Whether teams are fighting for playoff spots, scrambling for seeds or just trying to end the year on a high note, there is likely going to be a lot of action in Week 17 of the NFL season.
While most games Sunday feature one team with a lot more at stake than the other, the opponent is rarely just going to roll over and accept a loss. These are professionals fighting for their jobs, and they aren't just going to give up.
This could create some major upsets throughout the day, although a safer betting approach might be the over/unders this weekend. Here is a look at full predictions as well as a few totals to target.
|NFL Predictions Week 17|
|Away||Predicted Score||Home||ATS Pick||O/U|
|New England Patriots||27-13||Miami Dolphins||NE -9.5||Under 47|
|Tennessee Titans||14-24||Indianapolis Colts||N/A||N/A|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||17-30||Houston Texans||HOU -6.5||Over 45.5|
|Detroit Lions||21-17||Chicago Bears||DET +1||Under 45.5|
|Baltimore Ravens||20-24||Cincinnati Bengals||BAL +9.5||Over 41.5|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||31-10||Cleveland Browns||PIT -10.5||Under 47|
|Philadelphia Eagles||27-34||New York Giants||NYG -3.5||Over 51|
|New York Jets||24-13||Buffalo Bills||NYJ -2.5||Under 41.5|
|Washington Redskins||16-10||Dallas Cowboys||WAS +4||Under 39.5|
|New Orleans Saints||20-27||Atlanta Falcons||ATL -6||Under 53|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||7-30||Carolina Panthers||CAR -10.5||Under 46|
|Oakland Raiders||17-20||Kansas City Chiefs||OAK +7||Under 43.5|
|San Diego Chargers||13-21||Denver Broncos||SD +9||Under 41.5|
|St. Louis Rams||23-24||San Francisco 49ers||SF +3||Over 37.5|
|Seattle Seahawks||24-28||Arizona Cardinals||SEA +6.5||Over 47|
|Minnesota Vikings||27-21||Green Bay Packers||MIN +3||Over 45.5|
|All spread info courtesy of Odds Shark|
Top Over/Under Bets
New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins (Under 47)
When Tom Brady is on the field, you're always going to focus on the New England Patriots offense. However, the defense has been just as impressive this season and has been a major part of the team's success down the stretch.
Even with ESPN's Mike Reiss reporting DE Chandler Jones will be out Sunday, the Patriots still rank second in the NFL with 48 sacks on the season. That includes great work from Jabaal Sheard, per Pro Football Focus:
This has helped Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan play well in the secondary and generally slow down opposing passing attacks.
The pass rush will especially be an issue for Miami Dolphins QB Ryan Tannehill, who has been sacked 44 times this year, tied for the most in the NFL. He won't have much time to throw the ball and will struggle to find his targets down the field.
With the Dolphins often forgetting they have a talented running back in Lamar Miller, it will be a challenge for this offense to score any points.
New England should easily win this game to clinch the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC, although its own problems offensively will help ensure this remains a low-scoring battle.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans (Over 45.5)
The Houston Texans haven't yet clinched the AFC South, so they will be fighting hard for a win. After allowing just 16 combined points in the last two games, the defense is ready to carry this squad to a third victory in a row to end the regular season.
Unfortunately, those previous two wins came against Tennessee Titans QB Zach Mettenberger and an injured Indianapolis Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck (with a little help from career backup Charlie Whitehurst). These quarterbacks aren't much of a threat against this solid, but not great, defense.
Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars offense pose a bigger threat, with an exciting downfield passing game. Texans coach Bill O'Brien complimented the quarterback heading into Sunday's game:
Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns can win individual matchups on the outside, and Bortles isn't afraid to throw it up for one of them to make a play. In reality, it doesn't even matter if the score is close at the time, the Jaguars will find a way to score. This is how the squad is in the top 10 in points per game, including an average of 33.5 points over the last four weeks.
Houston will also get a boost from quarterback Brian Hoyer, who will return after missing time with a concussion. That should help the Texans stay ahead on the scoreboard against a bad Jaguars defense, which has allowed the second-most points per game in the NFL.
San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos (Under 41.5)
The Denver Broncos defense didn't look like the Denver Broncos defense for parts of the last two weeks. Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers torched the unit in the second half in Week 15, while AJ McCarron steadily moved the ball with the Cincinnati Bengals offense to go up two touchdowns early in Week 16.
However, the group got back on track in the second half of Monday night's game. A more aggressive secondary led to just three points allowed after halftime in the come-from-behind victory. All of a sudden, there is a renewed faith in this defense.
Considering this group ranks No. 1 in the league against the pass and just barely No. 2 against the run, there is no reason to doubt it now.
This will create problems for the San Diego Chargers, who have dealt with numerous injuries to limit the offense all year long. Philip Rivers is still in the lineup, but he has few dependable receivers who can separate against cornerbacks Chris Harris Jr. or Aqib Talib. Another problem is an offensive line that won't be able to protect the quarterback against the top pass rush in football.
San Diego scored just three points the last time it played Denver, and this game won't be too much different.
On the other side of the ball, Brock Osweiler has played well at times but still struggles with consistency. He should do enough to win, but the Broncos won't be able to run up the score and pull away. This could lead to the Chargers both covering the spread and holding the under.
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