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THE WEEKLY BLITZ
Our FREE NFL picks versus the spread are purely for entertainment purposes only.  But, let's face it, being right (winning) is more fun than being wrong (losing).
     
Every week, five of our "handicappers" at The Weekly Blitz will pick their three best NFL games against the spread (ATS).

Final 2011 results: Combined record of 84-56-13 (60.0 percent) ATS.
Final 2012 results: Combined record of 130-121-4 (51.8 percent) ATS.

2013 Cumulative Results: 107-133-12 (44.6 percent) ATS.
 
See also:
2013 NFL WEEK 17 LINES FROM SPORTSBOOK.COM
 
SUMMARY OF PICKS BY CONTRIBUTORS
Week: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17
  Picks are for entertainment purposes only.
Lines used for each handicapper are the lines at the time of their pick.
  Links to their picks are under the name (as well as below in the grid).
Spreads are as of Sunday, December 29th at 6:36 a.m. ET
  Kevin
Dan
Sean
Steve
John
    Date/Time (ET)
Favorite
Spread
Underdog
    Kevin's picks
Dan's picks
Sean's picks
Steve's picks
John's picks
    Sun., Dec. 29 at 1:05 PM
Panthers
6.5
FALCONS
             
    Sun., Dec. 29 at 1:05 PM
TITANS
7.0
Texans
        HOU +7
TEN -7
 
    Sun., Dec. 29 at 1:05 PM
STEELERS
7.0
Browns
             
    Sun., Dec. 29 at 1:05 PM
GIANTS
3.5
Redskins
             
    Sun., Dec. 29 at 1:05 PM
BENGALS
6.5
Ravens
            BAL +6.5
    Sun., Dec. 29 at 1:05 PM
COLTS
10.5
Jaguars
    JAX +10.5
      JAX +10.5
    Sun., Dec. 29 at 1:05 PM
DOLPHINS
5.5
Jets
      NYJ +5.5
     
    Sun., Dec. 29 at 1:05 PM
VIKINGS
2.5
Lions
          MIN -2.5
 
    Sun., Dec. 29 at 4:25 PM
Packers
3.0
BEARS
             
    Sun., Dec. 29 at 4:25 PM
PATRIOTS
8.0
Bills
      NE -8
     
    Sun., Dec. 29 at 4:25 PM
SAINTS
12.0
Bucs
        NO -12
NO -13
 
    Sun., Dec. 29 at 4:25 PM
Broncos
11.0
RAIDERS
             
    Sun., Dec. 29 at 4:25 PM
49ers
1.0
CARDINALS
    SF -1
       
    Sun., Dec. 29 at 4:25 PM
CHARGERS
9.0
Chiefs
             
    Sun., Dec. 29 at 4:25 PM
SEAHAWKS
11.5
Rams
            STL +11.5
    Sun., Dec. 29 at 8:30 PM
Eagles
7.0
COWBOYS
    DAL +7
PHI -7
DAL +7
   
                 
Sportsbook.ag
 
CONTRIBUTOR
  GAME 1
  GAME 2
  GAME 3
Kevin
2011 Record: 33-14-4 (70.2%)
2012 Record: 22-28-1 (44.0%)
2013 Record: 25-24-2 (51.0%)
  49ers (-1) at Cardinals
  Jaguars at Colts (-10.5)
  Eagles (-7) at Cowboys
  49ers -1
  Jaguars +10.5
  Cowboys +7
 
Under first-year head coach Bruce Arians, last year's Coach of the Year, the Cardinals have far exceeded expectations in arguably the best division in football. While a win at home over the Niners and some help from the Bucs can get the Cards into the playoffs, I don't expect the Saints, who are 12-point favorites, to lose at home to a four-win Bucs team.

If somehow (and it wouldn't be unexpectedly) the Saints go up big early (say 21-3), it wouldn't surprise me if the Cardinals are looking at the scoreboard and become a little deflated knowing that win or loss that they would miss the playoffs.

On the other hand, the 49ers are playing for a potential first-round bye if the Rams can upset the Seahawks. I don't expect them to pull off the straight up upset as a double-digit underdog, but I expect that game to be closer than the Saints-Bucs matchup.

Considering the spread is only one point, I like the fact that I won't lose against the spread as long as the 49ers win.
 
After starting the season 0-8, the Jaguars have a chance to finish with a winning record in the second half with a win over the Colts. Either way, they will have at least a .500 record in the second half of the season.

Coach Gus Bradley has this squad believing in themselves and I expect them to keep this divisional game close.

Even though a win (and Bengals' loss) would allow the Colts to move to the No. 3 seed, they will be playing (albeit hosting) a game in the wild card round of the playoffs. In other words, while I expect the game to be closer than the spread, I can also envision a scenario where the Colts are up 17 points in the fourth quarter, rest their starters and the Jags get a back-door garbage-time cover with a late touchdown.
 
