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Heading into the final week of picks Dan and my records stand as:

Gee:      Week 16   6-10                   Overall   134-107
Dan:      Week 16   8-8                     Overall   125-116

Week seventeen is a strange week for picks as there are differing levels of motivation depending on what is riding on the game and how a team are finishing out for their coaches but it also seems odd to talk about the motivation of professional players and this is not a sport you can play at half speed. Dan has decided to go with all road teams baring his Dolphins so we’ll have to see how that works out for him.

Bears @ Vikings (-12.5)

This line worries me a lot as there is a big difference between these teams but this is a lot of points. The Chicago Bears defence is ranked a respectable fourteenth by DVOA but they are twenty-fifth overall thanks to poor offence and a surprisingly struggling special teams unit. They are on the road in Minnesota and it doesn’t feel like Mike Zimmer is the kind of coach who know how not to compete. Combine this with a stadium that offers a genuine home field advantage and that the Vikings need a win to secure a first round bye and I am going to reluctantly back the Vikings to cover this line.

Gee’s Pick:          Vikings
Dan’s Pick:          Bears

Browns @ Steelers (-14.5)

This is the final chance for the Cleveland Browns to avoid going winless this season, but playing the Steelers on the road in Pittsburgh doesn’t feel like the best situation to get one. Still, we don’t know what players may be rested by the home team and the Browns will be desperate for a win. I don’t know if that will be enough to get the win but this line is too rich for my blood despite the Brown’s record against the spread.

Gee’s Pick:          Browns
Dan’s Pick:          Browns

Cowboys @ Eagles (+2.5)

The Philadelphia Eagles head into the playoffs with worries about how they played last week and with a backup quarterback who did not look great last in that game so they will hope to better in the coming weeks or their playoff run could be very shot. This week they welcome the Dallas Cowboys who missed out on the playoffs with last week’s loss to the Seahawks. The Eagles have secured a first round bye so could rest players yet with them picking up points at home I think I’m going to back them.

Gee’s Pick:          Eagles
Dan’s Pick:          Cowboys

Packers @ Lions (-7.5)

This is another game where neither team has anything on the line other than divisional rivalry and with the Detroit Lions hosting a Green Bay Packers team that will be starting Brett Hundley at quarterback it is hard to know how things will go. However, backing a Packers’ team on the road who were shut out last week doesn’t look like a good plan, especially when six of their eight losses this season have been by more than eight points.

Gee’s Pick:          Lions
Dan’s Pick:          Packers

Texans @ Colts (-3.5)

The 4-11 Houston Texans last win was in week eleven and they have scored single digit points in their last two games. The 3-12 Indianapolis Colts are at home and may not have won since week nine but they at least have been close in some of their recent games and so I’m going to back them in this one despite the extra half point.

Gee’s Pick:          Colts
Dan’s Pick:          Texans

Jets @ Patriots (-15.5)

The New England Patriots have secured a first round bye but will want to finish seeded one. However, they are hosting a New York Jets team who have been competitive all year and this line is huge. I doubt that the Jets will win but this line is just too rich for me, even if the Patriots have been ridiculously good against the spread as well as winning a lot of games this season.

Gee’s Pick:          Jets
Dan’s Pick:          Jets

Washington @ Giants (+3.5)

The New York Giants were another team shut out last week and this week host a Washington team who won handily in their last game and so I find it difficult to see things changing this week. In this most unpredictable of weeks I could be wrong but I’m not going to pick it.

Gee’s Pick:          Washington
Dan’s Pick:          Washington

Panthers @ Falcons (-3.5)

The Atlanta Falcons need a win to make sure they stay ahead of the chasing Seahawks and host the Carolina Panthers who are looking to secure their division. This should be one of the better games of the season and with the Falcons needing to get their act together for the playoffs I fancy them to win but the points do worry me. Still, all of the Panthers four losses have been by more than four points and so I’m worriedly taking the Falcons

Gee’s Pick:          Falcons
Dan’s Pick:          Panthers

Bills @ Dolphins (+2.5)

The Buffalo Bills need to win and for results to go their way for the longest playoff appearance drought in the NFL to end and I for one will be supporting them heartily. They travel to face a Miami Dolphins team who have struggled for large parts of the season despite their excellent skills players on offence. Their respective overall rankings of twentieth and twenty-eighth by DVOA backup my feeling that the Bills are the better team this season and so I am going to pick them with hope that they make the playoffs but it feels like something (namely the Chargers) will go wrong to prevent them making it and that could well include this game.

