NFL Week 17 picks: How to bet a Cowboys team resting players, teaser of the week and more tips

It's Week 17, which means NFL coaches and bettors alike have to grapple with what to do when a playoff team has more to risk by playing their starters than they do in losing the final game of the regular season. Three teams find themselves in that situation this week: the Saints, Cowboys and Seahawks.

The Saints have locked up the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and losing this Sunday would do nothing to hurt their playoff outlook. The Cowboys have won the NFC East but are two games back of the Bears, meaning they're going to be the No. 4 seed and play the best wild-card team. That will likely be the Seahawks, who at 9-6 are a half-game up on the Vikings for the No. 5 seed but can't fall any lower than sixth, meaning at best they're playing in Week 17 for the opportunity to face the Cowboys instead of the Bears.

The Seahawks don't have a history of resting players in Week 17 when they have the chance, and for that reason they're still massive favorites at home against the Cardinals. But what will the Saints and Cowboys do on Sunday?

I build my power ratings lines based on how much better or worse a team is than average plus the home-field advantage I've affixed to the matchup. Normally these lines will be within a point of the actual lines, but when the gap is wider, that's where there can be an advantage that the market is missing. I've tracked all such disparities throughout the season, and when my power ratings line is 1.5 points or more off from the Las Vegas SuperContest line, the team on which I think there's value is 64-48-1 this season. That 57.1 percent mark is a highly profitable one long-term in a market where you need to be right 52.38 percent of the time on -110 bets to break even.

I bring up my power ratings line because they show how much the market is devaluing the Saints and Cowboys in a week where both figure to be resting players. If the Saints were playing the Panthers at home with Carolina down to its third-string QB and New Orleans going all out, my power ratings say the line should be Saints -19. However, the Saints are favored by just 9, which is the market telling you that Drew Brees isn't going to play much, if at all, on Sunday.

If the Cowboys were taking their game seriously against the Giants, they'd be road favorites. My power ratings line puts it at Cowboys -1.5, but I think that's a little short of where the market would have it, as I'm higher than most on the Giants based on how they've played in the second half, and I have them tied for 17th in my ratings. It's likely the Cowboys would wind up favored by at least 3 if the market thought they were going all out. Instead, the Giants are favored by 6.

As a bettor, how can you account for this discrepancy in what a line would be in a serious matchup and what it is with a playoff team resting players? I looked at every matchup where a playoff team closed as six-point underdogs (like the Cowboys) or worse in Week 17 since the 2000 season, then went through each game to see whether the QB who started the first playoff game played most of the Week 17 game to weed out which teams were taking the game seriously for 60 minutes. That gave us a sample size of 17 games and an ATS record of 7-10 for those 'dogs, but with some mitigating factors.

YearTeamLineOppResultCover?
2017@Rams+649ersL 13-34No
2016Cowboys+6.5@EaglesL 13-27No
2013Chiefs+14.5@ChargersL 24-27 (OT)Yes
2011@Packers+6.5LionsW 45-41Yes
2009Bengals+10@JetsL 0-37No
2009Colts+8@BillsL 7-30No
2009Saints+10@PanthersL 10-23No
2009Patriots+7.5@TexansL 27-34Yes
2008Giants+7@VikingsL 19-20Yes
2007Cowboys+9@RedskinsL 6-27No
2007Jaguars+7@TexansL 28-42No
2005Bengals+7.5@ChiefsL 3-37No
2005Broncos+7@ChargersW 23-7Yes
2004Colts+10@BroncosL 14-33No
2004Steelers+9.5@BillsW 29-24Yes
2004@Chargers+6.5ChiefsW 24-17Yes
2003Broncos+10@PackersL 3-31No

The first thing to note is that only four of those underdogs won outright, with three of those cases coming in 2005 or earlier. If we reduce our target range to just 2007 or later, we get a 4-7 ATS record and a 1-10 SU record for playoff teams who are underdogs of six or more in Week 17.

As for how you get the cover in those scenarios, it mostly comes down to a team playing their starter for a significant portion of the game before giving way to the backup (2009 Patriots, 2008 Giants, 2005 Broncos) or having an experienced backup (2004 Steelers with Tommy Maddox, 2004 Chargers with Doug Flutie). And even that doesn't guarantee anything -- the 2009 Colts had Peyton Manning and Curtis Painter see about the same amount of passing attempts and still lost 30-7, while Mark Brunell wasn't able to make the 2009 Saints competitive in Week 17 near the end of his career. But at least employing one of those two scenarios gives you a chance at a cover.