Despite a laundry list of woes, the Cowboys are in a position to win the division with a win at home against the Eagles on Sunday Night Football.

In their first matchup against the Eagles, the Cowboys knocked Nick Foles out of the game in an ugly 17-3 win on the road. In that game, they were without DeMarco Murray, who has been a dominant running back over the past month and change.

In fact, the only running back with more rushing yards in his past six games is LeSean McCoy, who also has 14 more carries during that span. Both backs are averaging roughly the same yardage per carry: McCoy (5.87) and Murray (5.85). Murray (seven) has scored more TDs than McCoy (six).

While I'm not sure that I fully expect the Cowboys to make a clean 6-0 sweep in the division this year, I do expect them to keep this game relatively close (within a TD or less) with a huge dose of Murray and some safe passes by Kyle Orton to playmakers like Dez Bryant and Jason Witten.
     
   

Dan
2011 Record: 24-21-6 (53.3%)
2012 Record: 28-23 (54.9%)
2013 Record: 15-34-2 (30.6%)
  Jets at Dolphins (-5.5)
  Bills at Patriots (-8)
  Eagles (-7) at Cowboys
  Jets +5.5
  Patriots -8
  Eagles -7
 
The Jets and Dolphins are one of the great rivalries in the league, and of course, nothing would save Rex Ryan's job more than by beating Miami and knocking them out of the playoffs. The Jets will have history on their side going into this game, as they are 8-2 in their last 10 games against the spread in Miami.

The Dolphins will be hard pressed to run the ball this week, as the Jets only allow 88 yards per game and 3.3 yards per carry on the ground. No other offensive line has given up more sacks than Miami, and of course, the Jets have one of the best front fours in the league that have tallied 41 sacks on the year.

I love getting the 5.5 points, as I believe the Jets will play hard for their coach and keep this one close.
 
Perhaps no other team heading into the playoffs is as banged up as the Patriots, but they can take a huge step towards healing by winning tomorrow and getting a first-round bye. The Patriots know what is at stake, and I think this will be a classic game where they will not take their foot off the gas for the entire 60 minutes.

The Patriots will be able to exploit a Buffalo run defense that allows 119 yards per game, and 4.2 yards per carry. Also, New England will have to deal with backup quarterback Thad Lewis, so I foresee them loading eight in the box to stop Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller. The Patriots also have the Bills number, as they have gone 10-1 straight up in their last 11, and of course not one team finishes better than the Pats.

The Patriots will put this game out of reach early, and I look for a steady dose of Stevan Ridley and LeGarrette Blount, as the Pats need the first-round bye in the worst way, and they will get it.
 
Wow, losing Tony Romo is not only a huge blow, it also swung this game's line by almost 10 points. This is the classic win and you're in scenario, and while Kyle Orton is one of the better backups in the league, he doesn't stand a chance.

The problem is that Dallas has one of, if not the worst defenses in the league, and Orton will have to put up 40 points to hang with the Eagles, and I just don't see that happening. The Cowboys will be hurt by the league's leading rusher in LeSean McCoy, as they give up 127 yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry. Also, the blur offense under Nick Foles will shred a Dallas secondary that gives up 291 yards per game and 31 touchdowns on the year.

The main bright spot for the Cowboys is DeMarco Murray, but he will have a tough go against a rush defense that allows 3.8 yards per carry and caused a league-high 14 fumbles. I love the road favorite here, and I think the Eagles will handle the Cowboys easily with a trip to the playoffs on the line.
             
Sean
2011 Record: 27-21-3 (56.3%)
2012 Record: 31-20 (60.8%)
2013 Record: 23-26-2 (46.9%)
  Eagles (-7) at Cowboys
  Texans at Titans (-7)
  Buccaneers at Saints (-12)
  Cowboys +7
  Texans +7
  Saints -12
 
There would have been nothing greater than watching SNF and watching Tony Romo choke the season away again, but unfortunately we don't get that luxory this year as Romo is out for the rest of the season with a back injury. Kyle Orton might not be as mobile as Romo, but I think he can get the job done and put points onto the board.

Both defenses are awful, so this game should be a good one for all of you daily league players. I believe all the major stars in this one are solid plays in daily fantasy leagues as this game should be well over the 53-1/2 line. This game comes down to whoever has the ball last, and I think Dallas without Romo prevails and clinches a berth into the playoffs. Dallas, 36-33.
 
It will be the end of an era in Nashville on Sunday, as Chris Johnson will most likely be playing his last game in a Titans uniform. The move makes sense for many reasons, as there are more pressing needs this offseason other than running back.

Backup Shonn Greene has actually been just as good, if not better than CJ, since he has been healthy. The CJ2K days are over. Johnson needs 50 yards rushing to hit 1,000 this year. I don't think he does it, as I expect Tennessee to give a real look towards Greene Sunday to see if he can handle the load going forward next season.

