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NFL Week 17 Picks: TWHS and SportsChump Picking ATS, vs the Wife and Our Mothers

By |2018-12-09T19:45:45+00:00December 27th, 2014|Comments Off on NFL Week 17 Picks: TWHS and SportsChump Picking ATS, vs the Wife and Our Mothers

The final week of the NFL regular season always presents a number of unique challenges when making picks, especially against the spread. 

First, there’s the weather.  It’s late December, so there are always chances for inclement weather, from snow storms, to heavy rain and frigid temperatures.  In this instance, it’s only rain, and that’s mostly stretched across the Northeast, and affecting a half dozen games.

Second, there’s the playoff implications.  Eliminated teams are starting backups, teams that clinched are resting starters and teams looking to earn playoff berths are aggressively pursuing a clutch ‘W’.  This year, there are three games that will decide division titles: Lions-Packers, Bengals-Steelers and Panthers-Falcons.  The Chargers-Chiefs game will also help decide one of the final Wild Card spots.

These factors severely impact games, and therefore, overall affect the way picks will finish the season here at The Wife Hates Sports.

For our final week, my good buddy the SportsChump, has decided that we will each have a special guest – our mothers.  To celebrate the holidays, our dear family matriarchs will brave picking the spreads.  For my Mom, it came with a great deal of reluctance, but she did it because she loves me.

Speaking of which, yours truly is loving the standings heading into the final week.

Here are the lovely numbers from Week 16:

Week 16 Results:

KP (TWHS) – 9-7

Coin Flip – 8-8

Special Guest (The Ice Cream Man) – 10-6

Sports Chump – 7-9

The WIFE (that HATES sports) – 5-11

Over in the Pick Your Knows department, a victory seems likely for KP (and TWHS):

2014 NFL Season Standings (Against the Spread)

Knows Picker

Record (ATS)

GB

KP (TWHS)

129-111

The WIFE

122-118

7

Coin Flip

122-118

7

Sports Chump

119-120-1

9.5

Special Guests

114-121-5

12.5

  • A push is counted as a tie in the standings
  • Slight variation in spreads due to time and site used for picks
Aaron Rodgers pointing the Packers to the playoffs

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are playing for the NFC North title

It’s once again time to “Pick Your Knows – the only time it’s not a disgusting habit – and here are Week 17’s scheduled games (with spreads as they appeared through CBS Sports on 12/24/14).

KP’s “Pick Your Knows”: 2014 NFL Week 17 Picks

KP’s Week 16 Recap (Season Total):

Against the Spread: 9-7 (129-111, 54%)

Straight Up: 10-6 (159-81, 66%)

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants (-2.5)

Both teams have been eliminated from playoff contention, but it’s rather interesting to see the Giants favored.  Rain is expected, which could make this a sloppy game.  Well, that and the fact that these two teams are ranked in the top five in sacks (Eagles – 2nd, 49 and Giants 4th – 43).  Odell Beckham continues to own every opponent’s secondary and Rashad Jennings is expected to return for the Giants.  Still, this is Chip Kelly’s potent offense.  To try and calm down what is likely to be angry fan base, I expect the Eagles to show up on Sunday, and in a big way.  Philly wins on the road.

Against the Spread: Philadelphia Eagles

Straight Up: Philadelphia Eagles

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-10.5)

Rain is in the forecast, but NRG Stadium will leave that a non-factor.  The Texans still have playoff hopes, but will need a win against the Jags, coupled with losses by both the Ravens and Chargers.  J.J. Watt should feast off a Jacksonville line that has given up 66 sacks on the season (yes, that’s by far the most in the league).  Houston’s fourth-ranked rushing offense should also have success against a Jacksonville run defense that is ranked 27th in the NFL.  Houston won the first matchup 27-13 back on December 7th, and this time get the Jags at home.  The pressure is clearly on Houston, and let’s take note that this young Jags squad has continued to play hard with playoff hopes dashed weeks ago.  The Jags would love to play spoiler, and I expect Jacksonville to keep this game close.

