Week 17 NFL Picks + Best Bets

You know that game Keno that is played in most, if not all casinos? Pretty much picking random numbers and hoping they hit. Similar to the lottery in that intuition and luck are the only chances you have for success. I feel like making predictions on some of these NFL games this week are similar – there’s no rhyme or reason as to whether a chunk of these players will show up with max effort.

And Todd Gurley, after destroying my two top fantasy teams these last two weeks, you have my vote for NFL MVP. No need to play this week against the 49ers. Enjoy your week off and congrats to you and your Rams on a heck of a regular season. Now go do some damage in the playoffs!

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Week 17 NFL Picks
Last Week: 13-3 Straight Up (SU), 7-9 Against the Spread (ATS)
Overall: 161-79 SU, 131-108-1 ATS
(Picks against the spread in parentheses; home teams in caps)

DETROIT 23, Green Bay 13 (ATS: Lions -7.5)
As a Packers fan, I hope they get crushed again this week for two reasons: to improve their draft position and so that I never have to see Brett Hundley quarterback the team again. He just hasn’t improved throughout his time as the Packers starter and clearly isn’t going to be nearly as successful statistically in the NFL as he was at UCLA. Please go find a new backup to Aaron Rodgers, (Packers GM) Ted Thompson.

INDIANAPOLIS 24, Houston 17 (ATS: Colts -3.5)
What a terrible football game to end the season…but that’s because both teams are devoid of good QB play with their projected starters injured. Houston has clearly given up as evidenced by their disgusting play the last few weeks while at least Indy showed some heart in Baltimore last Saturday. Though it may affect their currently very high draft position, I expect the Colts to take care of business in Week 17.

MINNESOTA 19, Chicago 16 (ATS: Bears +12.5)
What incentive do the Vikings have to play their starters considering they’ve clinched a first round bye and the #2 seed in the NFC playoffs? That’s why I’m picking the Bears to keep this one closer than the large spread.

NEW ENGLAND 34, New York Jets 13 (ATS: Patriots -15.5)
The Patriots clinch the #1 seed in the AFC with a win over their northeastern rivals. Considering the Jets have been punchless since November, Tom Brady shouldn’t have to exert max effort to take care of business on Sunday.

Washington 22, NEW YORK GIANTS 16 (ATS: Redskins -3.5)
I have no idea what to think about this game. While I understand that the Redskins are hoping to even their record at 8-8, will the Giants give 3rd round pick, QB Davis Webb a shot to see if he can be their QB of the future? Considering how New York played on Christmas Eve in Arizona (a 23-0 shutout), it’s extremely hard to pick them this week.

Dallas 27, PHILADELPHIA 20 (ATS: Cowboys -2.5)
What incentive do the Eagles have to play any of their top players considering they’ve locked up the #1 seed in the NFC? None. Dallas is looking to bounce back after an embarrassing home effort against Seattle last week. Ezekiel Elliott runs for 150+ yards in a Cowboys win.

PITTSBURGH 24, Cleveland 17 (ATS: Browns +13.5)
What incentive do the Steelers have to play their starters? New England clearly isn’t losing to the Jets so Pittsburgh’s fate as the #2 team in the AFC won’t change. Look for Cleveland to give max effort in order to avoid an 0-16 season…but they’ll come up just short.

ATLANTA 26, Carolina 20 (ATS: Falcons -3.5)
One of the biggest games of the weekend. If Atlanta wins, they clinch the #6 seed in the NFC. If they lose and Seattle wins, they’re out. Carolina needs a win and a Saints loss to host a playoff game in Charlotte next weekend. Expect a fun game here with the home team holding on in the 4th quarter to secure the victory.

Kansas City 23, DENVER 17 (ATS: Chiefs +3.5)
I’m not sure why the Broncos are favored here considering they may play 2nd year QB disaster Paxton Lynch over just plain-old train wreck Brock Osweiler. I’ll take Kansas City’s backups, in a meaningless game for them, over the Denver starters who just want their disastrous season to be over.

