NFL betting breakdown: Week 17
Paramountsports.com handicapper Lee Sterling analyzes every NFL Week 17 game, with odds, trends and projected final scores.
Lee Sterling, Paramountsports.com, @paramountsports
49ers (11-4) at Raiders (6-9)
Time: 1:05 p.m., KVVU-5
Line/total: 49ers -10, 42½
Analysis: I can’t remember the last time a quarterback who wasn’t playing especially well was benched and the line moved almost five points. New Raiders starting QB Jarrett Stidham, who will replace Derek Carr, hasn’t hit on many big plays when he’s been inserted, but he rarely makes mistakes. The 49ers have 16 interceptions, so maybe changing from Carr, who has thrown nine picks in the last five games, isn’t such a bad idea. This used to be a huge rivalry game when the Raiders were located in the Bay Area. But things seem to have changed, and the rivalry is rarely mentioned anymore.
By the numbers: Brock Purdy is the first 49ers QB in franchise history to win his first three starts. … The Niners have won eight straight games while going 7-1 ATS.
Pick: 49ers 28, Raiders 20
Panthers (6-9) at Buccaneers (7-8)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line/total: Buccaneers -3½, 40½
Analysis: Carolina won the first meeting 21-3, and it wasn’t a fluke, as the Panthers rushed for 173 yards on just 27 carries. Carolina beat the Lions, one of the hottest teams in the NFL, last week by running the ball at an even higher level as D’Onta Foreman had 165 yards and his running mate Chuba Hubbard chipped in with 125 yards.
By the numbers: Tom Brady worked his magic again last week in leading Tampa Bay to a 19-16 overtime win over Arizona after it trailed the Cardinals 16-6 in the fourth quarter. … If the Panthers win and end the season in a tie with the Bucs, they’ll win the division by virtue of a head-to-head tiebreaker.
Pick: Panthers 21, Buccaneers 17
Browns (6-9) at Commanders (7-7-1)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line/total: Commanders -2½, 40½
Analysis: When you expect something from the Browns, they’ll always let you down. Nothing is expected of them here, so they’ll probably play their best game of the year. Carson Wentz steps back in as the starting QB for Washington as Taylor Heinicke had almost the identical stats and obviously isn’t the answer, either. This is a must-win game for the Commanders. The Browns are officially eliminated from the playoffs.
By the numbers: Washington is on an 0-3 spread skid, and it was penalized more than its opponent in all three games. … Cleveland is on a 5-0 under streak, and Washington is on a 9-3-1 under run.
Pick: Browns 27, Commanders 23
Saints (6-9) at Eagles (13-2)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line/total: Eagles -5, 41½
Analysis: The Eagles are stronger at almost every position on offense and defense. This matchup also features Philadelphia’s defense, which is No. 2 in the NFL in takeaways, against the most turnover-prone unit in the NFL in the Saints, who lead the league with 23. The Eagles can clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win.
By the numbers: The Eagles beat the Saints in each of the last two seasons in Philadelphia and are a much stronger team this year. … The Saints are averaging only 10.7 points per game in their last four road contests.
Pick: Eagles 35, Saints 13
Cardinals (4-11) at Falcons (5-10)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line/total: Falcons -6, 40½
Analysis: This is a matchup of two poor QBs as Atlanta’s Desmond Ridder hasn’t thrown a TD pass in eight quarters of action and Arizona third-string QB Trace McSorley has thrown for no TDs and four interceptions with a subpar 52.7 percent completion percentage. A win here probably won’t even save Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury’s job.
By the numbers: This is only the third time this season that the Falcons have been favored. … The Cardinals are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 road games. … Atlanta rookie WR Drake London had seven receptions for 96 yards in last week’s loss at Baltimore.
Pick: Falcons 20, Cardinals 14
Jaguars (7-8) at Texans (2-12-1)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line/total: Jaguars -3, 42½
Analysis: The Jaguars-Titans Week 18 matchup at Jacksonville will determine the AFC South division winner. This game means virtually nothing. Despite playing well in the the last half of the season, Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence has lost a league-leading eight fumbles.
By the numbers: Both teams have been awful for a long time. But the Texans have won nine straight games against the Jaguars while going 7-2 ATS. … Houston is on a 3-0 spread streak.
Pick: Texans 23, Jaguars 20
Bears (3-12) at Lions (7-8)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line/total: Lions -6, 52½
Analysis: The Bears lost the first meeting 31-30, but they’ve compiled fewer than 300 total yards in four of their last five games. Chicago’s offensive line and receiving corps have been weakened by injuries. Adding to the Bears’ injury woes, they’ll probably have to face red-hot Lions QB Jared Goff without two of their four starting defensive backs.
By the numbers: The Lions are 6-2 straight-up and 7-1 ATS in their last eight games. … The Bears have lost eight straight while going 2-6 ATS.
Pick: Lions 37, Bears 24
Dolphins (8-7) at Patriots (7-8)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line/total: Patriots -2½, 41½
Analysis: This is an AFC East matchup of teams trying to keep their hopes alive for the playoffs, where they’ll probably get drubbed by Buffalo or Kansas City. The Patriots relish playing backup QBs or former starters. So far this season, they’ve beaten Zach Wilson twice, Mitchell Trubisky, Sam Ehlinger, Colt McCoy and Jacoby Brissett. Add Teddy Bridgewater to that list Sunday.
