NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 17, 2017

NFL Picks (Preseason 2017): 9-10-1 (-$110)
NFL Picks (Week 1, 2017): 8-6-1 (+$135)
NFL Picks (Week 2, 2017): 9-7 (+$45)
NFL Picks (Week 3, 2017): 5-11 (-$425)
NFL Picks (Week 4, 2017): 5-11 (+$90)
NFL Picks (Week 5, 2017): 8-6 (+$1,080)
NFL Picks (Week 6, 2017): 6-8 (-$640)
NFL Picks (Week 7, 2017): 3-10-2 (-$2,180)
NFL Picks (Week 8, 2017): 6-7 (-$1,795)
NFL Picks (Week 9, 2017): 7-5-1 (+$205)
NFL Picks (Week 10, 2017): 8-5-1 (+$290)
NFL Picks (Week 11, 2017): 3-10-1 (-$1,595)
NFL Picks (Week 12, 2017): 9-6-1 (+$420)
NFL Picks (Week 13, 2017): 6-10 (-$730)
NFL Picks (Week 14, 2017): 8-8 (+$350)
NFL Picks (Week 15, 2017): 7-8-1 (-$460)
NFL Picks (Week 16, 2017): 13-2-1 (+$1,500)

NFL Picks (2017): 113-122-9 (-$3,820)
NFL Picks (2016): 148-127-10 (+$1,055)
NFL Picks (2015): 133-138-10 (-$2,360)
NFL Picks (2014): 143-132-7 (-$1,115)
NFL Picks (2013): 144-131-8 (+$5,580)
NFL Picks (2012): 130-145-8 (-$5,760)
NFL Picks (2011): 137-133-12 (-$1,925)
NFL Picks (2010): 144-131-8 (+$6,080)
NFL Picks (2009): 151-124-9 (+$3,370)
NFL Picks (2008): 136-125-6 (+$4,330)
If you don't quite understand the line, total or anything else, go to my Sports Betting FAQ.

Vegas betting action updated Dec. 31, 11:35 a.m. ET. Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Go to Week 17 NFL Picks - Late Games

Green Bay Packers (7-8) at Detroit Lions (8-7)
Line: Lions by 7. Total: 44.5.

Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Lions -9.
Walt's Calculated Line: Lions -10.
Sunday, Dec 31, 1:00 PM
Comment on this game

The Game. Edge: Lions.

WEEK 16 RECAP: Week 16 was awesome. That's all I need to say about it. I finished 13-2-1 (+$1,500), and I also nailed all but one wagered total. Only the Giants +3 prevented me from going undefeated prior to Monday.

I'll be posting these NFL Picks all day Tuesday. Follow me at @walterfootball for updates.

GREEN BAY OFFENSE: There's one more game remaining for the Packers and their nightmare season, and I have to believe that their fans are hoping that this will be the final time they'll see Brett Hundley start for them. Hundley was atrocious Saturday night, giving his team no chance to pull the upset over the heavily favored Vikings.

There's only one reason to believe that Hundley could perform better this week, and that would be the potential return of Davante Adams, who missed last week's game with a concussion. Adams is Hundley's favorite receiver, as he's had major problems connecting with Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. That said, there's no guarantee Adams will play, and even if he does, he'll have to battle talented cornerback Darius Slay.

Even still, Hundley stinks. He's had some great instances where he torched the Browns in the fourth quarter, and he went toe to toe with a lethargic Pittsburgh team, but he's also the same quarterback who threw just 84 yards against the Buccaneers and was shut out twice at home. Detroit has a decent defense that should give Hundley more problems.

DETROIT OFFENSE: The Lions couldn't move the chains at all against the Bengals in a must-win game last week. Many must have been surprised by this - the public was all over Detroit - but the reason was that the team was missing three talented offensive linemen. Right tackle Ricky Wagner, guard T.J. Lang and center Travis Swanson were all out of the lineup, so Detroit couldn't maintain drives as a result.

The Lions' offensive success mostly depends on whether their blockers return to the field. If they're all missing, the Packers will have some mammoth disadvantages in the trenches, especially if Clay Matthews returns. Detroit could have major problems blocking Mike Daniels and Kenny Clark in the interior.

That said, the Packers' secondary is so bad that Stafford should have success anyway. We saw this on a Monday night earlier in the season when Stafford was a near-perfect 26-of-33 for 361 yards and two touchdowns. Green Bay hasn't made any changes to its defensive backfield, and the Lions were missing linemen in that contest, so I don't see why things would suddenly change.

RECAP: This is our final opportunity to fade Hundley, so that's exactly what I'm going to do. This spread also seems short. The advance line was -9, and my personal number is -10. It's not the best value in the world, but I think that the Lions should be able to take care of business against the woeful, Hundley-led Packers.

