NFL picks and predictions Week 17 | NFL lines and odds
Let’s break down the remainder of the action on Sunday and Monday. Here are our Week 17 picks, predictions, and NFL odds as of 2 PM ET on December 28.
Houston Texans (+13) at San Francisco 49ers
Davis Mills has been quite good in recent weeks despite throwing to one of the lowest-tier receiving corps in the league. Major underdogs last week against the Chargers, I picked the Texans to cover and will do so again this weekend.
Houston is just good enough to keep things interesting, particularly with Brandin Cooks expected to return from the reserve/COVID-19 list. Don’t trust Rex Burkhead, but it’s okay to re-invest in Cooks.
For the 49ers, all eyes are on whether Trey Lance starts with Jimmy Garoppolo currently questionable with an injured thumb. All core Niners would be startable in fantasy regardless of who starts. Lance has 24-plus-point potential given what we’ve seen so far. He’s a special talent.
Texans vs. 49ers Prediction: 49ers 23, Texans 14
Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers (-5)
A revenge game for the Chargers, who inexplicably were roasted by the Texans last weekend while losing to the Broncos four weeks earlier. I’m starting Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen in my championship week. But with Joshua Palmer ascending, I wouldn’t trust Mike Williams if he returns. The same goes for Justin Jackson if Austin Ekeler returns.
For Denver, we haven’t been able to trust their receiving corps in fantasy for most of the year — really, since Jerry Jeudy was reactivated midseason. Expect much better performances from Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams, as the Chargers have given up the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing backfields.
Broncos vs. Chargers Prediction: Chargers 26, Broncos 17
Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens (+3.5)
The Rams would be the easier call here. They’ve won four straight, while the Ravens have lost four straight. But I’m not as interested in the past.
Baltimore’s run defense is one of the league’s best (yielding only 3.9 yards per carry and 12 rushing scores). I think Sony Michel (and Cam Akers if he returns) will have a relatively tough time generating offense on the ground. Cooper Kupp remains a must-start, while Odell Beckham Jr. and Van Jefferson are certainly streamable as big-play receivers.
At this point, no one knows if Lamar Jackson will return. Regardless, I’m all in on Baltimore rising to the occasion at home in a must-win game. Their backfield is good enough to (sometimes) move the chains, though I’d caution that Devonta Freeman and Latavius Murray remain highly TD-dependent.
Mark Andrews is an obvious must-start, while Marquise Brown and Rashod Bateman are streamable, even against the Rams’ tough pass defense. One or both of these wideouts should break through, as Baltimore will need to throw to stay in this game.
Rams vs. Ravens Prediction: Ravens 22, Rams 20
Detroit Lions (+7) at Seattle Seahawks
The backfield question marks remain with D’Andre Swift still on the shelf. Jamaal Williams is barely trustworthy as an RB3/4 in Swift’s absence. Craig Reynolds deserves more touches. Jared Goff is a decent bet for 14+ points, thanks to must-start Amon-Ra St. Brown.
I keep betting on Russell Wilson and his two normally near-elite receivers, and I keep missing. Maybe Wilson’s finger still isn’t fully healed. Maybe there’s dissension in the locker room with rumors that Wilson might leave Seattle after this season. Either way, we have to believe Wilson will do enough against Detroit to outperform Goff, and that Tyler Lockett and/or DK Metcalf will be a WR3+. Elsewhere, Rashaad Penny proved me wrong last week. I still don’t trust him in fantasy as an RB2+.
Lions vs. Seahawks Prediction: Seahawks 26, Lions 20
Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys (-5)
Heading into Week 13, I packaged Kyler Murray and Alexander Mattison in a blockbuster eight-player trade that brought back Justin Herbert and Nick Chubb. On balance, I’ve been happy with the results. I certainly trust Herbert at home against Denver more than I do Murray in Dallas.
Arizona’s passing game hasn’t looked the same since Murray’s return and DeAndre Hopkins’ exit. Christian Kirk and Zach Ertz appear to be the only reliable receivers. If James Conner returns, I’m concerned neither he nor Chase Edmonds will exceed 12 fantasy points — not bad, but not what title contenders need.
For Dallas, start all the usual players. Dak Prescott on the road this year has 9 TDs and 8 interceptions. At home? 21 TDs and 2 interceptions. The Cardinals are beatable on the ground and through the air. I’m starting CeeDee Lamb with relative confidence. Amari Cooper and Dalton Schultz also should fare well. Michael Gallup remains a fringe WR3/4 streamer. Ezekiel Elliott should be a top-20 RB, while Tony Pollard should crack the top 34.
Cardinals vs. Cowboys Prediction: Cowboys 31, Cardinals 22
Sunday Night Football: Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (-6.5)
Justin Jefferson sounded off against his teammates and head coach this week. They need to win Sunday night to have a shot at the postseason. They probably won’t. Assuming Dalvin Cook returns, start him, Jefferson, and Adam Thielen (if active). If Thielen sits, K.J. Osborn would be a likely top-32 WR. Kirk Cousins will try to help keep pace with the Packers. Interestingly, Minnesota’s scored 1 more point than Green Bay this season, but that probably won’t be apparent in this game.
For Green Bay, Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon should once again form a solid 1-2 punch against a Vikings defense yielding 4.7 yards per carry. Jones is a must-start. Dillon is an RB3+. We know what to do with Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams. As for Allen Lazard, we’ll keep tabs on Marquez Valdes-Scantling’s status. One of them should rise to the occasion against Minnesota.
Vikings vs. Packers Prediction: Packers 35, Vikings 24
Monday Night Football: Cleveland Browns (-3.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
What a fascinating game. At least one of these formerly highly touted teams won’t make the playoffs. I’m betting on the Browns to keep their postseason hopes alive. Kareem Hunt might return, which would make him a must-stream option in a favorable matchup. Nick Chubb is an obvious start. I can’t trust any Cleveland receivers unless you’re desperate for a boom-bust Jarvis Landry or Donovan Peoples-Jones.
For Pittsburgh, Najee Harris will need plenty of receptions to crack the top 16. He’s a safer bet for low-end RB2 production. Diontae Johnson is a must-start, and Ben Roethlisberger might gut out 2 touchdowns. But his immobility and reduced accuracy could lead to another disastrous performance.
Browns vs. Steelers Prediction: Browns 20, Steelers 13