I went 13-3 last week straight up, and 8-8 against the spread. For the season, that puts me at 153-87 straight up and 108-124-8 against the spread. Compare that record with the “experts” over at ESPN.com.
What follows are my picks for the NFL’s Week 17 games:
*Sunday, December 30*
Chicago 9-6 at Detroit 4-11 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Bears by 3)
The Lions have lost seven games in a row and are 0-5 against NFC North opponents this season. Calvin Johnson needs just 108 receiving yards to reach 2,000 for the year. The Bears would make the playoffs with a win here and a loss by the Vikings.
—RJ’s Pick: Detroit by 3
Tampa Bay 6-9 at Atlanta 13-2 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: No Line)
It’s a meaningless game. The Falcons have already wrapped up the top seed in the NFC, while the Buccaneers have already been eliminated from playoff contention. Since it’s unknown to what extent the Falcons will rest their starters, there is no line for this matchup at the time of this writing.
—RJ’s Pick: Atlanta by 8
New York Jets 6-9 at Buffalo 5-10 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Bills by 3)
The Jets are starting Mark Sanchez under center this week, as Greg McElroy is experiencing concussion-like symptoms, and Tim Tebow is apparently too much of a proven winner for the miserable Jets organization. The Bills have dropped three straight.
—RJ’s Pick: Buffalo by 11
Baltimore 10-5 at Cincinnati 9-6 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Bengals by 2.5)
The Bengals will be the AFC’s sixth seed no matter the outcome of this game. The Ravens can be the AFC’s third seed with a win and a loss by the Patriots. Otherwise, they will be the fourth seed in the conference.
—RJ’s Pick: Baltimore by 4
Jacksonville 2-13 at Tennessee 5-10 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Titans by 4)
The Titans are winless so far this season against AFC South opponents. The Jaguars have the second worst point differential in the league.
—RJ’s Pick: Tennessee by 1
Houston 12-3 at Indianapolis 10-5 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Texans by 7)
The Colts are locked in to the AFC’s fifth seed. The Texans would earn the AFC’s top seed with a win.
—RJ’s Pick: Houston by 2
Carolina 6-9 at New Orleans 7-8 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: Saints by 5.5)
The Panthers have won their last three games. The Saints have scored the most points of any team in the NFC.
—RJ’s Pick: New Orleans by 3
Philadelphia 4-11 at New York Giants 8-7 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: New York Giants by 7)
Michael Vick will be the starting quarterback for the Eagles this week, replacing the injured Nick Foles. This is almost certainly Andy Reid’s last game as head coach of the Eagles. The defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants could still qualify for the postseason with a win here and losses by the Bears, the Cowboys, and the Vikings, a scenario that is not as far-fetched as it may sound.
—RJ’s Pick: New York Giants by 13
Cleveland 5-10 at Pittsburgh 7-8 – 1:00 p.m. (Line: No Line)
The Browns are just 1-6 on the road this season. The Steelers have dropped three in a row. Multiple injuries to key players on both teams is the reason why there isn’t a line for this matchup. The Browns may end up starting Thaddeus Lewis at quarterback. Lewis has never taken a snap in a regular season NFL game.
—RJ’s Pick: Pittsburgh by 20
Oakland 4-11 at San Diego 6-9 – 4:25 p.m. (Line: No Line)
There is no line for the matchup because it is unknown at the time of this writing whether the Raiders will start Matt Leinart or Terrelle Pryor at quarterback. This should be Norv Turner’s last game as head coach of the Chargers.
—RJ’s Pick: San Diego by 14
Arizona 5-10 at San Francisco 10-4-1 – 4:25 p.m. (Line: 49ers by 16)
The Cardinals are just 1-6 on the road this season. The 49ers are 5-1-1 at home. I still think the line for this one is a little extreme.
—RJ’s Pick: San Francisco by 10
St. Louis 7-7-1 at Seattle 10-5 – 4:25 p.m. (Line: Seahawks by 10.5)
The Rams are 4-1 in their last five games, and 4-2-1 since their bye week. The Seahawks have won four in a row and are undefeated at home this year. They have scored a combined 150 points in their last three games, while allowing just 30 total points.
—RJ’s Pick: Seattle by 7
Green Bay 11-4 at Minnesota 9-6 – 4:25 p.m. (Line: Packers by 3.5)
The Packers would capture the NFC’s second seed and a crucial playoff bye with a win here. They’ve won four straight and are unbeaten against NFC North opponents so far this season. The Vikings have won their last three games and are 6-1 at home this year. A win here would earn them a playoff berth. Adrian Peterson needs just 102 rushing yards to reach 2,000 on the season.
—RJ’s Pick: Green Bay by 9
Miami 7-8 at New England 11-4 – 4:25 p.m. (Line: Patriots by 10)
The Dolphins are just 2-5 on the road this season. The Patriots are undefeated against AFC East opponents this year.
—RJ’s Pick: New England by 18
Kansas City 2-13 at Denver 12-3 – 4:25 p.m. (Line: Broncos by 15.5)
This is quite a mismatch. The Chiefs have the worst point differential in the NFL. They are winless against the AFC West this season. The Broncos have won 10 straight and are 6-1 at home this season. They can capture the top seed in the AFC with a win here and a loss by the Texans.
—RJ’s Pick: Denver by 24
Dallas 8-7 at Washington 9-6 – 8:20 p.m. (Line: Redskins by 3.5)
The winner of this matchup wins the NFC East and makes the playoffs as the conference’s fourth seed. The Redskins have won six in a row. The Cowboys have played some remarkably close games this season. Their eight wins have come by margins of 7, 6, 5, 15, 3, 5, 1, and 3. Their seven losses have come by margins of 20, 16, 2, 5, 6, 7, and 3. They are 2-1 in overtime games, all decided by a field goal.
—RJ’s Pick: Washington by 12
[If you're interested, you can check out the full list of Danny Sheridan's Odds here.]