McGon’s Picks: NFL Week 17

How in the world is it already Week 17?

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It’s hard to believe the NFL regular season is coming to an end. While it was not the greatest season for my team on the field, I enjoyed this season a lot. After what felt like the longest and most painful offseason ever, this season was over before you knew it. Writing these articles made this season more enjoyable, and probably made it go by faster, so thanks to all the loyal readers who have followed along.

Week 17 is going to be tough to pick. You never know how long the starters are going to play, and you don’t know which team’s backups are going to succeed. In addition, the Panthers-Falcons game is the only one in which both team’s playoff seeding will be impacted by the result of the game. Also, there are no winner take all games, which is usually the case on the Sunday Night matchup.

As for last week, Week 16, things could not have gone more similar to Week 15. Favorites dominated again, going 13-3, and that was reflected greatly in my straight up record, which tied my season high at 14-2. However, once again, the spreads were a little harder. It was not necessarily a bad week, but I went just 7-8-1 against the spread. Here’s a look back at the picks I made (winning team in red, spread winner in red):

Colts at Ravens (-13.5) 

  • Ravens 23, Colts 16- Much credit to the Colts for playing as well as they did despite struggling of late, especially on the road against a playoff contender. Weather was definitely a factor in the Ravens not dominating, but they pulled out the win nonetheless and look set on locking up the 5th seed this weekend.

Vikings at Packers (+9)

  • Vikings 16, Packers 0- Another game in which weather hurt my chances of nailing the spread and cover. All the Packers needed was one TD to push, but Hundley and Co. could not find the end zone in the freezing temperatures against the elite Viking defense.

Buccaneers at Panthers (-10) 

  • Panthers 22, Buccaneers 19- Despite earning the win, the Panthers played down football for the first time in a few weeks. Despite locking up a playoff berth, and the fact that they need a win and a Saints loss to win the division, I think they will try this weekend as it would be bad to go into the playoffs off of two bad performances in a row.

Browns (+6.5) at Bears 

  • Bears 20, Browns 3- Cleveland is hopeless.

Lions at Bengals (+3.5)

Dolphins at Chiefs (-10.5) 

Bills at Patriots (-12)

Falcons at Saints (-6)

Chargers at Jets (+6.5) 

  • Chagers 14, Jets 7- Very tough loss against the spread on this one by just half a point. This spread actually went to Chargers by 7, so I would have pushed, but I’m not gonna adjust the spread on here after a small half point change.

Rams (-6.5) at Titans

  • Rams 27, Titans 23- The Titans kept it close against one of the better teams in the NFL, but I didn’t think this was necessarily the Rams best performance either. The Titans just need to win to grab the 6th seed, but I’d much prefer to see the Bills or Chargers make it over them.

Broncos at Redskins (-3)

Jaguars (-4.5) at 49ers

  • 49ers 44, Jaguars 33- I’m not saying they won’t make it, and I’m not saying I won’t pick them, but I can tell you now that almost every sports writer is going to be picking the Niners as a playoff team next year.

Giants at Cardinals (-3.5) 

Seahawks at Cowboys (-5)

  • Seahawks 21, Cowboys 12- This was one of the most frustrating games I have watched the Cowboys play in all of my years of being a fan. Much credit to the Seahawks defense, but the Cowboys were overall the better team Sunday. The Cowboys had over 100 yards more of total offense, the Seahawks had a crazy amount of penalty yards, and the Cowboys defense played awesome. So who beat the Cowboys on Sunday? The Seahawks defense, in part, but really the Cowboys beat the Cowboys. The three turnovers were absolute killers. Dez was complaining for the ball all first half, finally makes a catch, and fumbles, which leads to a short scoring drive. The pick 6 was such a bad pass and decision that you throw out the tape. That’s not who Dak is, and that was probably the first absolute panic throw he’s ever made. The only long Seahawk scoring drive came off another pick, which was a mix of a throw behind Dez, Dez dropping it when he could have made the catch, and an incredibly unlucky bounce. And you know things are bad when the most accurate kicker in NFL history misses twice in the 4th quarter. Alright. Emotions spilled out. Can’t wait for next season, a fresh start from the distraction that the majority of this season has been.

Steelers (-9) at Texans

Raiders at Eagles (-9) 

  • Eagles 19, Raiders 10- I don’t care at all about the actual game, just another best/worst beat of all time on the last play of the game. If you took Eagles when I took them at -9, this was an incredibly lucky push, and it could have been a win had they taken the extra point. However, the line would move to Eagles -10. So therefore, it was almost the luckiest push ever, but turned into a heartbreaking tease of a loss when they did not take the extra point.

2017 Straight-Up: 163-77, 2017 Vs. Spread: 117-113-10

Let’s hope an unpredictable Week 17 doesn’t ruin my winning record against the spread.

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Note: Many of these games are ones betters should avoid based on not knowing who’s going to play, so I’ll make note if it’s one to avoid.

Cowboys (-3) at Eagles

  • This game is extremely unpredictable, as the Cowboys are out and the Eagles are locked into the #1 seed, so you never know how long regulars are going to play. It sounds like the Cowboys regulars will play longer than the Eagles, so I’m going to take the Cowboys in this one. Avoid taking this game.

