N.F.L. Week 17 Predictions: Our Picks Against the Spread

Fourteen (!) of Minnesota’s games have been decided by one score, a vivid depiction of its dancing-on-a-needle-point season, but one of those was a Week 11 win over Green Bay in which it exploited the Packers’ lone weakness: defending the run. In their last three games, the Packers (12-3) have given up an average of 166.3 rushing yards. Minnesota will get running back Dalvin Cook back from the Covid-19 list, but without Cousins, Green Bay will be able to stack the box, double team receiver Justin Jefferson, and not worry too much about this one. Pick: Packers -6.5

Atlanta Falcons at Buffalo Bills, 1 p.m., Fox

Line: Bills -14 | Total: 44.5

This could be considered a trap game for the Bills (9-6), who would lose their newly established grip on the A.F.C. East if the Falcons (7-8) pulled off an upset. It would also be a reversal of every football norm if Atlanta, whose defense has surrendered 30 or more points six times, could carry out a win at Highmark Stadium, where below-freezing temperatures and snow are predicted at kickoff.

If Buffalo keeps Josh Allen upright against the pass rush, which it failed to do in a Week 9 loss to Jacksonville (a true trap game), the Bills will cover the spread easily. Pick: Bills -14

Giants at Chicago Bears, 1 p.m., CBS

Line: Bears -6 | Total: 38.5

The Bears (5-10) and the Giants (4-11) have been two of the worst teams in the league, but Giants Coach Joe Judge is reportedly staying for at least one more season while Matt Nagy’s future in Chicago is unclear. The result of this game is unlikely to change either of those circumstances, though the Bears will probably win with Andy Dalton back under center after missing the last three games with injuries.

The Giants’ offense struggled even before Daniel Jones injured his neck, and has not had more than 200 yards passing in a game since early November. There’s no reason to think his backup, Mike Glennon, will change things. Pick: Bears -6

Las Vegas Raiders at Indianapolis Colts, 1 p.m., Fox

Line: Colts -7 | Total: 45

The Colts (9-6), for all intents and purposes, have secured the top wild-card spot, making this game more important for the Raiders (8-7), who still technically have a chance at the playoffs, according to math. Indianapolis placed Carson Wentz on the Covid-19 list after he tested positive this week, but on Saturday was cleared to return. Jonathan Taylor is still the league’s leading rusher (1,626 yards on 297 carries), and the Raiders’ defense is average against the run (14th in yards allowed, with 1,736).