The 2018 Cowboys don't have an experienced backup, so unless Dak Prescott and the rest of the offensive starters see a good bit of action, which I consider unlikely, they seem like a longshot to cover this week. Unless Cooper Rush is Matt Flynn (2011 Packers) reincarnate.

Watch all of Sunday's games on fuboTV, try it for free, and stream all the CBS games on CBS All Access.

If you want to know which sides I like this week, you can find that info at the SportsLine link below, where all my rated plays appear during the season along with my five SuperContest picks each week and plenty of great analysis from a fantastic collection of experts. You can also check out where all our CBS Sports staff lands on each game each week right here.

Each week in this space, I'm going to go behind the lines and picks to bring you a bit of a deeper dive into what you should know before locking in your plays. Let's get to it.

My picks

Over at SportsLine, I'm 45-26-2 over my last 73 ATS picks. Join now and use promo code WHITE for $1 on your first month and you can get mine and every SportsLine expert's picks throughout the year, as well as my SuperContest picks each Saturday.

However, you can get one free pick with my teaser of the week, which has hit 75 percent of the time this season at the end of this article. Enjoy!

What NFL picks can you make with confidence in Week 17? And which Super Bowl contender gets a huge scare? Visit SportsLine now to see which NFL teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from the model that has beaten 98 percent of experts over the past two years.  

Cowboys at Giants (-6.5)

Home-field advantage: 2 points
Power rating line: Cowboys -1.5
Lookahead line: Giants -3.5


DALNYG
Record vs. spread 8-78-6-1
Yards per play differential 0.00.0
Points per drive offense rank 1819
Points per drive defense rank 723
Weighted DVOA -4.56.2
Pass offense DVOA rank 2716
Pass defense DVOA rank 1423
Run offense DVOA rank 1721
Run defense DVOA rank 419

Talk about deja vu: Two years ago, the Cowboys entered Week 17 with nothing to play for and ended up 6.5-point underdogs on the road against a divisional opponent with a losing record. Ezekiel Elliott didn't play at all in that game while Dez Bryant and Jason Witten each saw one target. Dak Prescott played the first two drives, lasting just into the second quarter, before giving way to Tony Romo, who led the team to a touchdown on his only drive before giving way to Mark Sanchez. The Cowboys were up 10-3 at that point but the defense surrendered a touchdown just before halftime and packed it in for the second half, ultimately losing the game 27-13.

If the Cowboys use the same plan here, we can expect Elliott and Amari Cooper to see little-to-no action while Prescot plays for a drive or two. That would figure to make the Giants a great play as favorites of less than a touchdown. On the other hand, the Cowboys were upset by the Packers in their first playoff matchup, so if that result left a bad taste in the mouth of Jerry Jones and Jason Garrett, who knows if they decide to switch things up here.

Raiders at Chiefs (-13.5)

Home-field advantage: 3 points
Power rating line: Chiefs -14
Lookahead line: Chiefs -13.5


OAKKC
Record vs. spread 6-9 8-6-1
Yards per play differential -0.70.9
Points per drive offense rank 281
Points per drive defense rank 3130
Weighted DVOA -18.930.1
Pass offense DVOA rank 141
Pass defense DVOA rank 3118
Run offense DVOA rank 274
Run defense DVOA rank 2432

The Chiefs laid waste to the NFL through their first 10 games before losing a thriller to the Rams on Monday night and heading into their bye. But they've been shaky since: leading the Raiders by just three in the fourth quarter before earning a seven-point win in Oakland; needing a last-minute rally against the Ravens to send the game to overtime, where they pulled out a win; then losing to the Chargers at home and the Seahawks on the road. The defense has been a joke during that four-game stretch, allowing an average of 31 points, 173.5 rushing yards and 28.25 first downs.

The Raiders during that same stretch lost to the Chiefs despite playing well, upset the Steelers, lost to the Bengals after Cincinnati started four drives in Oakland territory and only managed 3.9 yards per play in the game, and upset the Broncos. It's possible this is a comedown spot for the Raiders after an emotional win in what may be their final Oakland game ever, but these teams' recent performance suggest this line may be a little high, even though my power ratings think it's pretty accurate.

