The 2017 NFL regular season wraps up on Sunday afternoon. There is not as much drama this year compared to the week 17 of many previous seasons. The 2017 NFL playoff picture is relatively settled. In the AFC there are four teams battling for two wild card spots. The NFC still has one division title up for grabs, but has just two teams competing for one final playoff slot.
In Week 16 ten road teams are favored to win. That number falls back to a more typical number in Week 17, with five home dogs. The Saints are the biggest road favorite, minus 8½ points at Tampa Bay. The largest spread of the week is in Foxboro, where the Patriots are favored by 16 versus the Jets. That game is one of four double-digit spreads. The narrowest odds are with Houston as a one-point underdog at Indianapolis.
Entering Week 16 five teams have clinched a playoff spot. The Patriots, Steelers, Jaguars, Eagles and Vikings have all punched a ticket for the post season. Philadelphia is the only team thus far to earn a first round bye.
In the AFC six teams have been eliminated: the Browns, Colts, Texans, Broncos, Bengals and Jets. The Dolphins and Raiders are technically alive, but comatose and on life support. The Chargers are not in much better shape, even though they are only one game behind the Chiefs in the AFC West. Most likely it is Ravens, Titans and Bills battling for two wild card spots.
The Giants, Bears, Forty Niners, Bucs, Cardinals, Skins and Packers are all officially eliminated. Dallas, Seattle and Detroit face tall odds to get in. Philadelphia and Minnesota have won their divisions and will host at least one playoff game. The only way the Rams don’t win the NFC West is to lose twice while Seattle wins twice. The NFC South is probably going to send three teams to the playoffs. Games involving the Saints, Panthers and Falcons are the most intriguing over the next two weeks. Atlanta is at New Orleans this week, and then the Falcons host Carolina next week.
Week 16 is unique, with neither Thursday nor Sunday night football – but with two games on Monday. Five teams have clinched a playoff spot and 14 others are still in contention for the post-season. There are plenty of intriguing games worth watching this weekend and next before the playoffs commence. The theory of home field advantage will be put to a test during these three days. Road teams are favored in ten of the sixteen games this week.
The Patriots caught a bit of a break on Sunday when Steelers receiver Antonio Brown went down with an early-game injury, but it appears he may be back on the field should the two clubs meet again in January.
More than half of the remaining NFL Week 12 games have odds of seven or more points. On paper there are few competitive games, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot. Last week the Chiefs were double-digit favorites but lost to a one-win Giants club in disarray. Washington was an injury riddled 7½ point road dog up against a hot team on a seven game winning streak.
The Patriots versus Raiders in Mexico City highlights a decent slate of pro football games in Week 11. Four games in particular stand out, conveniently with one in each time slot.
On paper the NFL Week 12 schedule does not offer many close games. Eleven games have a spread of 6½ or more and two games list odds of three points or less. The New England Patriots are the heaviest favorites, at -14½ at home versus Miami. Two other home teams are also double-digit favorites. Chicago is at Philadelphia (-11½) and Green Bay plays at Pittsburgh (-12½) next Sunday night.
NFL Week 10 has plenty of interesting story lines. On Sunday night the Patriots travel to their house of horrors, Denver’s Mile High Stadium. The Pats are 2-6 since 2005 in Colorado, and 4-18 in the Rockies since 1969. Despite that alarming trend the Patriots are 7½ point favorites as of Saturday night.
NFL Week 11 looks like it will have plenty of close games. There are no double-digit favorites, and only one game with a spread of more than seven. Home teams are favored in only half of the 14 scheduled games, and nine games have odds of 3½ or fewer points.
NFL Week 7 is highlighted by the most hyped and anticipated game of the 2017 season. The Atlanta Falcons travel to Foxborough for only the second time this millennium, in a rematch of the greatest Super Bowl in NFL history. The Patriots lead the all-time series 8-6 and are 5-0 in the Belichick-Brady era.
The early week 8 games don’t offer a whole lot worth watching. Best of the lot in the early Sunday time slot involve the AFC East versus AFC West. The AFCE is currently a home favorite in both games. Buffalo (-2½ point) hosts Oakland, and the Chargers visit New England (-7).
Right now Alex Smith is the NFL MVP for 2017. The previously maligned quarterback is leading the league in completion percentage, yards per pass attempt and passer rating. The additions of Tyreek Hill in 2016 and rookie Kareem Hunt this year certainly help as well. The Pittsburgh defensive front seven is nothing special and won’t be able to handle that duo. Whispers about the demise of 35 year old Ben Roethlisberger (6 TD, 7 INT) will gain momentum this week in Iron City.
In a network decision nobody anticipated before the 2017 NFL season began, a Sunday afternoon Jets game will be broadcast to most of the nation. Three games dominate the NFL Week 6 afternoon broadcast distribution. Most of the nation will be fed the following games Sunday afternoon. In the early time slot CBS will air the New England Patriots at New York Jets for the lead in the AFC East.
Week 7 is highlighted by a rematch of what was possibly the greatest championship game in pro sports history. The Atlanta Falcons will travel to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots a week from Sunday night. The professional handicappers at the Westgate have listed the defending champs as four point favorites for the moment.
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