NFL Picks: Predicting Division Finishes Entering Week 17

Matthew Jordan

Monday, December 22, 2014 8:52 PM GMT

Get your NFL picks ready for this great final Sunday with half of the divisions still up for grabs and possibly the No. 1 seed in both conferences. Here are the best NFL odds for relevant games.

AFC East
New England wrapped this up a few weeks ago. It simply needs to win Sunday at home against a Bills team that has been eliminated from postseason contention to clinch the No.  1 overall seed in the AFC. Or the Pats could rest everyone if Denver lost at Cincinnati on Monday night to close out Week 16. That would give New England the No. 1 without taking the field.

 

AFC North
The Baltimore Ravens shockingly lost at Houston  in Week 16 despite the Texans starting fourth-string QB Case Keenum. That means Baltimore must win at home vs. Cleveland as an 8.5-point favorite on NFL odds this week and get some help to earn a wild-card spot. The North will be decided in Pittsburgh on Sunday no matter what the Bengals do Monday night vs. the Broncos. Cincinnati would have wrapped up a wild-card spot at worst with a win over the Broncos. Early NFL odds have the Steelers as 3.5-point favorites vs. the Bengals, but that obviously could change depending on what happens Monday.

NFL Free Pick: Steelers

 

AFC South
The Colts clinched the South a few weeks ago and they played like a team that didn't care in Week 16, getting totally embarrassed in Dallas. Really Indianapolis has nothing to play for this week at Tennessee as the Colts can't get one of the top two seeds. Of course the Titans would like to lose so they could perhaps get the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft. Houston can still make the playoffs with a win at home vs. Jacksonville and losses by Baltimore and San Diego.

 

AFC West
Denver has long had this wrapped up. The Broncos could still earn the top seed in the conference by beating Cincinnati on Monday, Oakland in Week 17 and having New England lose to the Bills. The Broncos are no worse than the No. 2 with a win Monday night. Denver will take the field Sunday knowing whether New England won or lost. San Diego clinches a wild-card spot with a win in Kansas City. The Chiefs, opening 2.5-point favorites on NFL odds, need a win and losses by the Ravens and Texans.

 

NFC East
Dallas wrapped the East up for the first time since 2009 with its impressive rout of the Colts and Philadelphia's surprising loss in Washington on Saturday. The Eagles are out of the playoffs. The Cowboys opened as 6-point sportsbooks favorites for this week's game at the Redskins. Dallas still has an outside shot at a first-round bye. It needs a win plus losses by Seattle and Arizona. The Cowboys could get the No. 1 overall with a win and a loss by the Cardinals and a tie in Detroit-Green Bay. So not likely . Might the Cowboys just rest star running back DeMarco Murray this week then?

 

NFC North
Detroit visits Green Bay on Sunday with the division title going to the winner -- or the Lions if there's a tie. The Packers have been nearly unstoppable in going unbeaten at home this season and opened as 7-point favorites. They haven't lost a game in the state of Wisconsin to the Lions in 23 years. Both Green Bay and Detroit are in the playoffs regardless of result. Both would clinch a first-round bye with a win (Detroit needs Seattle and/or Arizona to win as well; Green Bay doesn't need help). Both also could get the  No. 1 seed. The Packers need a Seahawks loss to St. Louis. The Lions need that and losses by the Seahawks and Cardinals.

NFL Free Pick: Packers.

 

NFC South
The winner between the Panthers and Falcons in Atlanta -- a game I will gladly share a detailed NFL picks for here at SBR -- takes the worst division in league history. Caroline gets it with a tie. The loser gets a Top-10 draft pick. Obviously as an under.-500 division winner, the South champion will be the No. 4 seed but still get to host a wild-card game. The Falcons opened as 3.5-point favorites at sportsbooks; Pinnacle Sports at the time of writing is still offering them at that price.

NFL Free Pick: See my preview

 

NFC West
Seattle's dominant win over the Cardinals on Sunday has the Seahawks in the driver's seat not just for the division but also the NFC's top seed for the second year in a row. All Seattle needs to do is beat the visiting Rams, who are 12-point underdogs at sportsbooks, and not have Lions-Packers end in a tie to get the No. 1. Arizona gets at worst the No. 2 seed with a win at the 49ers and Seahawks loss. The Cards are 4.5-point dogs at San Francisco, however.

NFL Free Pick: Seattle