By Brien O’Donal
It’s the last week of the season and I can’t tell you how glad I am that it’s over. The Texans are garbage and my Packers will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2009. It’s all disappointing. But I’m here to remind you that there are other exciting games to watch. Maybe this is the week I pick every game, spread, and over/under as a winner.
Redskins (7-8) at Giants (2-13)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; Fox
Redskins -3, O/U 39 1/2
The Giants are now without the three cornerbacks that started the season for them, and all for suspension. I don’t know what to say about the level of dysfunction that entails but I can’t imagine they care at all about winning a game that means nothing for either team. The Redskins aren’t in the running for a playoff spot or for seeding in the draft order so they have more incentive to win as many games as they want. I will take the Skins’ to win by more than a field goal but I will take the under 39 1/2 total.
Jets (5-10) at Patriots (12-3)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; CBS
Patriots -15, O/U 43 1/2
The Patriots need a win to secure home field throughout the playoffs and the Jets have long been a punching bag for their needs. The Patriots won’t be lulled into a false sense of security this week and the Jets won’t stop them. The Patriots are almost always a safe bet against the spread so I will take them at -15 but I will stay with the under in this one because I don’t think the Jets will score a lot of points.
Bears (5-10) at Vikings (12-3)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; Fox
Vikings -11 1/2, O/U 39
The Vikings defense is keeping points off the board this year and the Bears haven’t been in good position to put them there in the first place. The Vikings need to keep their first round bye so I will bet on them to win this game. It’s a home game for them too so I will go with the 11 1/2 points. I will go ahead and go with the under in this one because I like the Vikings defense more than I like the Bears offense.
Packers (7-8) at Lions (8-7)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; Fox
Lions -6 1/2, O/U 43
These two teams are eliminated and playing only for pride. Green Bay doesn’t seem to be able to stop opposing offenses so I expect the Lions to put up points to secure one last win for the season. But the Packers without Aaron Rodgers have shown a propensity for running the ball a lot, which happens to be a weakness for the Lions. Brett Hundley has improved since the last meeting between these two teams and I expect a closer score. I will take the Packers to cover at +6 1/2 and the over 43.
Texans (4-11) at Colts (3-12)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; CBS
Colts -5, O/U 40
I really don’t know if the Texans could win a game against anyone, including the Browns. The Colts may only have three wins, but one of them was against the Texans in Houston. Now they will be in Indianapolis where the Texans are historically bad. It was announced that DeAndre Hopkins was going to miss this game, the first time in his career he will sit out. Without their best weapon the Texans will be even worse than they have been on offense already. I will take the Colts at -5 and the under.
Browns (0-15) at Steelers (12-3)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; CBS
This is the game that has no odds. I’m not sure why. Maybe they expect the Steelers to win by such a huge margin there’s no point in letting people wager on it. I am picking the Steelers to win this one and win big.
Cowboys (8-7) at Eagles (13-2)- Sunday 12:00 p.m. CT; Fox
Cowboys -3, O/U 39 1/2
I was right about the Eagles and Nick Foles last week. They got a win but it didn’t look great and now they will have to face the biggest thorn in their side. After what I saw, and knowing that they already have the number one seed locked up the Cowboys should be the favorite to stick it to the Eagles. I will bet my money on them doing just that and getting the points too. I will take the over 39 1/2 here.
49ers (5-10) at Rams (11-4)- Sunday 3:25 p.m. CT; Fox
49ers -3 1/2, O/U 43 1/2
The Rams announced that Jared Goff will sit out this game and I wouldn’t be surprised if the rest of their stars are limited. They have the division locked up and they probably feel confident they can win that first one at home against anyone. But this isn’t that playoff game and the 49ers are coming off an upset against the vaunted Jaguars defense. Garoppolo is really turning the 49ers around and should be able to eke out a win to build on their promise for next year. I don’t know if they will do it by more than a field goal, but I will gamble on that. I’m going to hit on this one at -3 1/2 but I will take the under 43 1/2.