I'm going to pencil this in for only one unit. I'd like to make a bigger wager, but I wonder about Detroit's motivation. The Lions have to be deflated after they saw their playoff hopes ruined with last week's loss at Cincinnati. They could be very flat for this game. If that weren't the case, this pick would be for three units or more, but I just worry about Detroit not showing up at all.

THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Albert Breer is reporting that Jim Caldwell is likely to be fired after this game. This comes as a shock to me, and it also makes Detroit very difficult to bet, even though the line has dropped to -6. I'm going to put this at zero units, despite my desire to bet against Brett Hundley.

SATURDAY NOTES: The Packers will be missing Davante Adams, Jordy Nelson, Jahri Evans and Nick Perry. Damarious Randall and Clay Matthews are questionable. It's grim for the Packers, especially with the Lions set to have Ricky Wagner and T.J. Lang back from injury. I'd like the Lions a lot if they weren't reportedly set to fire their head coach. As a result, the players could be distracted.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I don't see Clay Matthews on the injury report, but Damarious Randall, Green Bay's top corner, is out. This is going to make things a lot easier for Matthew Stafford, but I'm worried about Detroit's potential lack of focus with Jim Caldwell set to be fired for some reason. There's some slight sharp action on the Lions.

The Psychology. Edge: Packers.
The Lions had a chance to make the playoffs by winning their final two games, but now they have nothing to play for.

The Vegas. Edge: None.
Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on Green Bay: 57% (10,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Packers.
  • History: Packers have won 19 of the last 24 meetings.
  • Packers are 45-24 ATS in divisional games since 2006.
  • Mike McCarthy is 6-3 ATS in same-season revenge games.
  • Matthew Stafford is 11-24 ATS in December and January.
  • Opening Line: Lions -7.5.
  • Opening Total: 42.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 17 NFL Pick: Lions 23, Packers 13
    Lions -7 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Under 44.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Lions 35, Packers 11

    New York Jets (5-10) at New England Patriots (12-3)
    Line: Patriots by 15. Total: 43.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Patriots -16.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Patriots -19.
    Sunday, Dec 31, 1:00 PM
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Patriots.

    I'll be posting these NFL Picks all day Tuesday. Follow me at @walterfootball for updates.

    My overrated-underrated feature will continue in this spot, and I'm going to emphasize injuries (particularly those on the offensive line)...

    Underrated NFL Teams:

  • Chicago Bears: The Bears dropped four in a row prior to beating the Bengals, but they were without Danny Trevathan or top safety Adrian Amos for all four of contests. Trevathan is not only the heart and soul of Chicago's defense, but he also happens to be the brains of the operation. Amos, meanwhile, has been playing on a Pro Bowl level. The Bears frequently blow coverages with Trevathan being out of the lineup, so it's no surprise that their defense has been much better with him back on the field. They lost to the Lions two weeks ago, but outgained Detroit and averaged more yards per play.

  • Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals are not a good team, by any means, but they weren't nearly as bad as they looked in their recent blowout losses. They were better when Vontaze Burfict returned from his concussion, though he was knocked out with a shoulder against Detroit. We've seen enough proof now that the Bengals aren't nearly the same team without Burfict, as he's their version of Sean Lee/Luke Kuechly.

  • San Francisco 49ers: It's amazing what a competent signal-caller can do. The 49ers have had bad (Brian Hoyer) and abysmal (C.J. Beathard) quarterbacking this year, but Jimmy Garoppolo has been great against the Bears, Texans, Titans and Jaguars. With Garoppolo, the 49ers are so much better than 5-10. They have a solid running back, two talented tackles (though Trent Brown is now out for the year), and several impressive play-makers in the front seven. They still have some glaring holes at receiver, center and cornerback, but had Garoppolo started all year, I get the sense that the 49ers would be 10-5 or better right now.

    Overrated NFL Teams:

  • Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons are two kicks on national TV away from being 7-8. They also beat Dallas when the Cowboys lost Sean Lee and already didn't have Tyron Smith or Ezekiel Elliott. This team is just not clicking like it did last year. They've been making way too many mistakes all season.

  • Jacksonville Jaguars: No one should be surprised that San Francisco demolished Jacksonville. The Jaguars prevailed over the Seahawks because Seattle lost both of its star linebackers. They beat the Chargers because Los Angeles made so many mistakes. Jacksonville had just one legitimate scoring drive in that contest. The Jaguars have otherwise beaten lots of bad teams, except when they lost to the Cardinals and nearly went down to the Browns, holding just a 10-7 lead in the middle of the fourth quarter. They remind me of the Giants from 2016. They're overachieving, and they're likely going to make the playoffs, but they'll lose in the postseason right away and will win just 3-4 games next year once things stop going their way.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers are definitely not the same without Ryan Shazier, as they couldn't stop Alex Collins runs and Joe Flacco passes without him. The freaking Ravens scored 38 points against them! They could've beaten the Patriots, but now Antonio Brown is also out.

