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NFL Sunday Game Breakdown: Week 17

By Paul Wilson
Published on December 27, 2016
Various Different NFL Players With Fire Background

The final week of the NFL regular season for 2016/17 has arrived! For 20 unfortunate franchises and 20 sad fan bases, New Year’s Day 2017 will be the last time they get to watch their team play a game for nine whole months. For the other 12 teams, the real season has yet to begin.

Week 17 marks one of the only times when the bottom-line NFL schedule-makers cut their owners a break: There is no Thursday Night Football, no Monday Night Football, and every team plays another team inside of their division, which generally minimizes travel time and expenses during the depths of winter.

Week 17 can also sometimes be the time when playoff spots are decided, and when the playoff picture finally becomes clear for certain teams. This season, however, many of these outcomes were decided last week. After having only 4 playoff teams locked in after Week 15, after Week 16 we now know for certain 10 of the ultimate 12 teams that will be fighting for a chance to compete in Super Bowl 51 in February.

In contrast to Week 16, in which only 3 games held no meaning for the playoff picture, of the 16 games happening on New Year’s Day, there are 10 games that are completely playoff irrelevant: In some cases, both teams are out of the playoffs and hang up the pads for the last time after the game; in the others, one or both teams have their playoff seed locked up and will be completely unaffected by the outcome of the game.

Of the 6 remaining games, four have playoff implications purely for seeding – no playoff spots will be won or lost based on the outcome of the game (Raiders @ Broncos, Chiefs @ Chargers, Seahawks @ 49ers, Saints @ Falcons). Finally, there are two games that have direct implications for playoff spots (Giants @ Redskins, Packers @ Lions).

To be more specific, there are three possible changes to the playoff picture that could occur in Week 17: The Seahawks and Falcons could trade the #2 overall seed in the NFC and the accompanying first-round bye; the Raiders and Broncos could trade the division title in the AFC West, and thus the #2 overall seed in the AFC and the first-round bye; and finally there are three teams fighting for two playoff spots between the Packers, Lions, and Redskins. The winner of Packers/Lions takes the NFC North title and either the #3 or #4 seed in the NFC, and either the loser or Washington gets the second Wild Card spot in the NFC and the #6 seed.

(We are honor-bound to note here that this isn’t entirely accurate – there is one more playoff scenario technically in play in Week 17. The Buccaneers are this year’s team that need a million things to go their way in the final week of the season in order to make the playoffs. But the odds are so infinitesimal that we decided not to include the scenario anywhere other than a footnote: For Tampa Bay to make the playoffs would take 7 different games falling their way – including the 49ers beating the Seahawks and a tie between the Giants and Redskins. To put it simply, the Bucs’ playoff chances are right around the odds of winning a 7-team teaser – much, much less than 1%.)

So while the most exciting matchups as it pertains to the playoffs may be confined to only the six games listed above, that’s not to say that there isn’t value to be found in the other matchups of Week 17 for interested parties.

In aggregate, we find that in betting on Week 17 games, the gambling public generally tends to put too much stock into the simple idea that “a team has nothing to play for.” More specifically, gamblers will often bet against teams that have been eliminated from the playoffs, believing that there is no way that a team could win a game, pull off an upset, or cover an unfavorable spread without any postseason motivation.

However, in our experience this is not always the case. While it’s possible that coaches may try to manipulate snap counts and personnel packages to preserve their biggest assets, we highly doubt that any NFL player ever walks onto the field intending to lose. For many teams and many individual matchups, the idea of playing the game you love one last time against a division rival with the understanding that the following day you get to sleep in for the first time in 4 months probably provides plenty of motivation to go out and hit somebody.

For this reason, we often find good value in underdog bets with the Week 17 lines inflated against non-playoff or recently eliminated teams. You’ll find these matchups and more below.

We’ve got you covered with a full preview of the entire NFL.

