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Week 17 NFL game picks: Eagles clinch NFC's No. 1 seed; Giants secure playoff berth

Gregg Rosenthal went 11-5 straight up on his Week 16 picks, bringing his season total to 153-85-2. How will he fare in Week 17? His picks are below.

The lines provided by Caesars Sportsbook are current as of 11 a.m. ET on Thursday, Dec. 29 unless otherwise noted below.


  • WHERE: Mercedes-Benz Stadium (Atlanta)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Cardinals: +158 | Falcons: -190
  • SPREAD: Cardinals +3.5 | O/U: 42

The Cardinals have lost five straight and the Falcons have lost four straight. How these two streaks have played out, however, has been very different. Atlanta has been difficult to stop on the ground, led by Marc Sessler's guy, Tyler Allgeier. As a result, the Falcons have been able to keep games close, losing by an average of 5 points during their skid. The Cardinals' average margin of defeat is more than double (11). In fact, five of Arizona's 11 losses have been by at least 10 points this season, the sign of a bad team playing out the string.

  • WHERE: Ford Field (Detroit)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Bears: +215 | Lions: -267
  • SPREAD: Lions -6 | O/U: 52

The Lions' defense was torn apart by Carolina last week. Not great heading into their rematch with the Bears, who racked up 258 yards on the ground against Detroit in a narrow loss back in mid-November. That’s still not enough for me to pick an upset here. Jared Goff is going to have all day to throw, and Lions coordinator Ben Johnson has proven he’ll scheme up open receivers.

  • WHERE: NRG Stadium (Houston)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Jaguars: -205 | Texans: +170
  • SPREAD: Texans +4 | O/U: 43.5

The Jaguars are really doing this. They were better than their record all season, and now the defense is adding just enough playmaking to Trevor Lawrence’s veteran-like decision-making to win the games they are supposed to. The Texans have owned Jacksonville for years, winning nine straight. This has been a season of ending streaks for the Jags, who should be able to get their ground game going in a close one against a passive Texans group.

  • WHERE: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Mo.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Broncos: +550 | Chiefs: -800
  • SPREAD: Chiefs -12.5 | O/U: 45

On Tuesday's episode of the Around the NFL Podcast, my old friend Andrew Hawkins noted that you can tell a lot about how a team felt about its previous coach based on how the players perform the week after he's been let go. It’s just a guess here, but I don't think Nathaniel Hackett was the Broncos’ biggest problem. Their quarterback is. (Also, most interim head coaches don’t have to face Patrick Mahomes in their first week on the job.)

  • WHERE: Gillette Stadium (Foxborough, Mass.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Dolphins: +135 | Patriots: -160
  • SPREAD: Dolphins +3 | O/U: 41.5

These Patriots have been listlessly, sloppily waiting for someone to put them out of their misery. Enter the Dolphins on a four-game losing streak, starting their backup quarterback. Teddy Bridgewater, with a far better scheme and more talent around him, still figures to be more comfortable than Mac Jones. New England's defense just doesn't have the speed or physicality in the back end to survive Miami's dynamic receiving duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle.

  • WHERE: MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, N.J.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Colts: +205 | Giants: -250
  • SPREAD: Colts +6 | O/U: 38

The Giants have gotten this far by narrowly beating bad teams. Daniel Jones is playing near-mistake-free football, with Darius Slayton and Isaiah Hodgins developing into a legitimate starting duo. The Colts' defensive linemen, however, should win their matchups. Nick Foles can’t be as bad as he looked last week, and it’s only appropriate that Giants fans sweat it out one last time before celebrating a return to the tournament.

  • WHERE: Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Saints: +215 | Eagles: -267
  • SPREAD: Eagles -5.5 | O/U: 43

As rumors of Sean Payton’s possible return loom, Dennis Allen will need a miracle for the Saints to win their final two games (vs. Panthers in Week 18). This is a coaching mismatch. The Eagles are more physical on both sides, and even if Gardner Minshew starts again, Philadelphia is the perfect team to expose New Orleans' lack of discipline. With the win, the Eagles lock up the NFC's No. 1 seed and the division title.

  • WHERE: Raymond James Stadium (Tampa, Fla.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Panthers: +143 | Buccaneers: -170
  • SPREAD: Panthers +3 | O/U: 40.5

Tampa Bay's run defense isn’t the same without Vita Vea (calf), and Carolina's pass defense won’t be the same without Jaycee Horn (wrist). The Panthers profile as a hungrier team, and Sam Darnold is making fewer mistakes than Tom Brady lately. The Bucs are a championship squad that knows the magic is gone, while the Panthers will feel like they won the Super Bowl if they can just get to eight wins (and win the NFC South).

