NFL Week 17 Predictions and Picks Against the Spread

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Liam McKeone and Kyle Koster went 6-8 this week and that .500 mark scooches ever further with the pair's record at 113-118 on the season. While a dominant year is long gone there's still plenty of opportunities to finish strong. Here are The Big Lead's Week 17 NFL predictions and picks against the spread.

TITANS (+9.5) over COWBOYS

Dallas' offense has looked playoff ready with a fully healthy Dak Presoctt and the Titans seemed to be smack-dab in the middle of falling through the floor without a safety net. And yet does it really feel like a good idea to lay this many points to a team at home fighting for its playoff life? No, reader, it does not. Cowboys 20, Titans 14


Woof. Trace McSorley almost defeating Tom Brady is something that just happened and you don't recover from such weirdness in just one week. Technically the Falcons are still playing for something and should have far more interest. It won't be pretty but the home team should crawl to two or three more field goals and the finish line. Falcons 22, Cardinals 12

LIONS (-6) over BEARS

Detroit needs to win two football games and get a little help to make the playoffs. Outside of Justin Fields' legs, there isn't much for them to be concerned about. Getting back indoors will do wonders for Jared Goff and his assortment of weapons. Lions 32, Bears 19

CHIEFS (-13.5) over BRONCOS

Nathaniel Hackett's miserable run is now over. Russell Wilson's is not. There is infighting. And no reason for optimism. Meanwhile Patrick Mahomes is playing to lock up an MVP and better postseason positioning. The beatings will continue until morale improves — if it ever does. Chiefs 38, Broncos 21


Tua Tagovailoa is capable of playing well enough to be the point guard in a historically explosive offense. He's also bad enough to throw back-breaking interception after back-breaking interception. And he's capable of doing this all in the same game-- if he'll be able to suit up at all. Brisk conditions and a shred of hope will benefit Bill Belichick and result in the Fins' fast start being nothing but a mirage. Patriots 24, Dolphins 20

GIANTS (-3) over COLTS

Daniel Jones needs one measly win to clinch a playoff spot. They'd better get it here and they will get it here against Jeff Saturday's mercurial group. What's the other choice? Trusting Nick Foles? As a PSA don't bet this one in real life. It's scary as hell. Giants 30, Colts 24

EAGLES (-6.5) over SAINTS

Gardner Minshew is pretty good. Philadelphia needs all the wins it can assemble. The Saints offense is punchless. What are we missing? Just the Jalen Hurts uncertainty? This Birds side is tough and will persevere. Eagles 29, Saints 17


Tom Brady keeps going full MacGyver and scraping together narrow victories. He plays with too much fire this coming Sunday, though, as the Panthers establish the run early and often, cementing themselves as the NFC's underdog darling. Panthers 27, Buccaneers 20


Broadly speaking, things really do not go well when a team waffles between quarterbacks as the Commanders are currently doing between Carson Wentz and Taylor Heinicke. But the Browns' defense is bad enough that it won't matter all that much, especially with a line this small and the game at FedEx Field. Washington is playing for their playoff lives. The Browns are eliminated and Deshaun Watson looks horrible. All the Commanders need is a field goal margin to cover. They can do that with Wentz or Heinicke. Maybe even both. Commanders 20, Browns 17


The Texans' defense is going to have a much harder time dealing with Trevor Lawrence than they did Malik Willis, so another upset win is unlikely. But the Jaguars are not quite good enough to bet that they'll handily win a game they should. And we don't really know what Doug Pederson is going to do because it doesn't matter whether Jacksonville wins this game or not; their Week 18 matchup against Tennessee will determine their postseason fate no matter what happens on Sunday. Houston seems to take pride in playing hard so they're in a good spot to cover at home. Jaguars 22, Texans 19

49ERS (-6) over RAIDERS

Things are generally falling apart for the Raiders. The opposite is true for San Francisco, where the vibes are at an all-time high as Brock Purdy continues to exceed expectations and notch wins. This Niners defense is going to make Derek Carr's life hell for 60 minutes and it won't be close. 49ers 30, Raiders 13

JETS (-2.5) over SEAHAWKS

The Seahawks offense has disappeared of late and the unit has put up 23 points combined over the last two weeks. If they managed only 10 points against the Chiefs last week there is little optimism Geno Smith will be able to get much going against a much better Jets defense. New York has Mike White back under center, which is not a guaranteed recipe for points but is certainly an improvement over all alternatives at this juncture. Defense rules once January arrives and the Jets have the better one here. Jets 24, Seahawks 21


Everything we know about these two teams from past years tells us that the Packers are going to win, and maybe win big. The Vikings are feeling great but are not nearly as good a team as their 12-3 record suggests and the game is at Lambeau Field. Aaron Rodgers needs to win out in order to have a shot at the playoffs after everybody starting dancing on his grave six weeks ago. Circumstantially, it just screams Packers blowout. But you know what? These aren't your typical Vikings. They find ways to win and getting hit with a three-point underdog line despite being the better team all season will only serve as further motivation. Another last-second field goal will bring the win home for Minnesota. Vikings 23, Packers 20


The Chargers clinched a playoff spot with their win over the Colts on MNF but will still have something to play for; the fifth seed is still within reach and they don't want to risk falling to the seventh seed. The Rams have been fun with Baker Mayfield but don't have the talent to hang around with better teams for very long. All this is lining up for a very late backdoor cover that infuriates the masses. Chargers 31, Rams 27


There's nothing Mike Tomlin's Steelers love more than playing spoiler to playoff teams late in the season. Especially when those teams are in-division. Even though this line suggests Lamar Jackson will return the Ravens are not nearly good enough to be favored by more than a field goal. It feels rather likely that Pittsburgh's defense stifles a rusty Jackson and keeps this close until the end, where anything can happen. Steelers 20, Ravens 18


Finally, a good Monday night game! This clash between two championship contenders is basically a pick 'em. Cincinnati is at home but still coping with a near-disastrous collapse against the Patriots. The Bills are coming off a complete win on a winter day in Chicago. Our bet is that Joe Burrow's array of weapons will prove to be too much for Buffalo's depleted secondary and homefield advantage will push them over the edge. Bengals 34, Bill 30