    NEW ENGLAND OFFENSE: Much has been made of Tom Brady's declining statistics. I'm part of a daily sports-betting mailer, and the person sending it touted the Bills heavily last week, citing Brady's regression. Brady, surely enough, had an interception in his fifth-consecutive game last week, which is the first time he's done something like that in 15 years. However, New England still demolished Buffalo, so it really didn't matter.

    Brady's stats might be suppressed, but he's still the best quarterback in the NFL. He didn't look like it in the previous meeting against the Jets - he was 20-of-38 for 257 yards, two touchdowns and an interception - a game that New York may have won had Austin Seferian-Jenkins' pylon touchdown counted, but I expect Brady to be much better in the rematch. He had just one other game (at Miami) where his YPA was worse, and it's possible that Leonard Williams could miss this contest with a back injury. It's Week 17, so if Williams is hurt, there's no reason to risk his health. The Jets, who definitely won't have Muhammad Wilkerson either, will have fewer players to pressure Brady than in the initial meeting.

    Brady, perhaps angry that his skeptics are pointing out the interceptions, should be able to torch the Jets, who can't stop tight ends at all. Antonio Gates had a great performance against them, so what's Rob Gronkowski going to do? The Jets don't have the cornerbacks to cover Brandin Cooks either.

    NEW YORK OFFENSE: One of the primary reasons the Jets nearly pulled the upset in the first meeting was Josh McCown. The veteran quarterback put together a brilliant game, going 31-of-47 for 354 yards, two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions. He was also robbed of a third score with the Seferian-Jenkins nonsense. Eleven weeks later, I'm still convinced that was a touchdown!

    McCown, however, will not be available. Bryce Petty presumably will draw another start, which means the Jets won't be able to do anything offensively. Petty is not an NFL-caliber quarterback - not even as a backup - and thus the Jets will be extremely limited offensively. Petty has failed to complete even half of his passes this year, and his 4:10 career touchdown-to-interception ratio doesn't exactly inspire confidence. He can scramble a bit, but that's it.

    If the Jets score at all, it'll be via a long Bilal Powell run, or something similar. The Patriots are soft against the run, but Bill Belichick is the master of erasing an opponent's best offensive aspect, and this is the only thing the Jets are good at right now on this side of the ball.

    RECAP: I don't see how this game can be competitive at all. The Patriots need to win to secure the No. 1 seed, so they'll be focused. The Jets, on the other hand, can't generate any sort of offense with Petty at the helm. New England has scored 37 and 35 points in its previous two home games, and I don't see how the Jets can get 21 or 19, which would be required to cover in those particular offensive outputs.

    This is one of my top picks of the week. Barring lots of turnovers - which we saw in the Saints-Jets game in Week 15 - the Patriots figure to win this game by at least three touchdowns. I know this spread is high, but I don't think it's high enough. The number should be closer to 20, as New York isn't a competitive football team at the moment.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I still like the Patriots quite a bit, and I'm hoping the number drops. I don't think we'll see -14, but that's the desired target for me to lock this in.

    SATURDAY NOTES: This spread hasn't dropped much, but there's good news, and that would be the Jets missing two key members of their offense. Austin Seferian-Jenkins is doubtful, while right tackle Brandon Shell has been ruled out.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: As projected, Austin Seferian-Jenkins is out, so the Jets won't have one of their two sole play-makers, as well as right tackle Brandon Shell. I still like the Patriots quite a bit. The sharps haven't weighed in on this game.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on New England: 54% (14,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Patriots.
  • History: Patriots have won 24 of the last 30 meetings.
  • Jets are 13-8 ATS as underdogs of 7+ since 2010.
  • Patriots are 52-39 ATS vs. AFC East opponents since 2001.
  • Patriots are 36-16 ATS in December & January home games since 2000.
  • Patriots are 12-3 ATS in Week 17 since 2001.
  • Tom Brady is 219-68 as a starter (162-112 ATS).
  • Tom Brady is 32-34 ATS as a home favorite of -9 or more (21-27 ATS since November 2007).
  • Opening Line: Patriots -16.
  • Opening Total: 46.
  • Weather: .

    Week 17 NFL Pick: Patriots 38, Jets 13
    Patriots -15 (4 Units) -- Correct; +$400
    Over 43.5 (0 Units) -- Incorrect; $0
    Patriots 26, Jets 6

    Houston Texans (4-11) at Indianapolis Colts (3-12)
    Line: Colts by 4. Total: 42.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Pick.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Colts -6.
    Sunday, Dec 31, 1:00 PM
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: .

