NFL Week 17 Picks Against The Spread

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Week 17 Picks Against Spread

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a very long time since a Week 17 in the NFL has meant this much. It seems like almost every single playoff spot is still up for grabs.

In the AFC, only the fifth seed has been decided. Two teams are still vying for home-field advantage, while four teams are fighting it out for the two first-round byes. Somehow, there are ways where four different teams could end up being the no. 6 seed in the conference, taking the final playoff spot.

The NFC is even more exciting. There are two win-or-go-home games on Sunday, one for the NFC North and one for the NFC East. Both games revolve around the injuries of quarterbacks, the sport's most popular position. The NFC South is still up for grabs between their top two teams. There is even a scenario where the Seattle Seahawks could lose the NFC West and home-field advantage. You have the Arizona Cardinals, who are trying to play spoiler and sneak into the playoffs with that no. 5 or no. 6 seed.

My picks were as average as you can get last week. I seriously misjudged the Sunday night game. I can take solace in predicting the fall of the Seattle Seahawks' winning streak at home. This is the last week of the season, and as long as I get one right, I guarantee a season of .500 or better on my picks.

Last Week: 8-8

2013 Season: 126-111-2

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Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals (-6.5)

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

This game is rare in that it has a lot on the line for both teams in the game. After the 41-point beatdown last week, how will the Baltimore Ravens bounce back? They need a win to stay alive in the playoff race (they could technically get in with a loss, but that is seriously complicated). The Cincinnati Bengals still have a shot at a first-round bye. Their motivation and superior talent will win the the game. Baltimore 20 -- Cincinnati 27

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Washington Redskins @ New York Giants (-3.5)

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

This game is a rarity this week in that it means absolutely nothing to both teams. They are both out of the playoff picture already. They both severely underperformed all season, especially at the quarterback position. Eli Manning leads the league in interceptions, while Robert Griffin III has been equally awful. When in doubt, take the points. Washington 21 -- New York 24

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Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans (-7.5)

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans may be bad, but the Tennessee Titans have no right to be favored by more than a touchdown against anyone. Did we forget that Ryan Fitzpatrick is the quarterback here? Houston 16 -- Tennessee 20

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Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts (-11.5)

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts will show no mercy against a lackluster (putting it nicely) team in the Jacksonville Jaguars. The long shot of getting a first-round bye will keep the Colts motivated. Jacksonville 20 -- Indianapolis 40

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New York Jets @ Miami Dolphins (-6.5)

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

The New York Jets play extremely hard for their coach Rex Ryan, especially when it is against a divisional opponent. They are not going down without a fight in this game. They will ruin the Miami Dolphins' postseason chances and take the upset. New York 31 -- Miami 25

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Carolina Panthers (-6.5) @ Atlanta Falcons

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Georgia Dome used to be considered one of the hardest places to win a football game. Now the Atlanta Falcons are giving points at home. This game would be a different story if it meant nothing to the Carolina Panthers, but this game means their entire season. Their no. 2 seed is basically on the line. Carolina 32 -- Atlanta 21

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Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-7.5)

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers have an outside, and I mean outside, shot at making the playoffs as a no. 6 seed. That just means that they will still give their all in this game. That is bad news for the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland 18 -- Pittsburgh 28

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Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings (-3.5)

Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

What? This line makes literally no sense. Take the Detroit Lions and don't ask questions. Detroit 31 -- Minnesota 17

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St. Louis Rams @ Seattle Seahawks (-10.5)

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The Seahawks are the best team in football, but the St. Louis Rams have played spoiler all year. They seem to play up to their competition. The Cardinals showed that the Hawks are not invincible at home. Although they will win, 10.5 points is just too much. St Louis 18 -- Seattle 20

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Green Bay Packers (-3.5) @ Chicago Bears

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

This is the first of the two winner-takes-all divisional games. The obvious headline for this game is the return of Aaron Rodgers. Will he be rusty? Randall Cobb is also returning from injury. Green Bay 24 -- Chicago 31

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San Francisco 49ers (-1.5) @ Arizona Cardinals

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals are still hanging on to a chance at the playoffs. Carson Palmer needs to be much better this week, because Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore won't hand them a win. I see a huge turnaround and a surprising win for the Cards. San Francisco 19 -- Arizona 20

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Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots (-9.5)

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Buffalo Bills won a fluke game last week against the Dolphins. Lightning will not strike twice. Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have too much to play for to let a lesser team feel like they have a shot. Buffalo 16 -- New England 35

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Denver Broncos (-12.5) @ Oakland Raiders

Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Raiders are so very awful. The best thing they have going for them is a one-day Nnamdi Asomugha contract so he could retire with his original team. The Denver Broncos have every reason to be motivated. Peyton Manning could extend his touchdown record. Denver 40 -- Oakland 13

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints (-12.5)

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints have not had their kill switch on over the past few weeks. That will hurt them in this game. Their obvious lack of a running game is becoming a problem. They won't lose, but 12.5 is too much. Tampa Bay 21 -- New Orleans 31

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Kansas City Chiefs @ San Diego Chargers (-9.5)

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This Kansas City Chiefs will display their depth in this game. They will fall to the San Diego Chargers with their backups in, but they will keep in incredibly close. Kansas City 20 -- San Diego 21

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Philadelphia Eagles (-6.5) @ Dallas Cowboys

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

There'll be no Tony Romo for the Dallas Cowboys, but Kyle Orton is a seasoned veteran. Who knows, maybe he could be better in a high-pressure game. Nick Foles has never seen this kind of pressure. Doesn't it seem very Cowboys-like to lose three years in a row with everything on the line then win it the year they have a backup QB? Philadelphia 17 -- Dallas 20