Week 17 always is a tough one for Pro Picks. Some teams have nothing to gain as they prepare for the playoffs, wanting to merely stay as healthy as possible.
Others have everything to gain – a playoff berth, better seeding – and go hard from opening kickoff to final whistle.
Deciphering who is ready to do what is difficult. Then throw in the clubs whose coaching staffs probably are lame ducks, or whose coaches the players don’t want back, and it can become dizzying trying to find the best choices.
But we won’t go through the motions, even as many others on the field will.
KNOCKOUT LEAGUE TIP: Major kudos to anyone still alive in one of these. We bit the bullet a long time ago. But we still have kept our suggestions to different teams weekly, so with whom we have left, try BILLS.
No. 3 Kansas City (minus 4) at No. 26 San Diego
Chiefs are eyeing AFC West title and must win here. Chargers have mailed it in to an LA zip code.
BEST BET: CHIEFS, 26-13
No. 2 Dallas (plus 4 1-2) at No. 24 Philadelphia
Cowboys get their bye next week, go for it this week.
UPSET SPECIAL: COWBOYS, 31-23
No. 4 Oakland (plus 3 1-2) at No. 15 Denver
Defending champion Broncos go down fighting.
No. 8 Green Bay (minus 3 1-2) at No. 11 Detroit
Both teams staring at potentially falling out of playoffs altogether.
No. 1 New England (minus 9 1-2) at No. 10 Miami
New England often struggles in South Florida.
No. 19 New Orleans (plus 6 1-2) at No. 5 Atlanta
Falcons grab a week off in playoffs, finishing in style offensively.
No. 31 San Francisco (plus 9 1-2) at No. 9 Seattle
Seahawks sputtering their way to postseason.
No. 7 New York Giants (plus 8) at No. 14 Washington
Redskins need help, Giants need to wake up offense.
No. 20 Buffalo (minus 6) at No. 28 New York Jets
Why didn’t Bills wait for more Rex revenge on Jets?
No. 32 Cleveland (plus 7) at No. 6 Pittsburgh
Browns had their fun last week. Steelers rest some folks, but …
No. 12 (tie) Houston (plus 3) at No. 17 Tennessee
Texans tune up for getting whipped in wild-card game.
No. 23 Carolina (plus 6 1-2) at No. 16 Tampa Bay
Panthers were 14-1 a year ago. Then 2016 got ugly.
No. 28 Chicago (plus 5) at No. 22 Minnesota
Vikings were 5-0 in October. Then 2016 got ugly.
No. 27 Jacksonville (plus 4 1-2) at No. 18 Indianapolis