    VEGAS UPDATE: I'll be posting how the Vegas sportsbooks have done the previous week in this spot. Here were last week's most-bet sides:

  • Panthers -10
  • Steelers -9
  • Lions -5
  • Rams -6.5
  • Eagles -9

  • The highest-bet sides were 37-34-3 heading into Week 16. The sportsbooks have been getting slaughtered in the second half of the season, but that changed this past weekend, with three of the top four public sides failing to cash. It would've been four of five, but the bogus touchdown at the end of the Philadelphia game was a nice Christmas present for public bettors. Highest-bet sides are now 38-37-4. Here are the five highest-bet sides, as of Tuesday morning:

  • Redskins -3.5
  • Chiefs +3.5
  • Bengals +10
  • Chargers -8
  • Bills -3

  • Three of the five teams are favorites, with two of them being on the road. The Chiefs and Bengals are a public dogs. It seems as though the public is confused about why the Broncos are favored over the Chiefs.

    HOUSTON OFFENSE: The Texans were pretty bad with Tom Savage, but they simply haven't been competitive at all without him. In the previous two games, they've been outscored 79-13. I never thought I'd say this, but the Texans need Savage back to have a chance!

    Savage Knuckleblade is on injured reserve, so T.J. Yates will be at the helm again. Yates, once upon a time, won a playoff game for the Texans, but this team is obviously much more undermanned than that squad was. This includes the offensive line, and Houston happens to have the NFL's worst blocking unit. The Colts actually have quality players on their defensive line, including Johnathan Hankins, who has been terrific this season. Hankins and Margus Hunt, who is finally living up to expectations, will win in the trenches, while Jabaal Sheard will provide plenty of heat on the edge, easily beating overmatched rookie left tackle Julie'n Davenport.

    The Colts have been stout against the run this year, but they've been incredibly weak to the pass because of injuries to their secondary. Top cornerback Rashaan Melvin could return from a lengthy absence, but it's not like he'd be able to cover the dynamic DeAndre Hopkins. That said, Yates' chances to get the ball to Hopkins will be limited because his horrible offensive line won't give him any protection.

    INDIANAPOLIS OFFENSE: Thanks to numerous injuries, the Texans have been anemic on this side of the ball as well. Their previous four opponents have gained 6.9, 6.3, 6.8 and 5.7 yards per play against them, and that final figure could've been higher had Ben Roethlisberger not been removed from the game in the middle of the fourth quarter.

    Houston's secondary is a mess, which doesn't bode well for the team in this game because of T.Y. Hilton. The dynamic receiver torched the Texans in the previous meeting, catching five passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns back in Week 9. Something similar should be expected from Hilton, as well as Jacoby Brissett, who was 20-of-30 for 308 yards and two touchdowns in that contest.

    The Colts' weakness on this side of the ball happens to be the offensive line. The blocking isn't nearly as atrocious as Houston's because of left tackle Anthony Castonzo, who won't be completely abused by Jadeveon Clowney like many other blind-side protectors happen to be.

    RECAP: Yates is an auto-fade. Houston's offensive line is an auto-fade. I wish this spread were -3 or less, but it's -4 for a reason. The Colts are better than the Texans, despite the records, and they should be able to win this game by a touchdown or more.

    The one concern I have is the impending coaching change. Teams set to fire their head coach are great to bet against in Week 17, and it's likely that Chuck Pagano will be axed on Black Monday. However, Bill O'Brien seems like he's out the door as well, so this seems like a wash to me.

    With that worry minimized, I'm comfortable enough to wager three units on the Colts. This spread should be -6 at the very least.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I'm going to lock in this pick. Pinnacle has moved this spread to -5. CRIS has this listed at -4 -115. The sharp books are taking money on the Colts, so that means this spread could rise elsewhere. Maybe I'm wrong to do this, but I want to make sure I get -4 before the line moves.

    SATURDAY NOTES: The Colts will be missing Johnathan Hankins, who happens to be important for their run defense. However, Houston won't have DeAndre Hopkins, so that would explain all of the line movement. This spread shifted up to -6, thanks to sharp money. Then, some sharps bet Houston at +6.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: As mentioned earlier, there was sharp action on Colts -3.5/-4 and Texans +6, as there are just differing opinions. To me, I already liked the Colts against T.J. Yates, even before DeAndre Hopkins was declared out.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    Both coaches are on the hot seat.

    The Vegas. Edge: Texans.
    Slight lean on the Colts.
  • Percentage of money on Indianapolis: 64% (6,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Texans.
  • History: Colts have won 24 of the 31 meetings (Texans won 3 of the last 4).
  • Texans are 44-29 ATS after two or more consecutive losses (8-7 ATS as favorites).
  • Opening Line: Colts -4.
  • Opening Total: 41.
  • Weather: .

    Week 17 NFL Pick: Colts 20, Texans 10
    Colts -4 (3 Units) -- Correct; +$300
    Under 42 (0.5 Units) -- Correct; +$50
    Colts 22, Texans 13

    Cleveland Browns (0-15) at Pittsburgh Steelers (12-3)
    Line: Steelers by 6. Total: 38.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Steelers -15.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Steelers -15.5.
    Sunday, Dec 31, 1:00 PM
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: .

