The NFL’s made its bed, and now it has to lie in it; Week 17 picks this way cometh

The way this season’s been formatted from the beginning, by the NFL and the schedule makers, was to leave the last week of the season (the last two weeks in most instances but not all) to decide every division.

So that makes the majority of the Weeks 16’s & 17’s ballgames divisional contests—and they all matter.

This columnist went 11-4-1 against the spread in the NFL’s sixteenth week of football action, so the yearly tally for moi stands at 124-106-9.

The five picks with which I’m more confident than the rest of the lot, for the final games of the regular season, are as follows:

San Diego @ Oakland (-3) is the only contest involving the AFC West I’ll go near, for anyone who tells you they have any clue what will happen in the Chiefs/Broncos contest in Denver doesn’t know what they’re talking about. The Raiders beat the Chargers before—to the tune of 24-17—so why not again? And this time it’s in the Black Hole, so what’s not to love about giving three points to a team that’s guaranteed to be watching the playoffs on television with the rest of us? Not much: Take the Raiders.

Indianapolis (+4) @ Jacksonville. Think about this pick before you casually pass by it, for there is a distinct rationale behind it. The Colts have covered their last three games, winning their last two contests outright. Four points is too much in this contest that may come down to which team has a more costly turnover, or which one has the more trusty kicker.

New York Jets @ Miami (-1) is essentially even (in terms of a point spread), but where the game is being played makes all the difference. For the Jets, five-of-their-seven loses have come on the road, so they’re not good when they leave New York. Plus, the Dolphins have been running wild thanks to their ground attack finally playing as they should—or could, you decide—have been playing all year. It won’t be a route, in my mind, but it certainly could be, given the inconsistency of the New York Jets.

Buffalo (+11 ½) @ New England because the Patriots always have trouble covering divisional games. The Bills will keep it close enough to be interesting, until the fourth quarter, where they have a habit of giving away games they have the ability of winning. But there’s always next year for the guys from Buffalo; and New England’s got next week about which to worry.

Seattle @ Arizona (-3) for a simple reason: Look at a common opponent: The 49ers. They both lost to San Fran the first time they faced them, but on the second go around, the Cards won, and the Hawks lost. Enough said.

I hope these picks turn out as well as the ones did last week—four-out-of-five—and get ready for playoff picks next week.

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