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NFL

NFL Week 17: Part 2

Week 17: is live and can be found here. The last eight games for Week 17 are listed below in Part 2.

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Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

 

Falcons at Bills -14

Last week, the Bills thrust themselves back into the lead for the division title. After a sound beating of the rival Patriots, Buffalo has morphed into a more balanced offense and demonstrated more competency stopping the run. With more and more players returning from protocols, the Bills look to maintain their tiebreak lead in the division over the Patriots.

Buffalo will face the Jets in the finale, which should be a relatively smooth means to capture the division title. For this game, the key will be continuing the offensive balance and rhythm heading into their final, key game.

The Falcons are still somehow in the playoff hunt. They’re just one game out of the final NFC playoff spot. A loss at Buffalo means the Falcons postseason hopes will likely vanish. With so much to play for, expect the Falcons to get deep into their bag of tricks this week. Buffalo’s defense has been amazing against the pass, so the Falcons must get creative to have a chance.

Friday’s cash line had the Bills as 65% favorites. By Sunday, the Bills were even higher favorites at 14.5, with the total cash dropping to 77%, but still firmly Buffalo.

 Bills 31 Falcons 14

 

Broncos +7.5 at Chargers

A few weeks back, the Chargers hit a road block in Denver. After falling into an early deficit, the Chargers leaned a little too heavily on Herbert. Following some key drops and a few miscues, the deficit grew. Now, the Chargers are home, playing for their playoff hopes. After last week’s atrocious effort against a weak Texans team, the Chargers will get more key players back this week in a must-win scenario.

Speaking of a must win game, the Broncos have to win to stay in the playoff hunt. The problem for them is their receiving depth. Jerry Jeudy and Tim Patrick were ruled out for the game. Bradley Chubb and Caden Sterns were also ruled out. With Drew Lock starting, there’s plenty of reason to be concerned this week if you’re a Broncos fan or bettor. I do still like their run game and secondary in this game.

Following a line jump from 5 to 7.5, the money swung heavily towards the Broncos on Friday and then crept-up to 92% on Saturday. With the line all the way up to 7.5, the Broncos held strong on cash at 89%.

Chargers 23 Broncos 20

 

Texans at 49ers -13.5

The Texans shocked the NFL last week as they pulled-away from the Chargers as a big underdog. Despite both teams down key players, the Texans ran the ball extremely well, driven by the superb play of Rex Burkhead (100+ yards & 2 TDs). Davis Mills had his third impressive game in a row. Now, the Texans will travel to San Francisco as huge underdogs, yet again.

The 49ers are home after a rough Thursday night game last week against the Titans. The physicality of the Titans did a lot to stymie the Niners both on the ground and through the air. The defense also couldn’t handle AJ Brown on the outside, as Brown went well over 100 yards receiving. With the playoffs just two weeks away, the Niners have to get it done this week to hold that final playoff spot.

The Saturday cash report had the 49ers holding 97% of the cash. By Sunday, the 49ers moved to -13, with cash also heavy on the 49ers at that number (63%).

49ers 34 Texans 17

 

Panthers at Saints -6.5

The Panthers have now been sleepwalking down the final stretch, ever since beating the Cardinals six weeks ago. Five straight losses have put them firmly in the NFC South cellar. Despite the poor run of play, Cam Newton is somehow still the starting QB. Sam Darnold has worked his way back into the fold, but the team probably needs to name Darnold the starter, just to get a little momentum for 2022.

The Saints were abysmal last week against the Dolphins. After losing both QBs to protocols, the Saints turned to rookie Ian Book and the results were awful. Book tossed a few INTs and failed to get the offense going much at all, as the Saints were routed. With Taysom Hill returning this week, the Saints should get a big boost on offense, facing a beleaguered Panthers team who looks ready to throw in the towel.

Saturday’s cash has the Saints as 88% cash favorites.  The Saints dropped down to 58% with the slight line movement to 7 late Saturday night. However, a few large cash wagers on the Panthers at +7 pushed the line back to 6.5, with the Saints holding the cash edge.

Saints 24 Panthers 14

 

Cardinals +6.5 at Cowboys

This might be the most interesting game of the week. The Cardinals have been in a freefall lately, while the Cowboys appear to be re-gaining their early season form. The Cowboys defense has carried them through much of their offensive troubles this season, but both sides are clicking now. With the offense flowing and the defense playing great ball, Cowboys fans are holding their breath this week.

The Cardinals have been in a slump over the past three weeks. After losing a tough Sunday night game against the Rams, the Cardinals dropped an absolute stink bomb against the Lions. Then, the Colts had a nice home game on Christmas ruined by the Colts. What was once a promising season and potential first round bye has now spiraled into the 5th seed in the NFC and an away playoff game.

Saturday’s cash line had the Cowboys at 81%. By Sunday, the Cardinals were cash favorites at 94% with the line moving to +6.5.

Cowboys 31 Cardinals 27

 

 Lions at Seahawks -8

The Lions are still playing hard, which is more than we can say about the other teams around them with similar records. They’re now 2-2 in their last four, with wins over the Vikings and Cardinals. In fact, they’re 3-1 ATS in their last four. D’Andre Swift has been given the green light and has the full confidence of the coaching staff, so the Lions are in full-blown offseason momentum mode. Jared Goff is also out.

The Seahawks fell last week to the Bears at home. Conditions were terrible, but the play of Seattle’s defense was equally bad. Last week marked the first time since 1994 (Jets) that Pete Carrol has finished a season with 10 losses at any level. With Russell Wilson’s future with the Seahawks in-doubt, Pete has two more games and the offseason to convince Wilson otherwise.

Since Friday, this line moved a full point towards Seattle. As of Sunday morning, the line was Seattle -8 and the cash was in favor of Seattle at 91%.

Seahawks 27 Lions 17

 

Vikings at Packers -13

The Vikings are playing without Kirk Cousins this week, following a positive Covid test. Despite all the talk about how much Cousins “stinks”, it’s clear he’s important to this team, as the line moved from 3.5 all the way to 13. Even with other key Vikings back this week, there’s little faith Sean Mannion can lead the Vikings to victory in a must-win scenario. Cross-off the Vikings in the playoff race at this point.

The Packers are at home, facing a Kirk Cousins-less offense. As far as closing schedules go, the Packers have these weakened Vikings and the Lions to close the season. Wins over both means the Packers will secure the top seed in the  NFC, as well as a first round bye. With the home fans eager to see a decisive win today, I think it’s a good opportunity for Aaron Rodgers to make a push for MVP, and give the fans a proper finale.

Sunday’s cash had the Packers as slight cash favorites at the listed line.

Packers 30 Vikings 16

 

Browns at Steelers -2.5

The Browns are on the brink of making/missing the playoffs. They’ve now lost three of their last four and face the difficult challenge of beating the Steelers in Ben Roethlisberger’s final home game. Even with Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb back, this offense has hurdles to overcome in the passing game. Defensively, the Browns also need to step it up if they want to have a shot at making the playoffs.

It’s Big Ben’s last home game of his career this week. Though very controversial off the field, Big Ben has been the stable force of this franchise for nearly two full decades. The Steelers are going to have to win-out to make the playoffs, and this game will be no walk in the park. With the Browns sharing the same playoff situation, this will be a bloodbath I want no part of as a bettor.

Sunday’s cash had the Steelers holding 96% of the cash at +3.5. By Monday, the Steelers’ line moved to -2.5, as the Browns were eliminated from the playoffs by way of the Raiders and Chargers both winning. Two hours from kickoff, the cash was heavy still (89% at -120 on DK).

Steelers 23 Browns 20. 

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