  • WHERE: FedExField (Landover, Md.)
  • WHEN: 1 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Browns: +105 | Commanders: -125
  • SPREAD: Browns +2 | O/U: 40

Toughest game for me to pick all week. The underlying numbers of these teams say the Browns are better, just unlucky. But the Commanders have more to play for, and the addition of Chase Young turns their defensive line from fearsome to perhaps the league's best. Deshaun Watson isn't making quick decisions yet, and Washington's running game should be able to move the ball on this Cleveland defense. I don't feel great about Carson Wentz, but I feel better about him than Taylor Heinicke.

  • WHERE: Allegiant Stadium (Las Vegas)
  • WHEN: 4:05 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: 49ers: -455 | Raiders: +345
  • SPREAD: 49ers -10 | O/U: 41.5

The Raiders' offensive line has made due all year, but their interior linemen were manhandled in pass protection during last week's loss at Pittsburgh. This figures to happen again on Sunday. As if the 49ers' defense needed more weapons, the return of Javon Kinlaw and Arik Armstead makes their entire defensive line more dynamic. I took away three points from Las Vegas off my original score when I learned Jarrett Stidham would start over Derek Carr, but it wouldn’t be close either way.

  • WHERE: Lumen Field (Seattle)
  • WHEN: 4:05 p.m. ET | FOX
  • MONEYLINE: Jets -120 | Seahawks +100
  • SPREAD: Jets -1.5 | O/U: 42.5

Mike White has great timing. His first start of this season came against a floundering Bears defense and his return to the lineup comes against a Seahawks defense searching for answers. This is a rare matchup the Jets' offensive line can survive, giving White time to find his playmakers. New York's defense should do the rest against a Seattle passing attack that desperately misses Tyler Lockett, who at least returned to practice for the walk-through on Wednesday.

  • WHERE: Lambeau Field (Green Bay, Wis.)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Vikings: +158 | Packers: -190
  • SPREAD: Vikings +3.5 | O/U: 48

The battle of narratives collide when the team “no one wants to face in the playoffs” squares off against the team “worse than its record.” The Packers' defense has improved lately, but the Vikings are built to end this Green Bay story before it gets started. I’ll believe Minnesota can lose a close game when it actually happens, and this is destined to be a close game.

  • WHERE: SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.)
  • WHEN: 4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
  • MONEYLINE: Rams: +228 | Chargers: -285
  • SPREAD: Chargers -6.5 | O/U: 42

Is this Baker Mayfield thing for real? We’ll find out in another matchup of Sean McVay against a former defensive assistant. Chargers coach Brandon Staley has been in his bag lately with play-calling, and his players are understanding what he wants. It will be fascinating to see where each coach sees a weakness in the other, but let’s not forget this Rams team is still playing a bunch of backups on offense -- other than Cam Akers, who is awesome again. 

  • WHERE: M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore)
  • WHEN: 8:20 p.m. ET | NBC, Universo
  • MONEYLINE: Steelers: +122 | Ravens: -145
  • SPREAD: Steelers +2.5 | O/U: 35

It's another prime-time game that won't have many points. These are the top two rush defenses in the second half of the season, but I trust Pittsburgh to generate yards more consistently with Baltimore starting Tyler Huntley again. The Steelers probably won’t get enough help to make the playoffs, but they are playing better than the rest of the No. 7 contenders


No disrespect to the Power Rankings, but I believe the top three teams in the NFL are in the AFC. One of them -- the loser of this game -- will likely have to win on the road against the other two just to make the Super Bowl. That makes this game potentially huge, especially if the Bills want to avoid a rematch in Cincinnati in the Divisional Round.

It’s a concern for Cincinnati that Buffalo is the better running team here, but the Bengals have just the receivers and indefatigable quarterback needed to hurt the Bills where they are weakest: cornerback. Ultimately, I trust Buffalo's defense, especially its pass rush, a bit more to pull off the win.


The Cowboys play with their food sometimes. The Texans nearly beat them, and the Colts were only two points down in the fourth quarter. That’s why there’s no guarantee the 'Boys rout a collapsing Titans team on the road. Then again, Tennessee is as banged up as any team in football, has little to play for this week and hasn't been able to create a passing game with Malik Willis. That last part's certainly not ideal with Derrick Henry (hip) expected to miss the game. If Henry were to play, I could see the final result being closer to 24-15. In either case, I’m keeping this one somewhat reasonable, just so the game keeps Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit’s interest in this TNF finale. 

EDITOR'S UPDATE: NFL Network Insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported that Joshua Dobbs will start at quarterback for the Titans against the Cowboys. In addition, Derrick Henry is inactive for the game.

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