Breaking Down The Lines: A Review Of NFL Week 17 Games


Week 16 was again looking pretty solid until the Monday Night game. We finished with a winning record on the week (16-14), but didn’t feel great about it. Some of these teams apparently just don’t seem to care too much about winning games they need to win.

The Colts and Falcons were the easiest picks of the week, but even with that nice 4-0 cushion, the other games were challenging. This week, there are quite a few meaningless games but don’t expect the opposition to just lay down. These guys are professionals who still have pride in what they do. Now, it’s time for us to navigate the minefield of Week 17 and hope we come out ahead.

2019 record: 243-208 (53.88%)

This week we hope to end a good year on a strong note. As always, the betting lines listed here come from the BetRivers online sportsbook. If you have a few minutes, check out Collin’s in-depth predictions and analysis. Got just a minute? Here is a summary of Collin’s picks for the upcoming week.

Matchup/LineCollin's PickTake With the SpreadOver/Under
Falcons @ Bucs -2 O/U: 48Bucs 27 Falcons 24BucsOver
Bears -3 @ Vikings O/U: 37Bears 27 Vikings 6BearsUnder
Browns -3 @ Bengals O/U: 43.5Bengals 27 Browns 17BengalsOver
Packers -12 @ Lions O/U: 43Packers 35 Lions 10PackersOver
Chargers @ Chiefs -8 O/U: 45.5Chiefs 27 Chargers 17 ChiefsUnder
Dolphins @ Patriots -16 O/U: 44.5Patriots 26 Dolphins 14 DolphinsUnder
Saints -13 @ Panthers O/U: 45.5Saints 31 Panthers 14SaintsUnder
Jets @ Bills -1 O/U: 36.5Jets 31 Bills 10 JetsOver
Cardinals @ Rams -5 O/U: N/A Rams 38 Cardinals 10RamsN/A
Colts -3.5 @ Jaguars O/U: 43 Colts 30 Jaguars 13ColtsPick
Raiders @ Broncos -3.5 O/U: 41Broncos 24 Raiders 17BroncosPick
Eagles -4 @ Giants O/U: 45Eagles 23 Giants 20GiantsUnder
Steelers -2 @ Ravens O/U: 37Steelers 20 Ravens 17SteelersPick
Titans -3.5 @ Texans O/U: 45.5Titans 30 Texans 14TitansUnder
Redskins @ Cowboys -10.5 O/U: 45.5Cowboys 30 Redskins 24RedskinsOver
49ers -3.5 @ Seahawks O/U: 4749ers 27 Seahawks 2049ersPick

December 29th (Sunday)

Falcons @ Bucs -2 O/U: 48

This game appears to be one for pride and pride only. The Bucs have been so proficient passing the ball and the Falcons have sprung to life in recent weeks. Both these teams pass defenses have shown up in recent weeks and the Falcons especially have been impressive on defense in spurts. I like the Bucs here because of the setting at home, but I think it’s going to be a close game and one that will include plenty of turnovers. Bucs 27 Falcons 24

Bears -3 @ Vikings O/U: 37

The Vikings are resting starters, which is no surprise because the Vikings starters already rested on Monday during their pathetic effort against the Packers. The Vikings have health issues at running back and on the O-line. In fact, the Vikings center was, for the second time this season, given a grade of 0.0 by PFF for his performance against the Packers.

I think the Bears are going to play their starters and try to finish the season on a high note. I also think Khalil Mack is going to have a monster game against this weakened O-line. Bears 27 Vikings 6

Browns -3 @ Bengals O/U: 43.5

The Browns have nothing left to play for and have looked particularly bad as of late. Meanwhile, the Bengals have played hard in games all season and covered in half their games. With the top pick already secured, the Bengals can play this week for pride at home and Andy Dalton, perhaps playing his last game, can give the fans a proper send-off.

I like the Bengals to win this game outright and push the “Fire Freddie Kitchens” narrative to the top of the discussion list for all of Cleveland sports talk shows for the next few months. Bengals 27 Browns 17

Packers -12 @ Lions O/U: 43

You can bet the Packers will show up for this one. With a potential #1 or #2 seed at stake, the Packers will no doubt be aiming for a first-round bye here. If the Packers can win and either the Saints or 49ers lose, the Packers can secure a bye in the playoffs.

For the Lions, they’re playing for nothing. They’ve got a third-string quarterback at the helm and a defense that’s been absolutely awful. I’m going with the Packers here to win big and be up by a considerable margin before pulling starters. Packers 35 Lions 10

Chargers @ Chiefs -8 O/U: 45.5

The Chargers don’t have anything to play for and the Chiefs still do. If the Patriots lose to the Dolphins — which actually happens from time to time with these two — the Chiefs could slide into the #2 seed and secure a bye. Even if the Patriots win, the Chiefs should still want to win to avoid potentially falling to the #4, which would result in a matchup against Buffalo.

Buffalo and then Baltimore would be a nightmare scenario for the Chiefs considering the Bills have an elite pass defense and Baltimore’s defense is also elite. I expect the Chiefs to come out and play safe but with every intention of winning. I don’t like the matchup for the Chargers and believe they’re going to have trouble scoring against a much improved Chiefs defense. Chiefs 27 Chargers 17

Dolphins @ Patriots -16 O/U: 44.5

The Dolphins have been putting in a real effort now ever since Ryan Fitzpatrick took over at quarterback. Once they got their first win, it was apparent this team was committed to trying to win games.

