We come to the end of NFL season, which is bittersweet. I’m ready for the regular season to be over because the playoffs are always fun. In return for that, we lose out on fantasy football and more regular season games to bet. The competition between Kyle Koster and I has been pretty fierce this year with one game being the difference in our records this year. It’s all on the line for the Falcons, Panthers, Kyle, and I in Week 17.
Locks of the Week:
BALTIMORE -9.5 over Cleveland
The Ravens let me down last week against Case Keenum. Now they get to redeem themselves against Connor Shaw. The Ravens are prone to a letdown or two, especially on the road. Now they’ve got the chance to take a must-win down against the beaten down Browns.
Indianapolis -7.5 over TENNESSEE
The Colts have played four bad teams so far this year. (I’m defining bad as teams currently with five wins or fewer.) The Colts beat those teams by 20 points or more. The catch is Indianapolis really has nothing to play for, but Tennessee needs to lose to have their shot at a top two pick. You have to figure Indianapolis is looking to play better this week after last week’s embarrassing loss to Dallas, so I’ll take the shot.
Kyle’s pick: Tennessee
PITTSBURGH -3.5 over Cincinnati
I’m going against the Bengals again in primetime because I don’t think they did as much to win last week as Denver did to lose. Pittsburgh should be able to run the ball down Cincinnati’s throat this week and Cincinnati doesn’t have great ability to beat Pittsburgh with the deep ball.
Kyle’s pick: Pittsburgh
Trap Game of the Week:
Arizona +5.5 over SAN FRANCISCO
It’s frightening to take Ryan Lindley on the road, but San Francisco has clearly already started booking tee times for the offseason.
Kyle’s pick: San Francisco
Rest of the Picks:
N.Y. GIANTS -2.5 over Philadelphia
The Eagles won’t get off the bus after getting eliminated from the playoffs last week. I guess Mark Sanchez isn’t the answer after all.
Kyle’s pick: Giants
HOUSTON -10.5 over Jacksonville
The Jags have nothing to play for and Houston has a slight shot of making the playoffs. J.J. Watt has one week left to make his case for M.V.P. What’s not to like?
Kyle’s pick: Jacksonville
MIAMI -5.5 over N.Y. Jets
Neither team has anything going here, but the Jets have exerted way too much energy playing hard in recent weeks. They’re due for a letdown. I just don’t get how Joe Philbin was given another year on the job in Miami. All the sun must be going to the owner’s head.
Kyle’s pick: Miami
Chicago +6.5 over MINNESOTA
Jay Cutler is back from the dead to improve his trade stock. He needs a huge game to create interest and end up on a team he’s interested in next year. The Vikings have been frisky, but they’re not almost a touchdown at home frisky.
Kyle’s pick: Chicago
Buffalo +10.5 over NEW ENGLAND
The Patriots are good at resting their best players when they don’t need to win. Buffalo’s missing two of their defensive stars, so look for the Patriots to get up early and the Bills to snag a backdoor cover.
Kyle’s pick: Buffalo
San Diego +2.5 over KANSAS CITY
The Chiefs deserve to miss the playoffs for how poorly they play offense. They don’t give Jamaal Charles the ball often enough. (If he’s not healthy enough, Knile Davis has shown how solid he can be.) They also don’t get the ball downfield. It’s aggravating to watch them throw three yard passes when they need ten yards. You can’t win Super Bowls that way in 2014.
Kyle’s pick: San Diego
New Orleans -4.5 over TAMPA BAY
The Saints’ season is over, but Tampa Bay needs to lose to get the first pick in the draft. New Orleans strikes me as a team that can play well now that they have nothing to play for. If the Buccaneers are even in this game near the end, the owner needs to call down and make sure they don’t win.
Kyle’s pick: New Orleans
WASHINGTON +6.5 over Dallas
The Cowboys oddly rely on others to improve their playoff position. Their game doesn’t matter win or lose. Washington will enjoy getting another crack at a division rival now that they’re playing with a little more life.
Kyle’s pick: Dallas
SEATTLE -12.5 over St. Louis
Seattle may be beating the hell out of bad quarterbacks in recent weeks, but they get another one on the schedule this week. That surely won’t hurt their shot at trying to nail down the #1 seed.
Kyle’s pick: Seattle
GREEN BAY -7.5 over Detroit
The Lions have continued to struggle to put up points against good defenses. The Packers get things going so much better at home that it’s tough to think they can’t nail down the division in style.
Kyle’s pick: Detroit
Carolina +3.5 over ATLANTA
The winner of this game likely gets to host the Cardinals in a first round game. That will be delightful television. I’ll go with the team whose gotten their defense turned around in recent weeks. (Hint: that’s the Panthers.)
Kyle’s pick: Atlanta
DENVER -14.5 over Oakland
We won’t find out this week if Peyton Manning’s arm is done. That’ll wait until the playoffs. In the meantime they get to force the run as much as they want against the Raiders. They’ll be feeling too good about themselves after last week’s win over Buffalo.
Kyle’s pick: Oakland
Last Week: 8-8