Below you’ll find each division, listed by standings, with their record, their matchup, the gambling odds of that matchup, playoff percentage, the playoff implications of the game, as well as our quick tips for where the team is trending and how you should bet.

PLEASE NOTE

Chances of making the playoffs/winning the division/getting a first round bye are taken from , and are based on a prospectus that aggregates 100,000 simulations of how the rest of the season will play out, and which is updated after every game.


Gambling odds are taken from the sportsbook at Bovada.

Preview:

  • Over in Lions/Packers (46.5, -110)
  • Over in Saints/Falcons (56, -110)
  • Panthers ATS (+6.5, -115) and moneyline (+157)
  • Giants ATS (+8, -115)
  • Bears ATS (+5.5, +100) and moneyline (+244)
  • Ravens ATS (+2.5, -110) and moneyline (+109)
  • Raiders ATS (+2.5, -110), and moneyline (+145)
  • Packers moneyline (-179) and ATS (-3, -120)

NFC North

Detroit Lions9 – 6
Week 15 Matchup
Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions, 8:30 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
+3 (-120)
Moneyline
+150
Over/Under
Over 46.5 (-110), Under 46.5 (-110)
Chances of Winning Division
70%
Postseason Prospectus
As we predicted, with the Packers winning last week against the Vikings and the Lions losing to the Cowboys, it all comes down to Week 17. The NFC North will be decided by the outcome of this head-to-head matchup in Ford Field. By the time the game begins, the outcome of the Redskins/Giants game will tell us whether or not the loser of this NFC North showdown will make it into the playoffs with the #6 seed – if the Lions lose and the Redskins win, the Lions miss the playoffs altogether.
Gambling Advice
We’ve been predicting the Lions to get exposed as fraudulent for months now, and they finally did on Monday Night Football against the Cowboys. Their inability to run the ball with a rookie center, a rookie left tackle, and a rookie running back makes them one-dimensional. We don’t think the Lions have any chance against their hated rival (currently employing the red hot Aaron Rodgers) and we don’t like their chances to cover the spread. Stay away from the Lions; they’re going to get beat big.
Green Bay Packers9 – 6
Week 15 Matchup
Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions, 8:30 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
-3 (-120)
Moneyline
-179
Over/Under
Over 46.5 (-110), Under 46.5 (-110)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
71%
Postseason Prospectus
The Green Bay Packers are exactly the kind of team that no one wants to play in the playoffs, and odds-makers seem to be aware of this. The Packers’ chances to win the division (i.e. to win this game) are even with the Lions, and so are their odds to make the playoffs. However, the Packers’ Super Bowl odds are considerably higher than the Lions. With a win against the Lions in Ford Field, Green Bay wins the division and probably gets the #3 seed. From there? Who knows!
Gambling Advice
We like everything about the Packers in this matchup. For moneyline and ATS bets, consider the matchup of the Packers’ defense (12 turnovers in the last 3 games) against the pass-happy Lions offense. To feel confident taking the over, remember that Aaron Rodgers accounted for five touchdowns last week, and the team has 13 total touchdowns over the last 3 games. The Packers are peaking at the right time, and could potentially score over 46.5 points on their own.
Minnesota Vikings7 – 8
Week 15 Matchup
Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings, 1:00 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
-5.5 (-100)
Moneyline
+244
Over/Under
Over 41 (-105), Under 41 (-115)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
0%
Postseason Prospectus
The Vikings were officially eliminated from the playoffs with their road loss against the Green Bay Packers last week. After losing to the Colts in Week 15 by 28 points and then being down 25 the subsequent week, we’d say the Vikings have essentially given up the ghost at this point.
Gambling Advice
We definitely don’t like the Vikings for any of these bets, particularly considering the odds. While it could be a safe assumption that they’ll bounce back and beat the mistake-prone Bears, even that isn’t a sure thing, and with almost 3-to-1 odds and a 5.5-point spread, there’s no value here.
Chicago Bears3 – 12
Week 15 Matchup
Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings, 1:00 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
+5.5 (+100)
Moneyline
+150
Over/Under
Over 41 (-105), Under 41 (-115)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
0%
Postseason Prospectus
The Bears may be completely playoff-irrelevant, but they are being heralded by many as “the best 3-win team around,” and other phrases of that ilk. The offseason could hold interesting possibilities, considering the strong play of rookie Matt Barkley.
Gambling Advice