    HATE MAIL: I didn't receive much hate mail following Week 16, but I did beforehand, particularly from people pretending to be Jaguar fans:

    And another fake Jaguar fan...

    And another fake Jaguar fan...

    See, if these "Jaguar fans" truly believed their team was great, they would just laugh me off. But the fact that they're so adamant about posting means that they're insecure, and deep down inside, they know that the Jaguars are extremely overrated.

    Anyway, here's someone who doesn't believe in my Week 16:

    I've haven't had the best year. There have been some bad picks, and some worse luck, but it was nice to have everything come together one week.

    PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: So far, so good without Antonio Brown. The Steelers scored 34 points against the Texans in their first full game without Brown, and that sum easily could've been greater had Pittsburgh not removed Ben Roethlisberger in the middle of the fourth quarter.

    It can be pointed out that the Steelers managed to accomplish this against a horrible Houston defense that couldn't stop Blake Bortles, Keelan Cole and Jaydon Mickens the week before, but it's not like the Browns are any better. They surrender tons of big plays, as their secondary and linebacking corps happen to be mostly atrocious. They can pressure the quarterback with Myles Garrett, but that won't impact Roethlisberger, who is well protected on the blind side. He'll move the chains easily with his young receivers.

    Aside from putting heat on the quarterback with Garrett, the one thing the Browns do well on this side of the ball is stop the run. Le'Veon Bell won't find much room on the ground, but he'll abuse the aforementioned linebackers as a receiver out of the backfield.

    CLEVELAND OFFENSE: The Browns should actually have more success running the ball than the Steelers will in this game, at least when the game's close. Pittsburgh's run defense has been atrocious since losing Ryan Shazier. The Steelers couldn't stop Alfred Blue, so I don't think they'll have much success limiting Isaiah Crowell.

    With Crowell moving well on the ground in the early going, the Browns should be able to move the chains somewhat well until this game gets out of hand. However, all of this will end in tragedy because DeShone Kizer is so incompetent. Kizer makes some great plays, but he always follows those up with horrible turnovers, most of which seem to occur in the red zone. Kizer can't make reads, his accuracy is woeful, and he holds on to the ball too long in the pocket. None of this will bode well against the Steelers, whose secondary has improved with the return of Joe Haden.

    RECAP: This might be our final chance to bet against Kizer for a long time, so let's cherish this moment. Ah...

    I'm going to make this two units. I'd love to go higher, but there's a danger, and that would be the Patriots-Jets game. If New England is blowing out New York, which I think is a very strong possibility, the Steelers may pull their starters because they'll have nothing to play for. This could allow Kizer to sneak into the back door.

    That said, Pittsburgh could be up by four touchdowns by the time that happens because the Browns are that horrible.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: The sharps have bet this down to +11. Surprise, surprise the pros are on Cleveland. The sharps have been betting the Browns all year, and they've gotten murdeered. I don't get why they continue to torture themselves. There's nothing "sharp" about betting the worst team in football!

    IMPORTANT UPDATE: Thanks to Steven of for alerting me that the Steelers will be benching their starters this week, in anticipation of the Patriots automatically winning. Marcus Gilbert is the one who broke the news, telling a radio station that both Ben Roethlisberger and Le'Veon Bell will be out. I tried betting this at my books, but they've taken the game off the board. If you can get Browns +10 or higher, bet it as quickly as you can! Otherwise, check back for my new pick on this game when the spread is re-released. I imagine the Steelers will be -3.5 or so. I'm also not betting the over.

    SATURDAY NOTES: The new spread is Steelers -6. There's no way in hell I'd ever lay six points with Landry Jones, who is one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL. This spread is two or 2.5 points too high, in my opinion, but I don't want to bet the Browns heavily. In fact, I don't want to bet them at all. I just don't trust them. Not even against Landry Jones. I'd obviously bet them at the original line, but not at +6.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps are all over the Browns, which is hardly a surprise. It actually makes sense this week, however, as Landry Jones is the opposing quarterback. Again, I'd love the Browns at +11, but that spread was quickly taken off the board. Pittsburgh will be missing Ben Roethlisberger, Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro and Cameron Heyward. I'm going to put a unit on Cleveland at +6, as I think this line is a bit too high. The best line is +6 -115 at BetUS, with the spread dropping to +5 in most books.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Browns.
    Public on the Steelers, sharps on the Browns.
  • Percentage of money on Pittsburgh: 67% (16,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • History: Steelers have won 31 of the last 35 meetings.
  • Hue Jackson is 2-6 ATS as a divisional underdog of 7+.
  • Steelers are 34-16 ATS in December home games since 2000.
  • Mike Tomlin is 9-20 ATS as a favorite after a win of 14+ in the regular season unless a bye is coming up.
  • Opening Line: Steelers -13.5.
  • Opening Total: 41.
  • Weather: .

