NFL Picks: Week 17 Fades & Games to Avoid

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, December 24, 2013 12:44 PM GMT

This week I found it very challenging to limit myself to just three games to avoid or fade. This time of year making sports picks is treacherous trying to speculate which teams will rest players for the playoffs or which non-postseason squads will have pride and bother to show up. Choosing any of this trio of games could well be a bad way to end the year with your NFL picks or in general.

NFC South Tricky Confrontation

Carolina without a doubt is the absolutely superior team against Atlanta in both teams regular season finale. The Panthers are back in the playoff picture and at least have a shot at being a top seed with a victory and Seattle setback.

But as we witness each year, this is not always enough motivation as Carolina has a bye week either way and coach Ron Rivera might want to ask his players to go hard for two quarters and give his stars the rest of the day off, which potentially is a prickly spot for NFL football handicappers.

Atlanta would figure to play for pride if for no other reason to support Tony Gonzalez, who will retire and stay retired this time around. Being a division game at the Falcons, just might bring something extra, or possibly not, making this nasty call to make.

The very same case could be made for Indianapolis, Denver and possibly others this week.

NFC East Matchup Features Underachievers

Both Washington and the New York football Giants suffered through unimaginable seasons in 2013. Both were presumed division contenders and ready for the fight.

Instead, the Redskins fell behind to Philadelphia 26-7 in the first half of the home opener and never recovered. Week after week Washington’s defense was exposed and has surrendered 30.5 points a game, which is 31st in the NFL. This has made them an easy target for oddsmakers to make an underdog, something they have been placed at 10-12 times, depending on the sportsbooks.

Eli Manning and the Giants have had a year to forget at 6-9, which included a 0-6 beginning. Manning has thrown a career-high 26 interceptions and overall, the G-Men are -16 in turnover ratio for the season.

Having to choose between no defense or the Giants turnover machine is like choosing between Lindsey Lohan or Amanda Bynes for a night out on the town. Stay clear!

AFC West Line Makes No Sense Unless You Know Why

If the Kansas City and San Diego showdown were based on pure power ratings, the NFL betting odds would have the Chargers as possibly a 1 to 2 point favorite. But the oddsmakers know the Chiefs in theory have nothing to play for as the top wild card team and the Chargers still has a shot of sneaking in the postseason backdoor with a victory and Miami and Baltimore defeats.

Those making the NFL odds are taking Andy Reid’s past into consideration and they supped up the Super Chargers to -10 on the opening line. While that seems crazy, it might be right with the given circumstances.

However, lets for the sake of argument think Reid has a change of philosophy and does not want his team to enter the postseason with a 2-5 record if they were to fall this week and plays without constriction, then what? That is reason enough to pass.