I've never longed for Week 17 to come and go from a prognosticating standpoint before as I have this season. It has been agony going against the spread. I have failed you all, failed myself, and, well, failed all around.
Last week's best bets should be printed out and then burned in a fire along with memorabilia from the 1982 Baltimore Colts -- a team whose performance is befitting my game-picking skills this season.
Anywho, I am going to go through the process again, and try to hit a few things before I go away for the winter and try my luck picking D-League basketball games and Bulgarian soccer league matches.
Buccaneers (+5½) vs. 49ers: This looks like a trap game for the 49ers. They come off the game of the year in beating rival Seattle, face a tricky opponent with nothing to lose in an atmosphere that could rival a preseason game, and travel all the way across the county. Again. The 49ers might have trouble with the Bucs' defensive line, especially with some of San Francisco's injury woes up front. I think this is a close game, and the Bucs actually win this thing outright.
Steelers (+3) vs. Bengals: This is another case of a team with some talent being able to play spoiler, and the Bengals haven't been nearly as good on the road as at home. Pittsburgh knows them well and I don't think the Steelers roll over for teams even with their playoff hopes dashed. It's a prime-time game and all eyes are on Andy Dalton. We'll see if he can keep up what he has done since the bye. Antonio Brown will cause problems for the Bengals and the Steelers are running the ball better, too.
Saints (-5½) at Rams: New Orleans gets to play in a dome against a reeling team and has everything at stake. The Saints played with real purpose last week and Sean Payton will keep his foot on the pedal with a rematch at Carolina looming. Drew Brees can mitigate that Rams pass rush with the quick release stuff. With Darren Sproles looking like himself again and healthier, this offense will score points.