NFL Week 17 Tips & Preview

New York Giants v Dallas Cowboys
Dallas -2.5 @ $1.94

Say what you will about Dallas looking like a basket case at certain points this season, but they head into their final game with a chance of stealing a playoff berth.

Whoever wins this game faces a long eight hour wait, needing the Eagles to beat Washington in the final game to snatch the NFC East title and a home playoff game.

Both sides have had their moments this season but it’s hard to go against the recent form lines and the head to head records.

Dallas has won its last three games, putting up 30, 41 and 37 in those games while the Giants have lost their last three, scoring a combined total of 26 points in those games as injuries have taken hold.

The Cowboys have won the last seven games between these sides and as fitting as it would be to see them choke it away, their offence just looks too good.

Cincinnati Bengals v Baltimore Ravens
Bengals +13 @ $1.87

Baltimore has a chance to set the tone for the entire in the AFC playoff race knowing that a win over Cincinnati (or a Miami loss) gets them in as a Wild Card.

After Lamar Jackson returned from his COVID absence he has been on a mission and has guided the Ravens to four straight wins.

They should be able to get the job done against a mediocre Bengals side but they have shown a bit of fight in the last two weeks, defeating the Steelers and Texans with some impressive performances.

This could be a very nervous afternoon in Ohio and a line of almost two touchdowns seems way too high for me.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons
Tampa Bay by 1-13 @ $2.25

Two weeks ago the Falcons blew a massive lead to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, so the schedule gods decided to put the rematch between these two in Week 17.

Tampa is all but locked into the fifth seed (they would need to lose and have the Rams win to drop to number six) so they have to find a way to balance the health of their roster with wanting to take care of business.

With three straight wins on their record they should be able to handle the Falcons, whose lockers will be packed up an hour before kickoff as they players just want to see the end of a horrible season.

Both teams will be happy to just get through this in one piece and the Falcons might find a way to keep it close but Tampa should still come away with the necessary victory.

Buffalo Bills v Miami Dolphins
Miami to Win

This game technically means something for the Bills, competing for the second seed in the AFC but with the lack of a bye on the line, there is every chance they pull their starters during the game.

Miami has everything on the line, needing a win to secure their own playoff spot and motivation can be a huge difference in Week 17.

Perhaps the most intriguing line on offer for this game could be “when does Brian Flores bench Tua for Fitz?”

Since that’s not on offer (yet), I’ll back the Dolphins to get the win they need to get into the playoffs.

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings
Under 54 Points @ $1.94

In some instances, motivation will provide us with fantastic Week 17 matchups, in games like this, a lack of motivation will doom us to an irrelevant and painful three hours of TV… if you have to watch this.

Get ready for 100-odd players going through the motions as they are both ready for the offseason.

Cleveland Browns v Pittsburgh Steelers
Browns to Cover @ $1.90

Pittsburgh has all but conceded this game already announcing that Mason Rudolph will start in place of Ben Roethlisberger.

Clearly they are pinning their hopes on being fresh and firing for the first round of the playoffs and will take their chances against whoever they get on the schedule.

Cleveland just has to win to get into the playoffs for the first time since 2002 and assuming their roster is not decimated by COVID like they were against the Jets, they should get the job done comfortably against the Steelers backups.

New England Patriots v New York Jets
Under 39.5 Points @ $1.90

For the first time since 2000, New England has nothing on the line in its Week 17 game.

It’s probably a good thing this team is getting buried in the early window against a Jets side that has been largely hopeless all year (the last fortnight not withstanding).

There is no way to feel good about backing either team to do a whole lot of anything except struggle on offence.

Houston Texans v Tennessee Titans
Titans by 14+

Whatever the line on this game settles at, it doesn’t change the betting play.

Tennessee needs to win to clinch the AFC South while Houston has to decide just how much it hates Deshaun Watson.

On the final drive last week, Watson’s throwing arm bent at a horrible angle but he is yet to appear on the injury report heading into this game.

Even the Titans anaemic pass rush could cause some danger and with the Texans stuck in purgatory, there is nothing they can gain from this game.

Derrick Henry needs 223 rushing yards to reach 2000 on the season and I wouldn’t rule that out for the human bulldozer.