Panthers at Saints (-8.5)

Home-field advantage: 3.5 points
Power rating line: Saints -19
Lookahead line: Saints -5.5


CARNO
Record vs. spread 6-910-5
Yards per play differential -0.1 0.3
Points per drive offense rank 132
Points per drive defense rank 2717
Weighted DVOA -7.529.9
Pass offense DVOA rank 193
Pass defense DVOA rank 2617
Run offense DVOA rank 39
Run defense DVOA rank 173

If this was going to be Drew Brees vs. Kyle Allen for 60 minutes, they couldn't make this line high enough. My power ratings pegged it as Saints -19, but I don't know who's betting the Panthers even getting 20 points. But that doesn't matter, because Brees is likely to rest here and avoid the risk of injury with nothing on the line for New Orleans.

However, it's not like the Saints can bench all their starters for this game, as you only get 53 spots on your active roster and teams use most of their 45-man gameday rosters on players who are going to see action on special teams and rotations. Sure, Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara may not get a ton of snaps, but on defense and the offensive line we should expect to see most of the healthy regulars. And it's not like the Saints have a nobody as their backup QB: Teddy Bridgewater is heading into free agency looking to prove he deserves to be someone's starter, and he could have a big game against a Panthers team that's lost seven straight.

Jets at Patriots (-13.5)

Home-field advantage: 3.5 points
Power rating line: Patriots -9.5
Lookahead line: Patriots -12.5


NYJNE
Record vs. spread 5-9-18-7
Yards per play differential -0.70.1
Points per drive offense rank 279
Points per drive defense rank 188
Weighted DVOA -11.415.4
Pass offense DVOA rank 286
Pass defense DVOA rank 1213
Run offense DVOA rank 296
Run defense DVOA rank 25 20

The Patriots are playing for the No. 2 seed, so expect them to go all-out in this game. They were unable to cover against the Bills last week, but they've won all of their home games by at least 12 points except for their matchups with the current No. 1 (Chiefs) and No. 3 (Texans) teams in the conference, and they still won both those games. 

Sam Darnold may have looked good in his last two games, but it's hard to see the Jets competing to win this game with how bad their offense has been this season. For how poorly it seems the Patriots defense has played at times this year, they're eighth in points allowed per drive and have held four of their five opponents since the bye to 17 points or less. But if the Patriots are up comfortably in the second half, it's possible we see key players get some rest, which would allow the Jets a shot at a backdoor cover, if nothing else.

Eagles (-6.5) at Redskins

Home-field advantage: 2.5 points
Power rating line: Eagles -5
Lookahead line: Eagles -5.5


PHIWAS
Record vs. spread 6-99-6
Yards per play differential -0.3-0.6
Points per drive offense rank 1726
Points per drive defense rank 2015
Weighted DVOA -9.4-33.5
Pass offense DVOA rank 1329
Pass defense DVOA rank 2010
Run offense DVOA rank 2615
Run defense DVOA rank 1426

These teams are separated by just one game in the standings, but while the 7-8 Redskins are out of the playoff hunt and limping to the finish line while dealing with a massive amount of injuries, the 8-7 Eagles have everything to play for with a playoff spot on the line if the Vikings lose to the Bears. But there hasn't been any quit in Washington, a team that had the lead with five minutes left to play against the Titans as the defense put up its second straight strong showing on the road.

The Eagles offense has found a spark since Nick Foles took the reins, scoring 30-plus points in back-to-back games after reaching that point total just once all season. But the defense has allowed 300-plus passing yards in three straight games as well, and Josh Johnson and Adrian Peterson don't seem like the types to pack it in with nothing on the line in Week 17. Don't be surprised if Washington gives their division rivals a game.

Lions at Packers (-8)

Home-field advantage: 4 points
Power rating line: Packers -10
Lookahead line: n/a (Rodgers)


DETGB
Record vs. spread 8-76-8-1
Yards per play differential -0.80.3
Points per drive offense rank 2510
Points per drive defense rank 2221
Weighted DVOA -17.11.3
Pass offense DVOA rank 249
Pass defense DVOA rank 3227
Run offense DVOA rank 242
Run defense DVOA rank 1222

The Packers now have three games of data since ditching Mike McCarthy, beating the Falcons 34-20, losing on the road to the best defense in the league in a close game, then rallying to beat the Jets on the road in their best offensive game of the year. And while teams with losing records could have trouble getting motivated for Week 17, I don't think that's going to be an issue here.

The Lions have beaten the Packers three straight times, including earlier this year. This is after the Lions beat the Packers only four times from 2006-16. And the Lions aren't playing well to close out the season, dropping four of their last five with the only win against the worst team in the league (Arizona) in a game where the offense didn't play well at all. If the Packers come in motivated to get revenge on the Lions, this game could get ugly in a hurry.