Against the Spread: Jacksonville Jaguars

Straight Up: Houston Texans

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-5.5)

This was set to be an AFC East finale with two coaches on the hot seat, but it’s been stated that Joe Philbin will return next season.  Rex Ryan remains in doubt, and this is likely to be his  last game.  The Dolphins won the first matchup 16-13 back on December 1st.  Miami still had dreams of the playoffs then, and now, neither team has much to play for, unless you count going out on top, or sending Rex Ryan off on a high note (assuming he is let go).  The Jets are still playing hard for Ryan, defeating the Titans two weeks back and losing to the Patriots 17-16 last week.  The Dolphins, meanwhile, have struggled defensively for weeks.  Miami’s most consistent offensive weapon has been Lamar Miller, and he’ll be facing a New York run defense that is ranked 5th in the NFL (87.3 ypg).  With this in mind, I like the Jets to keep this game close.  Dolphins win by a field goal.

Against the Spread: New York Jets

Straight Up: Miami Dolphins

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-6.5)

Jimmy Clausen is out with a concussion, leaving Jay Cutler to start the finale.  The Bears took the first game 21-13 back on November 16th, but Minnesota’s offense has played well in recent weeks, scoring 30 points or more in three of its last four games.  Chicago’s offense certainly misses Brandon Marshall, but I expect a solid performance from Jay Cutler, who should be motivated and focused following his benching.  It’s whether the rest of the Bears (especially the defense) follows suit.  The Vikings have some key defensive players (e.g. Jared Allen) questionable, which should allow more time for Cutler to throw.  This could also be Marc Trestman’s final game as head coach, and for some reason, I see the Bears coming to life and winning this game outright.

Against the Spread: Chicago Bears

Straight Up: Chicago Bears

Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-10.5)

There is a 35 percent chance for rain in this game, and there’s probably a 35 percent chance that Belichick will play all his starters, considering that the Pats have clinched home field.  It’s not in New England’s DNA to rest everyone, however, especially Tom Brady.  On the other side, Buffalo’s playoff hopes were destroyed following a shocking loss to the Raiders.  Still, Buffalo’s third-ranked pass defense has 19 interceptions on the season, while allowing just 16 TD’s.  Mix that with the potential for Patriots players to sit out (or play one half), and you have what should be a closer game.  Since Tom Brady is playing at home, I’ll take the Patriots to win in a close one.

Against the Spread: Buffalo Bills

Straight Up: New England Patriots

San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5)

Alex Smith has a lacerated spleen (ouch!), and will sit this game out.  That leaves Chase Daniel to start for the Chiefs.  This adds an interesting spin for two teams that are battling for playoff spots in the AFC.  San Diego controls its own destiny and is in with a win.  Meanwhile, the Chiefs need a win, coupled with losses by both the Ravens and Texans.  The absence of Smith is the biggest storyline, although the Chargers have injuries of their own, most notably to Keenan Allen and Ryan Mathews.  Mathews has been out for the majority of the season, so his loss can’t compare to that of Smith.  Toss in the fact that Philip Rivers is healthy and the Chargers have a winning record on the road.  I like San Diego to “chase” down a road win and make the playoffs. 

Against the Spread: San Diego Chargers

Straight Up: San Diego Chargers

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+4.5)

Both teams have been eliminated from the victory-challenged NFC South division, and have little to play for.  That is, unless you consider the Bucs playing for the top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.  One interesting stat comparison to note is third down conversions, where the Saints convert 48.1% of third downs (1st in NFL) and Tampa Bay is 24th in opponent third downs converted (43.2%).  Drew Brees and the Saints’ third-ranked passing offense should move the ball efficiently against Tampa Bay’s 27th ranked pass ‘D’.  I like Brees and the Saints to finish the season on a high note.  New Orleans covers.

Against the Spread: New Orleans Saints

Straight Up: New Orleans Saints

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-9.5)

At game-time, it will be unseasonably warm, with a 50% chance for rain, which could negatively affect each team’s offense.  Connor Shaw is off the practice squad and will start the finale for Cleveland.  Meanwhile, the Ravens can make the playoffs with a win, plus a loss by the Chargers.  Over the course of the season, I would expect a close game, but in this instance, the Ravens are fighting for the playoffs, and will be at home facing a rookie quarterback that is coming off the practice squad.  Oh, and this just in: Josh Gordon has been suspended for violating team rules.  Ravens cruise.

Against the Spread: Baltimore Ravens

Straight Up: Baltimore Ravens

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (+7.5)

There’s a 65% for rain, which could lead to some sloppy play and turnovers.  In the turnover differential department, both teams are ranked in the NFL’s bottom ten.  Charlie Whitehurst is expected to start again for the Titans, with Tennessee in line to potentially snag away the top pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.  On the other side, the Colts have already clinched the AFC South division, but likely will be looking to right the ship following a disappointing performance versus the Cowboys last week.  Andrew Luck and the Colts have way too much talent, and with Tennessee in line for the top pick, I like the Colts to cover.

