Saturday, May 18, 2024

NFL Pick, Week 17 Prediction: Browns Edge Steelers; Packers shatter Bears’ playoff hopes; Washington wins NFC East

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Six playoff spots are still open heading into the final week of the NFL regular season.

The AFC wildcard race and the NFC home court advantage race are some of the big stories heading into the final week.

There are four team matches with record wins, and these are some of the more interesting pieces of the puzzle. Pittsburgh and Cleveland meet at 1 pm with the Browns looking to clinch their first playoff spot since 2002. Miami are also looking to advance to the AFC playoffs with rookie Tua Tagovailoa, but they must beat their rival Buffalo to get there.

In the NFC, Arizona and Los Angeles meet in a huge NFC West showdown; a Jared Goff could miss a thumb injury. Chicago is also trying to squeeze into the NFC playoffs, but Green Bay is looking for a field advantage with MVP contender Aaron Rodgers.

Week 17 should therefore be fantastic, and this is one last chance to improve our record of direct picks:

  • Last week: 10-5 (before Monday’s game)
  • Season: 115-72 (before Monday’s game)

With that in mind, here are our picks and predictions for week 17:

Cowboys, Crows, Bears who get up at the right time; Browns, Washington slip

(Getty Images)

NFL picks, Week 17 predictions

  • Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6)

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

Tom Brady has averaged 311.3 passing yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions in his last three games. He’s warming up in time for the playoffs, and Tampa Bay is handing Atlanta their 10th scoring loss of the season.

To choose: Boucaniers 31, Falcons 24

  • Dallas Cowboys (-2.5) at New York Giants

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

The winner of the NFC East clash will pressure Washington to win in prime time. The Cowboys have averaged 36 points per game over the past three weeks. The Giants struggled to score. Andy Dalton puts Dallas close to qualifying for the playoffs. Will they get some help?

To choose: Cowboys 30, Giants 20

(Getty Images)

  • New York Jets to New England Patriots (-4.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

The opening line lost 5.5 points; a nod to the improvement of the Jets over the past two weeks. The Patriots offense has collapsed in the home stretch, and Bill Belichick has an interesting offseason ahead. New England ends in victory.

To choose: Patriots 23, Jets 13

  • Minnesota Vikings (-6.5) to Detroit Lions

Sunday, 1 p.m., FOX

Detroit has little incentive to play Matthew Stafford here. Dalvin Cook is a bit too far behind Derrick Henry for the title on floor, but he still closes the Lions with a big performance.

To choose: Vikings 30, Lions 23

(SN / Getty)

  • Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (-7.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

The line jumped 3.5 points, which is a bit of a surprise considering the Steelers won the first game 38-7. Which Cleveland players will be excluded due to COVID-19? Will the Steelers sit down their starters or try to take out their AFC North rivals? It’s a game we’d stay away from because of these variables, but there’s no better time for the Browns than now.

To choose: Browns 26, Steelers 23

  • Baltimore Ravens (-11) to Cincinnati Bengals

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

The Ravens need this one to keep their playoff hopes alive, and rookie JK Dobbins offered a spark in the running game to compliment Lamar Jackson. Cincinnati hasn’t folded for the past two weeks and is capable of being a spoiler. Jackson won’t let it happen.

To choose: Ravens 34, Bengals 21

(Getty Images)

  • Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-4)

Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS

Miami needs a win to qualify for the playoffs, and that could be the whole thriller the Week 2 31-28 shootout has set against the teams. The Dolphins cause the first real upheaval of the day and Tua Tagovailoa enjoys his first signing victory.

To choose: Dolphins 28, Bills 24

  • Seattle Seahawks (-3.5) to San Francisco 49ers

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., FOX

The Seahawks won the first meeting 37-27, but you have to be careful here. CJ Beathard threw three TD passes last week, and Jeff Wilson and George Kittle can give Seattle some defensive problems. Russell Wilson delivers a clutch drive, however, and that puts pressure on the Packers and Saints in the afternoon window.

To choose: Seahawks 28, 49ers 25

(Getty Images)

  • Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams (-5)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., CBS

The Rams are favored now, but that line could change drastically if Jared Goff (thumb) is unable to play. John Wolford is the Rams’ replacement, and Los Angeles is tasked with keeping up with Kyler Murray. The Cardinals have their own issues, but Murray does enough to secure a victory.

To choose: Cardinals 24, Rams 19

  • Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (-13.5)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., CBS

The Colts are in an inescapable situation and will count on rookie Jonathan Taylor against a fragile Jaguars defense. Jacksonville has the No.1 pickup locked down, so the future of this AFC South rivalry looks much brighter. Philip Rivers is playing a clean game.

To choose: Colts 31, Jaguars 20

(Getty Images)

  • Tennessee Titans (-4.5) at Houston Texans

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., CBS

The Titans are still in control of their playoff destiny, and they’ll need a win over rival Texans to make it happen. Houston ranks 31st in run defense, and Derrick Henry needs 223 yards to reach 2,000 rushing yards for the season. It is not impossible.

To choose: Tennessee 31, Houston 23

  • Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos (-3)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., CBS

The Broncos have won one of their last five games and the Raiders have lost three straight games. Derek Carr leads Las Vegas to a record .500 in Jon Gruden’s third season, which will raise expectations for 2021.

To choose: Raiders 28, Broncos 21

(Getty Images)

  • Los Angeles Chargers (-2.5) to Kansas City Chiefs

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., FOX

The Chiefs have little incentive to play starters in this game, making it difficult to face the Chargers and rookie quarterback Justin Herbert – who ends a record season in style with a fourth straight win.

To choose: Chargers 29, Heads 24

  • Green Bay Packers (-4.5) at Chicago Bears

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., FOX

In the opening meeting on November 29, the Packers took a 27-3 first-half lead, but Mitchell Trubisky found something in the second half of a 41-25 loss. It has been hot since and the offensive slams. The problem? Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are also clicking, and they need this win to have the advantage on the pitch. Trubisky is 1-5 against Green Bay. The Packers are doing well in the fourth quarter, but it will be tight.

To choose: Packers 33, bear 26

(Getty Images)

  • New Orleans Saints (-4) at the Carolina Panthers

Sunday, 4:25 p.m., FOX

The Saints still have a chance to take the field advantage with a little help. Alvin Kamara totaled 148 yards in the first meeting, and he’ll make the difference on the road in another one-point loss to the Panthers.

To choose: Saints 30, Panthers 23

  • Washington football team at Philadelphia Eagles (-1)

Sunday, 8:20 p.m., NBC

Washington needs a road win here, but the question remains whether Alex Smith will be healthy enough to start as a quarterback in an inescapable situation. Jalen Hurts has a chance to play spoiler, and with the Cowboys keeping a close watch, it will be close. Washington, however, comes in with a late roll to clinch the division.

To choose: Washington 24, Philadelphia 21


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