Gee’s Pick:          Bills
Dan’s Pick:          Dolphins

Bengals @ Ravens (-9.5)

The Baltimore Ravens will want to win to secure their wildcard spot and with them hosting the Cincinnati Bengals I expect them to get it. However, this is a lot of points for an AFC North game that has traditionally been close and I do fancy the Bengals to finish the season close against a team whose offence is ranked twentieth by DVOA even if the Bengal’s defence has slipped in recent weeks thanks to injury.

Gee’s Pick:          Bengals
Dan’s Pick:          Bengals

Chiefs @ Broncos (-3.5)

This is a curious game to pick as the Kansas City Chiefs are starting their rookie quarterback Patrick Mahomes and I think this explains this line given how the Denver Broncos have been playing this season. It is hard to know how Mahomes will go against a defence that still ranks in the top ten by DVOA even if it has slipped from its recent heights, but the Broncos still rank second against the run so it is doubtful the Chiefs can rely on their run game and Denver has never been an easy place to play. There are too many unknowns to feel secure about this game so I’m going to grab the points and see what happens.

Gee’s Pick:          Chiefs
Dan’s Pick:          Chiefs

Jaguars @ Titans (-5.5)

The Tennessee Titans are another team who need to win and for results to go their way to get into the playoffs but they welcome a Jacksonville Jaguars team who lost badly last week and will want to get things back on track before the playoffs. I also get the feeling that they would delight in sticking it to a divisional rival and stopping them from making the playoffs. Even if this wasn’t all true, this line feels off considering the way the teams have played all season and so I’m going to grab the points.

Gee’s Pick:          Jaguars
Dan’s Pick:          Jaguars

Raiders @ Chargers (-7.5)

The Los Angeles Chargers got the win they needed last week to keep their playoff hopes alive, but they need to win and hope results go their way to actually get in and this could be a surprisingly tough home game. The Chargers stadium will likely be full of Oakland Raiders’ fans and so whilst the Raiders defence ranks a lowly twenty-sixth by DVOA they could still get a boost. Still, this has been a disappointing year for the Raiders and the Chargers are very solidly ranked in both offence and defence by DVOA if only their special teams weren’t so poor. I do still fancy the Chargers to get the win and whilst the points do worry me, I think they have enough to cover this line.

Gee’s Pick:          Chargers
Dan’s Pick:          Raiders

49ers @ Rams (-3.5)

This feels like a strange game in that the Rams’ head coach Sean McVay is resting players as he expects to be home for the first week of the playoffs and then on the road and prefers to get some of his starters rested, whilst the San Francisco 49ers travel to LA on a four game win streak. If Jimmy Garoppolo can get a win against the Jaguars top ranked by DVOA pass defence then he should keep the 49ers competitive in this one. In fact, I kind of fancy the 49ers to win and I definitely expect them to cover with the Rams resting players.

Gee’s Pick:          49ers
Dan’s Pick:          49ers

Saints @ Buccaneers (+7.5)

The New Orleans Saints have clinched a playoff spot but are looking to secure a division win as they travel to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs may have lost their last five games but only one of them was by more than eight points and the last three have only been lost by a field goal so whilst I can see the Saints winning their division, I do fancy the Bucs to cover this one and keep the game competitive.

Gee’s Pick:          Buccaneers
Dan’s Pick:          Saints

Cardinals @ Seahawks (-8.5)

This final pick of the season is a tricky one for me as the Seattle Seahawks have managed to keep themselves with a chance of making the playoffs, but they need to win and hope that the Falcons lose. They welcome an Arizona Cardinals team whose season was derailed by injury but have remained surprisingly competitive and it is not impossible to see them doing so again against the injured Seahawks defence. Still, the Seahawks’ defence is ranked eleventh and they have a much better quarterback and with something to play for so I expect them to win, but can  they manage to do so by nine points? I’m not sure so I’m going to grab the points and hope in this game.

Gee’s Pick:          Cardinals
Dan’s Pick:          Cardinals

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