Good Evening
Good Evening

NFL Week 17 picks: Colts a lock to beat Titans; Wins by Bears, Browns help Eagles, Steelers make playoffs

Andrew Luck is 10-0 all-time against the Titans.

Andrew Luck is 10-0 all-time against the Titans. A win Sunday and the Colts are playoff-bound.  Credit: Getty Images/Andy Lyons

Week 17 has a number of win-and-in playoff scenarios, so expect the final chapter of the regular season to have you on the edge of your couch. All 16 games are division battles, so don't think teams that are out of it will just go into the offseason quietly. That was the theme in 2017 (Google Andy Dalton-to-Tyler Boyd in Baltimore if you forgot) and it will happen again.

Underdogs went 10-6 against the spread last week and are 124-103-8 for the season.

My most confident picks ATS are the Colts, Browns, Eagles and Bears. I like all the heavy underdogs to cover, but those games can be tricky so stay away.

Remember, I pick every game but you don't have to.

AFC Playoff Implication Games


COLTS (9-6) AT TITANS (9-6)

TV: Ch. 4, 8:20 p.m.

Colts by 3; O/U: 43

When these two teams met in Week 11, I wrote that it was the toughest game to pick all season. Not this time. The winner will grab the final playoff spot, so this should be closer than the Colts' 38-10 win in the first meeting. Indy is the more complete team and its offensive line and quarterback advantage will be the difference. Tennessee is dealing with some injuries, and even if Marcus Mariota

plays, he's banged-up. Andrew Luck is 10-0 all-time against the Titans. You think he's going to lose now when a playoff spot is on the line? Indy, the same team that started 1-5, finishes the season on a 9-1 run to make the playoffs.

The pick: Colts

BROWNS (7-7-1) AT RAVENS (9-6), 4:25 p.m.

Ravens by 5.5; O/U: 41

If you think there's no way a team can lose at home with a playoff spot on the line against a team with nothing  to play for, think again. All you have to do is look at Baltimore, which couldn't close out the Bengals in last season's finale and cost itself a spot in the playoffs. Now, will Baker Mayfield become Pittsburgh's new favorite quarterback the way Buffalo embraced Andy Dalton? The Browns beat the Ravens, 12-9, in overtime in Week 5, but that was against Joe Flacco. It's now a battle between two rookies. Lamar Jackson — like Mayfield — has led his team to five wins in their last six games. Baltimore's run-heavy offense doesn't lend itself to blowout wins, so take the points in a hurry. I'll go one further and call an upset as the Browns — who have said they'll approach this as their own playoff game — will be hungry to finish with a winning record for the first time in what feels like forever.

The pick: Browns

BENGALS (6-9) AT STEELERS (8-6-1), 4:25 p.m.

TV: Ch. 2

Steelers by 14.5; O/U: 45.5

Pittsburgh is in with a win and Ravens loss. The Steelers could easily win by three touchdowns, but this a rivalry game. Cincinnati won't be able to play spoiler like it did last season, but that doesn't mean it can't keep the final score respectable.

The pick: Bengals

RAIDERS (4-11) AT CHIEFS (11-4), 4:25 p.m.

Chiefs by 13.5; O/U: 52.5

Kansas City isn't going to lose with a shot at home field on the line. But it's not a lock to cover. The Chiefs are 0-4 ATS in December. One of those games was a 40-33 win at Oakland. Derek Carr should be able to put up enough points on a bad Chiefs defense for another cover.

The pick: Raiders

CHARGERS (11-4) AT BRONCOS (6-9), 4:25 p.m.

Chargers by 6.5; O/U: 41.5

If L.A. hadn't stalled against Baltimore, it would be in the driver's seat for the No. 1 seed. If L.A. hadn't suffered a last-second 23-22 loss to Denver in Week 11 . . . well, you get the picture. With extra rest to stew over their missed opportunities, the Chargers, led by big games from Philip Rivers and Mike Williams, take it to the Broncos in a tuneup before the playoffs.

The pick: Chargers

JETS (4-11) AT PATRIOTS (10-5), 1 p.m.

TV: Ch. 2

Patriots by 13.5; O/U: 44.5

The Patriots won the past two late-season matchups in New England, 26-6 and 41-3. The present-day Pats don't look like a juggernaut, though. With a first-round bye at stake, they'll get it done. But the Jets, off a brutal loss to the Packers at home, will keep it inside the big number. Look for Sam Darnold to continue his strong play.

The pick: Jets

JAGUARS (5-10) AT TEXANS (10-5), 1 p.m.

