Week 17 is a tricky patch of schedule real estate, what with all of the teams whose seasons are covered dreams shattered, and the handful of teams who are resting players as they ready themselves for the postseason. There are some teams still playing all out, whether to improve sending or clinch home field. Accurately sifting through the effort-meter and desire to play starters is the key.
Actually, avoiding the games where it's an issue is a big key, as well. Not easy to do. Add in the fact that my 48 percent winning percentage means that the Christmas bills are stacking up, and the pressure is on, baby! So here we go, six picks to tide you over until the playoffs get here next weekend. Let's try to get back to the .500 mark on the season before the playoffs begin.
Browns -2.5 over BENGALS
The Browns have been one of the biggest disappointments in all of football this season, as they duped normally smart people into thinking that Baker Mayfield and Freddie Kitchens could steer a Super Bowl contender. Those people were insanely, grossly wrong. That said, the Bengals are awful, as they are already on the clock for the first pick in next spring's draft, having clinched the No. 1 overall pick. I'm guessing the Bengals will have zero home field advantage, and the Browns should be able to close the season on a high note with a win.
CHIEFS -8.5 over Chargers
This is a game that Texan fans will have a keen eye on in the early window, as a Chiefs victory relegates the Texans to the four seed, with no chance of moving up as they kick off against the Titans at 3:25 p.m. This a simple case of two teams going in opposite directions, one with a lot to play for (Chiefs clinching the 3-seed, possibly moving up to the 2-seed), and one with nothing to play for. The Chiefs' defense has allowed 17 points or fewer in each of their last five games, while the Chargers have lost five of six. Chiefs roll, Texans get the four seed.
Dolphins +15.5 over PATRIOTS
This is going to be the strangest paragraph in this post, considering the Patriots need a win to clinch the 2-seed, and the Dolphins are, well, the Dolphins, but here goes — the Patriots' offense can't be trusted right now with a greater than two touchdown spread, and the Dolphins have been frisky of late (3-1 ATS in the last month), so GIVE ME THE FINS MINUS 15.5!
Falcons +1 over BUCCANEERS
Quietly, after a disastrous start to the season, the Falcons have gone 5-2 SU in their last seven games, and 6-2 ATS in their last eight games. They seem to be the team most envisioned before the season. One of the two loses was to the Buccaneers, so I'm taking the Falcons in a bounce back situation against a Buccaneers team that will struggle offensively without Mike Evans and Chris Godwin.
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GIANTS +4.5 over Eagles
The Eagles got a huge win over the Cowboys last week to the control of the wretched NFC East, so now they just need to lock up the division with a win over the Giants. The Eagles are a banged up football team, with a deep injury list, and with Daniel Jones at quarterback, the Giants are dangerous enough at home to hang around in this game, which is all they need to do to get a winner.
Titans/TEXANS UNDER 45
The line on the game (Texans +3.5) would seem to indicate Deshaun Watson is not going to play, and even if he does, there will be no Will Fuller in the lineup, so I don't expect that Texans to crack 17 points. I think the defense will play hard, and the Titans will do just enough to win, feels like an UNDER.
LAST WEEK: 2-4
SEASON NFL ATS RECORD: 46-49-1 (48.4 percent)