Spread picks and score predictions for every Week 17 game

Mike Renner makes spread picks and score predictions for every Week 17 game.

| 1 year ago
(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

(AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Spread picks and score predictions for every Week 17 game

Week 17 is finally here, and I’ll give you my final picks and confidence level for each, from a betting perspective. The confidence grade is on our patented -2 through +2 scale.

A positively-graded prediction means that I feel good about the bet. If it’s zero, I’m on the fence. And if it’s negative, I really don’t like the line either way.

Here are against-the-spread picks and scores for every NFL Week 17 game:

Jets (-3) at Bills

If the Jets win, they are in the playoffs. Many of the same players that were instrumental in the Bills’ victory the last time these two teams played (Stephon Gilmore, LeSean McCoy, Ronald Darby, Charles Clay, Marcell Dareus) are either out for the game or laboring injuries. Those are significant impact players on both sides of the ball. The cornerbacks are the main concern, though, as Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are matchup nightmares that have spurred the Jets late-season charge with a combined +12.1 grade since Week 11. Rex Ryan wants to play spoiler in the worst way, but I’m not sure what he can do about his offensive line being overmatched by the Jets’ dominant front.

Prediction: Jets 24, Bills 20
Confidence grade: +0.5

Patriots (-9) at Dolphins

The Patriots still have home field advantage to play for, and the Dolphins have looked defeated for quite some time now. Miami’s offense is simply anemic behind the worst run blocking line in the league. New England’s offense hasn’t quite been the early-season version of late without Julian Edelman, but it’s still enough to exploit a Dolphins’ defense that only has one positively-graded starter in coverage (Reshad Jones).

Prediction: Patriots 30, Dolphins 17
Confidence grade: +0.5

Saints at Falcons (-4)

The Saints were one of my least favorite teams to predict this season. You could count on their defense being a sieve, but their offense would look like two completely different teams from week-to-week. That being said, I think they have more than enough to expose the holes in the middle of the Falcons’ defense, and Drew Brees is coming off three straight games graded above +2.5.

Prediction: Saints 31, Falcons 27
Confidence grade: +0.5

Ravens at Bengals (-7.5)

John Harbaugh proved last week that his team isn’t just going to roll over against a divisional opponent. A.J. McCarron is expected to play this week, but after spraining his wrist on the final play against the Broncos, he could be limited as a passer. That leads me to believe that this will be a low-scoring game that could be virtually meaningless for the Bengals if the Broncos also win a game in which they are heavily favored. The Ravens’ run defense has graded out eighth in our rankings, so the Bengals won’t be able to simply pound the ball all game and expect to win.

Prediction: Bengals 17, Ravens 10
Confidence grade: -0.5

Steelers (-10) at Browns

I can’t feel comfortable about the Steelers on the road laying 10 points after giving up 20 points to a feeble Ravens’ offense. Johnny Manziel was disastrous passing the ball last week, but he still provides defensive coordinators headaches with his mobility. With as poor as linebackers Lawrence Timmons (-20.7) and Ryan Shazier’s (-11.1) pursuit angles have been this year, Manziel could actually be a big weapon. I don’t see the Steelers having a problem scoring points, but do believe the Browns can do enough to keep it close.

Prediction: Steelers 34, Browns 27
Confidence grade: -1

Jaguars at Texans (-6.5)

The Texans’ offense is not one I like covering the spread by a touchdown. Outside of their offensive explosion against the Titans, they had averaged 16.8 points per game over their previous six games. Brian Hoyer will start if he is cleared to play, but that doesn’t exactly inspire me. Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson have developed into one of the best receiving duos in the NFL, while rookie cornerback Kevin Johnson (-1.3) has had an up and down season across from Jonathan Joseph. Finally, with the Texans playoff berth all but clinched, they won’t want to put any more on tape heading into the postseason, so a bland offensive and defensive game plan should play right into Jacksonville’s hands.

Prediction: Texans 23, Jaguars 20
Confidence grade: -1

Titans at Colts (OFF)

This line was off at the time of writing because of the quarterback situation in Indy. Odds are, it won’t be Matt Hasselbeck or Andrew Luck, so I have no confidence in the Colts whatsoever; that offense has been on life support the past few weeks. Tennessee is 27th in points per game against, but they’ve graded out as the 14th best defense, meaning there is some talent there. It will likely be low scoring and a bit of a crapshoot, but I’ll take the Titans.

Prediction: Titans 16, Colts 10
Confidence grade: -1

Redskins at Cowboys (OFF)

Another line that is off due to the meaningless nature of it. The Cowboys are probably wishing that they didn’t sneak out a win the last time these two teams met, as they’d be in the mix for the No.1 overall pick if that was the case. I’ll assume the Redskins play all their starters full bore (although I personally wouldn’t), and if that’s the case, I see this one going differently than their last matchup. Kirk Cousins has been playing some very solid football since their previous matchup, and is the fourth-highest graded QB in the league over that span.

Prediction: Redskins 24, Cowboys 17
Confidence grade: -1

Eagles at Giants (-3)

Chip Kelly is out in Philly, and as crazy as that seems, it shouldn’t have much impact on this one. After Jason Peters’ damning comments last week, it appears that the Eagles have already given up this year. That’s not a team I want to pick. Odell Beckham Jr. should be back this week, and we saw against the Vikings just how important he is to the New York offense. With both Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Prince Amukamara healthy, the Giants have more than enough to shut down the Eagles’ passing game.

