The final week of the NFL’s regular season is upon us. While there were a couple delays in games, as well as games where key players were forced to sit out due to COVID-19, it’s amazing that the league was able to schedule 256 games over 17 weeks without any cancellations or multi-week delays.
Week 17 has playoff implications on the line all over the place. In the NFC, the Green Bay Packers are in the driver’s seat for the #1 seed and a first-round bye, but their opponent, the Chicago Bears, will be fighting for their playoff lives. If Green Bay does falter, the Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints will be waiting patiently right behind them. The NFC East is up for grabs, with Washington Football team in a similar driver’s seat position and the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys duking it out to be next in line if they lose.
In the AFC, the Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns, Miami Dolphins, and Baltimore Ravens all look to keep their seasons going: but one of them will be left in the cold.
Read on for my full Week 17 picks, in the last edition of the regular season. I’m proud to have made it through 17 weeks last year, after only reaching Week 12 in 2019.
Week 1: 10-6
Week 2: 11-5
Week 3: 8-7-1
Week 4: 10-5
Week 5: 7-7
Week 6: 10-4
Week 7: 10-4
Week 8: 7-7
Week 9: 7-7
Week 10: 9-5
Week 11: 7-7
Week 12: 9-7
Week 13: 8-7
Week 14: 12-4
Week 15: 11-5
Week 16: 9-7
Overall: 145-94-1 (61% correct)
In Week 16 I incorrectly predicted:
- Cardinals over 49ers
- Browns over Jets
- Colts over Steelers
- Texans over Bengals
- Broncos over Chargers
- Eagles over Cowboys
- Titans over Packers
Sunday Day Games
Miami Dolphins (10-5 ) at Buffalo Bills (12-3)
Line: Buffalo Bills (-3.0)
Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins are fighting to make the playoffs, while MVP candidate Josh Allen and the Bills have their eyes set on the second seed in the AFC. This should be a fun one, and it’s crazy to think two AFC East teams could qualify for the postseason and neither of them are the New England Patriots. Tom Brady might have had his hand full if he stayed with the Patriots: but just add that to the list of NFL history “what if’s.”
Back to this game, there’s no reason to think the better team won’t win. I ranked Buffalo #2 in my Post-Week 16 Power Rankings, and the only team I would pick against them at home would be Kansas City. Still, Miami could put the pressure on for a tight season finale.
Bills win 31-24, Bills win ATS
Baltimore Ravens (10-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (4-10-1)
Line: Baltimore Ravens (-13.5)
The Bengals have surprisingly won a couple games recently without Joe Burrow. But with playoff implications on the line, there’s no way Lamar Jackson and the Ravens lose to the likes of Cincinnati in Week 17.
Ravens win 38-23, Ravens win ATS
Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3) at Cleveland Browns (10-5)
Line: Cleveland Browns (-10.0)
Pittsburgh can climb to the #2 seed with a win and a Bills loss on Sunday. They could also do their part to keep Cleveland out of the 2021 postseason. Neither objective appears to appeal to the Steelers, who will sit Ben Roethlisberger and a couple other starters for their season finale. The Browns are the beneficiary of the Steelers’ passiveness towards their seeding: but it’s still a close game.
Browns win 22-18, Steelers win ATS
Minnesota Vikings (6-9) at Detroit Lions (5-10)
Line: Minnesota Vikings (-3.5)
Not every game will have playoff implications in Week 17, and unless you’re a fan on one of these teams, I can’t imagine why you would tune in. Minnesota seems like easily the better team, especially with Detroit fading in the season’s second half.
Vikings win 30-20, Vikings win ATS
New York Jets (2-13) at New England Patriots (6-9)
Line: New England Patriots (-3.0)
Cam Newton is likely done in New England, and the Patriots had their most disappointing season in two decades. They still have more talent than the Jets, but if the Patriots show up disinterested, New York could close the season out with a third straight victory.
Jets win 20-16, Jets win ATS
Dallas Cowboys (6-9) at New York Giants (5-10)
Line: Dallas Cowboys (-1.5)
It’s hard to believe one of these teams could make the playoffs, but that’s exactly what will happen if Washington fails to beat Philadelphia in the night cap. I won’t sugarcoat it: I’m a New York Giants fan. With that being said, my confidence level couldn’t be lower heading in to this matchup. I don’t expect Daniel Jones to keep up with the recently revived Cowboys offense.
Cowboys win 33-26, Cowboys win ATS
Atlanta Falcons (4-11) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-5)
Line: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7.0)
The Falcons can be a pesky team, and Tom Brady needed a huge comeback to down Atlanta a couple weeks ago. With playoff seeding on the line, I don’t see Tampa Bay slipping up against this four-win Falcons squad.
Buccaneers win 33-23, Buccaneers win ATS
Green Bay Packers (12-3) at Chicago Bears (8-7)
Line: Green Bay Packers (-4.5)
Mitch Trubisky and the Bears need a win and some help to qualify for the postseason as a wildcard team. The Packers Week 17 scenario is simpler: win, and earn the top seed in the NFC. With those stakes on the line, the Packers should be able to win this game. I don’t think Chicago will make it easy though, and this game could come down to the wire.
Packers win 27-23, Packers win ATS
Las Vegas Raiders (7-8) at Denver Broncos (5-10)
Line: Las Vegas Raiders (-2.5)
The Raiders played an impressive game against the Dolphins last week, but I’m still not high on Las Vegas. Despite having two less wins and being the underdog, I’m fine picking the Broncos at home in Week 17.