On the flip side of the argument above against taking the Vikings, the Bears’ odds in this matchup do hold good value. While we would feel much more confident if the game were outdoors in front of the home crowd, there’s a decent chance that the Bears could pull off the upset here and tear up the Vikings’ zone defense with Matt Barkley’s efficient short passing game. However, there’s also a chance that the Vikings vent some frustrations after two tough losses. Something to consider.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons10 – 5
Week 15 Matchup
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons, 4:25 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
-7 (+100)
Moneyline
-417
Over/Under
Over 56 (-110), Under 56 (-110)
Chances of Winning Division
78%
Postseason Prospectus
While it was a tight race for the division lead in the NFC South for a while, with the Falcons winning their last two games and the Buccaneers losing their last two games, Atlanta has officially clinched the division. However, they do still have every reason to play their hearts out against the Saints: With the Cardinals pulling off the surprise upset over the Seahawks, Seattle is now 9–5–1: If the Falcons win, they get the #2 seed in the NFC and a first-round bye regardless of the outcome of the Seahawks/49ers game.
Gambling Advice
Truthfully, the fact that this game is suddenly so meaningful to the Falcons actually makes us less certain that they will be able to pull off a convincing victory. We definitely think this game could be close, with Matty Ice once again proving the irony of his nickname, and that the Saints could cover or even potentially win. However, we do feel confident that this game will be a shootout, with the #1 and #2 scoring offenses squaring off. Even with the total score set at 56, we’d still pound the over: the last time these two teams played, in Week 3, the total score ended up at 77.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers8 – 7
Week 15 Matchup
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1:00 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
-6.5 (-105)
Moneyline
-185
Over/Under
Over 46.5 (-110), Under 46.5 (-110)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
<1%
Postseason Prospectus
The 2016/17 season showed three surprising, upstart teams that enjoyed huge success during certain stretches despite being very young: The Cowboys and Raiders have continued to live up to the hype; the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have finally revealed themselves. While we believe this franchise will continue to grow and develop, with two straight losses the Buccaneers have all but pushed themselves out of the playoffs. As we describe in depth in the introduction above, their infinitesimal playoff chances rely on the results of 7 games falling just the right way – the Bucs are out.
Gambling Advice
This team feels poised to continue their skid, and everything about this matchup gives us the gut-level feeling that the Panthers will win. We wouldn’t put any money on the Bucs in this matchup, and don’t feel particularly confident in the total score bet either.
New Orleans Saints7 – 8
Week 15 Matchup
New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons, 4:25 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
+7 (-120)
Moneyline
+325
Over/Under
Over 56 (-110), Under 56 (-110)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
0%
Postseason Prospectus
The Saints were officially eliminated from the playoffs last week, and after Sunday’s game against the Falcons the time for name-calling and finger-pointing will begin in New Orleans after a perplexing, disappointing 2016/17 season.
Gambling Advice
We feel that this divisional matchup is too close to call, and even though we find it likely that the game will be a back and forth thriller, with a defense as porous as the Saints’ it’s very difficult to bet money ATS to support the idea that the game will end up decided by less than one possession. The one sure thing for the Saints/Falcons matchup is the over, as we mention above. New Orleans is likely to go out of 2016/17 with a bang.
Carolina Panthers6 – 9
Week 15 Matchup
Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1:00 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
+6.5 (-115)
Moneyline
+157
Over/Under
Over 46.5 (-110), Under 46.5 (-110)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
0%
Postseason Prospectus
The Panthers, like the Saints, were officially eliminated from playoff contention last week. At this point, two things are likely to happen: Ron Rivera will probably hold out a few valuable veterans like Luke Kuechly, and Cam Newton and company will finally be able to relax enough to do what they always say they do: just have fun.
Gambling Advice
We think it’s very likely that the Panthers come out fired up to exact some measure of revenge for their incredibly disappointing 2016/17 season. We foresee this being a playground football type of skirmish, with emotions running high, and the well-coached Panthers harnessing it better than the young Bucs. We believe that the Panthers will end up winning this game and looking dominant as they do, so that they can walk off the field and into the offseason with their heads held high despite losing the Super Bowl and then missing the playoffs. We advise interested parties to pound the Panthers ATS and moneyline, though we don’t feel quite so confident about the over/under.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys13 – 2
