11 Really Big NFL Regular-Season Games to Circle on Calendar

Kevin Stott

Friday, June 16, 2017 12:23 PM UTC

Friday, Jun. 16, 2017 12:23 PM UTC

Eight of probably the biggest 11 games on the NFL regular-season schedule will be played in December with playoff berths at stake. So let’s take a look the top 11 games of the 2017 season with early point spreads from the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook

Why 11? Because 11 Is Better Than 10

The NFL Regular Season kicks off from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough on Sept. 7 when the New England Patriots play host to the Kansas City Chiefs in a fantastic Week 1 affair (NBC, 8:30 pm ET; NE -9 EV, 48½, 5Dimes), and not just your normal Thursday on the September calendar because it’s Opening Night in the National Football League. But looking at the league’s schedule as a whole, it appears the vast majority of really significant games will be taking place in a small window between Weeks 13 and 17 in the merry month of December when many have their heads in other places like shopping, the Holidays, vacations and the changing of the calendar to a new year. But in the NFL, the December games will mean Postseason or What-If and contract increases or job losses depending on the specific team, situation and perceived frustration level.

Although Super Bowl LII at the 2-year-old U.S. Bank One Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday, February 4, 2018 (NBC) will be the biggest game viewing-, advertising-, attention- and gambling-wise, here are 11 select games from the 2017 NFL Regular Season schedule -- which again treats us to games on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve -- that hold major significance in who may survive and who might not complete with starting Times, TV coverage, picks where warranted and and early 2017 NFL Games of the Year Point Spreads from the world’s largest sportsbook, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook in Las Vegas. 


Week 6: Sunday, October 15Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings

Bank One Stadium, Minneapolis, MN

4 pm ET, FOX

This mid-October rivalry game should set the NFC North tone with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers playing their second game in the $1.1 billion U.S. Bank One Stadium and looking for a better performance in Princeville after the Green Bay QB was sacked 5 times in a 17-14 loss to Sam Bradford and Minnesota in Week 2 last year, a game in which no Packers receivers topped 100 yards and saw GB RBs fumble the football 4 times, losing it twice. This time, we can probably expect a better performance from the Cheeseheads who have W3 of 4 SU at Minnesota, scoring 22, 24 and 30 points in the previous three meetings in Minneapolis. The L3 have all gone Under the Total.

Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook Odds: Packers -2½


Week 10: Sunday, November 9Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals

University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ

8:25 pm ET, NBC

Last year in suburban Phoenix -- also on Sunday Night Football in Week 7 -- this freaky game went to OT tied 6-6 ... and then stayed there as Chandler Catanzaro missed a 24-yard chip shot FG for Arizona and Steven Hauschka missed a 27-yard attempt for Seattle in OT in a stone-cold Under in the mall-like conditions of UoP Stadium. This season, oddsmakers are expecting less from aging veterans Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals (44/1 to win Super Bowl, BookMaker) and a little more from Russell Wilson and the Seahawks (12/1 to win Super Bowl, Bovada), but this Week 9 NFC West showdown could either cement Richard Sherman and the Seahawks as divisional champs or give Arizona some hope at either winning the NFC West or staying in spot for a potential Wild Card berth.

Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook Odds: Seahawks -2½


Week 13: Sunday, December 3Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans

Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN

1 pm ET, CBS

With Andrew Luck such a big question mark for the Colts (42/1 to win Super Bowl, BookMaker), the AFC South could be a battle between JJ Watt and the defensive-minded Texans (+2275 to win Super Bowl, Heritage) and Marcus Mariota and the Titans (55/1 to win Super Bowl, BetDSI) this season, with this early December game in Tennessee meaning much in the division and perhaps in the AFC Wild card race. Last year in Nashville in Week 17, the game meant nothing for Houston -- except a chance to sweep the AFC South in 2016 -- with a Playoff berth already secure. The Titans won 24-17 (with Matt Cassel at QB for an injured Mariota) to finish with an identical 9-7 Record as the Texans, earning their first winning season since 2011. It was the first win in 9 games against Houston for Tennessee, so with the visitors actually caring this time around, edge to the Texans here especially getting 3 points with Brock Osweiler now plying his semi-wares in Cleveland and Tom Savage and talented Rookie Deshaun Watson now in H-Town with Lamar Miller and DeAndre Hopkins.

Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook Odds: Titans -3


Week 14: Sunday, December 10Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs

Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City

1 pm ET, CBS

The AFC West lead down the homestretch could be on the line here in Kansas City, always a tough place for visitors to go to and play, and it could be tough here again for Derek Carr and the upstart Raiders (13/1 to win Super Bowl, BetDSI) looking to keep their positive momentum going before the franchise leaves its latest home of Oakland for Las Vegas in 2020 or sooner. Last year in this spot on the schedule, Alex Smith and Kansas City defeated the Raiders 21-13 in frigid conditions, leaving both teams at 10-3 but with the Chiefs temporarily holding the tie-breaking advantage at that point in Time because of KC’s win at Oakland. This year, Texas Tech Rookie Patrick Mahomes could be at QB for the hosts in this spot if Smith doesn’t thrive, and one thing to remember fis how cold the Midwest can be in December and how hard it is for teams from California to play in those conditions when they arise. Still, Khalil Mack and the Silver & Black are an impressive 8-3 ATS their L11 trips to Arrowhead.

Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook Odds: Chiefs -3


Week 14: Sunday, December 10Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ

4:25 pm ET, FOX

Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys (10/1 to win Super Bowl, Bovada) look to control the NFC East for seasons to come, but with the Eagles, Redskins and these Giants (+2399 to win Super Bowl, BookMaker) in the division, as former Beatles’ drummer Ringo Starr once sang, it (don’t) won’t come easy. Depending on Eli Manning and the G-Men’s performance from September to November, this Week 14 game could be the pinnacle of the hosts' season (in a bad way) if they lose and possibly a psychological divisional clincher for the Texas visitors in one of the NFL’s most underrated rivalries and a series which has seen its fair share of Regular Season Overs, despite two Unders last year (6-2-1 L9) with Big Blue (5-0 ATS L5 vs. Cowboys) winning 20-19 in Week 1 and 10-7 in Week 14 on SNF. Expect more points in this series in 2017.

Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook Odds: Cowboys -2½


Week 14: Sunday, December 10Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

8:30 pm ET, NBC

The third of three potentially huge NFL Regular Season games on the same Sunday, this Sunday Night Football dessert sees Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell hosting Joe Flacco and the rival Ravens (+4350 to win Super Bowl, Heritage) in The Steel City in a showdown which could very well determine the AFC North in 2017, with perceived regression from the Bengals (61/1 to win Super Bowl, Heritage) and the Browns, well, being the Browns (+32,550 to win Super Bowl, Heritage). Last year in this game -- which lately has been decided by exactly 3 points -- in Pittsburgh, the Steelers won 31-27 in Week 16 to seal the AFC North as Big Ben (3 TDs, 279 yards), Bell (122 Rushing yards, TD) and Brown (96 receiving yards, TD) all did their things as the hosts exploded for 21 4th Quarter points. Here, the Steelers (9-6-1 ATS in 2016) could be looking ahead to a Week 15 date with Tom Brady and the NFL champion Patriots at Heinz Field, so expect many touts and handicappers to overemphasize that point. Pittsburgh HC Mike Tomlin (85-80-6 ATS) will have his squad focused on Baltimore and The Here And Now, then.

Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook Odds: Steelers -6


Week 15: Sunday, December 17New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh

4:25 pm ET, CBS

This aforementioned AFC clash of historical and present gridiron titans may be the best game on the 2017 NFL Regular Season schedule, so expect tickets for this Week 17 to be scarce in what could be a preview of the AFC Championship Game and potentially that precious Home-field edge through the Postseason -- something that always ends up carrying much weight in January. The Steelers (+375 to win Super Bowl, Heritage) are 2-7 ATS L9 in Pittsburgh against Julian Edelman and the Patriots (14/1 to win Super Bowl, Bovada) after the Super Bowl champs won 27-16 as 7½-point chalks at Heinz Field in Week 7 as Landry Jones filled in for an injured Roethlisberger. Can’t-miss NFL theater and a game which will no doubt be overbet.

Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook Odds: Patriots -1.5


Week 16: Saturday, December 23Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens

M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore

4:30 pm ET, NFL

Say what? Why this odd game? Because possibly either Andrew Luck and Indianapolis or Joe Flacco and Baltimore may need this Week 16 date to stay alive in the Postseason race, maybe chasing the Texans or the Titans and Steelers, respectively, in their divisions and needing a Win for Wild card hopes heading into Week 17. The last time the Horseshoes played in Baltimore was in the 2012 season when the ravens eliminated the Colts -- who once called Baltimore home -- in the opening round, 24-9, covering ATS as 7-point favorites in a game which went well Under the Total (48). At this point before Preseason has even started, it’s hard to tell which of these teams will improve this season, but both really need to return the positivity to cities expecting better things from their NFL franchises.

Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook Odds: Ravens -4


Week 16: Sunday, December 24Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys

AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX

4:25 pm ET, FOX

Christmas Eve again in the NFL and Santa Claus is bringing us this NFC present from Jerry World between the Cowboys (10/1 to win Super Bowl, Bovada) and Seahawks (+375 to win Super Bowl, Heritage), the theoretical Ghosts of NFC Past and Present on display in the Lone Star State in what could emerge into a fun NFL rivalry and potential NFC Championship game preview The last time these two met in a game that mattered was in 2015 in the Regular Season in Arlington with Seattle winning, 13-12, but failing to cover as 4-point Road favorites (41½). Expect a very different game this time around although one or both may have wrapped up their divisions by this point meaning this Christmas Eve stocking stuffer could all be about Home-field Advantage throughout the NFC Playoffs.

Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook Odds: Cowboys -3


Week 17: Sunday, December 31Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, GA

1 pm ET, FOX

All is quiet on New Year’s Eve ... except for the NFL where this NFC South Week 17 meeting could determine the division’s winner and maybe who doesn’t get to play in the Postseason. Some Week 17 games are meaningless, but this one in the Dirty Birds' new digs in The Peach State could carry heavy weight. When these two met last season in Atlanta, Julio Jones and the Falcons (14/1 to win Super Bowl, BetOnline) destroyed Carolina 48-33 as QB Matt Ryan threw for a team-record 503 yards and 4 TDs with Jones making 12 catches for a team-record 300 yards against Cam Newton and the then-defending NFC champion Panthers (+3149 to win Super Bowl, BookMaker). If Carolina and Atlanta are still fighting for the NFC South crown in this final game and the Buccaneers (+35/1 to win Super Bowl, 5Dimes) haven’t upset both of their pigskin-apple carts, then this game could possibly affect a bunch of teams in the NFC. The Under is 6-1-1 L8 in this series. Despite this Trend, if this one matters, it should fly Over the posted Total.

Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook Odds: Falcons -5½


Week 17: Sunday, December 31Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos

Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium, Denver, CO

4:25pm ET, CBS

The last day of the calendar year and the last game of the Regular Season in Denver could tell us much about the future of Von Miller and the Broncos (+2472 to win Super Bowl, BookMaker) in this AFC West showdown with the Chiefs, who perennially surprise and fail at the same time. Last season, Rookie sensation Tyreek Hill (3 TDs) and Kansas City won this game in the Rocky Mountains in OT, 30-27 on a Carlos Santos 34-yard-FG to sweep the season series. With both teams striving to find a QB for the future -- the Chiefs drafting Mahomes and GM John Elway and Denver tying their immediate Future to the Paxton Lynch-Trevor Siemian duo -- and the Raiders trying to emerge as a major threat, this game may have significance in determining who sneaks in as the final AFC Playoffs participant. This could be a big game, but a hard one in which to find a solid betting angle and may be best just watched as the new year 2018 arrives.

Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook Odds: Broncos -1

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