Texans by 6.5; O/U: 40.5

Houston will most likely be the 3 seed, but it could actually finish as high as the 1 or as low as the 6. It'll win, but this feels like a couple points too many to lay against a Jacksonville team that just KO'd Miami from playoff contention and may play with an edge.

The pick: Jaguars

NFC Playoff Implication Games

(All 4:25 p.m.)

BEARS (11-4) AT VIKINGS (8-6-1)

Vikings by 4.5; O/U: 40.5

Minnesota is in with a win. Chicago won't rest starters because it can still earn a first-round bye if it wins and the Rams lose. Another interesting subplot to this matchup: If the Bears lose, they'll likely host the Vikings in the wild-card round. So do they pull starters in the second half if the Rams have a big lead? Would they rather face the Vikings or possibly the red-hot Eagles? Only Matt Nagy and his players know, but I think the Bears will play the whole way. Chicago won the first meeting, 25-20, but it was 22-6 in the fourth quarter after a Kirk Cousins pick-6. The Vikings' prized offseason acquisition has a history of struggling in must-win games. It happens again as the Bears defense scores another knockout in a close win.

The pick: Bears


TV: Ch. 5

Eagles by 7; O/U: 42

Do Nick Foles and the defending champs have another Super run in them? They'll do their part against an undermanned, overmatched Redskins team. But they need Chicago to beat Minnesota. With both games being played at the same time, expect Philly to keep rolling.

The pick: Eagles

49ERS (4-11) AT RAMS (12-3)

Rams by 10; O/U: 48.5

The Rams clinch a first-round bye with a win, and while that is likely, a cover isn't a sure thing. The 49ers have played tough the last month and Kyle Shanahan will have his team ready in a spoiler role against a division foe.

The pick: 49ers


Seahawks by 13.5; O/U: 38.5

Seattle is pretty much locked into the 5 seed and a trip to Dallas in the wild-card round. If it loses and Minnesota wins, it would fall to the 6 seed, but that's unlikely. How long will Seattle's starters play? Not knowing that, plus this possibly being first-year coach Steve Wilks' final game and the number being so big make the Cards the play.

The pick: Cardinals

Non-playoff Implication Games

(All 1 p.m.)

COWBOYS (9-6) AT GIANTS (5-10)

TV: Ch. 5

Giants by 6; O/U:41.5

Dallas is hosting a wild-card game next weekend and likely will sit its starters at some point. This is it for the Giants, and in what could be Eli Manning's home finale, expect Big Blue to bring it.

The pick: Giants


Saints by 7.5; O/U: 43.5

New Orleans clinched home field and will likely play its backups for most of the game. Teddy Bridgewater, a dancing machine in the locker room, will get to show off his moves in the end zone as the Saints' backup beats the Panthers' third-string QB.

The pick: Saints

LIONS (5-10) AT PACKERS (6-8-1)

Packers by 7.5; O/U: 44

Green Bay lost the first meeting, 31-23, despite outgaining Detroit 521-264 in yards. Four missed field goals and an extra point by Mason Crosby and two lost fumbles by Aaron Rodgers will do that. Rodgers finishes a tough season with a comfortable win against a team he's owned: 13-4 vs. Detroit in his career with 37 TDs to just 6 INTs.

The pick: Packers

FALCONS (6-9) AT BUCS (5-10)

Falcons by 1.5; O/U: 50.5

Tampa Bay has played fairly well at home (4-3). Atlanta has struggled on the road (2-5).

The pick: Bucs

DOLPHINS (7-8) AT BILLS (5-10)

Bills by 4.5; O/U: 39.5

Buffalo is 0-2 ATS when favored, including when it didn't cover as a 2.5-point favorite in a 14-13 win two weeks ago. Give the Bills one more shot against a Miami team that somehow lost at home to Jacksonville last week in a must-win spot.

The pick: Bills


(best bets in bold)


105-127-8 overall, 8-8 best bets

Last week: 9-7

Giants Jets Saints Packers

Bucs Bills Browns Bengals

Raiders Chargers Jaguars Bears

Eagles 49ers Cardinals Colts


108-124-8, 6-10

Last week: 8-8

Giants Patriots Saints Packers 

Bucs Bills Ravens Steelers

Chiefs Chargers Texans Vikings

Eagles Rams Seahawks Titans


114-118-8, 6-10

Last week: 5-11

Giants Patriots Saints Lions

Falcons Bills Ravens Bengals

Chiefs Chargers Texans Bears

Eagles Rams Seahawks Colts


122-110-8, 10-6

Last week: 9-7

Cowboys Jets Saints Packers

Falcons Bills Browns Bengals

Chiefs Chargers Texans Vikings

Eagles Rams Cardinals Colts

New York Sports