The Patriots have every reason to win this game, but their offense has done little to prove to us why they’re worthy of being a 16 point favorite Sunday. I think the Dolphins will be laying it all on the line this week to try to spoil the Patriots lofty seeding hopes. Patriots 26 Dolphins 14

Saints -13 @ Panthers O/U: 45.5

The Saints are really heating up down the stretch. Alvin Kamara is starting to look healthy again. The Saints have really only been exploited by strong passing offenses, although the Panthers game them quite a scare the first time they met. This time around should be very different.

The Saints are playing for the potential #1 seed and need to win to secure a bye. They have every reason to win here. I like the Saints to go into Carolina and win big to secure their bye. Saints 31 Panthers 14

Jets @ Bills -1 O/U: 36.5

The Jets — wait for it — have nothing to play for. Well, they had nothing to play for last week either and yet they still beat up the Steelers in a must-win game for Pittsburgh. The Bills can’t move from the 5 seed at all, so I’m going to make an educated guess they’ll likely be resting starters, especially since the coach already said they’re probably going to rest a few starters.

I like the Jets to get a nice win to ensure themselves of a worse draft position in the upcoming draft because that’s what the Jets do. Jets 31 Bills 10

Cardinals @ Rams -5 O/U: N/A

It’s still not known whether Kyler Murray will be suiting up for the game Sunday. What we do know for sure is that the Rams don’t have anything to play for but pride. They don’t have a pick in the upcoming first or second round of the draft, so losing benefits them very little.

They also have shown this season they like to keep their starters in games, even when they’re getting blown out. With Kyler and #1 corner, Patrick Peterson likely out, I expect the Rams to roll to a landslide victory at home. Rams 38 Cardinals 10

Colts -3.5 @ Jaguars O/U: 43

The Colts may have laid down two weeks ago and let the Saints have their way with them, but last week, the Colts bounced back in a huge way, crushing the Panthers for no real reason aside from pride. After ruining the Raiders’ last game in Oakland, the Jaguars took the week off last week in Atlanta, allowing the Falcons to pummel them, before scoring a late and meaningless touchdown.

Though I believe the Jags will show up because their coach’s job may be on the line, I don’t envision them having any real success stopping the Colts rushing attack. I also don’t see how the Jaguars plan on keeping pace on offense in this game. Colts 30 Jaguars 13

Raiders @ Broncos -3.5 O/U: 41

The Raiders somehow managed to break their slump as the clear and obvious worst team of the month and bounced back to defeat the Chargers a week ago. They’d need a lot of help, but the Raiders still actually have a shot at making the postseason if everyone else in the hunt for the 6 spot manage to lose Sunday. Even with this appealing incentive, I haven’t been very impressed by the Raiders as of late. I think the Broncos will play spoilers to the Raiders and Phillip Lindsay will have another big day on the ground. Broncos 24 Raiders 17

Eagles -4 @ Giants O/U: 45

The Eagles just need a win or a Cowboys loss to secure the division title in the NFC East. Unfortunately for them, the Eagles have been destroyed by injuries this season and it’s really taken a toll on the offense’s production. The Giants have scored over 35 in back-to-back games as Saquan Barkley has looked more like his 2018 self. I think the Eagles will edge the Giants but fail to cover. Eagles 23 Giants 20

Steelers -2 @ Ravens O/U: 37

The Steelers may be favored in this game, but they probably shouldn’t be. I realize the Ravens will be resting their starters, but the Steelers have looked so inept on offense lately, I’m not confident it’s going to matter for Pittsburgh this week.

Last week scared a lot of people off the Steelers for this week and it’s understandable, but this team has won many times this season when people ruled them out. Why should this week be any different? I like the Steelers to win by a late field goal in a game that may ultimately be futile for them. Steelers 20 Ravens 17

Titans -3.5 @ Texans O/U: 45.5

The Titans have their backs against the wall here. They’re coming off two close losses and need to win to book their ticket to the playoffs. Sure, they could still lose and get in, but they really need a win to ensure their position.

If the Chiefs take care of the Chargers in the noon game, the Texans will be locked in as the #4 seed and this game won’t matter. Because I’m confident that will happen, I’m going to go with the Titans this week on the road to win and subsequently book their ticket to the playoffs Titans 30 Texans 14

Redskins @ Cowboys -10.5 O/U: 45.5

The Redskins have been frisky of late, playing hard through games and showing improvement under Dwayne Haskins at quarterback. The good news for the Redskins this week is Case Keenum returning to the starting lineup (sorry, I’m not sorry). Keenum has been exponentially better at the helm than Haskins, but it was clear the Redskins wanted to give Haskins a shot at QB to see what they had with the young first-rounder.

With Keenum back, the Redskins can be much more potent on offense. For the Cowboys, they play much better at home. Their backs are also against the wall, needing an Eagles loss and a victory to get into the playoffs. I like the Cowboys to win the game, but I think the Redskins will put up a strong effort to ruin the Cowboys season. Cowboys 30 Redskins 24

49ers -3.5 @ Seahawks O/U: 47

The 49ers will likely have to win to secure the top seed in the NFC. It does seem like the matchup for them is bad here. The Seahawks have been very inconsistent on offense and the 49ers have been inconsistent lately on defense, but Richard Sherman should be back this week and the loss of depth at running back will likely ruin the Seahawks in this game. I like the 49ers to win on the road and lock up the NFC’s top seed. 49ers 27 Seahawks 20


Author: Collin Hulbert