NFL picks, predictions against the spread Week 17: Ravens sink Dolphins, Cowboys tame Lions, Packers upset Vikings

Week 16 found ways to be more brutal in Week 15 with some shocking results, including blowout victories in espick ’em games and road teams pulling off major upsets. That presents a greater challenge for Sporting News’ picks and predictions against the spread for Week 17.

There are 32 total games for all 32 teams over the final two weeks. It’s time to finish 2023 strong and get ready to ring in 2024 with a bang. Here’s the latest fearless forecast for a full slate:

(Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook)

POWER RANKINGS: Ravens rout 49ers for undisputed top spot; Chiefs slip behind Browns, Bills for Week 17

NFL picks against the spread for Week 17

  • Game of Midweek: Jets at Browns (-7, 36.5 o/u)

Thursday 8:15 p.m. ET, Amazon Prime Video

Joe Flacco is playing like his Ravens Super Bowl MVP form from 11 seasons ago, only with more prolific numbers for the team in Cleveland instead of the team from Cleveland. This is also a revenge game against the team that should have kept him as a veteran backup for 2023. This game throws back to the first-ever Monday night game, only on a Thursday. The Browns are hot and their defense goes back to domination at home while the Jets will have little offensive success.

Pick: Browns win 23-10 and cover the spread.

  • Game of the Week: Dolphins at Ravens (-4, 47 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Ravens’ pass defense is incredible with its combination of deep pass rush and active secondary playmakers. Miami’s offensive line will take some hits here and Tua Tagovailoa also will be down Jaylen Waddle to limit the coverage burden on Baltimore. The Dolphins can run to stay in the game early but the Ravens will eventually get to tee off on Tua.

Pick: Ravens win 27-20 and cover the spread.

  • Upset of the Week: Packers (+2, 46 o/u) at Vikings

Sunday 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

Jordan Love has had the expected ups and downs of his first full-time starting season. But the Packers do have a keeper at QB, given he’s worked through a lot of injuries and reshuffling personnel around him at key positions. He is feeling better with a variety of young weapons with each week and now has help from his running backs. The Vikings’ passing game has become aggressive with new fill-in starter Nick Mullens but will be missing key target T.J. Hockenson. Green Bay keeps its slim wild-card playoff hopes alive by dashing that of its rival in Minnesota.

Pick: Packers win 24-20.

  • Lock of the Week: Chiefs (-7, 44.5 o/u) over Bengals

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

Let’s try this again after the Chiefs’ letdown despite playing dominant pass defense at home against the Raiders on Monday. They’re back at home facing a much weaker defense that struggles most against covering the tight end and stopping the run, and now has suddenly become more vulnerable to big pass plays downfield. Jake Browning was curbed in Pittsburgh and Kansas City offers a much tougher challenge on the road. Meanwhile, Mahomes and Travis Kelce get that long-awaited get-well game together as a key playoff tuneup.

Pick: Chiefs win 34-14 and cover the spread.

Amon-Ra St. Brown and CeeDee Lamb

(Getty Images)

  • Lions at Cowboys (-6, 53.5 o/u)

Saturday 8:15 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN

The Cowboys have dropped two games to lose their short-lived lead in the NFC East. But those were tough AFC opponents on the road. They are a much tougher team overall at home (7-0) than away (3-3). The Lions have played well everywhere this season but they are a little more vulnerable out of Detroit given Jared Goff’s history. The Cowboys can slow down their offense just a bit while the Lions give up a little too much in the passing game to CeeDee Lamb and Dak Prescott.

Pick: Cowboys win 27-24 but fail to cover the spread.

  • Patriots at Bills (-12, 41 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Patriots have overachieved of late with their defense getting tighter for Bill Belichick on every level. They also have stabilized the offense with Bailey Zappe making clutch plays leaning on the savvy running of Ezekiel Elliott. That said, the Bills already were caught by major surprise in the first meeting and are coming off taking the Chargers lightly in Week 16. Back at home, the Bills grind this one out by spreading the ball around well with Josh Allen.

Pick: Bills win 27-14 and cover the spread.

  • Falcons at Bears (-3, 38 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Falcons are not a great road team as their offensive play-calling and personnel execution goes into the tank outside of Atlanta, especially in the elements. Matt Eberflus’ Bears defense is overall a bad matchup because it can be tough against the power run and take away anything outside. Justin Fields also will be motivated to show what the Falcons are missing in him as a dual threat QB.

