John Royal’s NFL Picks, Week 17: Betting Against the Texans for the Last Time (Till Next Year)

Thank God, it’s the end of the NFL regular season. My record for the season so far is 100-138. At least I’m not the Dolphins or the Falcons. I don’t think you can have a much worse season than those two teams.

So, let’s end it and get these final picks out of the way.

1. The Patriots are favored by 13.5 points over the Giants. Apparently Congress didn’t have anything better to do and, through their actions, forced the NFL Network to share the broadcast of this game with CBS and NBC – don’t you wish Congress had put this much effort into determining whether Saddam actually had WMD? The major controversy now is whether the Giants, who have a playoff game next week and a bunch of injured players who need time off, will play those guys or play the backups. For some reason, there are people who think this meaningless game is more important than a playoff game and are bitching that the Giants might not play the game full out. Anyway, I’m sticking with the only winning pattern I’ve had the past several weeks, and I’m taking the Giants to get within the point spread.

2. The Texans are favored by 6.5 points over the Jaguars. The Jaguars are going to the playoffs. The Texans are trying to finish the season at 8-8. The Jags may be sitting QB David Garrard and RB Fred Taylor for most of the game. Not that this matters in that in their first match-up this season, Garrard sat out the game and it was Maurice Jones-Drew who ran all over the vaunted Texans defense. Meanwhile, the Chron’s Richard Justice writes that next season, Matt Schaub will be mentioned in the same breath with Tony Romo. I think Justice had a bit too much of the spiked eggnog. The Jags have nothing to play for. The Texans think they do. But the Texans are 0-5 inside the division this season. I say it goes to 0-6. So take the Jags.

3. The Cards are 6 point favorites over the Rams. Who cares? Take the Rams.

4. The Falcons are 2.5 point favorites over the Seahawks. The Seahawks are going to the playoffs. The Falcons are in the market for a new coach, a new QB, and a new everything. Yet somehow the Falcons are favored. Take the Seahawks.

5. The Panthers are favored by 3 points over the Bucs. Same thing as with Falcons/Seahawks. The Panthers are an embarrassment. The Bucs are going to the playoffs. Sure, the Bucs starters will only see limited playing time, but the Panthers lost to the Texans. Take the Bucs.

6. The Bengals are favored by 3 points over the Dolphins. The only person who cares about this game is new Dolphin exec Bill Parcells. Take the Bengals.

7. The Browns are 10 point favorites over the Niners. The Browns need the win if they’re going to make the playoffs. The Niners gave up on the playoffs in September. So that means take the Niners.

8. The Packers are favored by 4 points over the Lions. Is this last game of Matt Millen’s tenure in Detroit? Who cares? Take the Pack.

9. The Vikings are 3 point favorites over the Broncos. The Vikings could have clinched a playoff berth with a win over the Redskins last week. Instead, the Vikings lost. If the Vikings win this game, and the Cowboys beat the Redskins, the Vikings make the playoffs. The vaunted Broncos have a worst record than the Texans. And this game means nothing to them. So take the Broncos.

10. The Saints are favored by 2 points over the Bears. Once again, who cares? Take the Bears.

11. The Jets are 6.5 point favorites over the Chiefs. Take the Jets.

12. The Eagles are favored by 7.5 points over the Bills. Does anyone outside the northeast care about this game? Take the Bills.

13. The Steelers are 3.5 point favorites over the Ravens. Take Pittsburgh.

14. The Chargers are 8 point favorites over the Raiders. I hate picking a Norv Turner team. So why start now. Take the Raiders to get within a field goal.

15. The Titans are favored by 6 points over the Colts. Peyton Manning probably won’t play past the first half. And if I understand everything correctly, no matter what the Browns do, if the Titans win this game, the Titans advance to the playoffs. I don’t like the Titans – that whole splitting Houston thing – but I can’t wait to hear all of the Vince Young lovers starting up again if the Titans make the playoffs. And because I don’t think the Colts care, take the Titans.

16. The Redskins are favored by 9 points over the Cowboys. If the Redskins win, they go the playoffs. The Cowboys are benching a lot of players. But this has been a weird season. This means the Redskins find a way to blow this thing. Take the Cowboys to get within the point spread.

-- John Royal

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