Well, at least Week 17 wasn’t a 3-3 week. Although that would have been a good thing. I turned in a 1-4 mark with the Cincy-Buffalo game being cancelled following the scary injury to Damar Hamlin (who thank God has recovered substantially). The Bucs awoke from a season-long slumber and covered the 3.5 points, and the dominating Niners’ defense suddenly forgot how to play top-notch football against Jarrett Stidham in a 37-34 shootout. Sometimes things just aren’t predictable.
Here’s to ending the season with a 6-0 mark. On with Week 18 picks...
Miami Dolphins picks (7-9 on season)
NY Jets at Miami; UNDER 37
It’s tough to say who has the edge here. The Jets will be trotting out the ghost of Joe Flacco at QB, while the Dolphins turn to third-stringer Skylar Thompson. T Terron Armstead is doubtful for the Dolphins, while the Jets will see a big shake up on their offensive line with tackles Duane Brown and George Fant out, along with guard Nate Herbig. In short: both quarterbacks will likely face a slew of pressure from the talented respective opposing defenses, and points will be largely at a premium. Expect lots of punts, not points, and a game not worthy of postseason determination deciding the fate of a number of teams. Someone wins this slop fest 16-13...ish.
Rest of the league (36-48 on season)
New England at BUFFALO (-7.5)
Does this need explanation? There might not be a more fired up team in the history of the NFL than the Buffalo Bills following the much-welcomed news of Hamlin’s improvement. They were already substantially better than the Pats, and they should blow them off the field on Sunday.
MINNESOTA (-6) at Chicago
This line is weird. The Vikings still have the opportunity to improve its seeding, while the Bears are rolling out Nathan Peterman on Sunday. It’s possible the Vikings rest some of their starters at some point, but even so, the Bears are checked out on this season. This should be an absolute romp by the Vikings.
Detroit at GREEN BAY (-5)
The Seahawks will have already won and eliminated the Lions by kickoff, giving Detroit less motivation than usual. Regardless of that, the Packers are playing really good football lately and will handle the Lions on the way to clinching the final wild card spot.
PARLAY (+141): MINNESOTA at Chicago; SEATTLE VS. LA Rams; PHILADELPHIA vs. NY Giants; SAN FRANCISCO vs. Arizona
Doubling down on Minnesota here, which feels like a mortal lock, and adding in heavy favorites in the Eagles and Niners. The wild card here is Seattle, but with everything to play for, I think they take care of the Rams here. A better than even money payout makes adding Seattle worth it (parlay is -143 without them).
Houston at INDIANAPOLIS (-2.5)
The Texans have everything in front of them to lose, figuratively and literally. They clinch the #1 pick with a loss, but could potentially lose it with a win. The Colts will play for pride and find a way to win a close, ugly game to conclude Jeff Saturday’s first (and last?) season as Colts head coach.