I’m just going to throw it out there: I hate Week 17. And not just because it’s the last week I’ll get to see Cam Newton in a game for about seven months. From a betting prospective, this is the worst week ever to put money on games. Starters sit, normal injuries get extra rest, motivation changes, and more starters sit. This week has the weirdest lines (Green Bay is a home underdog) because so many playoff seeds are already set.
Why is this week different from all other weeks? Are teams actually going to tank for one game? We’ll find out by watching, but find out below in my Week 17 picks. Home teams, as usual, in CAPS.
PATRIOTS (-12.5) over Bills
If there was any coach to run up the score in Week 17, don’t you think it would be Belichick?
Bears (-0.5) over VIKINGS
We’ve seen so many young quarterbacks this year. Between five rookies, all too many injuries, and a couple of bad starters, there have been more backups playing than days in a Kardashian marriage. But only two have been really bad: Blaine Gabbert and Caleb Hanie. The rest have been great (Cam Newton), good (Andy Dalton), or serviceable (Dan Orlovsky). On the other hand, the Vikings are missing Adrian Peterson; I think I’ll be taking the Bears.
PACKERS (+1.5) over Lions
I don’t care what the Packers are playing for, I’m not giving points taking the Lions here. Also, how much extra motivation is it really to move from the 6th ranked team to the 5th ranked team?
TEXANS (+2.5) over Titans
I just don’t think the Titans are that good. But they’ve still got a shot at the playoffs. All they need is a win, a Cincinnati loss, and a either a Jets win and one AFC West team losing or both AFC West teams winning while the Jets lose. Or Moses to part the Red Sea.
Colts (+4.5) over JAGUARS
Do you think the Colts players love Peyton Manning so much that they’d purposely un-blow a game to keep him around? I’m not sure if they would, but I can’t rely on Blaine Gabbert to win by five under any circumstances.
Niners (-10.5) over RAMS
If you can beat the Steelers 20-3, I hope you can go on the road and beat the Rams by 11.
Jets (+1.5) over DOLPHINS
As weird of a turnaround as it’s been for the Dolphins, I just can’t pick them against the Jets when New York has the playoffs to play for. Deep down, I’ll be rooting for Miami just so Rex Ryan will either a) say something really stupid or b) never make a bold proclamation ever again. We both know a) is far more likely, though.
Panthers (+7.5) over SAINTS
If you consider that this off-season the Panthers will be adding the 2nd best linebacker in the game (Jon Beason), a near All-Pro linebacker and tackle (Thomas Davis and Jeff Otah), plus a top-12 1st and 2nd round pick at the bare minimum, it’s not to crazy to say that this team is headed to the playoffs next year. Cam Newton is just that good.
EAGLES (-8.5) over Redskins
For a moment, I wanted to go with the suddenly-tough Redskins, but then I remembered that they have Rex Grossman. I really hope they either land Robert Griffin III or Peyton Manning this off-season because then I can really jump on their bandwagon.
Buccaneers (+13.5) over FALCONS
The Falcons are essentially playing for the same thing that the Lions are: to move up one spot in the playoffs. But no matter how awful the Bucs are, I just can’t see the Falcons going all-out to beat them by two touchdowns.
Ravens (-2.5) over BENGALS
Sure, the Bengals have more to play for, the the Bengals might want some momentum headed to the playoffs. I still love Baltimore this year because they get up for the big games (6-0 against the Steelers, Niners, Jets, Bengals, and Texans). They won’t have to face the Seahawks and Jags in the playoffs.
Steelers (-7.5) over BROWNS
The Browns were bad to start with, so when Colt McCoy left it just turned unbearable. As a side note, you know your team is terrible when you’re hurting for a future career backup QB to return from injury.
BRONCOS (-3.5) over Chiefs
Are we forgetting that Kyle Orton is not good? He was 12-21 as a starter in Denver, including 4-14 the last two years. He’s the very definitely on an average quarterback. Denver can make the playoffs with a win, so I’ll put my faith in Timmy Tebow. (See what I did there?)
Chargers (+2.5) over RAIDERS
I’m not giving 2.5 to take the Raiders.
Seahawks (+3.5) over CARDINALS
For this game, go with my usual rule of thumb: In an NFC West game without San Fran, TAKE THE POINTS! It’s 3-2 on the year.
Cowboys (+3.5) over GIANTS
I don’t think there’s a single play more career-altering than Tony Romo’s botched hold against Seattle in the playoffs. Because of it, everyone thinks of him as a choker and a loser. But really, he’s the best 4th quarter QBs all year by quarterback rating. Better than Brady. Better than Tebow. In fact, he has 18 touchdowns to 2 interceptions in his last seven games.
Last Week: 7-9
Lance in my Pants Lock o’ the Week: 11-4