Against the Spread: Indianapolis Colts

Straight Up: Indianapolis Colts

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (+6.5)

There’s a slight chance for rain (35%), which could affect the game depending on the conditions of the field – and people are aware of the history of FedEx field.  The Redskins – led by Colt McCoy – shocked the Cowboys back on October 27th, and this week, will again start Robert Griffin III, who has played better over the last few games.  But the Cowboys still have a chance to earn home field advantage in a wild and crazy NFC that features five teams with an 11-4 record.  Dallas appears to be clicking on all cylinders following its blowout victory over the Colts last week.  The ‘Boys are also undefeated on the road and have plenty to play for in its finale.  A TD victory looks like a good bet to me.  Dallas covers.

Against the Spread: Dallas Cowboys

Straight Up: Dallas Cowboys

St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-12.5)

Seattle’s defense has held opponents to single digits over four of its last five games, and allowed a combined total of 33 points during that five-game stretch.  Dating back to 2011, the Seahawks have beaten the Rams four straight times at home, with each win by a touchdown or more.  This is a tricky spread, because the Seahawks have been so dominant on defense, and play so well at home.  But the Rams have also been strong defensively, especially with its disruptive pass rush.  However, St. Louis has allowed 13 runs of 20 yards or more, and could have a difficult time corralling Marshawn Lynch and Seattle’s top-ranked rushing offense.  In the end, Seattle can clinch the NFC West division with a win, and still has a shot at the NFC’s number one seed.  With that motivation and a defense that is on a roll, I like the Seahawks to cover, despite the lopsided line.

Against the Spread: Seattle Seahawks

Straight Up: Seattle Seahawks

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (-5.5)

The Cardinals still have a shot at the NFC West division title, but this is a team that is a shell of itself, due to injury after injury after injury.  Ryan Lindley will get another start, and he had a rough go against the Seahawks last week.  Arizona travels to San Francisco, where it will face the Niners, in what is likely Jim Harbaugh’s last game as head coach.  The Harbaugh story has consumed the 49ers’ locker room, and the team has struggled to four straight defeats.  San Francisco is not likely to play hard for Harbaugh, at least, not like the Jets are likely to play for Rex Ryan.  That’s how it looks on the outside.  Still, Arizona is so depleted, I like the Niners to force numerous Lindley errors.  Niners win at home, but barely.

Against the Spread: Arizona Cardinals

Straight Up: San Francisco 49ers

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-7.5)

The winner takes the NFC North title, and the Packers have the clear advantage, playing to an undefeated 7-0 record at home this season.  Green Bay has scored 38 points or more in four of its last five home games, and now will face a Lions defense that is ranked first against the run and 13th against the pass.  Detroit does have 20 interceptions on the season, but Aaron Rodgers has been efficient and putting up MVP numbers.  Detroit has won the last two in this rivalry, including a 19-7 win on September 21st.  Playing at Lambeau, I like Rodgers and the Pack to clinch the division, but expect Detroit to keep this one competitive.  Take the Lions and the points.

Against the Spread: Detroit Lions

Straight Up: Green Bay Packers

Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos (-14.5)

The Broncos have been a run-heavy team in recent weeks and Peyton Manning has been hampered with injuries and the flu.  With those facts alone, this is a pretty steep line for the Broncos to cover.  A win clinches a first-round bye for Denver, so this is a very important game.  The Broncos have won the last six games in this rivalry by 13 points or more, but that was featuring a more pass-heavy attack.  The Raiders have also won three of its last five and would love to play spoiler here.  Plain and simple, Denver has too much talent, but I’ll take the Raiders and the points, assuming Oakland can keep this game at two touchdowns or less.

Against the Spread: Oakland Raiders

Straight Up: Denver Broncos

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5)

The winner clinches the NFC South with a losing record, and will earn a home playoff game, facing off against a team with an 11-5 record.  The Falcons have the home field advantage and will get Julio Jones back, which is an extremely big deal.  The Falcons are dead last in passing defense (291.1 ypg), but have managed 16 INT’s and just 19 passing TD’s.  This likely means the Panthers should be able to move the ball, but will it be enough when facing Atlanta’s fifth-ranked passing offense that averages 288.5 yards per game?  With Julio Jones back and the home field advantage, I like the Falcons to win by a touchdown.  Atlanta covers, heads to the playoffs with a losing record.

