Football Insiders’ Week 17 NFL Picks


After a down Week 16, we’re looking to finish strong.  Week 17 is always difficult because of so many teams not having a lot to play for. We’re going to take our best shot.

Baltimore vs. Cincinnati

This game is the difference between a winning season and a .500 season for Baltimore, where Cincy is simply playing out the string.  This is Steve Smith’s last game (according to him) and he should show up in a big way.  Ravens 24, Bengals 20.

Houston vs. Tennessee

This is another meaningless game for both teams as Houston clinched the AFC South is unimpressive fashion last week, while Tennessee was blown out on the road by the lowly Jaguars.  Houston is the better team so they’re the pick.  Texans 17, Titans 13.

Carolina vs. Tampa Bay

The Bucs are playing out the string the afternoon after New Year’s Eve in Tampa.  Although the team will be sequestered, they aren’t likely to be as focused as they should.  Panthers 21, Bucs 17. 

Jacksonville vs. Indianapolis

The Jaguars are a trendy pick in this one following their blowout victory over Tennessee.  They were also a trendy playoff pick.  Andrew Luck is playing, right?  Colts 27, Jags 20. 

New England vs. Miami

Surprisingly enough, the Patriots are the team in this game that has something to play for.  They will clinch the No. 1 seed with a win and there’s little doubt that they’re going to win.  Pats 38, Dolphins 13. 

Chicago vs. Minnesota

Neither team has anything to play for so let’s see if the Minnesota secondary actually listens to Mike Zimmer’s game plan. We believe they will.  Vikes 23, Bears 16. 

Buffalo vs. N.Y. Jets

The Bills have what we believe is the better roster and this is offensive coordinator turned interim head coach Anthony Lynn’s debut.  Meanwhile, the Jets are playing out the string like they have since October.  If E.J. Manuel is starting, I’m taking the opponent.  Jets 17, Bills 13. 

Dallas vs. Philadelphia

The Cowboys have nothing to play for in this game as they’ve already locked up the No. 1 seed in the NFC.  Philly is looking to finish strong and build toward next year.  It’s anyone’s guess how this one will play out.  Eagles 24, Cowboys 17. 

Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh

The Steelers still have some seeding to play for and that will be enough motivation to take down Cleveland.  Steelers 31, Browns 11. 

New Orleans vs. Atlanta

Is this the last game of the Sean Payton-Drew Brees era?  If it is, it will end with a loss as the Falcons are a much better team who is still playing for seeding and a potential first-round bye.  Falcons 34, Saints 24. 

N.Y. Giants vs. Washington

The G-Men have nothing to play for as they’re locked into the Wildcard (No. 5 seed) and the Redskins need a win to get in.  Washington has the motivation, they’re playing at home and they might actually be a better team.  ‘Skins 27, Giants 17. 

Arizona vs. Los Angeles

The Cards are looking to finish strong after last week’s victory in Seattle.  They’re a much better team than the Rams and they should display that.  Cards 20, Rams 10. 

Oakland vs. Denver

This is a huge game for Oakland as they can capture the AFC West title with a victory.  The Broncos are treating this like a preseason game, expecting to play two quarterbacks.  Go with the team that needs to win.  Raiders 20, Broncos 17. 

Kansas City vs. San Diego

The Chiefs need a victory and a Raiders loss to win the AFC West and get a first-round bye.  They will do their part.  Chiefs 27, Chargers 21. 

Seattle vs. San Francisco

The Seahawks still have a shot at a first-round bye and the 49ers will likely be playing their last game under Chip Kelly.  This game will reflect that.  Seahawks 31, 49ers 19. 

Green Bay vs. Detroit

This one is for the division title and a playoff berth, and these two teams are headed in opposite directions.  Aaron Rodgers could win the league MVP award, he will show up big in this one.  Packers 38, Lions 24.

Last week: 7-8

Season: 138-92-2

About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.