Week 17 NFL Picks: Predictions, Odds and Over/Under Tips for Season Finales

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 2, 2016

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 29:  Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots carries the ball as he scores a touchdown during the first quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on October 29, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

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
AwayPredicted ScoreHomeATS PickO/U
New England Patriots27-13Miami DolphinsNE -9.5Under 47
Tennessee Titans14-24Indianapolis ColtsN/AN/A
Jacksonville Jaguars17-30Houston TexansHOU -6.5Over 45.5
Detroit Lions21-17Chicago BearsDET +1Under 45.5
Baltimore Ravens20-24Cincinnati BengalsBAL +9.5Over 41.5
Pittsburgh Steelers31-10Cleveland BrownsPIT -10.5Under 47
Philadelphia Eagles27-34New York GiantsNYG -3.5Over 51
New York Jets24-13Buffalo BillsNYJ -2.5Under 41.5
Washington Redskins16-10Dallas CowboysWAS +4Under 39.5
New Orleans Saints20-27Atlanta FalconsATL -6Under 53
Tampa Bay Buccaneers7-30Carolina PanthersCAR -10.5Under 46
Oakland Raiders17-20Kansas City ChiefsOAK +7Under 43.5
San Diego Chargers13-21Denver BroncosSD +9Under 41.5
St. Louis Rams23-24San Francisco 49ersSF +3Over 37.5
Seattle Seahawks24-28Arizona CardinalsSEA +6.5Over 47
Minnesota Vikings27-21Green Bay PackersMIN +3Over 45.5
All spread info courtesy of Odds Shark

Top Over/Under Bets

New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins (Under 47)

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 11:  Jamie Collins #91 of the New England Patriots and Jabaal Sheard #93 of the New England Patriots celebrate following a sack of Brandon Weeden #3 of the Dallas Cowboys during the second half of the NFL game at AT&T Stadium on Oc
Mike Stone/Getty Images

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.

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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:

Pro Football Focus @PFF

Patriots' Jabaal Sheard is currently first in Pass Rush Productivity and second in Run Stop Percentage among all 4-3 defensive ends

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)

Jeff Haynes/Associated Press

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:

Houston Texans @HoustonTexans

O'Brien on #Jaguars QB Blake Bortles: "This guy is playing at a high level, doing a lot of good things. Has a lot of weapons on offense."

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) 

Joe Mahoney/Associated Press

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.

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for more year-round sports analysis. 

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