NFL Week 17 Picks Against the Spread

Welcome to Caesar’s ATS Picks! This will be a weekly project where I pick every game from the NFL schedule. I will offer my quick thoughts, some stats, and predictions for each game. I will give a final score for each game as well as a confidence scale. My confidence scale is based not on the game’s winner but also on ESPN’s spread. The scale ranges from low to medium to high confidence. Now, it is time to dive into this week’s slate of games.

Overall: 107–82–7

Last week (week 15): 6–7–2

High Confidence: 23–23–3

Medium Confidence: 51–36–3

Low Confidence: 32–24–1

  • NFL playoff clinching scenarios for Week 17

NFC Games

Washington Football Team 6–9 vs. Philadelphia Eagles 4–10–1 (+4) 8:20 EST

Washington is a win and in candidate in week 17. They control their path to the NFC East title, but they need to beat an Eagles team playing spoiler first. QB Alex Smith is expected to play this week, which is a big plus for Washington. After the drama with now released QB Dwayne Haskins, having Smith should provide a more steady hand under center. The Eagles will be without a handful of key starters, including DT Flecther Cox, HB Miles Sanders, TE Dallas Goedert, DE Derek Barnett, and a few more starters. Washington may be without 1,000-yard receiver Terry McLaurin this week, so expect TE Logan Thomas and RB JD McKissic to continue getting the bulk of work in the passing game.

This could go either way with how the NFC East has played out, but I’ll take Washington to win. Here as they get their QB back and have something to play for here.

Washington –4/ Low Confidence

Dallas Cowboys 6–9 vs. New York Giants 5–10 (+1.5) 1:00 EST

The winner of this game needs help from Philly later on to make the playoffs. The Giants and Cowboys have both had up and down seasons but will look to close out the season strong. The Cowboys offense has found something over the last three games, scoring 30+ points in each win. The offense put up 500+ yards on the Eagles last week as QB Andy Dalton is finally playing up to the standards some had for him when Dak Prescott went down. QB Daniel Jones never found that rhythm this year with the Giants as he only has nine touchdown passes in 13 games. The Giants will need to revamp the offense next season to maximize the team. Getting RB Saquon Barkley should help.

I think the Cowboys will finish strong and make it four in a row to end the season.

Cowboys –1.5/ Medium Confidence

Arizona Cardinals 8–7 vs. Los Angeles Rams 9–6 (+2) 4:25 EST

QB John Wolford will start in Jared Goff for the Rams, as Goff is dealing with a thumb injury that required surgery. RB Cam Akers is questionable, leaving the Rams with limited options on offense. All they need is for Wolford to get out of the way, as the Rams defense has been the winning unit all season. They will want to make it difficult for QB Kyler Murray to deal with a lower leg injury. The offense was stale against the 49ers last week and will need to get creative this week to combat the Rams’ impact players.

AS much as I think the Rams match up perfectly against the Cardinals, in these important games, it’s usually the quarterback play that gets it done, and it’s tough to trust John Wolford over Kyler Murray here. Both teams could still make the playoff pending the Bears game, but I’ll take the Cards here to secure a spot.

Cardinals –2/ Low COnfidence

Green Bay Packers 12–3 vs. Chicago Bears 8–7 (+4.5) 4:25 EST

The Bears win this and are in for the playoffs. The only problem is the team they’re playing against. The Packers have been the hottest team in the NFC over the last month and want to clinch home-field and the sole first-round bye. QB Aaron Rodgers is the MVP frontrunner with one week left and should wrap it up as Patrick Mahomes sits for the Chiefs this week. However, a game-changer for the Packers is the loss of All-Pro Tackle David Bakhtiari, which will change the passing game. QB Mitchell Trubisky is having the best stretch of his NFL career in December now into January. He will need to cap it off with a big game here in week 17 if he wants to get a decent contract from Chicago.

It’s hard to go against the Packers with how they’ve been playing over the last month. Hopefully, the Bakhtiari injury doesn’t hinder the Packers too much, and they can still run the offense smoothly.

Packers –4.5/ Medium Confidence

New Orleans Saints 11–4 vs. Carolina Panthers 5–10 (+6) 4:25 EST

The Saints are coming off a 52 point performance led by Alvin Kamara rushing for a remarkable six touchdowns. Kamara then contracted “the rona” and will be out alongside three other roster’s running backs. The timing of this is horrible, obviously, as we are a week away from the playoffs. QB Drew Brees only has RB Ty Montgomery available and will have to rely on him on short-yardage plays. The Panthers are a tough out, with HC Matt Rhule having his guys prepared every week.

