Oddsmaker Greatness of the Gridiron Challenge: NFL Week 17 Picks

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There is no greater time to try to get into this competition than right now, as every week you beat me gives you another opportunity at that big cash prize at the end of the year. Let's get started right now with my Week 17 picks…

Oakland Raiders (+3.5) @ Kansas City Chiefs – Can you say, "Motivation?" The Raiders have it. The Chiefs don't. The only thing that KC really has to play for is the difference between being the No. 3 and the No. 4 seed, and the truth of the matter is that it is far more important to stay healthy and get ready for either the New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, or Pittsburgh Steelers next week. QB Jason Campbell and company are trying to save the job of Head Coach Tom Cable. They might get the job done by finishing at .500 this year. Oakland +3.5

Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots (-3.5) – Sure, I know that QB Tom Brady isn't playing much, if at all this week, but this is still QB Chad Henne on the other side of the field. I could care less whether it's Tom Brady or Tom Cruise under center. If this one is anything like the last meeting, the special teams will cover this spread for the Pats. Go with New England -3.5.

Tennessee Titans (+9.5) @ Indianapolis Colts – The Titans found a way to hit the backdoor a few weeks ago against the Colts, and there is no reason to think that they might not be able to do it again. Don't be shocked if QB Peyton Manning is looking at the scoreboard for the Jacksonville Jaguars game. If the Jags are losing handily, Manning is inevitably going to be taking himself out of this game. I'll play the odds with Tennessee +9.5.

Jacksonville Jaguars (+3) @ Houston Texans – Haven't Houston fans suffered enough this year? If there is a football god watching over this team, the Jags are going to win this game to help put Head Coach Gary Kubiak out of his misery. QB Trent Edwards has to be smirking right now that he has a chance to take this team to the playoffs and potentially the Super Bowl, while his former team, the Buffalo Bills are just sitting there thinking about draft picks for next year. If Tim Tebow can throw for three bills against this secondary, so can Edwards. Jacksonville +3.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns (+6) – Don't kid yourself in this one. The Steelers are in a lot of trouble if S Troy Polamalu doesn't play. This is the whole season for the Browns, who are one of the teams that might be playing for the job of their head coach next year. Cleveland finished up last year in good shape, and it might be able to pull it off again in this one. Remember that QB Colt McCoy played relatively well the first time around when these teams met, and that was his first career start. The Browns might not win it outright, but Cleveland +6 is still the easy choice for me.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens (-9.5) – The Ravens are just too strong to be taken down in this game with so much on the line. It might not ultimately mean anything, and as a result, there might be some changes in the lineup earlier than the end of the game, but before Baltimore turns out the lights in this one, it will have a comfortable enough lead for it to not make a difference. Baltimore -9.5

Minnesota Vikings (+3) @ Detroit Lions – Blah. Whatever. The Vikes looked good last week, and it still seems like there is an ethical issue with laying points with the Lions. Minnesota +3.

New York Giants @ Washington Redskins (+4) – The Giants might be the team that is looking forward to the playoffs with a win and some potential help this week, but this just feels like a situation where QB Eli Manning completes one too many passes to DB DeAngelo Hall… Sexy Rexy, QB Rex Grossman gets the job done and eliminates Big Blue, potentially putting Head Coach Tom Coughlin at risk. Washington +4

Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers (-10) – What a sucker set of NFL odds this is from the oddsmakers… Green Bay is absolutely going to demolish the Bears in this one, whether they rest their starters or not. QB Aaron Rodgers gets to the 4,000 yard barrier and blows out Chicago to get into the second season by a comfortable margin. Green Bay -10 for me.

Carolina Panthers (+14.5) @ Atlanta Falcons – This would be the biggest collapse in the history of the world as we know it if the Falcons end up having to go on the road for the playoffs this year. It won't happen, but it could be a lot more interesting than Head Coach Mike Smith really wanted. Take Carolina +14.5 and don't be so shocked if this ends up being a lot closer than the NFL lines suggest.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+7.5) @ New Orleans Saints – This could be the biggest game that the Bucs have played in quite some time, and even though it probably won't ultimately mean anything, it would be huge to end this year with ten wins one way or the other. There are too many offensive pieces to the puzzle out of the lineup in this one for the Saints to beat this type of a number. They'll probably win this one SU, but Tampa Bay +7.5 is the right side.

Arizona Cardinals (+5.5) @ San Francisco 49ers – Head Coach Jim Tomsula came into San Fran as the new man in charge and promptly guaranteed victory against the Cards this week. You know what that means, right? Arizona +5.5 is a mortal lock.

San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos (+3.5) – It would only be fitting for the Chargers to go out with a fizzle this year. This was just the team that you hated to see underachieve all season long, and this is the type of team through college that QB Tim Tebow just destroyed. Don't be shocked if he does it again. Go with Denver +3.5 for one of the upsets of the day.

St. Louis Rams (-3) @ Seattle SeahawksRemember to make your tiebreaker picks in this game!!! QB Charlie Whitehurst is really going to be playing in a de facto playoff game? Really? Let's get realistic here. The Seahawks can't possibly head to the postseason with this guy at the helm. QB Sam Bradford and Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo really deserve this division title this year even though they are only going to finish at .500. That's still a tremendously marked improvement from a team that won just one game a year ago. St. Louis -3

Official Week 17 NFL Lines Courtesy of Oddsmaker Sportsbook
Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5)
Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots (-3.5)
Tennessee Titans @ Indianapolis Colts (-9.5)
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Houston Texans (-3)
Pittsburgh Steelers (-6) @ Cleveland Browns
Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens (-9.5)
Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions (-3)
New York Giants (-4) @ Washington Redskins
Chicago Bears @ Green Bay Packers (-10)
Carolina Panthers @ Atlanta Falcons (-14.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints (-7.5)
Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers (-5.5)
San Diego Chargers (-3.5) @ Denver Broncos
St. Louis Rams (-3) @ Seattle Seahawks

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