Packers (+7) at Lions

  • Neither team has anything to play for here, so I’m expecting a decent game between these division rivals. This could be Brett Hundley’s final showcase to his future as the Packers backup or as a potential trade piece if another team’s QB goes down. I expect him to play decent and get the Packers the cover, but the Lions will get the win at home.

Texans at Colts (-5.5) 

  • The loser of this game will benefit more based on draft pick, but I expect the Colts to win based on being the better team. Jacoby Brissett and the Colts fought hard in a losing effort in Baltimore, and this could also be his final showcase as a starting QB. The Texans have been hopeless since Watson went down, and the Colts will win and cover at home.

Bears at Vikings (-12)

  • While a lot would need to happen, the Vikings have not locked up the #2 seed, so they will be playing their starters. And these starters will continue to dominate like they have. The Vikings could be the most complete team in football on both sides of the ball, and this will show when they win and cover in the regular season finale.

Jets (+15) at Patriots

  • The Patriots will undoubtedly take care of business this Sunday to wrap up the AFC’s #1 seed. However, this Jets team has been tough all year, and this spread is an insult to them. It may not be by much, but I like the Jets to cover this huge spread on Sunday.

Redskins (-3.5) at Giants

  • I’ll actually be in attendance for the most anticipated matchup of Week 17. If the Giants were to send out the squad they did against the Eagles two weeks ago, I think they win this home game. But with Evan Engram, Sterling Sherphard, and Tavarres King all likely out, I don’t see where the Giants will get any offense. The Redskins will close out the regular season with a win and cover.

Browns at Steelers (-6)

  • With the Jets beating the Patriots in New England being so unlikely, the Steelers are all but locked into the #2 seed. It’s also very unclear ho much everyone is going to play, which is why this spread went down so much. My only comment is that no matter who plays for the Steelers, I see them winning and covering over the winless Browns. Unless it’s announced that the regulars are expected to play the entire game, definitely avoid betting this game.

Panthers at Falcons (-3.5)

  • By far the biggest matchup of the weekend even though there’s a chance a Panthers win does not impact their playoff chances. I think the Panthers are the better team, and they are not going to mail it in since they can still win the division, but the Falcons have so much more to play for here. The Falcons will earn the win at to lock up the 6th seed and get another crack at a run to the Super Bowl.

Bengals at Ravens (-9.5)

  • The Bengals are a better team than the Colts, but I expect the Ravens to get the cover at home this time. Last time the Bengals played surprisingly well, they followed it up with two consecutive blowout losses. After unexpectedly winning last weekend, the Marvin Lewis era will end on a bad note. The Ravens will win and cover at home to set up a matchup in Kansas City next weekend.

Bills at Dolphins (+2.5)

  • The Bills need a win and help to make the playoffs for the first time since 1999, but what do the Bills do year after year? Spoil other teams’ playoff chances in Week 17, or get their own chances spoiled by an opponent in Week 17. The latter will come true here, as the Dolphins will win at home to ruin the Bills’ playoff hopes.

Saints at Buccaneers (+6)

  • The Saints have been the most consistent team in the division all season, and they will look to prove so by wrapping up the division this Sunday. However, the Bucs have nearly played spoiler in the NFC South the last two weeks by covering but falling just short of a win. I think the same happens here, as the Bucs cover at home, but the Saints win to lock up the NFC South.

Jaguars (+2.5) at Titans

  • The Jaguars are locked into the #3 seed, but after last week’s performance, I don’t think they want to head to the playoffs on two consecutive losses, especially as an inexperienced playoff team. While a loss would actually give them an easier first round matchup in my opinion (Titans again, as to Chargers/Bills), I think the Jaguars will flex their dominance, and the ODD WEEK JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS will get it done in the final week of the regular season and eliminate their division rivals.

Chiefs (+4) at Broncos

  • The Chiefs will get their first look at their potential QB of the future, as Patrick Mahomes will make his first career start with the Chiefs locked into the 4th seed. The Broncos will start Paxton Lynch, who has not proven himself at all in his small sample size of games played. I think the rookie Mahomes edges him out in a low scoring game, and the Chiefs get the win on the road. Definitely avoid this game, as it features two very young and unproven QBs.

Raiders (+7) at Chargers 

  • The Chargers need a win and a Titan loss to make the playoffs. I think they will do their part and get the win, and coupled with my pick of a Titans loss, they will earn a trip to Jacksonville next weekend. However, the Raiders have played a few close games lately, and the Chargers have not been as strong over the last few games, so I’ll take the Raiders to cover here.

49ers (-4) at Rams

  • This game could have been a thriller, but the Rams are planning on sitting their regulars in this one. Health is most important, but I wonder if they took into consideration the fact that the Eagles would be an easier second round matchup than the Vikings, as a loss and a Saints win would drop the Rams to the 4th seed. Jimmy G and Co. will continue to shine and get the Week 17 win and cover in LA.

Cardinals (+8.5) at Seahawks

  • The Seahawks are in with a win and a Falcon loss, and despite my pick of the Falcons winning, I could easily see the Panthers winning. The Seahawks are the better team and will get the win at home. However, their offense has now had two bad weeks in a row. I think they win a low scoring game with the Cardinals getting the cover.

That’s it for the regular season, but don’t worry, these articles won’t stop in the playoffs. They won’t be as long, but they will be much more in depth on the big playoff matchups. Will Dan Quinn edge out his old friends once again?

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