Week 15 Matchup
Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles, 1:00 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
-5.5 (-110)
Moneyline
-116
Over/Under
Over 43 (-110), Under 43 (-110)
Chances of First Round Playoff Bye
100%
Postseason Prospectus
The Cowboys had clinched the division and home field advantage throughout the playoffs before they even took the field against the Lions on Monday Night Football, but nonetheless put on a clinic and looked every bit the dominant force they are. The Cowboys are the favorite to win the NFC and have the second-best odds to win the Super Bowl behind the New England Patriots: we feel that both of these are merited.
Gambling Advice
We think it’s a little perplexing that the Cowboys and Eagles are both getting even odds in this game. The only potentially scary injury occurring during last week’s game was offensive tackle Tyron Smith, who by all accounts seems to be completely healthy. Therefore, gamblers must believe that Dallas will hold back many of its starters in order to rest up for the playoff run, giving the Eagles an advantage. However, we would still take the Cowboys to win even with backups. But with odds this bad, we’d advise just staying away.
New York Giants10 – 5
Week 15 Matchup
New York Giants @ Washington Redskins, 4:25 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
+8 (-115)
Moneyline
+184
Over/Under
Over 44 (-110), Under 44 (-110)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
100%
Postseason Prospectus
Despite the fact that the Giants lost to the Eagles on Thursday Night Football last week, they nonetheless clinched their Wild Card playoff berth with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers losing to the New Orleans Saints. The Giants playoff spot (the #5 seed) will be entirely unaffected by the outcome of this game.
Gambling Advice
We find it absolutely astonishing that the Redskins are favored by 8 points in this matchup. We were so startled, in fact, that we had to double- and triple-check the line, as well as check to make sure that Eli Manning hadn’t gotten in a car accident or that there wasn’t some other injury or natural disaster we weren’t aware of. This game seems to us to be the quintessential example of gamblers going overboard with the “they have nothing to play for” storyline. Even though the Redskins need to win to keep their playoff dreams alive, and even if the Giants do sit a few starters, that still doesn’t equate to a two-possession victory in this division rivalry. Pound the Giants ATS, keeping in mind that the Giants lost last Thursday, giving them 10 days’ rest as well as motivation to avoid a 2-game skid.
Washington Redskins8 – 6 – 1
Week 15 Matchup
New York Giants @ Washington Redskins, 4:25 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
-8 (-105)
Moneyline
-222
Over/Under
Over 44 (-110), Under 44 (-110)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
58%
Postseason Prospectus
The Redskins surged back into playoff contention with their win over the Bears in Chicago last week, with their odds of making the playoffs increasing by a full third. So long as the Packers/Lions game does not end in a tie, the Redskins are guaranteed the wild card spot so long as they win this game against the Giants.
Gambling Advice
While there’s certainly an enticing argument to be made that the Redskins pull out the win against their division rivals in front of the home crowd to secure the playoff berth, we find no value whatsoever in these odds. As we explain above, we think that the line is greatly inflated and we do not advise gamblers to put any money on the Redskins. If they do win, it will likely be a dogfight.
Philadelphia Eagles6 – 9
Week 15 Matchup
Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles, 1:00 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
+5.5 (-110)
Moneyline
-101
Over/Under
Over/Under:Over 43 (-110), Under 43 (-110)
Chances of Making the Playoffs:
0%
Postseason Prospectus
With their big win on Thursday Night Football against the Giants, the Philadelphia Eagles demonstrated that despite their much-maligned season, they are much better than their record shows, having played an enormously difficult schedule throughout the year. Carson Wentz and the rest of the Eagles team will be motivated to go into their second offseason of rebuilding the wreckage of Chip Kelly with a solid performance against the division rival Dallas Cowboys.
Gambling Advice
We like the Eagles to compete in this matchup, but ultimately don’t think that they can outpace the Dallas Cowboys. We’re not putting nearly as much stock into the idea that the Cowboys resting starters equates to an Eagles victory: If the Eagles win this game, it will not be because the Cowboys gave it up for free. However, without favorable odds, there’s no reason to risk it.

