NFL picks, predictions in opposition to unfold Week 17: Cowboys clip Cardinals; Patriots, 49ers roll; Steelers cease Browns

Week 16, with all of the COVID-19 conditions and late-season harm attrition, made Sporting Information’ weekly NFL sport picks and predictions in opposition to the unfold troublesome. Though there was a good degree of success to encourage, Week 17 will solely current extra challenges. 

Some groups are taking part in with playoff implications on the road. Some groups are taking part in for subsequent season. The extent of motivation displays the numbers small and large.

There are a pair weeks left of the common season to complete sturdy. With out additional ado, this is entering into our newest fearless forecast of professional pigskin prognostications:

(Sport odds mirror opening odds for Week 17, courtesy of Sports activities Interplay)

Cowboys, Payments, Eagles rise; Patriots, Steelers, Browns fall for Week 17

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NFL picks in opposition to the unfold for Week 17

The Cowboys are feeling it all over the place once more with Dak Prescott and their passing offense going again to exploding and their protection dominating in each which manner. The Cardinals have misplaced their big-play juice on each side of the ball, from Kyler Murray to their as soon as swarming protection. Dallas can deal with this restricted model of Arizona’s assault and that is additionally an opportunity to get its operating sport rolling once more with Ezekiel Elliott.

Decide: Cowboys win 27-20 and canopy the unfold.

The Chiefs’ protection has been getting the job finished within the second half however the Bengals’ offense is simply too a number of and versatile to include all over the place. Joe Mixon can run properly and Joe Burrow will preserve liking his broad receiver matchups. Patrick Mahomes needs to be ready for a shootout and the Bengals do wrestle with fast receivers and tight ends, similar to Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. The AFC West champions will get an thrilling battle from the AFC North leaders, however Kansas Metropolis simply has a bit extra expertise to tug by in a sport like this than Cincinnati.

Decide: Chiefs win 34-31 however fail to cowl the unfold.

The Patriots are well-coached by Invoice Belichick. The Jaguars have been poorly coached by City Meyer and a number of the residual results of his philosophy are being felt to pull down Trevor Lawrence and the protection. Belichick will befuddle Lawrence and his staff’s strengths of the protection and the operating sport are additional boosted by Jacksonville’s obtrusive weaknesses. Lawrence loses vs. Zach Wilson and Mac Jones in consecutive weeks and needs his state of affairs might get quite a bit higher in 2022.

Decide: Patriots win 34-10 and canopy the unfold.

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The Steelers and Browns nonetheless have a shot at profitable the AFC North, particularly with the 2 groups in entrance of them, the Bengals and the Ravens, having their arms full in residence video games in opposition to NFC powerhouses. This may mark the probably final residence sport for Ben Roethlisberger in prime time, going through the staff in opposition to which he has a 25-2-1 profession file. Pittsburgh continues to be able to grinding out video games vs. different groups with restricted offenses. That was the case within the first assembly in Cleveland, a 15-10 win. With loads of feelings, the Steelers overcome their evening underdog standing to win straight up.

Decide: Steelers win 20-17.

The Raiders can’t spot the run often. In addition they wrestle with containing the downfield passing sport once they cannot get to the quarterback. These parts play proper into the arms of Jonathan Taylor and their passing sport behind their sturdy offensive line. Indianapolis’ protection additionally stops the run and protects in opposition to stretching the sector. That is additionally unhealthy for Josh Jacobs and Derek Carr. 

Decide: Colts win 27-20.

The Bears are displaying some last life for the Matt Nagy period, as they will persistently run the ball with David Montgomery and preserve discovering new various weapons within the passing sport, irrespective of who’s at quarterback. In addition they will need to tough up the Giants to indicate some delight defensively, which they will do after giving up some chunks to Saquon Barkley. The Mike Glennon potential revenge sport is extra in regards to the Bears eager to destroy their former temporary starter.

Decide: Bears win 24-14 and canopy the unfold.

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Tom Brady is having Tampa Bay alter to being extra of a operating staff to shut out the schedule and reset for the playoffs. It is smart given the broad receiver accidents to go in that route. Brady has had enjoyable many instances earlier than in opposition to the Jets taking part in within the AFC East, and he can full a sweep of his former division foes along with his new staff. The Bucs’ protection stays on level with some key gamers lacking, so the complementary speeding strategy is smart. The Jets haven’t any probability to maintain up even with Zach Wilson taking part in free.

Decide: Buccaneers win 33-14 and canopy the unfold.

