Sunday, December 31, 2017

Week 17 NFL Picks Against the Spread (Yanotchko)

Every week, four of our contributors pick between two and five games each and assign a number of units (one to five) to their selection based on their confidence in the pick.

With that said, here are Dan Yanotchko's Week 17 NFL picks against the spread:

Indianapolis Colts -6 over Houston Texans (3 units)

Usually in these Week 17 games, I am looking for the teams that really need the win going up against teams that have their car engines running in the parking lot. This game just really boils down to who Indianapolis has to line up, versus who the Texans do not. The Texans have been decimated by the injury bug this year, and they will sideline their All-World wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins for the rest of the year. For an offense that can't get anything really going under T.J. Yates, they are missing the only real offensive threat. The Texans have also been really bad against the pass as they allow 246 yards per game and 29 touchdowns on the year. This will be one final send off in a positive way for Colts coach Chuck Pagano, as I don't see Houston bringing much offense to bear.

Buffalo Bills -2.5 over Miami Dolphins (3 units)

In yet another just-have-to-have-it game, the Bills need this win to have any hope of making the playoffs. The Dolphins cannot make the playoffs, Jay Cutler is headed for the broadcast booth, and it just seems to me that Buffalo will be the desperate team here. The Bills will be able to exploit a weak Miami secondary that allows 228 yards passing per game, and 25 touchdowns per year through the air. Also they will be able to control the clock with LeSean McCoy, as the Miami rush defense allows 109 yards per game and 4.1 yards per carry. Even though it may be hard for a cold-weather team to play in Miami in December, the Bills just need this game more.

New Orleans Saints -5.5 over Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3 units)

In yet another have-to-have-it game, the Saints get to finish up against a disappointing Buccaneers team that should have challenged for the NFC South title this year. The good news is that the Buccaneers aren't cleaning house just yet, as they have brought back head coach Dirk Koetter for another year. The problem with Tampa Bay is that they have one of the worst defenses in the league, as they allow opposing quarterbacks 263 yards passing per game and a 67% opposing completion percentage as well. The Bucs are also very generous against the run as well, as they let opposing backs average 119 yards per game and 4.3 yards per carry. I feel that Mark Ingram, Alvin Kamara and Drew Brees will just be too much to handle this week, and the Saints will use this win to secure the NFC South crown.
- Note: All of our NFL picks against the spread will be centralized here.

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