    Week 17 NFL Pick: Steelers 21, Browns 17
    Browns +6 -115 (1 Unit) -- Correct; +$100
    Over 36.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Steelers 28, Browns 24

    Washington Redskins (7-8) at New York Giants (2-13)
    Line: Redskins by 4.5. Total: 40.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Redskins -3.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Redskins -1.
    Sunday, Dec 31, 1:00 PM
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Redskins.

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    WASHINGTON OFFENSE: This could be the final time both quarterbacks in this game play for their respective teams. For the Redskins, it makes far less sense for them to part ways with Kirk Cousins because he's a top-12 NFL quarterback, but they refuse to pay him for some reason.

    Cousins should have a solid finale against the Giants, who lost Landon Collins to an injury. The Giants, despite going down 23-0 last week, were competitive with Arizona until Collins left the game. It was 3-0 at the end of the second quarter at that point, and Arizona scored a touchdown on the very next play. The Cardinals moved the chains more effectively after that, as Collins is arguably the best defensive player on New York's roster, and the coaching staff simply couldn't adjust.

    Cousins figures to have plenty of success throwing against the Collins-less Giants if he gets adequate protection. However, the Redskins are missing the entire left side of their offensive line, which is where the best healthy players on the Giants' defensive front - Olivier Vernon, Snacks Harrison - happen to reside.

    NEW YORK OFFENSE: Eli Manning's departure from the Giants makes more sense. He's nearing the end of his career, and he's no longer the player he once was. He'll still have some great moments, like in his near-victory against the Eagles in Week 15, but clunkers like his atrocious showing at Arizona are also possible.

    Manning could struggle again in this game. His top two weapons, Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard, are both nursing and injuries and may not play as a result. If so, Manning will have no one of relevance to throw to. Making matters worse, the Redskins have a huge mismatch in Ryan Kerrigan going up against beleaguered right tackle Bobby Hart.

    Perhaps the Giants will be able to run the ball. That may seem unlikely after they squandered so many short-yardage opportunities at Arizona, but the Redskins just surrendered a big game to C.J. Anderson. Washington can't stop the rush at all because of injuries to the defensive front and linebacking corps.

    RECAP: I'd like the Giants enough to put money on them if they still had Collins, but he won't be available. Engram and Shepard, as mentioned, could also be out. It's a shame that New York has so many injuries, as it makes them unbettable.

    The Redskins, meanwhile, don't look very appealing either. They're a heavily publicly backed team as a road favorite of -3 and big juice, and they happen to have big liabilities on the offensive line and in run defense.

    I'm torn on this game right now, so I'm going to pencil in the Giants for zero units. Perhaps the end-of-week injury report will change my mind.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: I still have no strong opinion on this game, but perhaps there will be more clarity once Friday's injury report is released.

    SATURDAY NOTES: Both teams won't have important defenders, with the Redskins missing Zach Brown and the Giants being without Landon Collins. Washington's Ryan Kerrigan is questionable, but he at least practiced Friday, so he should be able to play. Even if Kerrigan sits, it would be difficult to bet the Giants with Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard both out.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: This line is all the way up to -4.5! This looked attractive to me at first, but Davis Webb is active, so the Giants could plan on playing him at some point. I would not trust the Giants to cover, but I would still pick them if I had to.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Giants.
    No one wants any part of the Giants.
  • Percentage of money on Washington: 73% (10,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Giants.
  • History: Giants have won 16 of the last 23 meetings.
  • Eli Manning is 44-36 ATS as an underdog since 2007.
  • Opening Line: Redskins -3.
  • Opening Total: 40.
  • Weather: .

    Week 17 NFL Pick: Redskins 17, Giants 16
    Giants +4.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Under 40.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Giants 18, Redskins 10

    Chicago Bears (5-10) at Minnesota Vikings (12-3)
    Line: Vikings by 12.5. Total: 38.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Vikings -12.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Vikings -10.
    Sunday, Dec 31, 1:00 PM
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Vikings.

    I wouldn't say my weekly random NFL notes cluttered these picks pages, so I'll keep them here. What I'm also going to do is store all of them in a Random NFL Notes section so that you can go back and read previous entries in the future.

    Some random NFL notes I can't put anywhere else:

    1. I don't know what took the NFL so long, but it finally handed out a punishment for the Seahawks' failure to follow concussion protocol in that ridiculous Thursday night game against Arizona in which a billion players were injured. The penalty, in case you haven't heard, is a $100,000 fine.

    Can I tell you how dumb this is? A $100,000 fine for an NFL team is nothing. It's like your boss fining you $10 for some horrible misconduct at work. If it saves you a bunch of time and allows you to take a long weekend, you'll take the $10 penalty, right? Absolutely, just like NFL teams will accept $100,000 infractions if it means it gives them a better chance of winning.