Pick: Bears win 23-13 and cover the spread.

  • Raiders at Colts (-3, 44.5 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Raiders have a big blowout win and a big statement win both in the division vs. the Chargers and Chargers. That’s great for Antonio Pierce’s chances to be the full-time head coach and maybe becoming their version of Dan Campbell. The Colts can stop the run and run the ball and make it rough on Aidan O’Connell in his non-college return to Indiana.

Pick: Colts win 17-13 and cover the spread.

  • Rams (-6, 42 o/u) at Giants

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Rams’ offense is rolling with the running of Kyren Williams and the passing of Matthew Stafford to elite healthy weapons. The Giants have zero answers defensively for both things. The Rams will be even OK giving up some big pass plays again before Aaron Donald the defense shut the door late.

Pick: Rams win 31-20 and cover the spread.

  • Cardinals at Eagles (-10.5, 48 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Cardinals are playing hard with Kyler Murray and this game also will mark the return of former Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Unfortunately, Gannon’s defense is worse all-around then the struggling one he left behind in Philadelphia. When Jalen Hurts meets Murray, there’s some Sooner pride on the line, with the much better NFL model prevailng.

Pick: Eagles win 31-20 and cover the spread.

  • Saints at Buccaneers (-3, 42 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Saints come marching with a pretty hot passing game all of sudden with Derek Carr, but they also have a sputtering running game and the Bucs won’t let it get back on track. The Buccaneers’ offense as a whole is chugging along with Baker Mayfield and Rachaad White at the controls. Tampa can taste a repeat NFC South title vs. its rival and won’t let down.

Pick: Buccaneers win 24-20 and cover the spread.

  • 49ers (-13.5, 48.5 o/u) at Commanders

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The 49ers will go from facing a terrific pressure and coverage defense from Baltimore at home to facing the complete opposite of all that in Washington. Losing former Commanders left tackle Trent Williams (groin) to a new injury is a big hit to the blocking and protection, but whether it’s a healthy Brock Purdy or Sam Darnold, this will be a big get-well game offensively and defensively for San Francisco.

Pick: 49ers win 30-20 but fail to cover the spread.

Brock Purdy, Brandon Aiyuk

(Getty Images)

  • Panthers at Jaguars (-7, 37.5 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Jaguars have been a streaky team all season. They once won five games in a row in the middle. Now they’ve lost four consecutive games. After getting ripped by three-fourths of the AFC North, they fell hardest at Tampa Bay. Carolina showed more passing game pop with Bryce Young last week vs. Green Bay, if Trevor Lawrence grinds through another injury (shoulder), he’ll be the better No. 1 overall pick QB here. Also look for the Jaguars to make this more about rebounding with their defense and getting Travis Etienne Jr. back on track on the ground.

Pick: Jaguars win 28-20 and cover the spread.

  • Titans at Texans (-3.5, 42.5 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Titans will keep showing good fight with Mike Vrabel but the offense just doesn’t have enough juice beyond the run with either QB. They will keep playing tough defense and might get a break with C.J. Stroud uncertain to return from his concussion. Houston will be desperate to grind through a division game to keep its playoff hopes alive with a defensive rebound.

Pick: Texans win 20-17 but fail to cover the spread.

  • Steelers at Seahawks (-3.5, 41.5 o/u)

Sunday 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox

The Steelers are set to stick with Mason Rudolph in their playoff push, but his aggressive passing ways will be curbed more by the strength of the Seahawks’ defense. There will be enough mistakes with those big plays and Geno Smith can find some good holes in the Steelers’ secondary wit his top wide receivers to answer in a few crucial moments. 

Pick: Seahawks win 23-20 but fail to cover the spread.

  • Chargers at Broncos (-5.5, 38.5 o/u)

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

The Broncos have been sloppy offensively and their defense still has too many breakdowns with bad run-stopping and coverage lapses. The Chargers are fighting hard for interim coach Giff Smith and will come thinking they can run the ball well, while their defense gets a break with possibly no Courtland Sutton. Denver takes control with Russell Wilson in the third quarter, but it leaves the Mile High door open late.

Pick: Broncos win 24-20 but fail to cover the spread.

Stats of the Week

Week 16 straight up: 10-6

Week 16 against the spread: 6-10

Season straight up: 158-82

Season against the spread: 123-112-1


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