By Isla Knightley | | 24 mins
NFL Week 17 Picks & Predictions For Every Game: Playoffs Approaching
Christmas weekend had a little bit of everything, from straightforward wins to surprises and stunning upsets. By the stats, favorites went 10-6 straight up (SU) and 8-8-0 against the spread (ATS). Home teams went 10-6 SU and 8-8-0 ATS, while the over cracked in nine of the 16 games (9-7-0).
The largest NFL betting underdog to come through with the upset win was the Houston Texans (+13), who stunned the Los Angeles Chargers 41-29. The Bears (+7), the Titans (+3.5) and the Colts (+3) also came through with upset wins for their backers across various betting apps.
The largest favorites to cover were the Philadelphia Eagles (-11) in a 34-10 win over the New York Giants. The Kansas City Chiefs (-10) came through as double-digit favorites in a 36-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, while the Cincinnati Bengals (-7.5) crushed their point spread comfortably in a 41-21 win over the Baltimore Ravens. The Dallas Cowboys closed Sunday’s NFL betting card with a stunning 56-14 win over the Washington Football Team, making their 10-point closing spread look laughable in hindsight.
Monday Night Football sported the lowest total (37) on the NFL odds board in Week 16, but the 20-3 win by the Miami Dolphins over the New Orleans Saints still managed to deliver for the under.
That’s Week 16 unwrapped.
Now, let’s look ahead to the penultimate round of the regular season and set the scene for choice NFL picks to spot in the three major markets: Moneyline, point spread and totals.
RELATED: NFL Week 17 odds & Betting Lines For All Games
Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022
Kansas City Chiefs vs Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Get the popcorn ready because this AFC tilt is poised to be a veritable shootout according to practically every single one of the legal sportsbooks. The total for this game opened on 47.5 points with Vegas oddsmakers, but it’s already on the cusp of breaching the 50-point mark.
Also ticking up on the board is the point spread, which opened at 4.5 points but quickly moved up to 5.5 points with the Chiefs tipped to the good. Joe Burrow and the Bengals are in unchartered territory, sitting pretty at the top of the AFC North with a 9-6 record. They’re one win away from clinching the division title and a playoff spot for the first time since 2015.
These are heady times in Cincy indeed. To do it at the expense of Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs is a tall order, though. If there were a quarterback a team would rather not face at such a critical point, it would be Mahomes. Fun Fact: Mahomes is 26-1 in November, December, and January combined. That, and the Chiefs are riding an eight-game winning streak, which is the longest active winning streak in the league right now. Need one say more?
Best Bet: Chiefs ML (-220) at Caesars Sportsbook
Check out: Bengals vs Chiefs odds, injury report, betting lines and more.
New York Giants vs Chicago Bears, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Both the Giants and the Bears are eliminated from the postseason. But unlike the comatose G-men, who are simply going through the motions before dusting off the golf clubs, the Bears seem to have a pulse. The Eagles eviscerated the Giants 34-10 last weekend while rookie Jake Fromm put up a paltry 25 yards!
In Matt Nagy’s latest effort to campaign for his job, Nick Foles got the start over Andy Dalton (groin injury) and rookie Justin Fields. And boy did St. Nick, in his first appearance since 2020, come through for the Bears during the Nöel weekend, rallying the Bears in a come-from-behind 25-24 victory on a snowy afternoon at Lumen Field.
Which quarterback is going to start for the Bears? That's un petit mystère right now. If it is Justin Fields, the Bears are the pick, hands down. History suggests “Foles Magic” has less than a week shelf-life. So, betting on Foles to lead the Bears to back-to-back victories does come at a risk. Then again, when the opponent is the G-men – the gift that keeps on giving – the Bears have to come through surely.
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Best Bet: Bears -6 (-110) at DraftKings
Check out: Bears vs Giants odds, injury report, betting lines and more.
Philadelphia Eagles vs Washington Football Team, 1 p.m. (FOX)
For a few weeks, Washington was the proverbial Cinderella story. The Football Team overcame obstacles and challenges to string together a four-game winning streak and gave the Dallas Cowboys an unlikely late-season challenge for the division title. Fast forward to Week 17, and the fairy-tale story seems to have come to an abrupt and unhappy ending. Washington has lost three straight games, including a 27-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles a fortnight ago.
COVID-19, injuries, inconsistent quarterback play - all that and more has conspired against Washington down the stretch. And it all came to an unseemly head when teammates turned on each other on the sidelines during the utterly demoralizing 56-14 defeat to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football.
The Eagles go into this NFC East showdown riding the momentum of a three-game winning streak. In no way is Philadelphia infallible. Washington may well throw a spanner in the works for Nick Sirriani’s side. The more likely scenario is that Philly will capitalize on a Washington team that might have just taken one too many hits this season.
Best Bet: Eagles -3.5 (-105) at DraftKings
Check out: Eagles vs Washington odds, injury report, betting lines and more.