    The Seahawks should've been stripped a draft pick for what they did. I don't blame them for immediately clearing Russell Wilson because they wanted to win, but $100,000 is not going to deter teams from doing this in the future. The whole point of a penalty is to make it a deterrent for other teams to do the same thing, but NFL franchises will gladly pay $100,000 for a win!

    2. The solution, as I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, is to make it so every Thursday night game is between two teams coming off byes. If that means no Thursday Night Football in Weeks 2-4, so be it. We'll survive, NFL.

    I'd like to offer another suggestion to the league. How about we loosen things up with the holding and illegal-block-in-the-back penalties on kick returns? I can't imagine I'm not alone in saying this, but I absolutely hate it when we see a great return, and then we notice the dreaded yellow box on the bottom right that says "flag" in it, and we know the play isn't going to count.

    I f***ing hate this so much. Seriously. Football TV ratings are down, and these ticky-tack penalties aren't helping whatsoever. And I imagine everyone feels the same way. Is there anyone cheering for flags to be thrown on great kickoff and punt returns, unless you're specifically rooting against the team that just made the big play? Call me crazy, but I think we should let great plays stand.

    Now, I should note that I'm not advocating completely abolishing holding and block-in-the-back penalties on kickoffs. They should be called if they are super blatant. But if they are borderline, or even only slightly egregious, I think officials should be instructed to let them go.

    3. I began the year talking about how I was switching over to NFL Network instead of ESPN, and I definitely do not regret my decision. I don't miss ESPN one bit. Well, to clarify, I miss Chris Berman and Tom Jackson, but they have both been forced into retirement to make way for a college football sideline reporter and Rex Ryan to ruin things on Sunday NFL Countdown. Good lord, no wonder ESPN is hemorrhaging money.

    Rich Eisen is great, but I have issues with NFL Network's pre-game show as well. I've mentioned my disdain for Steve Mariucci, who has often been guilty of saying inaccurate things and yelling incoherently. Mariucci actually had an interview with Pete Carroll last week, and I can probable recite every line from the interview because NFL Network aired it twice during the same pre-game telecast.

    Yes. Let me repeat that: NFL Network aired the same interview twice!

    I was thinking of an explanation for it, and the only thing I can think of is that Marshall Faulk had some sort of interview or segment that had to be cut because of his suspension. But still, couldn't they come up with something else? Eisen couldn't have said a few more jokes? Cynthia Frelund couldn't have given us some more of her great fantasy analysis? Jane Slater couldn't have gotten me excited by once again talking about Tyron Smith's bulging disc?

    I couldn't believe NFL Network did that. And yet, it's still better than some of the crap ESPN has pulled over the years, so I'm willing to accept it and remain with NFL Network for now.

    MINNESOTA OFFENSE: I'm not sure what to make of the Saturday night game. The Vikings' defense was fantastic, as always, but what happened to the offense? It basically scored just 13 points, with an extra three coming at the end, thanks to an unsportsmanlike penalty. The Packers, already boasting a horrific defense, were missing their top two edge rushers and best cornerbacks. The fact that Minnesota scored 13 points in real action has to be disconcerting to its fans.

    Case Keenum will have a much more difficult matchup in this game. Keenum torched the Bears in the prior meeting, a come-from-behind Monday night victory, but Chicago didn't have Danny Trevathan in that game. Trevathan is in the lineup now, and so is Adrian Amos, their top defensive back, who missed a few games prior to the Cleveland affair. The Bears can be dominant on this side of the ball with all of their important players healthy, and they could give Keenum some trouble.

    Additionally, the Vikings won't be able to run the ball all that well. Chicago happens to be so much better versus the rush when Trevathan is in the lineup, so Keenum will have to do everything himself, all while missing one of his linemen, Nick Easton, who went down with a season-ending injury Saturday night.

    CHICAGO OFFENSE: Of course, the Vikings may not need to score all that much, based on the advantages they have on this side of the ball. They just shut out the Packers, and they could blank another divisional rival in this contest.

    Mitchell Trubisky has been very inconsistent thus far, which is to be expected from a normal rookie quarterback. Trubisky played well at home against an atrocious Cleveland secondary last week. This Sunday, he'll be in a hostile environment against one of the NFL's top defenses. The Vikings will pressure him relentlessly, as Danielle Hunter and Linval Joseph have big mismatch edges in the trenches. Trubisky's receivers, meanwhile, won't be able to separate from Minnesota's terrific defensive backs.

    The Bears won't be able to count on running the ball either. The Vikings have a stout ground defense, so Jordan Howard will be very limited. The Vikings remarkably have allowed just one team to rush for more than 100 yards this year. The Panthers did this because of one long Jonathan Stewart run on a blown gap assignment.

    RECAP: Keenum's potential decline is a concern, but the Vikings will be able to dominate Trubisky in this matchup. Also, the whole Week 17 coaching dynamic I mentioned earlier factors into this game as well. Fading coaches who are about to be fired in the regular-season finale has worked well in the past, and John Fox is certain to be axed on Black Monday.