NFC West

Seattle Seahawks9 – 5 – 1
Week 15 Matchup
Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers, 4:25 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
-10 (+100)
Moneyline
-556
Over/Under
Over 43 (-115), Under 43 (-105)
Chances of First Round Playoff Bye
20% – down 60%
Postseason Prospectus
The Seahawks seriously hurt their chances at getting a first-round playoff bye with a surprise upset home loss against the Arizona Cardinals last week, with their chances going down from 60% to 20%. If the Falcons win, the Seahawks lose their bye week, regardless of the outcome of this game against the 49ers. Not only that, but their odds of winning the Super Bowl took a serious hit, too: Seattle officially looks beatable.
Gambling Advice
This game is a stay-away. It’s abundantly clear which is the better team, but not at all certain how this game will unfold. The Seahawks should win (really, they must win), but at greater than 5-to-1 odds, there’s no reason to put money on that outcome.
Arizona Cardinals6 – 8 – 1
Week 15 Matchup
Arizona Cardinals @ Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
-6 (-110)
Moneyline
-417
Over/Under
Over 41 (-110), Under 41 (-110)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
0%
Postseason Prospectus
The Cardinals inconsistent and disappointing season continued its inconsistencies with a surprise victory over the division rival Seahawks in Seattle last week. They have been out of the playoffs for weeks, and will hang up the cleats after this Week 17 matchup.
Gambling Advice
We advise staying away from this matchup: There is nothing at stake, playoffs-wise, for either team, and there’s no reason to believe that the Cardinals would win by a touchdown. With odds this bad, invest your hard-earned capital on more enticing wagers.
Los Angeles Rams4 – 11
Week 15 Matchup
Arizona Cardinals @ Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
+6 (-110)
Moneyline
+325
Over/Under
Over 41 (-110), Under 41 (-110)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
0%
Postseason Prospectus
The Rams have been eliminated from playoff contention for weeks now, and will have a lot of work to do in the offseason if they hope to be at all relevant in their second season in Los Angeles next year.
Gambling Advice
With an interim head coach, a tenuous quarterback situation, and an unaffected home fan base, they could potentially be especially uninterested in playing football in this final home game. Stay away from putting any money on Los Angeles.
San Francisco 49ers2 – 13
Week 15 Matchup
Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers, 4:25 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
+10 (-120)
Moneyline
+420
Over/Under
Over/UnderOver 43 (-115), Under 43 (-105)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
0%
Postseason Prospectus
The ‘niners managed to win another game, though based on the fact that it was against the Los Angeles Rams this does extraordinarily little to convince of the franchise’s ability to stay in San Francisco or Chip Kelly’s ability to be an effective NFL head coach.
Gambling Advice
Stay far, far away. There is no reason to believe that the 49ers will do anything but roll over in this matchup against the perpetually angry and unstable Seattle Seahawks.

