Week 17 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Hanson)
Every week, four of our contributors pick between two and five games each and assign a number of units (one to five) to their selection based on their confidence in the pick.
With that said, here are my Week 17 NFL picks against the spread:
Kansas City Chiefs -5 over San Diego Chargers (3 Units)
A win over San Diego -- coupled with an Oakland loss -- would allow the Chiefs to leapfrog the Raiders for the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the playoffs. Nobody should confuse the Chiefs for being a high-flying offense, but Travis Kelce has taken a big step forward with 100-plus yards in five of six games and Tyreek Hill can definitely change the game any time he touches the ball.
With Melvin Gordon sitting out the finale (and Kenneth Farrow placed on IR), the Chargers will rely on Ronnie Hillman and Andre Williams at running back. In other words, that will allow the Chiefs defense to tee up on Philip Rivers as San Diego should struggle to move the ball on the ground. While Rivers has eight consecutive games with multiple pass TDs, he's thrown 15 interceptions over the past half-season as well.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3.5 over Carolina Panthers (3 Units)
While the calendar has technically turned to 2017, the Panthers are ready to put this (last) year behind them and begin their offseason. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers will try to close the season out with a bang even if their playoff hopes require a near miracle. If the Bucs win this game, it will be their first winning season since LeGarrette Blount reached the 1,000-yard milestone for them as a rookie in 2010. Given how their seasons have gone, I expect the Bucs to take care of business at home on Sunday and enter the offseason with some positive momentum.
Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions, Over 50.0 (3 Units)
It's a win-and-in regular-season finale for the Packers and Lions. Ultimately, I expect the Packers to win this game, but I think both offenses will be able to move the ball. In their Week 3 matchup at Lambeau, these two teams combined for 61 points as Green Bay won that game, 34-27.
Despite any early-season questions about the offense, Aaron Rodgers is playing MVP-caliber football and Green Bay has scored 30-plus points in three consecutive games. Over his past six games, Rodgers has completed nearly 70 percent of his pass attempts for 8.5 Y/A with 14 (passing) touchdowns and no interceptions.
Earlier this season, Matthew Stafford threw for 385 yards and three touchdowns against Green Bay, who has allowed a league-high 8.0 Y/A this season. And only the Browns have surrendered more passing touchdowns than the Packers (30).
Arizona Cardinals -6.5 over Los Angeles Rams (2 Units)
While the Rams have moved on from Jeff Fisher, he was right about this team not going 7-9. A surprising 3-1 start has been followed up by 10 losses in 11 games.
This game features a second-year running back that would be in the MVP mix if it weren't for a poor team record. Of course, I'm not referring to Todd Gurley, the 10th-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Instead, I'm talking about David Johnson, who has reached the 100-yard mark in all 15 games this season. (As a comparison, Gurley has yet to reach 100 yards in any game this year.)
Clearly, it's been a disappointing season for the Cardinals, who were a game away from the Super Bowl last year. And even though a win over Los Angeles may be a small consolation prize, it would allow the Cardinals to go into the offseason on a positive note.
- Note: All of our NFL picks against the spread will be centralized here.
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