Last week, only the Texans and Steelers were upset, and I imagine few people were on either team. The Panthers, Colts, Redskins, Dolphins and Bears – as well as the Pats, Packers and Broncos all prevailed. Let's take a look at this week's slate:
|Team ||Opponent ||%Taken ||Vegas ML** ||Vegas Odds
|GIANTS ||Eagles ||15.30% ||310 ||75.61
|49ERS ||Cardinals ||15.10% ||1350 ||93.10
|SEAHAWKS ||Rams ||13.20% ||600 ||85.71
|CHARGERS ||Raiders ||13.10% ||OFF ||OFF
|SAINTS ||Panthers ||12.80% ||220 ||68.75
|BRONCOS ||Chiefs ||8.20% ||1250 ||92.59
|STEEELERS ||Browns ||7.90% ||OFF ||OFF
|TITANS ||Jaguars ||4.10% ||195 ||66.10
|REDSKINS ||Cowboys ||3.10% ||165 ||62.26
|PATRIOTS ||Dolphins ||2.90% ||575 ||85.19
|BILLS ||Jets ||1.60% ||170 ||62.96
|Bears ||Lions ||1.00% ||150 ||60.00
|FALCONS ||Buccaneers ||0.80% ||OFF ||OFF
|Texans ||COLTS ||0.00% ||260 ||72.22
Week 17 is always the most interesting for survivor because a team like the Falcons might announce on Friday that Matt Ryan is only playing a quarter, and suddenly the Bucs become viable. (As of Thursday, Falcons coach Mike Smith says the Falcons will treat this like any other game, however). So you have to wait until the last possible second to make your call.
It also looks like there's no especially popular choice this week, so "pot odds" considerations should depend solely on what teams people in your league have available. And given the unpredictable nature of the week, you might be better off ignoring pot odds altogether.
1. San Francisco 49ers
- Coming off the blowout loss in Seattle and playing for a possible first-round bye and/or home field advantage in the Wild Card round should, the Niners should roll at home against the Ryan Lindley-led Cardinals. Vegas has this at a whopping 93 percent, an almost unheard of number in an NFL game. I'll say it's 91.5, but we're splitting hairs.
2. Denver Broncos
- They're in a similar situation to that of the 49ers, playing at home for seeding (and possibly homefield advantage throughout) against a doormat. Vegas has this at 93 percent, and I'll put them at 91.
3. New England Patriots
- The Patriots are fighting for a possible first-round bye, and in any event, should handle the Dolphins at home. Unlike the Chiefs and Cardinals, however, the Dolphins are not doormats, and I wouldn't be surprised if they kept this game somewhat close. I give the Patriots an 80 percent chance to win this game.
4. Seattle Seahawks
- This is similar to the Patriots' situation in that it's a top team at home playing for possible seeding, but also facing a scrappy division foe. The Seahawks are almost unbeatable at home, but don't forget the Rams beat them in St. Louis and nearly swept a very physical Niners team this year. I give the Rams a 79 percent chance to win this game.
5. Houston Texans
- The Colts have nothing to play for here, while the Texans - as bad as they were last week - are playing for the AFC's No. 1 seed. If Andrew Luck
sits or plays less than a full game, I might bump them up to No. 3. I give the Texans a 79 percent chance to win this game.
6. New York Giants
- It's hard to justify this given how poorly they've played, and Michael Vick
will likely be auditioning for his next gig. But the Giants still have an outside chance to make the playoffs, and they'll be under a lot of pressure to play well at home in their finale. I give New York a 73 percent chance to win this game.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers
- I'm not sure how seriously they'll take this game now that they've been eliminated from the playoffs, but the Browns might be starting a third string QB (Thaddeus Lewis
) of whom most of us have never heard. I give the Steelers a 73 percent chance to win this game.
8. San Diego Chargers
- I don't trust them very much, but with Carson Palmer
out, the Raiders will be going with Matt Leinart
and/or Terrelle Pryor
. The Chargers should be able to handle them at home. I give the Chargers a 72 percent chance to win this game.
- I know they took care of Dallas on Thanksgiving, but this is a tough game between two roughly equal division rivals fighting for a playoff spot.
- Mike Smith *says* he'll treat it like any other game, but I'm awfully skeptical now that Atlanta has home field wrapped up.
- I know the Jets offense is absymal, but the disparity between these teams is negligible.
New Orleans Saints
- The Panthers have been unlucky for much of the year and actually defend the pass pretty well. These are equal teams.
- One doormat vs. another with nothing for which to play. I'm staying away.
If none of the top-eight teams is available, don't worry too much. As I mentioned, something can always open up later in the week when a team like the Falcons or Ravens announces it's sitting all its starters.