AFC North

Pittsburgh Steelers10 – 5
Week 15 Matchup
Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers, 1:00 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
-7 (-110)
Moneyline
-714
Over/Under
Over 44 (-105), Under 44 (-115)
Chances of Winning the Division
100%
Postseason Prospectus
The Steelers officially clinched the AFC North division title with their 4-point win over the Baltimore Ravens last week. The Steelers are not exactly hot, but will be looking to gain some momentum against the hapless Cleveland Browns in Week 17 in order to prepare for a playoff run.
Gambling Advice
There’s no reason to put money on this matchup; Pittsburgh will do exactly the least amount of work possible to beat the Browns and head into the playoffs with as few players injured as possible. Stay away.
Baltimore Ravens8 – 7
Week 15 Matchup
Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals, 1:00 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
+2.5 (-110)
Moneyline
+109
Over/Under
Over 41 (-115), Under 41 (-105)
Chances of Winning the Division
0%
Postseason Prospectus
The Ravens officially lost their opportunity to go to the playoffs last week with their loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Despite having one of the best defensive and special teams units in the entire league, Baltimore will not be appearing in the postseason in 2016/17.
Gambling Advice
We don’t fully understand why the Ravens are not favored in this game, as we think they are clearly better than the Cincinnati Bengals. While we do think they will win and we advise betting on the Ravens against the spread and moneyline, there is a fluky aura around this game that gives us some hesitation.
Cincinnati Bengals5 – 9 – 1
Week 15 Matchup
Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals, 1:00 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
-2.5 (-110)
Moneyline
-130
Over/Under
Over 41 (-115), Under 41 (-105)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
0%
Postseason Prospectus
The Bengals followed up a historically terrible comeback loss against the Steelers with an equally ugly and disgusting loss against the Houston Texans in Week 16. This team is out of playoff contention, and we can’t wait until they are also off of national television.
Gambling Advice
We don’t like the Bengals in this matchup, despite the fact that we think it could potentially end up having some sort of fluky, strange outcome. Without favorable odds, there’s no reason to put any money on Bengals players that seem most interested in hurting the opposing team’s players rather than actually winning football games.
Cleveland Browns1 – 14
Week 15 Matchup
Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers, 1:00 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
+7 (-110)
Moneyline
+510
Over/Under
Over 44 (-105), Under 44 (-115)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
0%
Postseason Prospectus
The Browns finally won a game, which was a great gift to the city of Cleveland on Christmas Eve. That game will end up being the one bright spot on their depressing season.
Gambling Advice
There’s absolutely no reason to believe that the Browns could keep this game close against the Pittsburgh Steelers: they had their fun, against the distressingly bad San Diego Chargers, and now they’re done for the year.