Prediction: Giants 27, Eagles 20
Confidence grade: 0

Lions at Bears (-1)

Somehow, both teams are 6-9 with extremely similar point spreads over the season. That said, I think the Lions have a sizable advantage with Alshon Jeffery going on injured reserve this week. That means the Bears are without their top two receiving weapons, and Matt Forte isn’t 100 percent at the moment with a back injury. It’s difficult to see the Bears scoring enough to win against a defense that has given up only 19.3 points over the last seven weeks.

Prediction: Lions 27, Bears 20
Confidence grade: +0.5

Buccaneers at Panthers (-10.5)

Last time these two teams met, Cam Newton had his worst outing of the season. He really struggled fitting the ball into tight holes down the field, and was only 4-of-11 on passes targeted 10+ yards down the field. I could see that happening again against the Tampa-2 heavy Buccaneers. Jameis Winston has come a long way since that first matchup in Week 4, and has been the seventh highest-graded quarterback in the NFL over that span. It’s not crazy to think Tampa Bay will keep this close.

Prediction: Panthers 24, Buccaneers 20
Confidence grade: -0.5

Raiders at Chiefs (-7)

The Chiefs’ defense is playing great, but with only seeding to play for at this point, they may not want to get too exotic schematically on offense or defense. Derek Carr has still been playing well lately, outside of the Green Bay game, even if the numbers don’t totally show it. And finally, I don’t know how the Chiefs will be able to block Khalil Mack, our highest-graded edge defender. Jah Reid is not an NFL caliber player at right tackle, and has little chance against the Oakland linebacker.

Prediction: Chiefs 20, Raiders 17
Confidence grade: -1

Chargers at Broncos (-9)

After all the injuries they’ve suffered, the Chargers simply don’t have the talent to score on this Denver defense. The last time the pair met in Week 13, San Diego managed a measly three points. They currently own the worst pass blocking grade of any team we’ve ever graded. Yes, ever. Philip Rivers has been under pressure on 38.3 percent of his dropbacks, the sixth-highest rate in the league, despite having the sixth quickest time to throw. This week he’ll face the third-ranked pass rushing team in our grades. That’s just not a good combination.

Prediction: Broncos 20, Chargers 10
Confidence grade: +0.5

Seahawks at Cardinals (-6)

The Cardinals’ defense didn’t miss a beat without Tyrann Mathieu last week, but with as hot as Russell Wilson is playing, it could be an issue Sunday. I wrote earlier this week about how the Cardinals inability to get pressure without blitzing could be the recipe for their undoing in the playoffs. Russell Wilson has carved up this blitz this year with a passer rating of 114.2, 15 touchdowns, three picks, and averaging 9.0 yards per attempt.

Prediction: Seahawks 27, Cardinals 24
Confidence grade: -0.5

Rams (-3.5) at 49ers

The NFL’s lowest-scoring team hosts the third-lowest scoring team in what figures to be quite the barn burner. I have to pick the Rams solely because Jeff Fisher is charging hot toward the finish line of destiny—an 8-8 season, once again. St. Louis also has the far superior defense, and the 49ers don’t possess a single starter on the offensive line that I believe can block Aaron Donald. Donald remains our highest-graded defensive tackle, and he recently ate the Seahawks’ lunch, while the 49ers don’t have a positively graded player on the right side of their line.

Prediction: Rams 20, 49ers 10
Confidence grade: +0.5

Vikings at Packers (-3.5)

The status of David Bakhtiari and Bryan Bulaga are still uncertain this early in the week, and that’s not good news for the Packers. If both of them are out, or even limited, the Packers might not even want to start Aaron Rodgers after last week’s fiasco. Don Barclay has proven he’s not an NFL-caliber player, and has the lowest pass blocking efficiency of any tackle we’ve ever graded in our nine seasons. Many of Rodgers’ big plays down the field in their last matchup came outside the pocket and on scrambles. That won’t happen again if he doesn’t have his starting tackles to hold up on the edge.

Prediction: Vikings 20, Packers 17
Confidence grade: 0

Season Record: 138-102 (116-121-3 ATS)

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • crosseyedlemon

    I’d like to see Tom Coughlin go out a winner but there is always the ghost of Joe Pisarcik haunting the Meadowlands when the Eagles visit.

  • Tim Edell

    The Packers might not even want to start Rodgers!??!! Hopefully that was an attempt at humor dur to the incompetent nature of Barclay and Josh Walker. They are playing for the division title and a home game in the playoffs.

    • Skol

      Glad to see a more even matchup with the Vikes without two of their starting o line

    • crosseyedlemon

      After an 8 sack game we can expect the Packers to rely heavily on the run in this contest but the Vikings can match them easily with Peterson. If the weather is a factor special teams play could very well decide this one.

  • WL- Minneapolis

    Vikings at Packers is going to be a tough, physical game in what looks to be around zero degree windchill weather. It’s not just about who starts the game, especially in the trenches, but who finishes it. All of the Packers O Line is on the injury report, so that is a disadvantage going in, but the Vikings still need to play well against them, which they did not do in November.