Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:00 AM
Sunday Blitz - Week 17
GAMES TO WATCH
Bears at Vikings (-5, 40 ½) – 4:25 PM EST
Chicago (11-4 SU, 11-4 ATS) has put together the best turnaround in the NFL by capturing the NFC North title one season after finishing 5-11 and in last place. The Bears still have a shot at clinching a first-round bye with a victory and a Rams’ loss, but Chicago is guaranteed at least one home playoff game after rallying past San Francisco last Sunday, 14-9. Chicago barely cashed as four-point favorites thanks to the Bears’ defense keeping the Niners out of the end zone and taking the lead for good on Jordan Howard’s two-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
The Vikings (8-6-1 SU, 8-6-1 ATS) control their own destiny for a playoff spot as a win gets them in the postseason. Minnesota is coming off its second consecutive victory after routing Detroit last Sunday at Ford Field, 27-9 to cash as 6 ½-point favorites. The Vikings scored the final 27 points after limiting the Lions to three early field goals, while Kirk Cousins threw a trio of touchdown passes, including two to Kyle Rudolph. However, seven of Minnesota’s eight wins have come against teams owning losing records heading into Week 17.
In their first matchup at Soldier Field in a Week 11 Sunday night showdown, the Vikings fell in a 22-6 hole before scoring two late touchdowns in a 25-20 defeat to the Bears. Chicago held on for the cover as 2 ½-point favorites to avenge a pair of losses to Minnesota from 2017, as the Bears limited the Vikings to 22 rushing yards on 14 attempts. The Bears are listed as a road underdog for the first time since the season-opening one-point loss to the Packers, while posting a 2-1 ATS mark when receiving points.
Best Bet: Vikings 26, Bears 20
Browns at Ravens (-6, 41) – 4:25 PM EST
One month ago, it seemed like the Steelers would run away with the AFC North title. Following Pittsburgh’s recent meltdown, Baltimore (9-6 SU, 8-7 ATS) is in position to steal the division championship following a 5-1 surge under rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson.
The Ravens have been the ultimate roller-coaster ride in the NFL this season by starting 4-2, dropping three straight, then going on this hot stretch to reclaim the top spot in the North. The most recent win was the most impressive with Jackson under center by beating the red-hot Chargers in Week 16 as four-point underdogs, 22-10, while limiting an opponent to 21 points or less for the fifth time in six weeks.
Cleveland (7-7-1 SU, 9-6 ATS) has definitely turned heads this season following two years of dreadful play and only one win to show for it. The Browns have an opportunity to finish above .500 for the first time since 2007, while trying to close the season with four consecutive wins. Cleveland held off Cincinnati last Sunday, 26-18 as the Bengals scored two late touchdowns to cash as 10-point underdogs. However, the Browns enter Week 17 at 1-3 ATS in their past four chances as an underdog of five points or more.
Best Bet: Ravens 23, Browns 14
Eagles (-6 ½, 42) at Redskins – 4:25 PM EST
The defending champions are on the verge of being a one-hit wonder as Philadelphia (8-7 SU, 6-9 ATS) need a victory and a Minnesota loss to reach the playoffs. The Eagles dug themselves a 4-6 hole before winning four of the last five games to keep their hopes alive at a repeat. Philadelphia held off Houston in a shootout last Sunday, 32-30 at Lincoln Financial Field as Nick Foles continued his magic in place of Carson Wentz by throwing for 471 yards and four touchdowns.
The Eagles seek their fourth division win and a sweep of the Redskins (7-8 SU, 9-6 ATS) as Washington has lost five of six games down the stretch. Washington is down to its fourth quarterback of the season in journeyman Josh Johnson, as he has led the Redskins to a pair of ATS wins against the Jaguars and Titans. After Washington upended Jacksonville in Week 15, the Redskins hung with Tennessee by leading in the fourth quarter prior to allowing two late touchdowns in a 25-16 defeat as 12-point ‘dogs.
In their first matchup at the Linc earlier this month, the Eagles pulled away from the Redskins, 28-13 to cash as 5 ½-point home favorites. Washington captured five straight meetings over Philadelphia from December 2014 through December 2016, but the Eagles are riding a three-game winning streak over the Redskins since the start of last season.
Best Bet: Eagles 21, Redskins 17
Kevin Rogers (3-2 last week, 40-38-2 this season)
Redskins +6 ½
Vikings -4 ½
Chris David (2-3 last week, 50-29-1 this season)
Giants -6 ½
Chiefs -13 ½
Chargers -6 ½
Seahawks -13 ½
BEST TOTAL PLAY
UNDER 45 ½ - Lions at Packers (1-0 last week, 10-6 this season)
Detroit’s offense has been miserable down the stretch as the Lions have been limited to 20 points or less in eight of the past nine games. The Lions are riding a six-game UNDER streak as they travel to Green Bay to face the Packers. Green Bay is seeking consecutive wins for the first time this season following last Sunday’s dramatic overtime triumph over the Jets. The last six matchups between these NFC North rivals have finished OVER the total, but the Packers are 6-3 to the UNDER the last nine games since a 5-1 start to the OVER.
TRAP OF THE WEEK
Although both the Falcons and Buccaneers aren’t headed to the playoffs, Atlanta looks to avoid a 10-loss season with a victory at Raymond James Stadium. From 2013-15, the Falcons didn’t reach the playoffs. Why is that important for this contest? In all three of those season finales, the Falcons lost, including twice in the favorite role. Tampa Bay has covered four of its last five contests, while the Bucs have emerged victorious in Week 17 at home the last two seasons.
BIGGEST LINE MOVE
Although the Bills have not won a home game by more than three points this season, Buffalo went from a 3 ½-point favorite earlier in the week against Miami to a 5 ½-point favorite. The Bills lost to the Dolphins earlier this season, 21-17, while Buffalo owns an 0-2 ATS mark in the chalk role in 2018. Meanwhile, Miami has picked up only one road victory this season, which came back in Week 2 against the Jets, while the Dolphins have covered just one in six away defeats.
BETCHA DIDN’T KNOW
One team has failed to win a road game this season and it’s the San Francisco 49ers. It won’t be easy to break through the win column on Sunday as the Niners face the Rams, who need to win to secure a first round bye in the NFC playoffs. If San Francisco loses, it will mark the third straight season a team has posted an 0-8 record away from home (Cleveland in 2016-17), as the Niners seek their third road cover of the season.
Want FREE picks for Week 17 in the NFL? Check them out here for the top three games of the weekend along with other insider selections.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.