AFC South

Houston Texans9 – 6
Week 15 Matchup
Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans, 1:00 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
-3 (-110)
Moneyline
+126
Over/Under
Over 40 (-110), Under 40 (-110)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
100%
Postseason Prospectus
The Texans somehow managed to win a disgusting game over the Cincinnati Bengals starting quarterback Tom Savage. The AFC South has been one of the worst divisions in football this year, and it is only fitting that the Texans have secured the opportunity to represent the division in the postseason.
Gambling Advice
In considering this matchup, we would quite simply offer a blanket piece of advice for gamblers everywhere: Bet against the Houston Texans every opportunity you get for the rest of the season. After benching their 72-million-dollar quarterback, they are now starting someone whose first and only career start ended up going for 176 yards, no touchdowns, and a quarterback rating of 79.1. We believe you will only have two more opportunities to gamble on the Houston Texans this season, and would advise betting against them in both./div>
Tennessee Titans8 – 7
Week 15 Matchup
Houston Texans @ Tennessee Titans, 1:00 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
+3 (-110)
Moneyline
-149
Over/Under
Over 40 (-110), Under 40 (-110)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
0%
Postseason Prospectus
The Titans up-and-down but ultimately hope-filled season came to a screeching halt when they lost both their playoff chances and their franchise quarterback in one fell swoop. With Mariota’s broken leg, the dreams and hopes of Titans fans everywhere were also broken.
Gambling Advice
We would stay away from this game. While we certainly advise betting against the Texans, we don’t necessarily advise betting for the Titans. It’s possible the team will rally together in solidarity because of the injury to their leader, but it’s not something we would advise placing a wager on.
Indianapolis Colts7 – 8
Week 15 Matchup
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts, 1:00 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
-4.5 (-110)
Moneyline
-435
Over/Under
Over 47 (-110), Under 47 (-110)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
0%
Postseason Prospectus
The Colts were finally mathematically eliminated from the playoffs last week, and to the bitter end remain one of the most hot-and-cold, unpredictable teams of 2016/17.
Gambling Advice
We don’t find any value in these lines. It’s likely that the Colts beat the Jaguars, but not necessarily the case that they win by more than 4 or that the game goes over or under 47 points.
Jacksonville Jaguars3 – 12
Week 15 Matchup
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Indianapolis Colts, 1:00 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
+4.5 (-110)
Moneyline
+340
Over/Under
Over 47 (-110), Under 47 (-110)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
0%
Offseason Prospectus
Jacksonville will have some decisions to make this offseason after the firing of Gus Bradley, one of the worst coaches statistically in the history of the NFL. The Jaguars players will be looking to get out of Week 17 as quickly as possible to start their much-needed vacation.
Gambling Advice
As usual, there’s an argument to be made for the Jaguars to come out and play hard, but then there’s a much easier argument for them to roll over. Look for the home team to take care of business and avoid laying any money on the Jaguars in this game.

AFC East

New England Patriots13 – 2
Week 15 Matchup
New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins, 1:00 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
-10 (-105)
Moneyline
-278
Over/Under
Over 44.5 (-110), Under 44.5 (-110)
Chances of First Round Playoff Bye
100%
Postseason Prospectus
The Patriots have secured the number 1 overall seed in the AFC, with the accompanying home field advantage throughout the playoffs and the and first-round bye week. New England looks as good as usual, and will potentially rest a few starters in Week 17 to prepare for yet another run at a Super Bowl.
Gambling Advice
The Patriots absolutely annihilated the division rival New York Jets last week, but the Dolphins are considerably better than the Jets. While neither team has anything to play for, we do think it’s possible that this game is slightly closer. The Dolphins inspire enough confidence for us to hesitate in taking the Patriots, though we do think they will win the game. There’s no value in gambling on the prohibitive Super Bowl favorites in this Week 17 matchup.
Miami Dolphins10 – 5
Week 15 Matchup
New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins, 1:00 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
+10 (-115)
Moneyline
+228
Over/Under
Over 44.5 (-110), Under 44.5 (-110)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
100%
Postseason Prospectus
The Dolphins officially clinched their playoff spot last week with their win over the division rival Buffalo Bills. There is now no way for them to lose their playoff spot or to change their playoff position, so this game will not hold very much interest beyond providing new quarterback Matt Moore with more reps in the offense.
Gambling Advice
The Dolphins pulled off some very impressive running touchdowns against the Bills that are almost guaranteed to fail against the much more disciplined New England Patriots. We could potentially see this game being close – at least closer than the Patriots/Jets game last week – but we’re not confident enough to merit placing a wager on it.
Buffalo Bills7 – 8
Week 15 Matchup
Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets, 1:00 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
-6 (-110)
Moneyline
-217
Over/Under
Over 44 (-110), Under 44 (-110)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
0%
Postseason Prospectus
The Bills have been eliminated from playoff contention for weeks now, and looked very uninspired in their loss against the Dolphins last week.
Gambling Advice
There’s no reason to put money on the Bills, even though we do feel that they will beat the rebuilding New York Jets. This game will look much more like a preseason game than a regular season division rivalry, and we wouldn’t advise betting on it.
New York Jets4 – 11
Week 15 Matchup
Buffalo Bills @ New York Jets, 1:00 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
+6 (-110)
Moneyline
+182
Over/Under
Over 44 (-110), Under 44 (-110)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
0%
Postseason Prospectus
The only team playing meaningful games in MetLife Stadium this time of year is the New York Giants; the Jets have been irrelevant for months.
Gambling Advice
There’s absolutely no reason to trust Bryce Petty in this matchup, or to expect that this game will be at all close or interesting. Stay far, far away and invest your gambling budget elsewhere.

