Surviving Week 17
Congratulations if you've made it this far, especially after last week's bloodbath with the Lions, Seahawks and Chiefs going down. Let's take a look at this week's slate:
|Team ||Opponent ||%Taken ||Vegas ML** ||Vegas Odds
|STEELERS ||Browns ||31.50% ||275 ||73.33
|SAINTS ||Buccaneers ||13.50% ||600 ||85.71
|COLTS ||Jaguars ||10.50% ||525 ||84.00
|DOLPHINS ||Jets ||8.50% ||225 ||69.23
|Eagles ||COWBOYS ||7.90% ||245 ||71.01
|TITANS ||Texans ||5.80% ||275 ||73.33
|PATRIOTS ||Bills ||5.20% ||375 ||78.95
|Broncos ||RAIDERS ||3.90% ||525 ||84.00
|CHARGERS ||Chiefs ||3.30% ||413 ||80.49
|SEAHAWKS ||Rams ||2.40% ||550 ||84.62
|BENGALS ||Ravens ||2.00% ||250 ||71.43
|Panthers ||FALCONS ||1.50% ||240 ||70.59
|GIANTS ||Redskins ||1.00% ||175 ||63.64
Home team in CAPS
** Average of the two moneylines
As always, when you get past Week 8 or so, it becomes increasingly important to look at what teams your opponents have used up to determine who they're likely to pick. The percent-taken column is an especially rough guide to your likely pool distribution this late in the year.
1. Indianapolis Colts
They're playing for seeding even though they have the AFC South wrapped up, and while the Jaguars have been tougher of late, the Colts just routed the Chiefs in Arrowhead. I give Indy an 86 percent chance to win this game.
2. San Diego Chargers
The Chiefs are locked into the No. 5 seed and have already said they're going to sit their starters at some point, likely after a couple series. The Chargers have an outside shot at a playoff berth and will be going all out at home. Plus, they beat a full-strength Chiefs team in Arrowhead last month. I give the Chargers an 85 percent chance to win this game.
3. Denver Broncos
The Broncos should win easily here, but there are a few minor concerns: (1) The game is in Oakland; (2) The Broncos defense is weaker without Von Miller
; and (3) Terrelle Pryor
gives Oakland a different look. But it's hard to see the Raiders keeping up in a game the Broncos need for home-field advantage. I give the Broncos an 83 percent chance to win this game.
4. New Orleans Saints
The Saints never lose at home, but the Bucs know them well, have played decently in the second half of the season and have an improving young quarterback. Still, it's hard to see Tampa keeping pace with Drew Brees
in the dome. I give the Saints an 83 percent chance to win this game.
5. Seattle Seahawks
The Rams nearly beat the Seahawks in St. Louis, and they can get after Russell Wilson
the way the Cardinals did. But the Seahawks are playing for home-field advantage and are likely to rebound in their building against a Kellen-Clemens-led offense. I give Seattle an 82 percent chance to win this game.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers are 7-4 since their terrible start, and the Browns defense has fallen off since the first half of the year. I expect Pittsburgh to score, while the Browns erratic offense will have a tough time keeping up. I give the Steelers a 77 percent chance to win this game.
7. New England Patriots
The Pats always seem to figure it out, but this team is not great offensively without Rob Gronkowski
, and the defense is frankly below average. The Bills have some upside, especially if C.J. Spiller
gets loose, and they played well against the Patriots the first time around. I give New England a 75 percent chance to win this game.
8. Miami Dolphins
The Jets are so Jekyll and Hyde it's hard to know which team is showing up. But they've been more Hyde than Jekyll on the road, and the Dolphins are fighting for a playoff spot. I give Miami a 72 percent chance to win this game.
9. Carolina Panthers
The Falcons nearly took down the 49ers in San Francisco Monday night, and they typically play better at home. The Panthers are a tough team, but with Roddy White
and Matt Ryan
at the top of their games this won't be an easy matchup. I give the Panthers a 68 percent chance to win this game.
I doubt Tony Romo
will play, but until he's ruled out, I'd stay away from this game.
The Bengals are the better team, but the Ravens aren't likely to go down without a fight, and their defense got the better of Andy Dalton
the first time these teams played.
The Texans are talented enough to take down the Titans. Whether they ever get it together is an open question, but I'd stay away from Tennessee if I had one of the top nine options.