Los Angeles Rams vs Baltimore Ravens, 1 p.m. (FOX)
Markets opened this matchup on a delicate 2.5 point spread, but the line has since jumped out to 4 points in NFL spreads markets. The Ravens have lost four straight games, three of which were decided by a handful of points. Their last outing was nowhere near close, though. The Bengals took no mercy and steamrolled the depleted Ravens 41-21.
The Ravens are hoping to get Lamar Jackson back in time for this pivotal Week 17 showdown. A fifth straight loss would sink Baltimore’s playoff hopes. If Jackson returns, the Ravens have a shot against the Rams. Should Jackson be ruled out again, it’s got to be the Rams all the way.
Best Bet: Rams ML (-180) at DraftKings
Check out: Rams vs Ravens odds, injury report, betting lines and more.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs New York Jets, 1 p.m. (FOX)
It’s going to be déjà vu for the New York Jets faithful at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. For two decades, the Jets have been Tom Brady’s personal punching bag. Nothing about this season suggests that’s about to change. This could get ugly fast.
Best Bet: Buccaneers -14.5 at BetMGM
Check out: Jets vs Buccaneers odds, injury report, betting lines and more.
Las Vegas Raiders vs Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m. (FOX)
If this game goes ahead on Sunday, it’ll be somewhat surprising. The reserve/COVID-19 list is swelling with each passing day that both camps look likely to field a bunch of replacements. The Colts appear to be in the worst possible position, though, with Carson Wentz joining the list on Tuesday.
Wentz isn’t vaccinated, but the circumstance surrounding his inclusion is murkier. The league modified its health and safety protocols this week, which would allow a number of the players on the list to be reinstated for this Sunday’s pivotal AFC showdown that has major playoff implications for both teams. However, that rests on those players testing out of COVID-19 protocols. That’s a lot of ifs and maybes to hang one’s hat on in the betting.
Best Bet: Under 44.5 at DraftKings
Check out: Raiders vs Colts odds, injury report, betting lines and more.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs New England Patriots, 1 p.m. (CBS)
Trevor Lawrence might be a generational talent, but he has no talent around him whatsoever. The Jaguars are coming off a 26-21 loss to the Jets, marking their seventh straight loss and 13th of the season. The New England Patriots have come crashing back down to earth over the last couple of weeks with losses to the Colts and Bills.
Both of those losses came to playoff contenders. The Jaguars aren’t. So, this is the perfect get-right game for Mac Jones and the Pats.
Best Bet: Patriots -14.5 (-110) at BetMGM
Check out: Jaguars vs Patriots odds, injury report, betting lines and more.
Atlanta Falcons vs Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m. (FOX)
The Bills got their own back after beating the Patriots at Foxboro on Sunday. On the heels of the win, Sean McDermott’s side leveled the series and reclaimed top spot in the AFC East. There’s a lot to like about the Bills and their recent resurgence. Whether it correlates to laying 14.5 points at the expense of the Falcons is debatable.
While there’s not a lot to like about the Falcons - flattering to deceive, springs to mind – to dismiss the Falcons out of hand feels wrong. Atlanta is still in play for a playoff spot, and that’s an intangible to consider. On the flipside, the Bills could be in for a letdown, especially if they take the Falcons for granted.
Check out: Falcons vs Bills odds, injury report, betting lines and more.
Miami Dolphins vs Tennessee Titans, 1 p.m. (CBS)
A seven-game winning streak is nothing to scoff at, even though it comes, mostly, at the expense of inferior opponents. Eyebrow-raising upsets are prevalent this season, such as the Jaguars beating the Bills or the Texans beating the Chargers. So, the Miami Dolphins deserve credit for staying the course since Halloween and turning around a season that featured a seven-game losing streak in the first half.
Beating the Titans would go a long way to validating the Dolphins, but it won’t be a cakewalk. The Titans are looking to sew up the AFC South title and a win over the Dolphins could do the trick. It’s a tossup for NFL picks, as such. The Titans should win, but the Dolphins could pull off the upset.
Best Bet: Dolphins +3.5 (-110) at bet365
Check out: Dolphins vs Titans odds, injury report, betting lines and more.
Houston Texans vs San Francisco 49ers, 4:05 p.m. (CBS)
Jimmy Garoppolo is a question mark for this pivotal Week 17 game against the Texans, who are coming off a surprising win over the Los Angeles Chargers. Garoppolo injured his hand in San Francisco’s 20-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football. Reports suggest Garoppolo is a game-time decision.
Should Jimmy G. be ruled out, rookie Trey Lance will get another crack at the starting job. As things currently stand, the Niners are laying 12.5 points to the Texans, which is a lot of points considering the uncertainty surrounding the Niners' quarterback position.
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Best Bet: Under 44.5 (-110) at FanDuel
Check out: Texans vs 49ers odds, injury report, betting lines and more.