AFC West

Kansas City Chiefs11 – 4
Week 15 Matchup
Kansas City Chiefs @ San Diego Chargers, 4:25 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
-4.5 (-110)
Moneyline
-189
Over/Under
Over 45 (-110), Under 45 (-110)
Chances of Getting First-Round Bye
40%
Postseason Prospectus
The Chiefs came out against the Broncos on Sunday Night Football Christmas Day and looked dominant, convincing many gamblers that they are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. With a win against the Chargers and a Raiders loss, the Chiefs would have the second seed in the AFC locked up and have earned a first-round bye. They will certainly come fired up to earn that week off, knowing Andy Reid’s track record with bye weeks.
Gambling Advice
This matchup is a stay-away for us: The Chiefs should certainly do enough to win, but Andy Reid will probably limit snap counts and there’s little argument to be made that the Chiefs will put up as many points as they did last week. Without favorable odds, there’s little value to be found in betting the Chiefs.
Oakland Raiders12 – 3
Week 15 Matchup
Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos, 4:25 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
+2.5 (-110)
Moneyline
+145
Over/Under
Over 40.5 (-110), Under 40.5 (-110)
Chances of Getting First-Round Bye
60%
Postseason Prospectus
Postseason Prospectus:The Raiders have been in the playoffs for two weeks now, and have the opportunity to win the division and earn a first-round bye. If the Chiefs lose against the Chargers, the Raiders win the division. If the Chiefs win (more likely), the Raiders simply need to beat the Denver Broncos to get that much-needed bye week heading into the playoffs.
Gambling Advice
The Raiders were dealt a devastating blow with the loss of star quarterback Derek Carr last week, but we think that the response of the gambling public to make them 2-and-a-half point underdogs was incredibly reactionary. Oakland’s young, hungry defensive front still has what it takes to hold off the depleted Broncos offense, and we believe that the team’s rough-and-tumble identity that has sustained them throughout the year will continue to sustain them now. We find good value in picking the Raiders against the spread and moneyline in this matchup.
Denver Broncos8 – 7
Week 15 Matchup
Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos, 4:25 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
+4.5 (-110)
Moneyline
+159
Over/Under
Over 45 (-110), Under 45 (-110)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
0%
Postseason Prospectus

The Broncos officially lost their playoff chances with last week’s loss against the Chiefs on Christmas. It’s become clear that even though Trevor Siemian is a good player, the Chiefs simply don’t have enough offensive personnel to put together an effective rushing attack, and are too easily made one-dimensional. The prospects for next season are good, but the Broncos are out.

Gambling Advice
We don’t necessarily like the Broncos to beat Oakland even in the absence of Derek Carr. The offensive woes of Denver are quite simply insurmountable, and the Raiders will be fired up.
San Diego Chargers5 – 10
Week 15 Matchup
Kansas City Chiefs @ San Diego Chargers, 4:25 EST Sunday, 1/1/17
Spread
+4.5 (-110)
Moneyline
+210
Over/Under
Over 45 (-110), Under 45 (-110)
Chances of Making the Playoffs
0%
Postseason Prospectus

After the bizarre season put together by the San Diego Chargers, they fully deserved to be the team that gave the Browns what is likely to be their only win of 2016/17.

Gambling Advice
Unless you are gambling on the Chargers’ chances to move to Los Angeles next year, we don’t find anything interesting in the ghost of Philip Rivers and his Chargers team.
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