The Saints are depleted offensively, while Carolina wants to play spoiler. It will be close enough for me to give the Panthers six points on the spread.

Panthers +6/ Medium Confidence

Seattle Seahawks 11–4 vs. San Francisco 49ers 6–9 (+7) 4:25 EST

The Seahawks need the Bears and Panthers to come through with upset wins and themselves, winning here to gain the home-field advantage. The 49ers this time last year beat the Seahawks to gain home-field advantage in the NFC, so expect Seattle to come out with some fire as they seek revenge on their division rival. DK Metcalf is five yards away from breaking Steve Largent’s record for most receiving yards in a season in Seahawks history. He will be a key part of Seattle’s playoff run this season. The defense has stepped up in the second half of the season as they could end up being the difference that takes Seattle to a super bowl.

The 49ers are ready for this season to end to heal up for 2021, while the Seahawks are playing for a lot. Please give me the Hawks.

Seahawks –7/ Medium Confidence

AFC Games

Miami Dolphins 10–5 vs. Buffalo Bills 12–3 (+3.5) 1:00 EST

It remains unclear whether HC Sean McDermott will rest his players in this pivotal game for the Dolphins. Miami needs to win to go to the playoffs and do so without QB Ryan Fitzpatrick. Tua won’t be saved with a benching this week as he will have to step it up in what is essentially a playoff game for the Dolphins.

I can’t decide this without clear info on the Bills, but I will assume that they want the number two spot and will play most of their guys. If that’s the case, give me Buffalo.

Bills +3.5/ Low Confidence

Pittsburgh Steelers 12–3 vs. Cleveland Browns 10–5 (-10) 1:00 EST

The Steelers, unlike Buffalo, aren’t keeping their plans a secret, as they will rest most of their starters, including Ben Roethlisberger. The Browns recently disappointingly lost to the Jets and will need to rebound here to make the playoffs and end their long drought. They should have their receivers back this week as well.

This is the Browns game to lose. It’s time for Cleveland to get back in the playoffs, and it should happen after this game hits 0:00 on the clock.

Browns –10/ Medium Confidence

Baltimore Ravens 10–5 vs. Cincinnati Bengals 4–10–1 (+13.5) 1:00 EST

The Ravens turned up the pressure after their season-saving win over the Browns a few weeks ago. Now they get to close it out against the Bengals, who have won two in a row.

The Ravens are too dominant to go out with an L to a banged-up Bengals squad.

Ravens –13.5/ Medium Confidence

Jacksonville Jaguars 1–14 vs. Indianapolis Colts 10–5 (-15.5) 4:25 EST

The Jags already got their Trevor Lawrence prize last week and will have Urban Meyer coming soon. The players will have an audition tape this week against the Colts, who are on the outside looking in. I predicted a Miami loss, which means the Colts would get in if I picked them here.

The Colts will win and get in, but this could be closer than some expect, which is why I will go with the Jags on the spread.

Jaguars +15.5/ Medium Confidence

Tennessee Titans 10–5 vs. Houston Texans 4–11 (+7) 4:25 EST

RB Derrick Henry is 223 yards away from 2,000 yards on the season rushing. Could he make it happen? Well, the Texans have the worst run defense in the NFL statistically, so yes, it could. He will need it and the Titans fighting for the AFC South title and a postseason berth. The Texans got a hard lesson from JJ Watt on effort and maybe re-focused against a rival this week.

The Titans are prepared for big games, but Deshaun Watson is a big-time player. I think Tennessee wins, but the Texans cover.

Texans +7/ Low Confidence

The Rest

Atlanta Falcons 4–11 vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10–5 (-7) (Bucs/Low)

New York Jets 2–13 vs. New England Patriots 6–9 (-3) (Patriots/Low)

Minnesota Vikings 6–9 vs. Detroit Lions 5–10 (+3) (Vikings/High)

Las Vegas Raiders 7–8 vs. Denver Broncos 5–10 (+2.5) (Broncos/Medium)

Los Angeles Chargers 6–9 vs. Kansas City Chiefs 14–1 (+7) (Chargers/Low)

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Caesar Wilson

Caesar Wilson

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