NFL Picks Week #17 (2018 regular season)



University Professor. PhD in stats. Proud dad of 2 boys.


Written Friday December 28th, 2018 at 9:30 AM Eastern Time (spreads/odds may have changed)

PICK #1: Tennessee Titans +3.5 vs Indianapolis Colts (rated 4 stars)

The Titans get an extra day of preparation after playing last Saturday. They will also be at home for the fourth time over the past five weeks. They have not digested the 38-10 loss in Indianapolis very well (back on week #11). Tennessee looks like a different team at home versus on the road; they are 6-1 at Nissan Stadium. I am aware that Andrew Luck is 10-0 against the Titans, but I’m going with Tennessee to cover the 3.5 point spread as I believe they will either win, or lose a close one.

PICK #2: Los Angeles Chargers -6 at Denver Broncos (rated 3 stars)

I expect the Chargers to rebound in a big way after getting stuffed by the Ravens’ defense last week. They will be 100 times more motivated than the Broncos with a possibility (albeit small) of getting the #1 seed in the AFC. Los Angeles will also want to avenge an earlier 23-22 loss to Denver. The Broncos have a depleted secondary and are missing several offensive players as well, including sensational rookie RB Phillip Lindsay and their best WR Emmanuel Sanders (and some offensive linemen as well). To top it all off, the Chargers get an extra day of rest following a Saturday game on week #16, while the Broncos are going to lose a day of preparation after playing the Raiders last Monday. Give me the Chargers to blow out the Broncos please.

PICK #3: Green Bay Packers -7.5 vs Detroit Lions (rated 2 stars)

The temperature is expected to feel like -4 degrees Celsius this Sunday at Lambeau Field, which should favor the Packers. Green Bay will also try to get revenge after losing 31-23 in Detroit. The Lions have scored 20 points or less in all of their past six games. They just don’t seem as hungry as the Packers and they could easily letdown with the prospect of getting a top 5 pick in next year’s draft with a loss. Meanwhile, some of the best Packers players have said publicly they want interim coach Joe Philbin to be hired full time; they showed some fight when they overcame a 15-point fourth-quarter deficit in New York last week.


3 unofficial picks for you this week. Pretty unusual: they are all on favorites!

Buffalo Bills -4.5 vs Miami Dolphins. It should be cold in Buffalo this weekend, and the warm weather team from Miami is not going to like it. The Dolphins have only won once in Buffalo over the past six meetings. The longest tenured Buffalo Bill, Kyle Williams, has announced he will retire after this game. Expect his team to put an extra effort, while Miami has nothing to play for.

New York Giants -5.5 vs Dallas Cowboys. The weather could also play a role in this one, while favoring the home team. It will likely be Eli Manning's last home game so plenty of motivation for him, while Dallas is locked into the #4 seed for the playoffs.

Minnesota Vikings -4.5 vs Chicago Bears. The Vikings need a win to clinch a playoff spot, or hope that the Eagles lose in Washington (which is unlikely). The Bears are unlikely to need a win, unless the Rams drop their game against the 49ers. Chicago traveled all the way to San Francisco last week, so they could be more fatigued (and with less incentive, like I mentioned earlier). The Bears have not been great on the road this season, except for a blowout in Buffalo.

Happy Holidays!

Professor MJ