We’re here to guide you with weekly picks against the spread every week, and we’re still well above .500 approaching entering the final weekend of the year. Here are 16 fresh takes for Week 17.
Several playoff spots are up for grabs, but that type of ‘must-win’ motivation doesn’t always mean victories or covers. Check out the latest NFL odds and matchup reports before making your bets for the final week of 2020.
2020 RECORD: 118-109-9
Week 17 NFL Picks
BALTIMORE RAVENS (-12.5) AT CINCINNATI BENGALS: RAVENS
The Ravens have won 17 games by 14-plus points since the start of 2019. No other team has done that on more than 11 occasions. This line would be way higher if the Bengals didn’t win their last two games, but they still suck and the Ravens know how to step on throats. This is a big spot for them, and they’ll take care of business with ease.
PITTSBURGH STEELERS AT CLEVELAND BROWNS (-9): STEELERS
The Browns are the Browns, and even against a resting Steelers squad, I don’t trust them one bit in a big spot — especially as they deal with a COVID-19 outbreak within their facility. They might still win this game, but I’m not spotting Pittsburgh’s backups more than a touchdown.
MIAMI DOLPHINS AT BUFFALO BILLS (-3.5): DOLPHINS
I can’t believe how much this line moved based on Ryan Fitzpatrick’s positive COVID-19 test. He wasn’t slated to start anyway, Tua Tagovailoa has plenty of big-game experience and the Bills have practically nothing to play for. Miami should at least keep this within a field goal.
DALLAS COWBOYS (-1.5) AT NEW YORK GIANTS: COWBOYS
The Giants look like they’re toast coming off three straight dud losses, while the Cowboys have rallied with three consecutive wins of their own. They’re not beating great teams, but the Giants don’t qualify as a good team. Andy Dalton, Ezekiel Elliott and that trio of receivers should easily be enough in a critical game.
ATLANTA FALCONS AT TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (-7): BUCCANEERS
The Bucs have been taking care of business all season long against bad teams, and the Falcons are certainly a bad team. They might not have much left here, whereas Bruce Arians says Tampa Bay wants this W to lock in the No. 5 seed. Tampa in a rout.
NEW YORK JETS AT NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-3): JETS
The Jets are fired up about winning games right now, while the calculating Patriots know that they’re better off losing. This isn’t a good matchup for them anyway because they can’t throw and the Jets are good against the run. New York might win this thing outright.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (-6.5) AT DETROIT LIONS: LIONS
Neither the Vikings nor the Lions should give a damn about the result of this game, but it looks like Matthew Stafford is going to fight through about 11 injuries to play what might be his last home game as a Lion, and Minnesota won’t have top weapon Dalvin Cook. The Lions could win, but they’ll at least cover.
GREEN BAY PACKERS (-5.5) AT CHICAGO BEARS: PACKERS
The Packers have been blowing out teams all year, and Aaron Rodgers has won seven of his last eight games at Soldier Field, with five of those wins coming by a touchdown or more. After feasting against bad competition, look for Mitchell Trubisky to come back to earth in a critical game for the Pack.
TENNESSEE TITANS (-7.5) AT HOUSTON TEXANS: TEXANS
Houston usually puts up a fight against the Titans. And while Derrick Henry could go to town on a bad run defense, so could Deshaun Watson against a weak pass defense. The Texans should also be inspired to finish strong at home after J.J. Watt gave a rousing rant after a Week 16 loss. They’ll keep it close.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS AT INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (-14): COLTS
The Colts have five 17-plus-point wins this season, while only the Jets have more 17-plus-point losses than the Jags, with three of their six three-score defeats coming in the last three weeks. They’ve just run out of gas. That said, they beat the Colts in Week 1, Philip Rivers is hurt and Anthony Castonzo is out for the Colts. I wouldn’t bet on this game.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (-6.5) AT CAROLINA PANTHERS: PANTHERS
The Saints know they’re not likely to land the top seed in the NFC anyway and they barely got past the Panthers when the two met at the Superdome earlier this season. Why should we expect them to win by a touchdown or more this time around?
ARIZONA CARDINALS (-3.5) AT LOS ANGELES RAMS: RAMS
The Rams are very good at bouncing back. They won’t have Jared Goff but he hasn’t been carrying them anyway, and I don’t trust the Cardinals at all. No way I’m giving up a field goal and a hook with them on the road, especially with Kyler Murray also less than 100 percent against a great defense.
SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (-6.5) AT SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS: SEAHAWKS
San Francisco has practically no healthy players left. I’m not sure how the 49ers beat the Cardinals under those circumstances last week but I doubt lightning will strike twice against the league’s hottest defense in a crucial game for Seattle.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (-3.5) AT KANSAS CITY CHIEFS: CHARGERS
This line wouldn’t be lower than 10 if not for the fact nobody trusts the Chargers and the Chiefs are the defending Super Bowl champions. Take advantage of that. A bunch of backup Chiefs won’t stand a chance against a Bolts team trying to go out with a bang. The Chargers hang with the Chiefs when they’re trying to win, so they should win big when Kansas City’s only priority is rest.
LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (-3) AT DENVER BRONCOS: BRONCOS
The Raiders have been exposed down the stretch as a mediocre football team, and they should be deflated after that season-destroying Week 16 loss to the Dolphins. They might phone this one in on the road. And even if they pull it off, I’ll take the three points.
WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (-2.5) AT PHILADELPHIA EAGLES: EAGLES
Alex Smith wasn’t playing well even before getting hurt and he’s unlikely to be close to 100 percent in this spot. Washington is coming back to earth after a hot streak and the resilient Eagles will be out to make a statement in their home finale with energizing quarterback Jalen Hurts. They win a close one and play spoiler against a rival.