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks
Seattle to Cover -6 @ $1.94

San Francisco has nothing to play for in this game other than completely screwing over Seattle’s unlikely quest for the number one seed.

Last week the 49ers fired a massive torpedo into Arizona’s playoff hopes so they know how the play spoiler.

Considering Seattle needs to not only win this game but have the Packers and Saints lose, there is a chance they waive the white flag at half time if the other two games are out of hand.

Assuming they play through to the fourth quarter, they should still come away with a comfortable win as they try and build some momentum heading into a Wild Card Weekend clash, potentially with the Rams.

Chicago Bears v Green Bay Packers
Packers to Cover -5.5 @ $1.90

When it comes to picking the best game of the weekend, this is probably it.

Green Bay can secure the top seed in the NFC with a win, while the Bears will get the NFC’s final playoff spot with a win or Arizona loss.

The fact the Bears are still in the playoff race is a minor miracle considering they were on a six game losing streak not that long ago.

History is not on their side however with just one win in their last nine against the Packers.

What swings this tip to the Packers is the fact that not only do they control their own destiny, but Aaron Rodgers will relish the opportunity to cement his status as the MVP elect with a vintage performance here.

Arizona Cardinals v Los Angeles Rams
Arizona to Cover -3 @ $1.90

They say to never celebrate an opponent’s injury misfortune but if you’re the Arizona Cardinals you can’t help but feel like you just received a late Christmas present.

Needing a win to secure a Wild Card berth, LA just lost their quarterback Jared Goff to a broken thumb and will start… John Wolford in his place (it’s ok, everyone had to Google him).

It might not be the prettiest performance but Arizona has to find a way to win this game with the situation they are in.

Indianapolis Colts v Jacksonville Jaguars
Colts to Cover -14 @ $1.90

Remember back in Week 1 when the NFL world was stunned as the Jaguars upset the Colts?

Well that was as good as it got for the Jaguars on the scoreboard but they are now guaranteed the top pick in the draft having lost their last 14.

There is still plenty on the line for the Colts knowing they need to win and have some help to either steal the AFC South off the Titans or sneak in as a Wild Card if they win and either Baltimore, Cleveland or Miami loses.

Bottom line, they have to go all out and hope for the best so this could be over as a contest by the end of the first quarter.

Kansas City Chiefs v Los Angeles Chargers
Over 44 Points @ $1.90

Before you go and jump over the Chiefs in this one, it’s worth noting that Patrick Mahomes will not take part in this game and Chad Henne will start in his place.

Kansas City has the top seed locked up and nothing to gain from this game while the Chargers are focused on the draft.

Even with the backups for the Chiefs, we should see plenty of points as Chargers rookie Justin Herbert looks to end his season on a high point.

Both teams should still be able to reach 20 points which makes the over the best play in the available markets.

New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers
SGM: Saints -6.5 & Alvin Kamara Anytime TD

New Orleans has two reasons to go all out in this game, firstly they are still a chance of getting the top seed in the NFC if they win and the Packers lose.

Secondly, despite putting 52 points on the Vikings last week, there are still some massive questions about their offence, mostly on Drew Brees.

Assuming they go all out and play their starters wire to wire, they should be able to handle the Panthers and after scoring six TDs last week, chances are Alvin Kamara will find the end zone again this weekend.

Denver Broncos v Las Vegas Raiders
Over 51 Points @ $1.90

Out of all the dead rubber games, this one actually might be worth tuning in to.

Based on the makeup of both teams, we could see one of those “nothing to lose” wild and wacky shootouts that finishes 30-something to 30-something.

For this one I’ll back the most entertaining outcome and take the over.

Philadelphia Eagles v Washington Football Team
Philadelphia to Win @ $2.02

It’s pretty clear that without a healthy Alex Smith, Washington has absolutely no hope.

While it sounds like the veteran signal caller is going to come back for Game 256 in Philadelphia, you have to be concerned about how effective he is going to be.

Philadelphia will have to decide if they want to roll over and let Washington into the playoffs or do a favour for the winner of Dallas and the Giants.

The best thing Doug Pederson can do is build the confidence of his young players like Jalen Hurts and encourage them to go all out and win a crucial Week 17 game.

Bring it on, this should be an excellent way to close out the season.