Jaguars at Texans (-6.5)

Home-field advantage: 3.5 points
Power rating line: Texans -9
Lookahead line: Texans -7.5


JACHOU
Record vs. spread 5-8-26-8-1
Yards per play differential -0.30.2
Points per drive offense rank 3015
Points per drive defense rank 56
Weighted DVOA -9.73.2
Pass offense DVOA rank 3012
Pass defense DVOA rank 722
Run offense DVOA rank 2028
Run defense DVOA rank 61

The Jaguars have turned back to Blake Bortles, causing this line to drop under a touchdown. The move makes sense, as the offense under Cody Kessler was pretty awful. But Bortles was benched for a reason, as the team went 3-8 with him as the starter and scored seven or less three times, including at home in their first meeting with the Texans, a game that ended 20-7.

I don't see why the Jaguars defense is motivated to show up for this game -- it's not like they want to win big and give Bortles any chance of being the starter in 2019. Houston is good at beating bad teams, especially at home, where they lost to the Colts in their last game but beat the Browns by 16, the Titans by 17 and the Dolphins by 19 in their previous three games. With the Texans the No. 1 rush defense, per DVOA, the Jaguars are going to have to get Bortles going in the passing game to compete. I don't see that happening, do you?

Browns at Ravens (-6)

Home-field advantage: 3.5 points
Power rating line: Ravens -5
Lookahead line: Ravens -5.5


CLEBAL
Record vs. spread 9-68-7
Yards per play differential 0.10.6
Points per drive offense rank 23 16
Points per drive defense rank 92
Weighted DVOA 6.518.8
Pass offense DVOA rank 2218
Pass defense DVOA rank 63
Run offense DVOA rank 1812
Run defense DVOA rank 217

To give you an idea of how well these two teams are playing right now, Football Outsiders this week released a table breaking down each NFL team's performance since Week 11. From Weeks 1-10, the Ravens were seventh and the Browns 25th, but over that Week 11-16 range, the Ravens rank second overall and the Browns fourth, with not much separating them.

The Ravens have reinvented their offense around the running game, but the reason they've made a run of late is that the defense is keeping them in every game, ranking second in DVOA both on the season and since Week 11. We don't know how they'll performed if forced into a shootout, and even though the Browns' offense ranks second in DVOA since Week 11, we probably won't see them run up the score against a Baltimore D that doesn't give up much at home. The Ravens offense also isn't a great matchup for a Browns defense that excels against the pass and struggles against the run. While Cleveland made it work against the Broncos, Denver basically abandoned the run in that game despite it being close all the way to the end. Don't expect Baltimore to do the same with a playoff spot on the line.

Falcons at Buccaneers (-1)

Home-field advantage: 2 points
Power rating line: Pick 'em
Lookahead line: Falcons -2


ATLTB
Record vs. spread 5-107-7-1
Yards per play differential 0.20.1
Points per drive offense rank 512
Points per drive defense rank 2928
Weighted DVOA 1.7-12.1
Pass offense DVOA rank 810
Pass defense DVOA rank 2930
Run offense DVOA rank 2223
Run defense DVOA rank 3031

If the Bucs win and the Panthers lose to the Saints, the Bucs, Panthers and Falcons will all finish tied for second in the division at 6-10. Though this is a game with seemingly nothing on the line, Jameis Winston is playing to prove he should be the team's starter in 2019. The Falcons have won two straight, but that game against the league's punching bag in the Cardinals and against Taylor Heinicke, who had to play much of the game in an elbow brace.

The Bucs have lost three straight, but all were close until late in the third quarter and all came against playoff teams in the Saints, Ravens and Cowboys, the last two on the road. They're 4-3 at home, with the losses coming to the Saints, Steelers and the Redskins in that weird game where they scored three points despite gaining 501 yards of offense. The Falcons' win last week was just their second on the road this year, though they've played a lot of tough competition. This game should come down to which passing offense plays better, as both teams are strong there and weak everywhere else.

Dolphins at Bills (-3.5)

Home-field advantage: 2 points
Power rating line: Bills -4
Lookahead line: Bills -3


MIABUF
Record vs. spread 8-76-9
Yards per play differential -0.7 -0.3
Points per drive offense rank 2931
Points per drive defense rank 2612
Weighted DVOA -21.2 -13.1
Pass offense DVOA rank 2631
Pass defense DVOA rank 24 2
Run offense DVOA rank 11 25
Run defense DVOA rank 2316

The Dolphins managed to beat the Bills in Miami in their first meeting despite being outgained in yardage 415-175. If the Bills stick with the same gameplan but cut down on turnovers (three) and penalties (13 for 120 yards), they should win running away. Including that first meeting, the Dolphins offense has been held under 200 yards in three of its last four games, with the only outlier being the upset of the Patriots at home.