Against the Spread: Atlanta Falcons

Straight Up: Atlanta Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5)

The regular season ends with the third Week 17 game that will decide a division title.  Both of these teams have had rocky seasons, with a hefty mixture of both stellar and ugly performances.  Pittsburgh has the home field advantage, and features a passing offense that is ranked second in the NFL (300.5 ypg).  Ben Roethlisberger is a sneaky MVP candidate, flying as under the radar as he can, considering others like Aaron Rodgers, Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.  But Cincinnati’s pass defense has been fairly solid, and has only allowed 16 TD’s through the air, while managing 18 INT’s.  After seeing the statistics on pass defense, coupled with Cincinnati’s 5-2 road record, my brain has slowly switched over to the Bengals, despite Big Ben’s big game antics.  That, plus Andy Dalton recently got over his primetime struggles.  Give me the Bengals outright, which I may regret later.

Against the Spread: Cincinnati Bengals

Straight Up: Cincinnati Bengals

….

THE WIFE

She HATES sports, but will pick teams in hopes of leading to your embarrassment.  No blurb, just her selection.  Heck, we’re lucky to get that much.

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants (-2.5) – Giants

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-10.5) – Texans

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-5.5) – Jets

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-6.5) – Bears

Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-10.5) – Patriots

San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5) – Chargers

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+4.5) – Saints

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-9.5) – Ravens

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (+7.5) – Titans

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (+6.5) – Redskins

St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-12.5) – Seahawks

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (-5.5) – Cardinals

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-7.5) – Packers

Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos (-14.5) – Broncos

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5) – Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) – Bengals

…..

THE MOM (Special Guest #1)

I wouldn’t call my Mom a “wife that hates sports”, as she thoroughly enjoys watching college football, but when I informed her that she was being volunteered to complete these picks, she opened by saying, “How long is it going to take me to do this sad situation?”

After informing her that it should be quick and painless, she simply said, “OK, hit it, baby”. 

What she didn’t realize is that I jotted down a few lines she dropped when making her selections. 

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants (-2.5) – Eagles

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-10.5) – Texans

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-5.5) – Dolphins

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-6.5) – Vikings

Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-10.5) – Bills

San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5) – Chargers

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+4.5) – Saints

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-9.5) – Ravens

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (+7.5) – “I have a neighbor that’s a Tennessee fan.  I’ll go with the Colts.”  Hmm, guess it’s not a close neighbor.  Colts

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (+6.5) – Redskins

St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-12.5) – “The Seahawks have that quarterback, who is it again?”  Russell Wilson, Mom.  “OK, I’ll go with the Rams, maybe they’ll get their butts movin’.”  Mom has liked the Rams for years, because they were once in L.A., where she was born.  Rams

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (-5.5) – 49ers

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-7.5) – Packers

Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos (-14.5) – Broncos

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5) – “Who are the Panthers?  I’ll go Falcons.” – Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) –  Steelers

…..

COIN FLIP

This quarter refuses to be referred to as “Chump change”… see what I did there?  Oh, and by the way, HEADS equals the HOME team, and TAILS is a vote for the AWAY team.

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants (-2.5) – Eagles

Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans (-10.5) – Jaguars

New York Jets at Miami Dolphins (-5.5) – Jets

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-6.5) – Vikings

Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-10.5) – Bills

San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5) – Chargers

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+4.5) – Saints

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-9.5) – Browns

Indianapolis Colts at Tennessee Titans (+7.5) – Colts

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins (+6.5) – Redskins

St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-12.5) – Seahawks

Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers (-5.5) – Cardinals

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers (-7.5) – Packers

Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos (-14.5) – Broncos

Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5) – Falcons

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) – Steelers

…..

SPORTSCHUMP’S Picks

My long-time friend has enjoyed a decent second half, but the deficit he’s facing may be too much.  Here’s a few of the Chump’s Week 16 selections, and you best go see the rest at his site.

We’ll update the Chump’s picks once they are available, or you can check out SportsChump

…..

Special Guest #2: SportsChump’s Mom

Momma Chump still loves her son, despite his current spot in the standings.

We’ll update with her picks, once they are available….or hey, just visit the Chump’s site.

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About the Author:

Kevin Paul is the creator of The Wife Hates Sports, a freelance sportswriter, full-time QA manager, part-time craft beer tester and full-time Dad. Oh and yes, it REALLY is true, the WIFE does HATE sports. Maybe we men need to create a support group.