NFL Week 17 picks include Packers, Seahawks

“We’re going for it, we would love to have that break for players if we can get it,” Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll said . “We’re playing f...



“We’re going for it, we would love to have that break for players if we can get it,” Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll said. “We’re playing for it, because it’s good for you, it’s good for your body and all that, so we’re going to try to take care of business and get that thing if it’s possible. So we’re going all-out again this week. There’s no other thought than this is a championship opportunity to put ourselves in the best situation going into the playoffs.”

Green Bay Packers (-5½) at Chicago Bears

Pick: Green Bay Packers -5½

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is making a strong case to be this season’s most valuable player. The 37-year-old has completed a career-high 70 percent of his passes for 4,059 yards and a league-leading 44 touchdowns with five interceptions. He’s been the most valuable passer of 2020, according to ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating, and his team is scoring 11 more points per game than expected on his passes after accounting for the down, distance and field position of each throw, according to TruMedia.

Rodgers torched the Bears’ secondary in the teams’ first meeting, completing 21 of 29 passes for 211 yards and four touchdowns to four different receivers. He completed at least one pass against seven different defenders in coverage, including seven passes (on 10 targets) against Chicago slot cornerback Buster Skrine, who sat out his second straight game last week because of a concussion.

Rodgers is also 97-72-4 (.574) against the spread in his career, and an even more impressive 40-25-0 (.615) against divisional opponents.

Seattle Seahawks (-5½) at San Francisco 49ers

Pick: Seattle Seahawks -5½

It might seem counterintuitive to pick a favorite with its postseason future largely locked in, on the road, against an opponent out of the playoff picture, but these situations have been profitable, albeit in a small sample size of games. Since 2000, when a 10-win (or better) team has been the favorite on the road against a team below .500 in the final week of the season, the favored team has covered 58 percent of the time (19-14-0).

Plus, Seattle is the better team. The Seahawks are ranked ninth overall by Footballs Outsiders after adjusting their offensive and defensive efficiencies for strength of schedule, while the 49ers are ranked 14th. The game charters at Pro Football Focus have a similar gap between the two teams. They have Seattle ranked as the sixth-best team of 2020 and San Francisco rated as No. 11.

Season best bets record: 20-18-2.

The two games above represent our best plays of the week because our analysis shows the point spreads are the most divergent from what we expect to happen once the teams take the field. Below, you will find picks for the other games on this week’s schedule. However, trying to pick every single NFL game is something of a fool’s errand. The house wins so often partly because bettors try to make too many plays when the odds aren’t in their favor. Keep that in mind when evaluating the remaining games from the Week 17 slate.

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (PK)

Baltimore Ravens (-12) at Cincinnati Bengals

Pick: Baltimore Ravens -12

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (-10)

Pick: Cleveland Browns -10

Minnesota Vikings (-6½) at Detroit Lions

New York Jets at New England Patriots (-3)

Pick: New England Patriots -3

Dallas Cowboys (-3) at New York Giants

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6½)

Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -6½

Tennessee Titans (-7½) at Houston Texans

Pick: Houston Texans +7½

New Orleans Saints (-6½) at Carolina Panthers

Pick: New Orleans Saints -6½

Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (-14)

Pick: Jacksonville Jaguars +14

Los Angeles Chargers (-3½) at Kansas City Chiefs

Pick: Los Angeles Chargers -3½

Las Vegas Raiders (-2½) at Denver Broncos

Pick: Denver Broncos +2½

Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams (-5)

Pick: Los Angeles Rams -5

Washington Football Team (-2) at Philadelphia Eagles

Pick: Washington Football Team -2

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Newsrust: NFL Week 17 picks include Packers, Seahawks
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