I will never bet on Ryan Fitzpatrick laying a TD ... ever. Fitzpatrick reminds me a lot of Romo. He looks good during the game, makes a few plays, and then rips your heart out in crunch time. Fitzpatrick has made one too many mistakes late, and I think this is the case again here.

Texans upset the Titans in an ugly game, 19-15.
 
Last but not least is the Saints at home in a win and you're in game vs. the Bucs. There is no possible scenario where I can see the Saints losing this game, or even struggling in this one. I think Drew Brees has one of his best games of the season on Sunday throwing 4-5 touchdowns, and eclipsing the 400-yard mark.

It's pretty sad when a deserving 10-win team, maybe 11 wins (Arizona), could possibly miss the playoffs this year, but Green Bay could make it in with eight wins. Speaking of Green Bay, this is who the Saints will be playing next week, and with Aaron Rodgers under center, I think the Packers could be the dark horse team to make a run in the NFC. Saints, 41-20.
             
   

Steve
2011 Record: N/A
2012 Record: 29-22 (56.9%)
2013 Record: 18-27-3 (40.0%)
  Texans at Titans (-7)
  Lions at Vikings (-2.5)
  Buccaneers at Saints (-13)
  Titans -7
  Vikings -2.5
  Saints -13
 
Week 17 is always a challenge – teams resting starters for the playoffs, coaches looking for new jobs, players auditioning to keep their jobs – it always feels fractured with little logic to the outcome. This year might a bit of a reprieve as more games are meaningful than ever, so with that preface I’m falling back to what I believed in early in the season.

When we look back at the Titans season, we may realize they played the toughest non-divisional schedule of any team. They had brutal three-game stretches (all losses) against Kansas City, Seattle and San Francisco as well as Indy, Arizona and Denver. In my early season assessment, I didn’t give enough foresight to their schedule, but it may nearly have been too difficult to overcome.

The Titans have built their team from the lines inside-out and should be able to run on any team, including the Texans. Hopefully their running game can hide Ryan Fitzpatrick as quarterback. The Titans were able to rush for 182 yards last week against the Jags. I expect a repeat ground game this weekend while facing the Texans, a team that has completely quit on the season. With Gary Kubiak gone and his staff looking for jobs, I think the Titans should cruise to a victory over an unprepared Houston squad.
 
Speaking of fired coaches and teams lacking focus, may we introduce you to the 2013 Detroit Lions. The ink started drying on the walking paper for Jim Schwartz after that Week 15 loss to the Ravens.

Minnesota’s pass defense is atrocious and they were just waxed by Cincinnati. Not to mention, Adrian Peterson is doubtful for the Vikings, eliminating their most potent (and only) offensive weapon, but right now the Vikings and the Lions look to be fairly equal teams.

With Detroit eliminated from playoff contention and a notoriously undisciplined team, there is no reason to think they will suddenly find focus and resolve in the final week of the season. If there is one team I fully expect to be mailing it in this weekend, it's Detroit.
 
The Saints are playing for anywhere from the No. 2 seed to out of the playoffs. They know the stakes, lose and run the risk of being out; win and you are in.

There’s not much I need to say in regards to the quality of the offense in New Orleans being led by Drew Brees; despite back-to-back lackluster performances, this is still the second-best passing offense in the NFL. The Bucs have been average on defense and brutally bad offensively at times, currently last in the NFL at passing yards per game.

With Saints playing in the comfy confines of the Superdome, this game feels like a route waiting to happen.
             
John
2011 Record: N/A
2012 Record: 20-28-3 (41.7%)
2013 Record: 26-22-3 (54.2%)
  Ravens at Bengals (-6.5)
  Jaguars at Colts (-10.5)
  Rams at Seahawks (-11.5)
  Ravens +6.5
  Jaguars +10.5
  Rams +11.5
 
I like Cincinnati to win this one, but a division game with a playoff spot on the line for Baltimore means I'll take the points here. The Ravens laid a total egg against the Patriots last week, but prior to that, played the great majority of their games close. I expect this one to be close as well.
 
The Colts have not been the same team since losing Reggie Wayne. Whether or not his loss has been the reason for it, their last three losses have been total blowouts.

Jacksonville, on the other hand, is 4-3 over their last seven games, and their last two losses were by seven and four. The Jags have been much more competitive of late, and against a Colts team that has not looked like the same team that beat the Niners, Seahawks, and Broncos, I'll take the 11 points.
 
Seattle barely held off the Rams in St. Louis in their first match, and showed real vulnerability at home against the Cardinals last week. I know they have everything to play for this week, with the chance to lock up home field throughout, but that doesn't mean they're going to kill the Rams, who would accomplish an impressive 8-8 season in the best division in football with a win.

I still like Seattle to win, but I'm not expecting Jeff Fisher's Rams to just roll over. I'll take the dog to keep it close enough to cover here.