Broncos win 24-22, Broncos win ATS
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-14) at Indianapolis Colts (10-5)
Line: Indianapolis Colts (-14.5)
Not much to say about this one, as the 1-14 Jaguars are just looking to finally end their season. Philip Rivers and the Colts, on the other hand, will have at least one more week in their season, and can still win the AFC South.
Colts win 31-13, Colts win ATS
Los Angeles Chargers (6-9) at Kansas City Chiefs (14-1)
Line: Los Angeles Chargers (-5.5)
With the AFC’s top seed locked up, Patrick Mahomes and some other Chiefs starters won’t play in Week 17. But Kansas City will still roll out 53 NFL-quality players: to think they’ll be a pushover is laughable. I am going to pick the Chargers, finishing out the season strong, but I think Chad Henne and the Chiefs will put up a fight.
Chargers win 26-23, Chiefs win ATS
Arizona Cardinals (8-7) at Los Angeles Rams (9-6)
Line: Arizona Cardinals (-3.0)
n the middle of the season, the Cardinals and Rams looked like two of the best teams in the NFL. They’ve both faded, and now just one of them might make the postseason. Los Angeles is playing in an extremely tough situation: No Jared Goff, no Copper Kupp. With just that alone, the pick is easily Kyler Murray and the Cardinals.
Cardinals win 31-16, Cardinals win ATS
Seattle Seahawks (11-4) at San Francisco 49ers (6-9)
Line: Seattle Seahawks (-7.0)
I couldn’t pinpoint you every injury on the 49ers roster, but there’s still a ton of unavailable, high-quality players. Seattle has seemingly recovered from their mid-season slump, and is still pushing for playoff seeding with an outside shot at a first round bye. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks finish out the regular season with their 12th victory.
Seahawks win 27-13, Seahawks win ATS
New Orleans Saints (11-4) at Carolina Panthers (5-10)
Line: New Orleans Saints (-6.0)
I’ll use the same word for Carolina’s team that I used for Atlanta: pesky. Teddy Bridgewater and the Panthers could give the Saints a hard time, but again, the better team with the more compelling reason to win will come out on top.
Saints win 33-24, Saints win ATS
Tennessee Titans (10-5) at Houston Texans (4-11)
Line: Tennessee Titans (-7.0)
Surprisingly, the Titans can still miss the playoffs entirely: with a loss here and wins by the Dolphins, Colts, and Ravens. But before figuring out the odds of all three teams winning, save yourself some time and realize this Texans team has been pretty bad all season, and even more so over the past few weeks.
Titans win 36-17, Titans win ATS
Sunday Night Football
Washington Football Team (6-9) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-10-1)
Line: Washington Football Team (-5.0)
While this was the only game the NFL could slot in to the Week 17 Sunday Night slot without tampering with competitive advantage, it’s still not the most exciting matchup in the world. If Washington wins, they advance to the postseason, for the rights to play the top wildcard in the NFC (likely Tampa Bay.) A loss opens the door for the winner of Giants-Cowboys to take that spot.
I liked Jalen Hurts’ first couple starts with Philadelphia, but last week he was grounded with a loss to the Cowboys. With Alex Smith under center for this win-and-in scenario, Washington should be able to secure a spot in the playoffs.
Washington wins 28-20, Washington wins ATS
- 2020-21 NFL Predictions: Standings and Super Bowl Matchup
- NFL 2020 Midseason Predictions: Final Standings and Super Bowl Matchup
- NFL 2020 Picks: Week 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16
- NFL 2020 Power Rankings: Post-Week 1, Post-Week 2, Post-Week 3, Post-Week 4, Post-Week 5, Post-Week 6, Post-Week 7, Post-Week 8, Post-Week 9, Post-Week 10, Post-Week 11, Post-Week 12, Post-Week 13, Post-Week 14, Post-Week 15, Post-Week 16
- NFL MVP Watch: Quarter Season, Half Season, Three-Quarter Season
- How Much is Saquon Barkley Worth to the Giants?
- Expectations for Odell Beckham Jr’s Second Year in Cleveland
- Quarterback Dilemma in Chicago: Nick Foles vs Mitch Trubisky
- 2019 Preseason Predictions: Standings, Playoff Teams, Super Bowl Matchup
- 2019 NFL Playoff Bracket Predictions and Super Bowl Matchup
- Eli Manning is a Sure-Fire Hall of Famer
- 2020-21 NBA Standings, Playoffs, NBA Finals Predictions
- Top Ten Players Heading Into the 2020-21 NBA Season
- Durant Dominates in Debut, Nets Down Warriors 125-99 in Season Opener
- Grading the Russell Westbrook-John Wall Trade
- Minnesota Timberwolves Select Anthony Edwards First Overall in the 2020 NBA Draft
- James Harden Wants Out of Houston, Prefers Brooklyn Nets
- “Run it Back:” Anthony Davis to Re-Sign with Los Angeles Lakers
- Who is 76ers Guard Shake Milton?
- 2019-20 NBA Predictions: Standings, Playoff Teams, MVP and Finals Matchup
- Re-Selecting the 2020 NBA All-Stars
- Top Five Duos in the NBA Bubble
- Track Review: Give No Fvk by Migos featuring Young Thug and Travis Scott
- Track Review: @ MEH by Playboi Carti
- Review: Eternal Atake by Lil Uzi Vert
Travel and Hiking
- Stumptown, Rose City, “Weird”: My Portland 2020 Day Trip
- Hike: Mount Beacon Fire Tower Out-and-Back
- Hike: Breakneck Ridge Loop
Header Photo Credit: Fansided/Riggo’s Rag