The last week of the NFL regular season has arrived, and with it, divisional rivalry games will help to settle the playoff field. Here’s a look at the NFL Week 17 odds slate.
Four playoff berths have been secured in the AFC, leaving the Indianapolis Colts (9-6), Tennessee Titans (9-6), Baltimore Ravens (9-6), and Pittsburgh Steelers (8-6-1) to fight for the final two spots.
And in the NFC, five postseason clinches offer just a single spot for the Minnesota Vikings (8-6-1) and Philadelphia Eagles (8-7) to scrap over.
Fortunately for football fans and bettors alike, the league’s intra-divisional format for Week 17 ensures every team has something to play for – either a playoff appearance or a chance to play the spoiler against old enemies.
The most impactful game of the week will also be the last one, as Sunday Night Football features a pair of AFC South teams clinging desperately to postseason aspirations in the Colts and Titans.
Assuming the Houston Texans (10-5) overcome the Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10) – an easy assumption to make with the Texans tagged as (-7) home dogs on the NFL Week 17 odds at online sportsbook Bovada – Bill O’Brien and the boys will clinch the division. That leaves the Colts and Titans to compete in a “play-in” game of sorts, with the winner claiming the No. 6 seed and a road game in the Wild Card round.
Both teams won as big betting favorites last week, yet it was Indianapolis who emerged relatively unscathed, while Tennessee watched starting quarterback Marcus Mariota go down with yet another injury. Backup QB Blaine Gabbert acquitted himself well in Mariota’s stead, but Titans backers are surely hoping for the starter’s return under center.
Mariota’s elbow injury included nerve damage that rendered his “whole right side numb and tingly,” but he has since returned to practice and no doubt hopes to play this Sunday. Whether he will, however, remains to be seen, given the serious nature of that self-diagnosis.
Which is why the bookmakers at Bovada have the Titans as (+3.5) dogs on the NFL Week 17 odds despite playing in Nashville, where they’ve dominated to the tune of 6-1 on the year.
Unless the Colts/Titans matchup winds up in a tie, the only path for Pittsburgh to make its fifth consecutive postseason requires Baltimore losing at home to the Cleveland Browns (7-7-1).
Fortunately for Steeler Nation, this edition of the Browns is far friskier than most pigskin pundits expected. After suffering through a 3-36-1 run of futility under former head coach Hue Jackson, who was fired after a 2-5-1 start to 2018, the Dawg Pound is finally biting back. Interim head coach Gregg Williams has his team playing with passion, sparking a 5-2 resurgence led by rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield.
With a chance to secure a winning season – which would be their first since 2007, and only their third since returning to the league in 1999 – the Browns will definitely have something to play for on Sunday.
That might not be enough, what with the Ravens still eligible for everything from the No. 2 seed to missing out on the tournament altogether.
Baltimore has more than morale to motivate them, especially with electric rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson powering an innovative ground and pound offense. And don’t sleep on the Ravens defense either, as the unit remains the stingiest in football allowing just 284.1 yards and 17.5 points per game.
That ferocious D, coupled with home field advantage, makes Baltimore the (-5.5) favorite here on the NFL Week 17 odds.
With all of that said, Pittsburgh still needs a win of its own plus a Baltimore loss to clinch the AFC North. That should be the easy part though, as the Steelers are hanging the largest number of the week as (-14.5) home favorites.
Finally, it’s déjà vu all over again in Philadelphia, where backup QB Nick Foles has returned to lead two crucial wins – saving the Eagles’ season in the process.
But in order to deliver another Super Bowl trophy to Philly fans, Saint Nick will need to knock off the Washington Redskins (7-8) as (-7) road favorites. And even that might not be enough.
The Eagles can only make the playoffs if the Vikings lose to the Chicago Bears (11-4), a tall order in more ways than one. The Vikings are playing at home, where they’re 5-2, as (-4.5) favorites, while the Bears might be packing it in – especially knowing a Minnesota victory sets up a third matchup between the teams next week in the Windy City.