The final week of the regular season is upon us, with several playoff spots still waiting to be filled. AS is the case with every final weekend in this league, you need to be paying attention to the teams that have already clinched a playoff spot, especially if their current position cannot change. These are the teams who may just decide to rest some of their better players, with the New Orleans Saints looking the most likely to do just that. We are going to keep that in mind as we look at the betting favorites you should not let pass in Week 17 of the NFL season.
Bring the 🔥🔥🔥. #Skol
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— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) December 27, 2018
Houston Texans at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Texans surrendered their opportunity to land a first-round bye next week with a loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16. They are in the #3 spot and are in the position to have a home game on Wild Card Weekend, a position that they will want to ensure that they maintain. Home field is absolutely critical in the playoffs and the Texans have an opportunity to clinch that when they welcome in the Jaguars this coming Sunday. While the Jags did pick up a rare win last weekend, they have just 2 wins on the road this season, which is why I think Houston wins this one.
Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins
It’s beginning to look a lot like last season, as the Eagles start to get on a roll with Nick Foles in at QB in place of the injured Carson Wentz. The Eagles kept their playoff hopes alive with a big win over Houston last weekend, but they also need a little bit of help this week if they are to sneak into the Wild Card and give themselves a chance to defend their crown. The Redskins have been hammered by injuries in the second half of the season, so perhaps no real surprise that they have now lost 5 of their last 6. Look for the Eagles to make one final playoff push with the win here.
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
With the events of Week 16, the Pittsburgh Steelers are no longer in control of their own playoff destiny. They could easily have been the New Orleans Saints on the road, but errors at critical times in the game ended up killing them. The Steelers now need to win this weekend, while also hoping that the Cleveland Browns can take out the Baltimore Ravens. The only thing that the Steelers can control is what happens in this game, and you have to like them to take care of the slumping Bengals at Heinz Field this coming Sunday.
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
This is one of those games where you have to think about the playing decision made by one of the coaches. The Chicago Bears already have their playoff ticket punched, and they also know that they are destined to be in the #3 spot, so there is no real need to go out and win this one. On the flipside, the Minnesota Vikings can suddenly feel the Philadelphia Eagles breathing down their necks in the race for the final Wild Card spot. A win gets the Vikings in, which they should get as a home favorite versus a potentially weakened Bears team.