By the numbers: The Dolphins are allowing 31.5 ppg on the road this season. … Miami has lost four straight games while going 1-3 ATS.
Pick: Patriots 20, Dolphins 15
Broncos (4-11) at Chiefs (12-3)
Time: 10 a.m., KLAS-8
Line/total: Chiefs -13, 45
Analysis: The Broncos seemed to mail it in last week’s embarrassing 51-14 loss to the Rams. But I expect a much better effort against their division rivals now that coach Nathaniel Hackett has been fired. Eight of Denver’s 11 losses have been by seven points or less. Broncos QB Russell Wilson has had only one good game this season, and it came in Denver’s 34-28 loss to the Chiefs.
By the numbers: Kansas City is on a 1-8-1 ATS slide in its last 10 games as a favorite of four points or more. … The Chiefs have won the past 14 meetings but are on a 2-3 spread skid in the series.
Pick: Chiefs 31, Broncos 24
Colts (4-10-1) at Giants (8-6-1)
Time: 10 a.m.
Line/total: Giants -5½, 39
Analysis: To say Colts QB Nick Foles looked rusty in his first start of the season would be an understatement. The former Super Bowl MVP threw for only 143 yards on 29 attempts with no touchdowns and three interceptions. All three of the picks were the products of horrible decisions or passes that weren’t thrown on time or hard enough. The Giants enter this contest with an extra day of rest, while the Colts are traveling on a short week.
By the numbers: The Colts have lost five straight while going 2-3 ATS and are on a 3-6 spread skid overall. … Indianapolis is on a 15-5 under run.
Pick: Giants 27, Colts 17
Jets (7-8) at Seahawks (7-8)
Time: 1:05 p.m.
Line/total: Jets -1½, 42½
Analysis: Mike White steps back in as New York’s starting QB after recovering from a rib injury. The Jets need to win each of their last two games to have any chance of making the playoffs. New York has been much better on the road, going 4-3 straight-up and 5-2 ATS. The Seahawks’ defense has struggled the last five games, giving up 27.6 ppg against the likes of pedestrian QBs John Wolford and Sam Darnold.
By the numbers: Seattle has lost five of its last six games while scoring only 15.6 ppg. … Jets QB Zach Wilson was benched late in the third quarter last week after throwing for only 92 yards and an interception in a 19-3 loss to the Jaguars.
Pick: Jets 27, Seahawks 17
Vikings (12-3) at Packers (7-8)
Time: 1:25 p.m., KLAS-8
Line/total: Packers -3, 48
Analysis: The Vikings are locked into either the No. 2 or No. 3 playoff seed. I’m not sure how motivated they will be to play their starters the entire game and go all out to win. Vikings wideout Justin Jefferson shredded the Packers in the first meeting with nine catches for 184 yards and two TDs.
By the numbers: The Packers’ pass defense has improved as the season has progressed and is now ranked third in the NFL, allowing 192.4 passing yards per game. … The Vikings rank last in passing defense (281.5 ypg) and 28th in scoring defense (24.9 ppg).
Pick: Packers 35, Vikings 28
Rams (5-10) at Chargers (9-6)
Time: 1:25 p.m.
Line/total: Chargers -6½, 42
Analysis: The Chargers are only 2-3 ATS this season as favorites of three points or more. Fresh off clinching a playoff berth, we might see a B- or C+ effort, at best, by the Chargers. Their defense has gotten healthier, but in the last two games, they got to face a banged-up Titans QB Ryan Tannehill and Colts third-string QB Nick Foles.
By the numbers: Despite the Rams being injury-riddled on offense, QB Baker Mayfield and RB Cam Akers are playing arguably the best football of their careers during a 3-1 ATS run. … The Chargers are working on a short week after winning in Indianapolis on Monday night.
Pick: Chargers 24, Rams 20
Steelers (7-8) at Ravens (10-5)
Time: 5:20 p.m., KSNV-3
Line/total: Ravens -2, 35½
Analysis: Steelers QB Kenny Pickett is a slight upgrade over former starter Mitchell Trubisky, but the rookie has thrown only three TD passes in his last seven games. Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman seems to be pushing all the right buttons as all three Baltimore QBs have benefited from a strong running game that has gained 150 yards or more in 12 of the team’s 15 games.
By the numbers: The Ravens rushed for 215 yards in the first meeting against the Steelers. … Pittsburgh is 4-1 ATS in its last five visits to Baltimore. … The underdog has covered the last 10 meetings.
Pick: Ravens 19, Steelers 13
Bills (12-3) at Bengals (11-4)
Time: 5:30 p.m., ESPN
Line/total: Bills -1, 50
Analysis: This is Joe Burrow’s first game against Buffalo. The Bills ran for 254 yards in last week’s win over the Bears in their most prolific rushing game in six years. Buffalo has faced a weak slate of passing offenses this season, most notably the Steelers, Bears, Titans, Jets twice and Patriots twice. The Bengals have the NFL’s No. 5 pass offense at 269.2 ypg.
By the numbers: The Bills have won six straight games but are on a 3-6 spread slide. … Cincinnati has won and covered seven games in a row and is riding an incredible 20-3 ATS run.
Pick: Bengals 30, Bills 28