Here is one more lopsided NFC South vs. AFC East affair, this time in favor of the house staff. The Payments misplaced to the Buccaneers, however they smashed the Saints and Panthers. The Falcons have been ripped by the Patriots and edged by the Dolphins. Buffalo is rolling with Josh Allen and there is not a lot the Falcons’ protection can cease when he is getting good help from the operating and intermediate passing video games. Matt Ryan steps right into a brutal move rush and protection state of affairs, one that may take away rookie tight finish Kyle Pitts.

Decide: Payments win 34-17 and canopy the unfold.

The Eagles might have one other shakeup within the backfield with out Miles Sanders however they’ll follow a run-heavy sport plan that simply labored in opposition to Washington lower than two weeks in the past. However final week, additionally they gained extra confidence in Jalen Hurts throwing downfield when he and his operating mates could not produce at will in opposition to the Giants. The Eagles open it up once more to win, whereas Washington digs deep to indicate some wanted combat for Ron Rivera.

Decide: Eagles win 23-20 however fail to cowl the unfold.


The Dolphins will likely be coming off a troublesome quick week, having performed the bodily and well-coached Saints on the highway. Nashville is not removed from New Orleans, but it surely’s nonetheless a frightening turnaround, given the Titans performed on Thursday evening in Week 16 and will likely be significantly better rested. That stated, Brian Flores’ protection can preserve the sport shut and the offense has sufficient to obtain a punch to remain within the sport. The Titans win once more with A.J. Brown being the important thing difference-maker.

Decide: Titans win 20-17.

The Rams ought to have seen what Joe Burrow and the Bengals’ offense did below former offensive coordinator Zac Taylor and adopted swimsuit for Sean McVay, as a result of getting Matthew Stafford to aggressively throw downfield to his broad receivers is second nature. Working on the Ravens may be robust, however they’re getting worn down and breaking down all over the place. The Ravens’ offense would not have a lot working past Mark Andrews in the intervening time and that will not minimize it in a must-win sport.

Decide: Rams win 27-20.

The Chargers blew an enormous alternative in opposition to the Texans and at the moment are clinging to their playoff lives. They turned in a sloppy sport in Denver not way back, so it is on Justin Herbert to quiet down, eradicate errors and take the short-to-intermediate beneficial properties when the massive performs aren’t there. Los Angeles sticks with the run a bit extra to ease the burden by itself run protection and Herbert delivers backloaded with all of his key weapons.

Decide: Chargers win 24-20 however fail to cowl the unfold.

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The Texans shocked the Chargers however they will not catch the 49ers in the identical manner on a protracted highway journey. Davis Mills returns near Stanford to throw passes and may have some success vs. San Francisco’s secondary. However Houston can’t cease the 49ers’ operating sport and the mix of Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk all may cause matchup nightmares.

Decide: 49ers win 30-14.

The Panthers have gone into the tank on the finish of Matt Rhule’s second season. They’ve wilted in opposition to the run, which is unhealthy in opposition to Alvin Kamara. In addition they cannot cease a lot within the intermediate passing sport. The Saints are nonetheless taking part in as onerous as they often do for Sean Payton. The “Dwelling Group” is simply put collectively higher all over the place and can have larger motivation with some playoff possibilities alive.

Decide: Saints win 20-16.

The Lions already bit the Cardinals from the NFC West and the Seahawks already skilled a tough residence upset in opposition to one other lesser NFC North staff within the Bears. Seattle has discovered one thing with Rashaad Penny and the operating sport, and Detroit cannot sluggish that down a lot. Russell Wilson additionally will likely be made snug to maintain throwing properly downfield. Whoever’s QB for the Lions, the passing sport flashes will not be fairly sufficient once more.

Decide: Seahawks win 24-17.

The Vikings cracked in opposition to the Rams and did not even make it an in depth sport ultimately, regardless of three interceptions of their favor. Minnesota’s offense is predictably sound, based mostly on the operating sport but additionally locked with a dominant No. 1 receiver in Justin Jefferson. Kirk Cousins’ passing will preserve his staff in it for some time, however the large drawback for Minnesota is a protection that can’t cease the run or cowl a lot of something outdoors downfield. Aaron Rodgers makes positive one other playoff-desperate staff would not actually have a probability to steal one at Lambeau.

Decide: Packers win 31-24 and canopy the unfold.

Vinnie Iyer’s 2021 picks:

  • Week 16 file in opposition to the unfold: 10-6
  • Week 16 file straight up: 11-5
  • Season ATS: 133-105
  • Season straight up: 160-79