2018 NFL SEASON
P R O F O O T B A L L M E D I A
Week 17: #NFL Game Predictions (w/ spreads & NO analysis) FINAL WEEK EDITION
Week 16 results: 11-5 (WINS); 8-7-1 (ATS); 10-6 (O/U)
Season totals: 155-83-2 .651 (WINS); 115-117-8 .496 (ATS); 130-107-3 .549 (O/U)
Note/Key (when applicable): Statistical analysis based on the following metrics (abbreviations): Points scored (PF); points against (PA); Point differential (PD) Yards gained (YG); Yards allowed (YA); Red Zone TD efficiency (RZ); 3rd-down efficiency (3rd); Turnover ratio (TO); Time of possession (TOP); Yards per play (YPP); Sacks (S); Interceptions (INT); Penalty yards (PEN); Against the spread (ATS).
Note: As in past years, I will not belabor the analysis of the Week 17 games, with a few exceptions (e.g. INDvsTEN). Like Week 1, situations are so fluid it makes predicting games, and perhaps betting on them, much more difficult than during the regular season. Whether teams are eliminated and playing undrafted rookies or they’re the No. 1 seed and have decided to sit their players, there’s a reason why fantasy football leagues are long finished by the time Week 17 rolls in. As in years past I will begin reviewing games with full analysis beginning with the Wild Card Round of the 2018 NFL Playoffs. As always, thanks for reading and have a safe and fun New Year! – Pro Football Media
The Patriots aren't going anywhere this post season unless they secure home field advantage, or this man pulls an ace out of his short sleeves.
Sunday, 1:00PM, Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA (Weather: Sunny; low 30s)
Reasons: The Patriots desperately need to win, because if they don’t have home field advantage throughout at least some of the playoffs they’re toast. As for the Jets, what a better way to end your terrible season then to help ruin the Patriots, who hold the tiebreaker over the Houston Texans.
Miami Dolphins 7-8 (+3.5) @ Buffalo Bills 5-10 (38.5): Bills 21-20
Sunday, 1:00 PM, New Era Stadium, Buffalo, NY (Weather: Sunny; low 30s)
Reasons: The Dolphins could end the season .500 again. Thank science for the Miracle in Miami.
Detroit Lions 5-10 (+8) @ Green Bay Packers 6-8-1 (45): Packers 30-21
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI (Weather: Sunny; low 30s)
Reasons: I though an early season tie would play to Green Bay’s favor. Considering how insufferable Aaron Rodgers is, I’m glad I was wrong.
Jacksonville Jaguars 5-10 (+7) @ Houston Texans 10-5 (40.5): Texans 23-17
Sunday, 1:00 PM, NRG Stadium, Houston, TX (Weather: Indoors)
Reasons: What a difference a few weeks makes. The Texans were in charge of the AFC South until a few weeks ago, and now they’re in danger of going from divisional champions to the 6th seed if they don’t win Sunday. In fact, if they lose the division title goes to the winner of the Indianapolis Colts @ Tennessee Titans game. As for the Jaguars, what a difference a season makes. At least the Jaguars won their Super Bowl against New England earlier this season.
The sky is the limit now that New Orleans has secured home field advantage through the NFC playoffs.
Carolina Panthers 6-9 (+7.5) @ New Orleans Saints 13-2 (44.5): Saints 28-20
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA (Weather: Indoors)
Reasons: The Saints have locked up home field advantage throughout the playoffs, but the Panthers are without Cam Newton, and therefore, not even remotely the same team.
Dallas Cowboys 9-6 (+6) @ New York Giants 5-10 (41.5): Giants 23-21
Sunday, 1:00 PM, MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ (Weather: Sunny; low 30s)
Reasons: There’s no way Eli Manning ends his career with a loss at home against the hated Dallas Cowboys, is there? Wait, you think Eli still wants to play?!?! The Giants season is so bad they can’t even qualify for the top pick in the draft. Cowboys starters play and instill anything but confidence heading into the playoffs.
Atlanta Falcons 6-9 (-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5-10 (51.5): Bucs 28-27
Sunday, 1:00 PM, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL (Weather: Sunny; low 80s)
Reasons: So much offense. So little interest.
Cleveland Browns 7-7-1 (+6) @ Baltimore Ravens 9-6 (41): Ravens 24-20
Sunday, 4:25 PM, M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD (Weather: Cloudy; low 40s)
Reasons: One of the few games of Week 17 with anything on the line. The Browns could end 2018 with their first winning season in what seems like decades, while the Ravens could win the AFC North with a victory.
The Eagles aren't going anywhere with Carson Wentz, but that wasn't a problem last year.
Philadelphia Eagles 8-7 (-6.5) @ Washington Football Team 7-8 (42): Eagles 24-17
Sunday, 4:25 PM, FedEx Field, Landover, MD (Weather: Cloudy; low 40s)
Reasons: As unbelievable as it seems the Eagles can actually make the playoffs with a win and a Minnesota Vikings loss. Nick Foles is the starting quarterback because Carson Wentz is down for the season. Sound familiar?