Raiders (6-9) at Chargers (8-7)- Sunday 3:25 p.m. CT; CBS
Chargers -8, O/U 42
The Chargers need a win and a little bit of help to get into the playoffs after starting the season 0-4. I don’t know if that will happen but I think they can do their part by winning this game against the Raiders. It may be a divisional game but the Raiders really haven’t been a dominant force this season. They’ve had some good games but nothing that would really suggest they can battle hard when the other team is more determined than they are. If you need proof look at the Eagles game last week. They could have won that game against a struggling Nick Foles manning the helm, but they didn’t. The Eagles needed that win and the Raiders still couldn’t stop it. I am picking the Chargers to win but I won’t take 8 points. I will take the Chargers to win but against the spread I will put money on the Raiders at +8. I will go with the over 42.
Chiefs (9-6) at Broncos (5-10)- Sunday 3:25 p.m. CT; CBS
Broncos -3 1/2, O/U 38
The Chiefs have the division won and will be resting their starting quarterback. Patrick Mahomes will make his first career start in one of the most difficult places to play. Like the Rams, I would count on other Chiefs starters being limited. I will still take the Chiefs at +3 1/2 but it wouldn’t surprise me if the Broncos won. I will take the under in this now meaningless game.
Jaguars (10-5) at Titans (8-7)- Sunday 3:25 p.m. CT; CBS
Titans -3, O/U 42
I think the Jaguars find a way win this one and keep the Titans out of the playoffs. I think they want to prove to themselves they can do it and get some confidence before their first playoff game in a decade. It’s going to be tough because the Titans are really trying to claw their way into a playoff game that they were supposed to have locked up by now. At least that’s what we all thought at the beginning of the season. I will take the Jaguars at +3 and the over 42.
Saints (11-4) at Buccaneers (4-11)- Sunday 3:25 p.m. CT; Fox
Saints -6 1/2, O/U 50
Yeah, like everyone one else I like the Saints. I think they are ready for whoever comes at them in the playoffs. Lucky for them they drew the Buccaneers who are the worst in their division. A solid running game is the best thing for the playoffs and the Saints have that by the truckload. They have to win to get the division title so I’m putting my money on them to take a lead and hold it with their running game. I will give them the touchdown advantage but I will go with the under in this one.
Bills (8-7) at Dolphins (6-9)- Sunday 3:25 p.m. CT; CBS
Bills -2 1/2, O/U 42 1/2
I like the Bills at this number. They are fighting to recover their once bright chance at their first playoff berth this century. They still need help to get this done but I think they will find a way to beat the Dolphins with defense and LeSean McCoy. I’m taking them at -2 1/2 and I will take the over 42 1/2 as well.
Cardinals (7-8) at Seahawks (9-6)- Sunday 3:25 p.m. CT; Fox
Seahawks -9 1/2, O/U 38 1/2
Another game where a team fighting for a shot at the playoffs will face off against a team that might make it easy for them. I like the Seahawks to win this game and I expect them to find a way to win big. They found a way to win against the Cowboys last week too. I think they keep it together and get a win. I will also go ahead and punch my ticket at -9 1/2. I’m going to go ahead and take the over 38 1/2.
Panthers (11-4) at Falcons (9-6)- Sunday 3:25 p.m. CT; Fox
Falcons -4, O/U 45
This line must be favoring the Falcons because they are the home team in a tough divisional game. I like it. I like that. This will probably be one of the most fun games to watch but I think the Panthers are the tougher of these two opponents. I will be taking Carolina in this one, keeping their shot at a divisional title alive. I will take the over 45.
Bengals (6-9) at Ravens (9-6)- Sunday 3:25 p.m. CT; CBS
Ravens -9 1/2, O/U 40
Yeah, I don’t see this one staying under 40. I’ll just throw that out there. The Bengals might have found a spark at the end of the season by beating the Lions. If they can put something like that together against a tough Ravens defense this might a walk in the park for Baltimore. I don’t think they’ll win. No, I think the Ravens will do their best to secure a spot in the playoffs. But I will take the Bengals at +9 1/2.