It's likely we see another game like the one the Dolphins lost to the Jaguars 17-7 last week, with the offense not able to do much against a strong Bills defense and Buffalo riding the running game to close out the season with a win. The Dolphins are just 7-13 ATS all-time on the road when the temperature is 32 degrees or less, and they typically have trouble in Buffalo, where they're 1-5 ATS in their last six and 4-10 ATS going back to 2004.

Colts (-3) at Titans

Home-field advantage: 3.5 points
Power rating line: Colts -2.5
Lookahead line: Colts -2


INDTEN
Record vs. spread 7-7-18-7
Yards per play differential 0.40.0
Points per drive offense rank 620
Points per drive defense rank 134
Weighted DVOA 17.63.1
Pass offense DVOA rank 1125
Pass defense DVOA rank 1916
Run offense DVOA rank 1613
Run defense DVOA rank 511

If the Titans are going to win this game, they'll probably have to do it with a defense that's fourth in points per drive allowed on the season. Marcus Mariota will either have to miss the game or play hurt, and Blaine Gabbert has completed just 59.7 percent of his passes to Mariota's 68.9 percent. The Titans have been able to blow bad teams out in recent weeks thanks to Derrick Henry running wild, but the Colts rank fifth in DVOA against the run and are one of four teams to hold the Titans under 100 rushing yards this season.

The Colts might be 3-4 on the road, but the offense shows up week in and week out, with the exception of the ugly 6-0 loss to the Jaguars. They've scored at least 23 points in 11 of their last 12 games, winning eight of their last nine. Even with Tennessee being 6-1 at home, this is a tough test against a team that ranks third in DVOA since Week 11, especially with the Titans ranking 24th over that same span.

Bengals at Steelers (-14.5)

Home-field advantage: 2.5 points
Power rating line: Steelers -13
Lookahead line: Steelers -12.5


CINPIT
Record vs. spread 8-78-6-1
Yards per play differential -0.80.8
Points per drive offense rank 117
Points per drive defense rank 3216
Weighted DVOA -27.013.8
Pass offense DVOA rank 177
Pass defense DVOA rank 2821
Run offense DVOA rank 1410
Run defense DVOA rank 288

The Bengals have been one of the worst teams in football over the second half, going 1-6 since their bye week and the offense slowing getting worse with Jeff Driskel at quarterback. The Bengals have passed for 202, 151, 123 and 107 yards over the last four weeks since Driskel took over, and I don't expect the running game to perform well against a Steelers defense that has allowed less than 100 rushing yards in all but two games since Week 3.

These two teams have played the toughest schedules in the league this year, per DVOA, with the Steelers' second-ranked schedule only beaten by the Bengals. This is a lot of points to lay for Pittsburgh, who has only been home favorites of 14 points or more once since 2012 (winning but not covering against the Packers last year). They're just 3-8 ATS since 1999 when favored by at least 14. They need the win and should get it, and while the matchups seem to favor a cover, history doesn't.

Bears at Vikings (-4.5)

Home-field advantage: 4 points
Power rating line: Vikings -3.5
Lookahead line: Vikings -6


CHIMIN
Record vs. spread 11-48-6-1
Yards per play differential 0.50.6
Points per drive offense rank 1421
Points per drive defense rank 13
Weighted DVOA 16.314.3
Pass offense DVOA rank 2015
Pass defense DVOA rank 14
Run offense DVOA rank 1930
Run defense DVOA rank 210

The Bears have been the NFL's most underrated team all year, going 11-4 ATS including a cover in an ugly win last week. So it's only fitting that they're more than three-point 'dogs here despite having a reason to go all-out in this game with a first-round bye potentially on the line should the Rams lose. The team has won eight of their last nine games, covering in all of them. When teams like the Rams and Chiefs went on huge runs early in the season, the market eventually inflated their lines too high and they had trouble covering in the second half of the season. Not so for these Bears.

The Vikings may have two big wins since firing their offensive coordinator, but the offense wasn't all that impressive last week despite the 27-9 win over the Lions. They took the lead on the last play before halftime thanks to a poorly-defended Hail Mary; who know how that game goes in the second half if the Lions knock the pass down? The rushing attack managed just 100 yards on 28 carries after seemingly getting on track the week before. And that's before we get to the biggest mismatch of the game: the Bears' elite pass-rush against the Vikings' poor offensive line. They only sacked Kirk Cousins twice in their first meeting, which they dominated through three quarters anyway.

