Before I get to Week 17, I would like to pat myself on the back for one specific selection during Week 16. I had a winning week, was correct on my “best bet” (9-5-2 for the season) and went 3-1 in my “other top picks,” but my proudest selection was the Browns (+6) over the Chargers.
Not only was I correct in picking a winless team to cover the spread, but I was confident enough to make the Browns one of my top picks. I even suggested that the Brown may get their first win of the season. They did. I got this pick right for all the right reasons.
Week 17, the final full week of the season, is a tough one for selections because many teams have little left to play for in terms of the standings. How do you evaluate the Bills (-3½) at the Jets? Or the Jaguars at the Colts? What about the Vikings vs. the Bears, featuring the epic ex-Eagles quarterback clash between Sam Bradford and Matt Barkley?
For my “best bet” and “other top picks,” I’ve attempted to stick with teams with something tangible to play for, which is why the Chiefs (-4½), who are trying to catch the Raiders in the AFC West and earn a first-round bye, are my “best bet” over the Chargers, whose disappointing season got worse last Sunday with a loss to the Browns.
My exception to the rule among my top picks is the Eagles (-5½) over the visiting Cowboys. The Cowboys (13-2), who have clinched homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, have little incentive to do well Sunday. The Eagles, however, have more to play for as they try to build toward next season.
Here are the rest of my Week 17 selections:
(Home team in CAPS)
(Winning team against the line in bold)
TITANS -3½ vs. Texans
Ravens pick ‘em at BENGALS
Bills -3½ at JETS
Giants +7½ at REDSKINS
Jaguars +4½ at COLTS
Packers -3 at LIONS
EAGLES -5½ vs. Cowboys
VIKINGS -6 vs. Bears
BUCS -4 vs. Panthers
STEELERS -5½ vs. Browns
Saints +7½ at FALCONS
Patriots -9½ at DOLPHINS
Cardinals -6½ at RAMS
Chiefs -4½ at CHARGERS
Seahawks -9½ at 49ERS
BRONCOS -1½ vs. Raiders
Best bet: Chiefs -4½ at CHARGERS
Other top picks: Packers -3 at LIONS; STEELERS -5½ vs. Browns; BUCS -4 vs. Panthers; EAGLES -5½ vs. Cowboys
Week 16: 9-7 (111-120-8 overall)
Best Bet: 1-0 (9-5-2 overall)
Other top picks: 3-1 (30-32-2 overall)