Week 17 Picks Against the Spread for Every NFL Game
There is good news and bad news.
The bad news first: The curtain is sadly about to close on the 2012 NFL regular season.
The good news: There is one more week to earn some post-Christmas cash.
So how will the final phase on the NFL season go? Which teams have the greatest value against the spread?
All line per Sportsbook.com
New York Jets −3.5 Buffalo Bills
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Pick: Buffalo Bills.
The Jets are in shambles, as this week, once again, they have been in the news for all the wrong reason. Whether or not Tim Tebow refused to run the wildcat is irrelevant, it's a distraction for a team that is already bad.
Bet the Bills at home.
Baltimore Ravens −3 Cincinnati Bengals
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Pick: Cincinnati Bengals
This is a division game against two teams already in the playoffs. Further, both teams are coming off big victories, and neither can alter their playoff seed too drastically.
The Ravens are probably the better overall team, but in a somewhat meaningless game, give me the hotter team at home.
Houston Texans +7 Indianapolis Colts
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Pick: Indianapolis Colts.
Another game featuring two playoff teams. The Texans enter this game following a home loss to the Vikings, while the Colts enter with Chuck Pagano returning the sidelines. When the two team played each other in Houston Week 15, the Texans won by 8.
Taking the Colts gives you seven points at home, with all the momentum the return of Pagano will bring. Texans likely win, but with this line, the Colts have serious value.
Jacksonville Jaguars −4 Tennessee Titans
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In a truly meaningless matchup that features two bad AFC South teams, take the Jags on the road. They are playing better football, as last week, they played the Patriots tough.
The Titans got crushed 55-7 last week. In Week 12, Jacksonville beat Tennessee at home, and ever since Chad Henne has replaced Blaine Gabbert, the Jags have become a much better team offensively.
Philadelphia Eagles −7.5 New York Giants
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Like the team they share a stadium with, the Giants are playing bad football. Their division lead has diminished into feint playoff hopes. Four of the last five games Philadelphia has played have ended with a result of eight points or less. Inserting Michael Vick at starting quarterback will give the Eagles a spark.
Take Vick, the Eagles and the points.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers −3.5 Atlanta Falcons
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The Falcons, who have clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC already, claim they will play their starters on Sunday, but don't be surprised if Matt Ryan and other notable players find the bench in the second half.
Still, take the Falcons.
Tampa Bay has been atrocious during its current five-game losing streak. In the past two games, both against non-playoff teams, the Buccaneers have lost by a combined 56 points.
Chicago Bears +3.5 Detroit Lions
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This game means everything for the Bears. Chicago needs to beat the Lions, then needs Green Bay to beat Minnesota for the Bears to make the playoffs. Need more motivation? The Bears hate the Lions. The half point is somewhat concerning here, as the Bears offense has been broken for the better part of the season, but Detroit has lost seven consecutive games.
Swallow the points and ride the Chicago train.
Carolina Panthers −5.5 New Orleans Saints
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The Saints are playing their best football of the season. Carolina is too.
New Orleans is 17-7 against the spread as a favorite over the last two seasons, and its best football is at least a touchdown better then Carolina's.
Miami Dolphins −10 New England Patriots
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It's always a risk to take a double-digit favorite, but it's very hard to see the Patriots tripping for a third straight week. After last week's sloppy win against Jacksonville, look for the Pats to come out firing against the Dolphins.
Miami can't keep up with the Patriots offensively.
Green Bay Packers +3.5 Minnesota Vikings
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This game was flexed into the Fox afternoon game of the week for a reason. This game is overflowing with playoff implications, especially if the Bears beat the Lions earlier in the day.
Led by the medical anomaly that is Adrian Peterson, the Vikings welcome the Packers into the Metrodome in control of their playoff destiny. Green Bay has the motivation of playing for a potential first-round bye, but perhaps the greater motivator for it in this game is that it can put the Vikings to sleep.
The Packers own Chicago. Since Jay Cutler's arrival, the Packers are 9-1 against the Bears. So, who do you think they would rather play in a potential first round matchup?
Swallow the points, and take the motivated Green Bay Packers.
Kansas City Chiefs −16 Denver Broncos
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Since 1992, the Chiefs are 15-4 against the spread as underdogs by 10 or more points. Yes, those teams don't reflect the downtrodden Chiefs that will take the field Sunday, but it shows how difficult it is for a double digit team to cover.
Especially when it's 16 points. Take the points and the Chiefs based on the enormity of the spread.
Cleveland Browns −6.5 Pittsburgh Steelers
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Pittsburgh's decline this season is very hard to wrap your head around. Some blame age, other injuries, but the result is that Ben Roethlisberger will be watching the playoffs from home. Cleveland is a good bad-team. It keeps games close with strong defense, and it beat the Steelers outright in Week 12.
Yet with both quarterbacks, Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy, beaten up and likely no Trent Richardson, how will the Browns score? The Steelers will use their previous loss as motivation to finish the year with a decisive victory against the Browns.
Oakland Raiders −4.5 San Diego Chargers
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San Diego has been solid of late, as it has won two of its last three. Oakland will turn to either Terrelle Pryor for his first NFL start or go with Matt Leinart, who struggled in relief last week.
Either way, the Chargers get the edge at home. Don't forget that the Chargers always play well when it doesn't matter.
Arizona Cardinals −16.5 San Francisco 49ers
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Arizona is turning to Brian Hoyer as its starting quarterback, its fourth of the season.
Here is how the game will play out. After getting embarrassed last week in Seattle, the 49ers will come out hungry and jump out to a big lead. Something like 28-3 at half. In the second half, the 49ers will ease into auto-pilot and rest for the playoffs, during which time Hoyer will get the Cardinals a couple garbage-time touchdowns.
Take the points, and look for the Cardinals to pull a backdoor cover.
St. Louis Rams −10.5 Seattle Seahawks
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St. Louis has been much improved under Jeff Fisher this season. While Seattle is by far the better team, St. Louis is built to hang close with teams, as it has an excellent secondary and an offense that doesn't turn the ball over.
Seattle can win the division, but it's contingent on the lowly Cardinals beating the 49ers. With little motivation, look for Seattle to win a closer-than-expected game and for its three-game streak of boatracing opponents to end. Take the points and the Rams.
Dallas Cowboys −3 Washington Redskins
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The winner of this game will win the NFC East. The Cowboys showed toughness a week ago, albeit in a loss, when they rallied from a 14-point deficit late to force overtime against the Saints.
Robert Griffin III has been fantastic this season, but since the injury, he has not looked himself. If he was, you got to take the Skins at home.
But he's not.
This will be a tough, closely-contested matchup. Typically, the team with the better quarterback wins those games.
Take Romo, the points and the Cowboys.