NFL Week 17 Picks: Favorites That Are Locks to Cover the Spread

Shehan PeirisCorrespondent IIIDecember 26, 2013

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 22:  Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks calls a play against the Arizona Cardinals on December 22, 2013 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

We are somehow already at the end of the 2013 NFL regular season, but there are plenty of games that matter in Week 17.

Some teams are scrapping for a playoff berth, others jockeying for postseason seeding. Some teams are just playing for pride and the opportunity to finish the year with a positive performance (I’m looking at you, Houston Texans).

For the last time of the year, here are against-the-spread picks and a breakdown of why some favorites are guaranteed to cover the spread.

Week 17 ATS Picks
Away TeamHome TeamATS Pick
Carolina PanthersAtlanta FalconsCAR -6.5
Green Bay PackersChicago BearsNo Line Set
Houston TexansTennessee TitansTEN -6
Cleveland BrownsPittsburgh SteelersCLE +7
Washington RedskinsNew York GiantsWAS +3.5
Baltimore RavensCincinnati BengalsCIN -6
Jacksonville JaguarsIndianapolis ColtsJAC +11.5
Philadelphia EaglesDallas CowboysPHI -6.5
New York JetsMiami DolphinsNYJ +6.5
Detroit LionsMinnesota VikingsDET +3
Buffalo BillsNew England PatriotsNE -9.5
Tampa Bay BuccaneersNew Orleans SaintsTB +12.5
Denver BroncosOakland RaidersDEN -12.5
San Francisco 49ersArizona CardinalsSF -1.5
Kansas City ChiefsSan Diego ChargersSD -9.5
St. Louis RamsSeattle SeahawksSEA -10.5
All odds courtesy of


Seattle Seahawks (-10.5) over St. Louis Rams

SEATTLE - DECEMBER 22:  Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks throws against the Arizona Cardinals on December 22, 2013 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

The unthinkable happened last week: Russell Wilson lost at home for the first time in his career. The Seattle Seahawks are one win away from clinching home field for the playoffs, but their opponents will have some cause for hope after their Week 16 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Head coach Pete Carroll will look to squash that hope in the final game of the year.

That won’t be an easy feat against the St. Louis Rams, who have won four of their last six games and have done it without their starting quarterback.

When the two teams met in St. Louis, it was a narrow five-point win for the Seahawkswho needed a goal-line stand at the very end to avoid the upset loss. This week it’ll be a very different outcome.

For starters, despite last week’s loss, Seattle is a tremendously difficult place to playthe Seahawks are outscoring opponents by an average of 15 points per game at home.

In addition, the Rams pass rush won’t dominate the game like they did in Week 8 to the tune of seven sacks. With starting tackles Russell Okung and Breno Giacomini back in action and fully healthy, the Seahawks will re-establish their home-field advantage in convincing fashion.


San Diego Chargers (-9.5) over Kansas City Chiefs

Dec 22, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) after a win against the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers won 26-13. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

That nine-and-a-half-point line would look very different if both teams were playing at full strength, but that’s not going to be the case according to NBC Sports:

The Kansas City Chiefs have nothing to play for, and head coach Andy Reid is going to treat Week 17 like a glorified preseason game. We’re not going to see a whole lot of Alex Smith, Jamaal Charles, Tamba Hali or any of the other superstars.

On the other hand, the San Diego Chargers have everything to play for. They need other things to go right for them to have a chance at the playoffs, but they need a win to keep their hopes alive.

Even if San Diego can’t make the playoffs by the time their 4:25 p.m. ET game rolls around, the home game against a second-string Chiefs team will be one-sided.


Carolina Panthers (-6.5) over Atlanta Falcons

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 22:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers celebrates with the fans after a win against the New Orleans Saints during their game at Bank of America Stadium on December 22, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Panthers won 17-13
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

With a win, the Carolina Panthers will secure a first-round bye in the playoffs, so you know they will come to play with a lot of intensity. Their opponent, the Atlanta Falcons, have been decimated by injuries and hampered by an abysmal defense, and they won’t be able to make Tony Gonzalez’s last game a victory.

This game will be decided on the ground, where the Panthers have a huge advantage.

Disparity on the Ground
TeamRushing Yards Per Game (NFL Rank)Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game (NFL Rank)
Carolina Panthers126.1 (11th)87.7 (2nd)
Atlanta Falcons78.1 (32nd)135.9 (31st)

Carolina will dominate time of possession and move the ball with ease considering how porous the Falcons’ defense is.

Falcons Defense
CategoryStatNFL Rank
Passing Yards Per Game25025th
Passer Rating Allowed103.632nd
Yards per Attempt Allowed8.131st
Points Allowed Per Game28.129th

Week 17 will be an easy win for the Panthers, as they set their sights on their first playoff game since 2008.