Chargers (-6.5) at Broncos

Home-field advantage: 4 points
Power rating line: Chargers -7
Lookahead line: Chargers -4.5


LACDEN
Record vs. spread 8-76-8-1
Yards per play differential 0.9-0.2
Points per drive offense rank 424
Points per drive defense rank 1410
Weighted DVOA 26.26.6
Pass offense DVOA rank 223
Pass defense DVOA rank 95
Run offense DVOA rank 75
Run defense DVOA rank 915

Give it up for the Chargers: despite the loss last week, they enter the final week of the season ranked in the top 10 of pass and rush DVOA both on offense and defense. You couldn't have a more well-rounded team. They've also had no trouble going on the road and competing, with their only road loss this season coming against the Rams. The Chargers outgained the Broncos 479-325 in yardage in their first meeting but lost to a last-second field goal.

The Broncos have been a strong team in terms of DVOA all year, but they're in a freefall, losing three straight games. That includes one at home to a Browns team they decided not to try and run on and two on the road to the 49ers and Raiders, two teams that rank among the worst in the league. The Broncos have uncharacteristically lost four of their last five at home, and while they've faced a tough schedule, it's not like playing the Chargers will be any easier.

Cardinals at Seahawks (-13.5)

Home-field advantage: 3.5 points
Power rating line: Seahawks -15.5
Lookahead line: Seahawks -11


ARISEA
Record vs. spread 6-8-19-4-2
Yards per play differential -1.0-0.5
Points per drive offense rank 328
Points per drive defense rank 2411
Weighted DVOA -46.710.3
Pass offense DVOA rank 324
Pass defense DVOA rank 1115
Run offense DVOA rank 328
Run defense DVOA rank 2718

The Seahawks don't need this game after clinching a playoff spot last week, but don't think for a second they won't try yard here. For starters, Pete Carroll has a history of playing his starters in these type of spots. They also would undoubtedly prefer to lock up the No. 5 seed and face the Cowboys next week instead of the Bears. And beyond that, the Cardinals have won three straight games in Seattle. Don't you think this team wants to rectify that with a big home win here?

The Sehawks offense ranks first in rush attempts and yards as well as seventh in yards per attempt and eighth in DVOA. The Cardinals defense ranks last in rush attempts and yards, as well as 27th in yards per attempt and DVOA. Even if Seattle is nursing some injuries on the defense side, it's not going to take much to stop an Arizona offense that has game after game stopped itself.

49ers at Rams (-10)

Home-field advantage: 3 points
Power rating line: Rams -9.5
Lookahead line: Rams -9


SFLAR
Record vs. spread 5-106-8-1
Yards per play differential 0.30.5
Points per drive offense rank 223
Points per drive defense rank 2519
Weighted DVOA -17.616.1
Pass offense DVOA rank 215
Pass defense DVOA rank 258
Run offense DVOA rank 311
Run defense DVOA rank 1329

The Rams could be missing Todd Gurley in this game, but it might not matter. When playoff teams face non-playoff teams in Week 17 and the spread is at least 10, the favorites have covered in 17 of their last 25 tries going back to 2001. So if a team is good enough to make the playoffs and still needs to try in Week 17 enough so that they're double-digit favorites, they typically blow out the competition.

And the Rams do have to try in this game if they want the bye; even though the Bears are underdogs in Minnesota, you can't rest your players expecting that they'll lose the game. The 49ers have gotten rolled on the road, giving up an average of 30.3 points in their road games, and that includes holding the terrible Cardinals offense to 18. The offense has also struggled in Nick Mullens' only two road starts. This game has ugly potential.

Teaser of the Week

Texans -0.5 vs. Jaguars
Giants -0.5 vs. Cowboys

We have some nice options this week, as we can tease the Saints under 3 against Kyle Allen, the Packers under 3 against an awful Lions team or the Bears up to double-digits against a Vikings offense they easily handled earlier in the year. But I'm taking the Texans and Giants to basically just win their games. The Texans should have no trouble against Blake Bortles on the road, while the Giants are set up to face Cooper Rush for most of their game, as the Cowboys should be resting key players as they're locked into the No. 4 seed.

The teaser of the week is 12-4 after the Cowboys covered as a short favorite and the Texans played a close game against the Eagles as 8.5-point underdogs.

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