Last Week: 2-2
Week 16 was quite the interesting week in the NFL. The Saints took down the Titans in a high scoring affair in Nashville. The Cowboys laid a big fat egg in Philadelphia as the Eagles took control of the division. Buffalo took the Patriots down to the wire but could not finish the deal in typical Bills fashion. Finally, Green Bay exposed the Vikings in Minneapolis as the Minnesota offense could not get anything going without their top two running backs. Week 17 provides a few meaningful matchups including a primetime showdown in Seattle for the NFC West crown. Pittsburgh needs to beat Baltimore and have Tennessee lose at Houston to secure the sixth AFC wild card position. The Raiders are still mathematically alive and need a lot of things to go there way, including a win against the arch rival Broncos in Denver. Philadelphia is looking to clinch the NFC East with a victory over the Giants. Meanwhile, many teams are still fighting for playoff seeding in the final week of the regular season. There is still much to play for in week 17.
Steelers (-2) @ Ravens (O/U 38) – Sunday, 4:25 PM
This matchup is particularly interesting because the Ravens have already secured home field advantage and the number one seed in the AFC playoffs. Baltimore will rest key starters, including Lamar Jackson in this game. Robert Griffin III will get the start and hope to eliminate the hated Steelers from playoff contention. Pittsburgh will counter with Duck Hodges, who looks to gain back the trust of his team after throwing six interceptions in his last two games. I would lean towards the under in this game due to the fact that both teams are excellent on defense, along with Hodges and Griffin III being the starters. The Steelers will also be without starting center Maurkice Pouncey who was ruled out. Everything inside me wants to pick the Steelers here, but I just believe in John Harbaugh and this Ravens team to knock off Pittsburgh in this one.
Pick: Ravens 17-13
Start: No One (With the amount of stars sitting out, I would go as far to say no one is worth a start in this game)
Sit: Everyone (Anyone who is worth a start in this game is either injured or sitting out)
(Image from NBC Sports)
Eagles (-4.5) @ Giants (O/U 45) – Sunday, 4:25 PM
Philadelphia can clinch the NFC East division title with a win over the Giants. It’s that simple Philadelphia – win and you are hosting a playoff game. The biggest question in this game will be how motivated the Giants are to potentially keep the Eagles from winning the division. More importantly being is how the Giants will play knowing this is potentially Eli Manning’s last game as a player in the NFL. Daniel Jones will get the start again after his five touchdown performance a week ago in an overtime victory over the Redskins. I will predict one thing to happen in this game, amongst many others: Eli Manning will get his send off as he takes the final snap of the game in victory formation and secures a Giants victory. This is the sendoff that he deserves after an incredibly up and down career in New York. Saquon Barkley looks healthy and the Giants look to take the momentum from this game into the 2020-21 season. Philadelphia can still win the division with a loss if the Cowboys fall to Washington, but I see things going poorly for the Eagles in New York.
Pick: Giants 27-20
Start: QB, Daniel Jones (NYG)
Sit: RB, Jordan Howard (PHI)
(Image from Business Insider)
Titans (-3.5) @ Texans (O/U 45.5) – Sunday, 4:25 PM
Texans coach Bill O’Brien has consistently stated all week that he expects all healthy players to suit up for this game. I do not believe him even for a second. I could absolutely see the Texans pulling their starters in the second half as the health of Deshaun Watson has been a question mark since entering the league. The key in this game for the Texans should be to keep Watson and Hopkins healthy going into the playoffs next week. Tennessee will come out motivated to earn a playoff spot after a huge turnaround with quarterback Ryan Tannehill. I expect the Titans to secure a playoff sport by picking up a huge road win against a team in Houston that could be playing backups in the fourth quarter.
Pick: Titans 31-13
Start: QB, Ryan Tannehill (TEN)
Sit: WR, DeAndre Hopkins (HOU) – I do not see him playing big minutes
(Image from Tennessee Titans)
49ers (-3) @ Seahawks (O/U 47) – Sunday, 8:20 PM
Arguable the biggest game of Week 17 takes place in the final slot of the day. Flexing this game to Sunday night was a great move by NBC and the NFL to keep fans intrigued until the waning hours of the final game of the regular season. Seattle is depleted at the running back position with Chris Carson, Rashaad Penny, and CJ Prosise out. Russell Wilson has taken over games before in the past and I would not put it past him to rise to the occasion once again for his team. However, I like the 49ers to win this game going away on Sunday night because of the issues at running back for Seattle. Marshawn Lynch is not going to be nearly enough to sway my pick in this game. The 49ers have been consistent for most of the season and I look for them to secure their first NFC West title since 2012.
Pick: 49ers 27-17
Start: WR, Emmanuel Sanders (SF)
Sit: WR, DK Metcalf (SEA)
(Image from Niners Wire)