Jacksonville 24, TENNESSEE 20 (ATS: Jaguars +3.5)
The Jags are playing for nothing. The Titans, on the other hand, are playing for a playoff spot. But Jacksonville is undefeated straight up and against the spread in odd weeks this season so I expect the streak to continue. Tennessee coach Mike Mularkey loses his job the following day after an incredible late season collapse.

San Francisco 27, LOS ANGELES RAMS 21 (ATS: 49ers +2.5)
49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo has played at an MVP level since San Francisco acquired him. Plus he’s never lost in the NFL as a starting QB! Meanwhile the Rams might be better off resting Jared Goff and Todd Gurley for next week. Give me the 49ers with one of the easier upset picks this week.

MIAMI 23, Buffalo 17 (ATS: Dolphins +2.5)
Sorry Bills fans, your 18 year playoff drought continues. The Bills are like my fantasy football teams – they show promise for a while and choke when it counts. Not that they are guaranteed to make the playoffs as is, it’s still a long shot considering all of the scenarios out there, but a loss dooms them for sure.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS 31, Oakland 21 (ATS: Chargers -7.5)
Under this scenario, the Chargers secure the 6th AFC playoff spot due to a loss by the Titans. While I like him as a coach, I also think Jack Del Rio is on the outs in Oakland especially after a very underachieving 2017 season. At least the NFL won’t have to worry about a 28,000 seat home stadium, the Chargers’, hosting a playoff game this season.

SEATTLE 27, Arizona 10 (ATS: Seahawks -8.5)
The Seahawks are trying to will themselves into the playoffs after the Rams disaster of two weeks ago but it’ll be too little, too late with a Falcons win over the Panthers. The Cardinals will finish 7-9 in what I believe will be Bruce Arians’ final game as Arizona’s coach.

New Orleans 24, TAMPA BAY 19 (ATS: Buccaneers +7.5)
Call me crazy…but even though with a win the Saints will secure the NFC South division title, I expect the Bucs to make this one VERY interesting. In what could and should be coach Dirk Koetter’s final game, Tampa Bay will play hard in an attempt to spoil New Orleans’ chances of hosting a game next weekend at the Superdome. With all that said, as of now, the Saints are still my pick to win the NFC.

BALTIMORE 30, Cincinnati 7 (ATS: Ravens -9.5)
I don’t expect the Bengals to be able to keep this one close. In what appears to be coach Marvin Lewis’ final game with the team, his players have checked out. The Ravens clinch the #5 seed in the AFC with a convincing W at home. Watch out Chiefs (Baltimore’s potential opponent) in the 1st round next weekend!

NFL Week 17 Best Bets
Last Week: 2-3
Overall: 45-33-2
Jaguars +3.5 vs. Titans
49ers +2.5 vs. Rams
Raiders / Chargers Over 43.5 Total Points
Bears +12.5 vs. Vikings
Cowboys / Eagles Over 40.5 Total Points

And as usual, here are my weekly fantasy football predictions…not a good season for these:

PPR HERO (an underrated player who will finish in the top-10 at his position this week):
Season Record: 5-11
Week 17: Jimmy Garoppolo (QB, 49ers)

PPR ZERO (a top-15 player who will finish outside of the top-20 at his position this week): 
Season Record: 11-5
Week 17: Adam Thielen (WR, Vikings)

KICK IT TO WIN IT (A likely waiver wire kicker who will end up in the top-10):
Season Record: 6-10
Week 17: Matt Bryant (Falcons)

PUNT OF THE WEEK (the team I think will punt most frequently therefore upgrading the other team’s fantasy defense…aka turning them into a top-10 fantasy D for the week):
Season Record: 12-4
Week 17: Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Baltimore Ravens)

To read previous entries of my blog, click here. Also make sure to follow me on Twitter @eacohen83.

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