NFL Week 17 Picks - Early Games

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NFL Week 17 Early Games

All times Eastern

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Week 16 results: Rick: 7-8-1; Coin: 7-8-1
Cumulative: Rick: 110-123-6; Coin: 118-115-6

Sunday, January 3

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills (-3, 46) 1:00 pm (CBS) - A win by Buffalo ensures the #2 seed in the conference playoffs, but Miami may need a win to get into the playoffs. It appears Pittsburgh is throwing in the towel in their final game of the season against the Browns, who are heavily favored at home. They play at the same time.

Miami is the current #5 seed, but a loss and wins by Baltimore, Cleveland, and Indianapolis knocks them out of the playoffs entirely, as all four teams are 10-5. The Bills threw cold water on the Fish in week 2, winning 31-28, so the Dolphins appear competitive, but, at home, in December, the Bills are red hot.

Coin Flip: Miami

Prediction: Bills 27 Dolphins 20

Baltimore Ravens (-11 1/2, 44 1/2) at Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 pm (CBS) - Baltimore has the easiest path to the playoffs, though they have to do it on the road and the Bengals have won two straight. Still, the Ravens clubbed the Bengals, 27-3, back in week 5, and that was with a healthy Joe Burrow.

It's as good as a sure thing that Baltimore will win the game and reach the playoffs, but doubtful that they can cover the fat spread.

Coin Flip: Cincinnati

Prediction: Ravens 28 Bengals 22

Pittsburgh Steelers at Cleveland Browns (-9 1/2, 43) 1:00 pm (CBS) - Coach Mike Tomlin has elected to sit QB Ben Roethlisberger for the season finale, helping out the Browns in their playoff hunt. Cleveland was hampered in last week's 23-16 loss to the lowly Jets when their top four receivers all tested positive for COVID, putting them at a distinct disadvantage. They will all be back this week.

Pittsburgh will start Mason Rudolph at quarterback, and beyond Big Ben, other starters will get the week off. Cleveland should cruise into the playoffs as the Steelers mail this one in.

Coin Flip: Pittsburgh

Prediction: Browns 31 Steelers 10

Minnesota Vikings (-7, 55) at Detroit Lions 1:00 pm (Fox) - Pure nothing game, except for bragging rights in the post-season. Neither team is making the playoffs, so it's anybody's guess as to what coaches decisions are as to players going full tilt or sitting. The Vikings won their earlier encounter, 34-20, but Matthew Stafford, who was QB in that game, will be out for this contest. Chase Daniel gets the nod, as he did in Detroit's 47-7 loss last week against Tampa Bay.

Looks like easy street for the Vikings and a disappointing 7-9 season.

Coin Flip: Minnesota

Prediction: Vikings 34 Lions 17

New York Jets at New England Patriots (-3, 40) 1:00 pm (CBS) - Here's another inconsequential offering, with the odd part being the Jets come in winning two straight, while the Patriots have lost three in a row and are just 4-3 at home.

Really, the best advice could be to go with a coin flip on this one, and our favorite coin came up J-E-T-S. Patriot QB Cam Newton is likely to sit this one out.

Coin Flip: New York Jets

Prediction: Jets 23 Patriots 21

Dallas Cowboys (-3, 44 1/2) at New York Giants 1:00 pm (Fox) - This is one of two big games in the horrid NFC East. If either of these teams wins (one has to) and Washington loses the late Sunday game to the Eagles, they're in as the champion of the division with a 6-10 record.

Dallas has been the best of the bunch the past few weeks, winning their last three behind backup Andy Dalton and they already have a win over the Giants from week 5, when they recorded a 37-34 victory. But, they still need to win because the second tie-breaker (after head-to-head games), is division record, and the Giants would be 4-2, Dallas 2-4. Dallas on the road and the Giants at home share identical 2-5 records.

Dallas has to amp up the defense to win, which shouldn't be a problem against New York, 31st in points scored, league-wide.

Coin Flip: Dallas

Prediction: Cowboys 31 Gitans 17

Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6 1/2, 50 1/2) 1:00 pm (Fox) - The Falcons played the Chiefs right down to the wire last week, but that was somewhat to be expected, as Kansas City has lost some of its offensive punch since running back Clyde Edwards-Hellaire fell to injury in week 12.

Tampa Bay has no running game issues and the air attack is explosive with Tom Brady chucking the rock to a bevy of talented receivers. Tampa Bay is the #5 seed, the top wild card, and can only move down but not out of the playoffs. A loss and a win by the Rams would drop them to the #6 seed. That seems unlikely to happen as the Bucs topped the Falcons, 31-27 just two weeks ago in Atlanta and they're coming off their best offensive and defensive performances of the season in a 47-7 trashing of the Lions.

Coin Flip: Tampa Bay

Prediction: Buccaneers 38 Falcons 13

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