NFL picks Week 17: Falcons-Saints and every other game
Dec 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears free safety Brock Vereen (45) intercepts a pass in the end zone intended for Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (81) during the second quarter at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-11.5)
Carolina (14-1) was handed a reality check by the Falcons last week, and they now need to win to ensure the No. 1 seed is theirs. Back at home against Tampa Bay (6-9), there is only one winner.
Pick: Carolina 28, Tampa Bay 17
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (EVEN)
Chicago (6-9) is 1-6 at home this season, and Detroit (6-9) is playing good football right now. The Lions have beaten the Bears in the past five meetings, and that will continue this week.
Pick: Detroit 28, Chicago 21
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (-9)
This one won’t be easy for A.J. McCarron and the Bengals (11-4). The Ravens (5-10) upset the Steelers last week, but don’t expect Ryan Mallett to pull off another big win this week.
Pick: Cincinnati 20, Baltimore 14
Pittsburgh Steelers (-10) at Cleveland Browns
Pittsburgh (9-6) could have thrown away a playoff berth with the shocking defeat to Baltimore last week. This week, they need to beat Cleveland (3-12) and get some help from Buffalo. The Steelers will do their bit.
Pick: Pittsburgh 30, Cleveland 10
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
Washington (8-7) has the NFC East wrapped up, while Dallas (4-11) is ready to get those vacations started. Washington will win a low-scoring game and take some momentum into the playoffs.
Pick: Washington 17, Dallas 7
Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans
This one largely depends on the health of Brian Hoyer. If he returns from a concussion, there’s no doubt the Texans (8-7) will pick apart the Jaguars (5-10) poor defense. Even if he isn’t back, I expect them to pull off the win.
Pick: Houston 28, Jacksonville 20
Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts
Tennessee (3-12) can secure the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft with defeat. Indianapolis (7-8) has all sorts of question marks at quarterback, but they will keep the minute playoff hopes alive. They will need a ton of help league-wide.
Pick: Indianapolis 20, Tennessee 7
Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs (-7.5)
Kansas City (10-5) has now won nine straight, and this incredible run won’t stop at home to Oakland (7-8). The Raiders have a lot to be pleased about in 2015, but the Chiefs enter the playoffs on a 10-game win streak. Look out.
Pick: Kansas City 24, Oakland 17
New England Patriots (-11.5) at Miami Dolphins
The loss to the Jets last week ensures the Patriots (12-3) need to win to wrap up the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The Dolphins (5-10) are a complete mess right now, so there is only one winner.
Pick: New England 27, Miami 13
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants (-3)
The Chip Kelly era is no more in Philadelphia (6-9). Something tells me DeMarco Murray will be fired up in this game, and could tilt the game the Eagles’ way. New York (6-9) have Odell Beckham Jr. back, and he will be able to light up the Eagles’ struggling defense.
Pick: New York 24, Philadelphia 21
Next: Late games and primetime