Spread ‘Em: Week 17 NFL Picks
Posted by Andrew Zercie on January 1, 2010
–be a better husband/father/son/friend/professional
In the end, I’ve wound up being the same person year after year despite the empty promises I’ve made to myself. I expect the promise about better picks against the spread to also be an empty one. Without further ado…
Buffalo (-8.5) over Indianapolis
Clearly, the spread of this game is affected by the belief that the Colts will sit their stars rather than expose them to potential injuries. If this game mattered to the Colts and everyone were going to play, Indianapolis would be favored by a touchdown or more, easily.
Bills 24, Colts 14
Carolina (-7) over New Orleans
The Panthers have played better football of late, while the 13-2 Saints have struggled for a month. Carolina would certainly like to close their season on a high note. What better way to do so than to demolish the NFC’s best team?
Panthers 31, Saints 17
Jacksonville (+1) over Cleveland
Two teams playing for next year or, in Cleveland’s case, draft position.
Jaguars 23, Browns 17
Dallas (-3) over Philadelphia
I wonder how deep into their playbooks these two teams will go. It’s entirely possible the Cowboys and Eagles will play one another again next week.
If that’s the case, especially if Dallas takes a sizeable early lead, the gameplans for both teams could become very vanilla in appearance. I could be wrong though.
Either way, momentum seems to be on the side of the Cowboys right now.
Cowboys 31, Eagles 24
Chicago (-3) over Detroit
With the pressure of living up to hig expectations now gone, Jay Cutler will have his best game of the season this week. What a tease.
Bears 27, Lions 10
New England (+8) over Houston
Sure, the Patriots will rest their key players at some point, but coach Bill Belichick is on the record in saying that Tom Brady and others will play.
How much they play will ultimately determine the outcome of the game, of course. Since New England is slated to host a playoff game next week, one would assume that they will play a majority of the game to stay in rhtyhm, which means the Texans are in trouble.
Patriots 24, Texans 20
Miami (+3) over Pittsburgh
Both of these teams believe that a win, along with a sizeable amount of help, will get them into the playoffs. With that in mind, the safe pick is with the home underdog.
Dolphins 27, Steelers 20
Minnesota (-9) over N.Y. Giants
The Vikings need a win to secure the #2 seed. The Giants needed a win last week.
Vikings 30, Giants 18
San Francisco (-7) over St. Louis
The next meaningful thing to happen for the Rams is this expected announcement come April: With the first pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams select Ndamukong Suh, from the University of Nebraska.
As for the 49ers, they are a few close losses away from being a playoff team this year. They seem to be on the right track and, depending on how their schedule looks next season, could have a big year in 2010. This week’s result will provide a glimpse of the future for the 49ers.
49ers 27, Rams 7
Atlanta (-2.5) over Tampa Bay
It may or may not affect the outcome of the game, but the Falcons have never had consecutive seasons above .500 in the history of their franchise.
More importantly, the Falcons played well last week despite being out of the playoff hunt in the NFC. Perhaps having both Matt Ryan and Michael Turner had something to do with it.
Tampa Bay has played better football in the last month of the season compared to earlier, and they will keep the score close Josh Freeman’s propensity for turnovers is worrisome though. The Falcons are the safer pick.
Falcons 28, Buccaneers 24
Green Bay (+3.5) over Arizona
Like the Dallas-Philadelphia game, this could be a preview of a NFC Wildcard round game. As a result, it seems likely that once one team gains a lead of 10 or more points, the gameplans of both teams will become stagnant and repetitive.
The Packers have played better, more consistent football than the Cardinals in recent weeks, so they are the pick despite being on the road.
Packers 27, Cardinals 24
Kansas City (+12.5) over Denver
Sure, the Broncos remain in the mix for a playoff spot, provided they win and other teams lose.
However, with Brandon Marshall and Tony Scheffler expected to be benched for this game, and with the Broncos already shallow at the wide receiver position due to an injury to Eddie Royal, Denver will be limited offensively. It should not alter the fact that Denver will win this game they desperately need, but it will affect how much they win by.
Broncos 23, Chiefs 17
Baltimore (-10.5) over Oakland
The Raiders have shown signs of life recently, including a surprising defeat of the Broncos in Denver two weeks ago. However, the Ravens will come to Oakland looking to make the playoffs. Whatever flaws the Ravens have, they will get their act together and dominate against a team with nothing to play for.
Ravens 31, Raiders 10
San Diego (-3.5) over Washington
I have long believed that Norv Turner couldn’t coach his way out of a cardboard box. My perception may have been flawed by the quality of teams Turner previously coached. Then again, perhaps Phillip Rivers and his receiving corps are carrying Turner to the heights the Chargers are reaching right now.
Either way, San Diego closes out their magical season against the Redskins, a team that Turner once coached.
While the team may not need to play all out this week because their standing as the AFC’s #2 seed is established, Turner may be personally motivated to see his current team throttle the Redskins. The players and Turner seem to respect each other.
My bet on San Diego is based on the idea the players want to provide Turner with some measure of revenge against the Redskins and their owner Daniel Snyder.
Chargers 34, Redskins 20
Tennessee (-4.5) over Seattle
Bottom line, the Seahawks are declining and the Titans are better than their record indicates. While the Seahawks have, generally speaking, played better at home, it will likely not matter this week.
Titans 24, Seahawks 17
Cincinnati (+10) over N.Y. Jets
The Bengals don’t need to win this game, but the Jets do. The question is, are the Jets capable of doing so, even when the Bengals can rest some of their top players?
With turnover-happy Mark Sanchez at QB, the Jets may be limited in what they can do on offense. Even if the entire starting defense for the Bengals sits the whole game, the backups will know the Jets’ offense will be run-heavy.
Sure, the Jets can win, but a markin of victory of more than touchdown is asking a lot.
Jets 21, Bengals 17