the contrarian route here and hope for the best since I assume almost everyone will be on Dallas.

The pick: Titans (+12.5)

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3)

How about that Panthers performance last week? Their 570 yards of offense against the Lions was second most for any team in a game this season. Carolina had seven runs of 20-plus yards; that’s more than any team’s produced in a single game in the past 20 years!

The Bucs, meanwhile, win the award for toughest watch this season. Every game is a slog, and the players always look miserable. Yet if they win here, they’re NFC South champs and will host a playoff game. If they lose, they’re not out yet, but the Panthers will be in the driver’s seat. One key injury here: The Panthers are expected to be without their top corner, Jaycee Horn, who suffered a wrist injury last week.

The Bucs are a league-worst 3-11-1 against the spread this season. There is absolutely zero reason to trust them. But this line reflects that we’re looking at two evenly matched teams. I hate myself for falling into the trap again, but if it’s a close, boring game, Tom Brady has shown he can still get it done in a two-minute drill and steal a win.

The pick: Bucs (-3)

Cleveland Browns at Washington Commanders (-1.5)

Just how bad was the Browns offense last week in a loss to the Saints? There have been 480 offensive performances in the NFL this year. The Browns’ showing in Week 16 ranked 475th in expected points added (EPA) per drive. Yes, the weather was bad, but this wasn’t a one-game thing. If extrapolated over an entire season, the Browns’ performance in four games with Deshaun Watson would translate to the worst offense in the NFL this season in terms of EPA per drive.

After last week’s loss to the 49ers, the Commanders will go back to Carson Wentz at quarterback. Something to chew on: If the Commanders were to sneak into the playoffs and win their first-round matchup, Wentz would potentially go to Philadelphia to face his former team in the divisional round. What a twist that would be.

There’s not a whole lot to like about this Washington team, but the defense is frisky, and it doesn’t seem like they’ll just go away quietly.

The pick: Commanders (-1.5)

New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles (-6)

It looks like the Eagles will roll with Gardner Minshew again in this game. Minshew was fine last week against the Cowboys, but what really stood out in that game was how well-supported he was. DeVonta Smith was terrific, and the coaching staff dialed up some outstanding calls against Dallas’s defense. The Eagles can lock up the no. 1 seed in the NFC with a win here.

As for the Saints, they have just a 3 percent chance of getting into the playoffs, according to FiveThirtyEight. Don’t forget about the subplot in this one. The Eagles own the Saints’ first-round pick in 2023. If the season ended today, that’d be the 10th selection.

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