Oakland Raiders 4-11 (+13.5) @ Kansas City Chiefs 11-4 (54.5): Chiefs 31-20
Sunday, 4:25 PM, Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO (Weather: Sunny; high 40s)
Reasons: The Chiefs hold the tiebreaker over the Los Angeles Chargers and need a win Sunday to secure the AFC’s top seed and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Chucky probably thinks he has a chance at securing yet another top draft pick.
Chicago Bears 11-4 (-5.5) @ Minnesota Vikings 8-6-1 (40.5): Bears 24-20
Sunday, 4:25 PM, US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN (Weather: Indoors)
Reasons: The Bears can secure home field advantage and the second seed in the NFC with a win and a Los Angeles Rams loss, but the Vikings need to win to get into the playoffs at all, a year after being Super Bowl contenders heading into the regular season. Anyone who thinks the Bears would lay down for a divisional opponent, especially in a game that would give Minnesota access into the playoffs, is crazy; compound that with Chicago’s – and Mitch Trubisky’s – need to be home in the playoffs, and what we have is a Bears team playing like they need to win.
Cincinnati Bengals 6-9 (+14.5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers 8-6-1 (45.5): Steelers 28-20
Sunday, 4:25 PM, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA (Weather: Cloudy; low 40s)
Reasons: What a clown show the Steelers are. Faced with elimination in a winnable game they go for a fake punt deep in their own territory against one of the most effective and efficient quarterback-head coach tandems in NFL history. That’s not gutsy, that’s stupid and desperate. This Steelers team is loaded with talent and devoid of character and leadership. That’s weird, that sounds like the Bengals. The Steelers can win the AFC North with a win and a Ravens loss, or back into the Wild Card with a win and a tie between the Colts and Titans game. Neither seem very likely, although the first scenario is obviously the most plausible. This game might come down to the last possession with these two bitter rivals, but these Steelers really deserve to go home and fight amongst themselves.
Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles Chargers have a chance to win the AFC West Sunday, but they'll need some help to accomplish it.
Los Angeles Chargers 11-4 (-6.5) @ Denver Broncos 6-9 (41.5): Chargers 24-23
Sunday, 4:25 PM, Mile High Stadium, Denver, CO (Weather: Partly Sunny; high 40s)
Reasons: The Chargers win the AFC West with a win and a Chiefs loss or tie, and Denver might be the last place on Earth they want to go to try and accomplish that feat. Denver has nothing to play for besides the scorn of John Elway, which could be enough to light the fire under the Broncos and spoilt their division rivals’ chances going forward in the playoffs. We could see another one-point game here; at the very least 6.5 points seems very high, especially considering the over/under.
San Francisco 49ers 4-11 (+10) @ Los Angeles Rams 12-3 (50): Rams 27-24
Sunday, 4:25 PM, Los Angeles Memorial Stadium, Los Angeles, CA (Weather: Sunny; mid-60s)
Reasons: The Rams gain the top seed in the NFC with a win and a Bears loss and the 49ers are looking to secure that top draft pick, which means they need to lose and have the Cardinals win (at least). That’s basically a recipe for lopsided Rams win, which begs the question: Why is this point spread so small relative to several other similar games when this is one of the clearest paths to a landslide? Does Las Vegas trust the Rams? Does anyone anymore?
Arizona Cardinals 3-12 (+13.5) @ Seattle Seahawks 9-6 (39.5): Seahawks 24-10
Sunday, 4:25 PM, CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA (Weather: Rain; mid-40s)
Reasons: Record-wise the Cardinals are the worst team in the NFL, although that assertion could be argued statistically, but probably without much success. The Cardinals own the worst record, which means the first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft is theirs to lose, while the Seahawks are trying to fine-tune their machine heading into the playoffs, and possibly get a higher seed (5th relative to a 6th). Considering the game is in Seattle this is the only game where these double-digit point spreads actually makes sense. Add the terrible forecasted weather and we have a lock.
Indianapolis Colts 9-6 (-3) @ Tennessee Titans 9-6 (44): Colts 24-23
Sunday, 8:20 PM, Nissan Stadium, Nashville, TN (Weather: Rain; low 40s)
Reasons: The game of the week with the most on the line, including the playoffs and possibly the division, features a team that had a losing record heading into their first match up in Week 10 (IND was 4-5 heading into Week 10) versus a team that ended up with a .500 record after a loss in that aforementioned first matchup (TEN was 5-5 after the Week 10 game). Now both teams are 9-6, and with the help of a Houston Texans loss, could end of AFC South champions. The loser goes home. To complicate things for the Titans they could be without quarterback Marcus Mariota again; the Colts, on the other hand, might have to deal with some inclement weather. The Titans have been the more inconsistent team this year, and the constant quarterback carousel hasn’t helped, while the Colts are 8-1 in their last nine games after starting the season 1-5, while Andrew Luck is been playing at a true MVP level (36 TDs; 14 INTs). The Colts are favored by three on the road in the rain; that’s all you need to know. Well, you should also know the Colts have the 8th-ranked rush defense, so the suddenly-located Derrick Henry has his work cut out for him if the Titans are advancing beyond Nashville.
Stay tuned for Week 18: #NFL Game Predictions (w/ spreads & some analysis) WILD CARD ROUND EDITION coming Saturday!