Figuring out what NFL picks to make in Week 17 is always a challenge. But it should be even harder this year with seven teams fighting over four Wild Card spots.
You can’t blame the Dallas Cowboys for taking their chances with Tyron Smith. The Dallas offense is suspect without its Pro Bowl left tackle; Smith (sprained knee) was a game-time decision last Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, and with their playoff lives on the line the Cowboys decided to go for it. Smith lasted just three snaps before aggravating his injured knee. The Seahawks won 21-12 despite accumulating 136 yards of total offense themselves.
Thanks to some other favorable results for Seattle (9-6 SU, 6-8-1 ATS), they’re still in the NFC Wild Card mix heading into Week 17. And in the AFC, both the Buffalo Bills (8-7 SU, 8-6-1 ATS) and the Los Angeles Chargers (8-7 SU, 7-7-1 ATS) can sneak into the playoffs with a win and some help. Just another crazy Week 17 – and as always, the final week of the regular season is going to be a tough nut to crack for your NFL picks. Let’s see if we can sort some of this mess out for you.
This being Week 17, there hasn’t been enough betting action for us at press time to generate an expanded consensus report on the season finales. There should be something available by the time you read this, so make sure to check out these surveys and use that valuable information to your advantage. In the meantime, there are the standard consensus figures on the NFL odds board to look at.
Also, take note of the altered schedule for Week 17. With so all these playoff implications to deal with, the league has moved all the key games to 4:25 p.m. Eastern to keep things as interesting as possible. We could still see some shenanigans in those late afternoon games, though. Teams who go into those games with high playoff hopes, only to realize they’re not going to make it, could end up mailing it in down the stretch.
So let’s focus on teams that have already given up on the season. We’re in that special time of year that Richard Borghesi once identified as ideal for fading wounded road teams with nothing left to play for, especially when they travel long distances to play in bad weather. We’re not seeing much of Old Man Winter on the long-range forecasts, but keep an eye on conditions as they develop for all those cold-weather games on the East Coast. Remember, though, cold isn’t enough: We want wind, and either nasty sleet or a blizzard for good measure. If it’s just a little snow, or slightly below freezing, consider the OVER instead – and may the prolate spheroid be with you.