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Denver Broncos vs Los Angeles Chargers, 4:05 p.m. (CBS)
Justin Herbert and Co. are coming off a jarring 41-29 loss to the Texans, failing to come through as the closing 13-point road favorites across betting sites. The setback put the Chargers’ playoff bid in jeopardy, but a date with the Denver Broncos could put them back on track.
The Broncos beat the Chargers back in November with Teddy Bridgewater as the offensive pivot. Bridgewater is still in concussion protocol, meaning Drew Lock is likely to start. A Lock-inspired Broncos outfit presents an easy target for the Chargers.
Best Bet: Chargers -5.5 (-110) at Caesars
Check out: Broncos vs Chargers odds, injury report, betting lines and more.
Carolina Panthers vs New Orleans Saints, 4:25 p.m. (FOX)
The Panthers and Saints are coming off forgettable accounts in Week 16. The Panthers were crushed by the defending Super Bowl champions in a 32-6 defeat, while the Saints were humiliated in a 20-3 defeat to the Dolphins on Monday Night Football. As things currently stand, neither side strikes an attractive pose on the moneyline or point spread.
The Panthers lost the plot weeks ago, and since then, they’ve been unable to settle on a starting quarterback. Conversely, the Saints are dealing with a massive COVID-19 outbreak that has decimated their quarterback room. If there’s one thing to hang one’s hat on, it’s the Saints defense.
Best Bet: Under 38.5 (-110) at FanDuel
Check out: Panthers vs Saints odds, injury report, betting lines and more.
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Detroit Lions vs Seattle Seahawks, 4:25 p.m. (FOX)
This season may well be Pete Carroll’s swan song, and simultaneously, the end of Russell Wilson’s tenure with the Seattle Seahawks as the long-time head coach and quarterback are headed for their first losing season since partnering up in 2012. Last week’s 25-24 loss to the Bears officially eliminated the Seahawks from the playoffs.
The Lions are headed back to the drawing board after a disappointing season, but despite their biggest critics, they’re fighting admirably for first-year head coach Dan Campbell. They’re coming off a narrow 20-16 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, with Tim Boyle filling in for Jared Goff at QB.
Markets opened with the Seahawks as touchdown favorites over the Lions, conveniently overlooking Detroit's record against the spread. The Lions are the third-best team against the spread this season with a 10-5-0 mark.
Best Bet: Lions +7 (-110) at BetMGM
Check out: Lions vs Seahawks odds, injury report, betting lines and more.
Arizona Cardinals vs Dallas Cowboys, 4:25 p.m. (FOX)
The Dallas Cowboys raised eyebrows with a 56-14 win over the Washington Football Team on Sunday Night Football – a triumph that saw the hosts easily cover as 10-point closing favorites at home to improve to a league-leading 12-3-0 ATS record.
The Arizona Cardinals, by contrast, succumbed to a third-straight defeat, losing to the Indianapolis Colts 22-16. Obviously, these two sides are enjoying contrasting fortunes right now. However, this is crunch time for the Cardinals if they hope to deliver a divisional crown and underscore their playoff credentials. This could be a return to form for Arizona sports betting fans.
Best Bet: Cardinals +5.5 (-110) at bet365
Check out: Cardinals vs Cowboys odds, injury report, betting lines and more.
Minnesota Vikings vs Green Bay Packers, 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
The NFC North showdown between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers is one of the best rivalries in the league right now. The Vikings are one of three teams to beat the Packers this season, and the last team to do so after clinching a narrow 34-31 win almost two months ago. Aaron Rodgers wasn’t a happy camper after that loss, especially as the Vikings successfully kept him off the field in the final minutes of the game. The Packers have a score to settle here.
Best Bet: Packers -6.5 (-105) at DraftKings
Check out: Packers vs Vikings odds, injury report, betting lines and more.
Monday, Jan. 3, 2022
Cleveland Browns vs Pittsburgh Steelers, 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)
The AFC North is the only division where all four teams are technically still in play for a postseason berth. That makes this one of the most fascinating games of the week, aptly slated for Monday Night Football. Last season, the Browns beat the Steelers in Week 17 and then dumped them out of the playoffs in the wild card round. That was then.
The Steelers have the 1-0 edge over the Browns after clinching the 15-10 win earlier this season. The Browns are a shadow of their 2020 selves. Wins aren’t coming as easily as they did last season, and Baker Mayfield isn’t living up to expectations. The lone bright spot is the Browns’ run game, spearheaded by Nick Chubb. The star running back can do damage, but whether that’s enough in a must-win game for both teams remains to be seen.
Much of the same can be said of the Steelers, who’ve had a topsy-turvy season. However, at home, the Steelers are generally a good bet. They are 5-2-1 at Heinz Field, a record that underscores their tempting odds of +150 (or thereabouts depending on the preferred sportsbook) to clinch the home win. That said, the game total is probably a safer bet with a play on under 41. You decide.
Best Bet: Steelers +150 at PointsBet
Check out: Browns vs Steelers odds, injury report, betting lines and more.
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