    I'm going to wager a couple of units on the Vikings. I don't think we'll see the best effort from the Bears because of Fox's impending fate, while Mike Zimmer has been money with extra time to prepare for a game; he's 7-2 against the spread in such situations.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: It sounds like the Vikings could be missing center Pat Elflein in addition to guard Nick Easton. I don't like it when teams miss multiple starting linemen, so if Elflein is out, I may drop this to a unit. We'll see.

    SATURDAY NOTES: I expressed concern about the Vikings missing two offensive linemen. Well, the Bears won't have three. In addition to Kyle Long, who's already on injured reserve, guard Josh Sitton and right tackle Bobby Massie are doubtful. This is horrible news for a Chicago offense that will have to battle one of the top defenses in the NFL. I'm going to stick with two units on the Vikings.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Nothing has really changed here, both in terms of injuries and sharp action. I'm still on the Vikings for two units.

    The Psychology. Edge: Vikings.
    John Fox will certainly be fired soon.

    The Vegas. Edge: Bears.
    Public on the Vikings, sharps on the Bears.
  • Percentage of money on Minnesota: 67% (11,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Vikings.
  • History: Home Team has won 24 of the last 29 meetings (Vikings won 5 of the last 6 meetings).
  • Bears are 17-35 ATS in December road games the previous 52 instances.
  • Mike Zimmer is 43-18 ATS as head coach of the Vikings.
  • Mike Zimmer is 7-2 ATS with extra time to prepare since 2015.
  • Vikings are 24-8 ATS at home since 2014.
  • Opening Line: Vikings -12.5.
  • Opening Total: 40.
  • Weather: .

    Week 17 NFL Pick: Vikings 24, Bears 0
    Vikings -12.5 (2 Units) -- Correct; +$200
    Under 38.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Vikings 23, Bears 10

    Dallas Cowboys (8-7) at Philadelphia Eagles (13-2)
    Line: Cowboys by 3.5. Total: 40.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread: Cowboys -3.
    Walt's Calculated Line: Eagles -2 (PHI starters) or Cowboys -9 (PHI scrubs).
    Sunday, Dec 31, 1:00 PM
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: TBA.

    As with the random NFL notes, I'm going to have all of my Random College Football Notes on one page as well. Oh, and you can find my College Football Picks here.

    Random College Football Notes:

    1. I'd like to apologize for something I wrote last week. I complained about how LSU and Auburn should change their names because their mascots are the generic "tigers." I said Auburn should go to War Eagle, and that LSU should switch to Pot Holes because of all the pot holes in New Orleans. I complained that "Tigers" was stupid for LSU because there are no tigers native to Louisiana.

    Well, I was wrong. There aren't any animal tigers from Louisiana, but "Tigers" refers to something else, which I learned from Facebook friend Chad L:

    2. It's bowl season, which means it's time to really dig deep and analyze NFL Draft prospects. It's nice that the ESPN analysts are taking this to heart:

    "Can throw it, too," eh? Wow, that's some insight. I was thinking this quarterback could not throw it, but now I know that he can hold the ball in his hand and release it toward one of his receivers!

    3. We have 2018 NFL Draft Scouting Reports being posted now. We'll have one on Sam Darnold if he declares. Charlie will have his usual great insight and pro comparison. In the meantime, however, I'd like to offer my real-life look-alike comparison for Darnold:

    Darnold deserves a stock down for this, right? He was basically the douche who made sure Kevin turned into an adult drug addict who weighs approximately 80 pounds. Not cool, Sam.

    RESTED STARTERS: There will be a few Week 17 games that are pointless to analyze from a matchup perspective because the starters may not play. This is one of them. The Eagles have locked up the No. 1 seed in the NFC, so they many not use many of their starters. It could be possible for Nick Foles and company to see some drives to give Foles more reps, but I'll be shocked if Philadelphia's offensive starters are playing into the third quarter. Many key members of the defense could sit out entirely.

    RECAP: This game is very difficult to handicap at the moment. If you were to tell me the Eagles' starters were to play the entire game, I'd take Philadelphia, as Dallas is sure to be flat following its season-ending loss to the Seahawks. Plus, the Cowboys are difficult to trust without Tyron Smith because their inept coaching staff has proven that it doesn't know how to make adjustments. Once again, I have no idea how Jason Garrett won Coach of the Year in 2016.

    Conversely, if you were to tell me the starters wouldn't play at all, I'd pick Dallas at this very short number. We just don't know how long Philadelphia's primary players will be on the field.

    I'm going to pencil in Dallas for zero units, but that could change. Check back, or follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    THURSDAY THOUGHTS: Nick Foles said he's preparing to start this game. Foles may be on the field for a quarter or so, but I'll be shocked if he plays beyond halftime. Meanwhile, the Cowboys will be missing Tyron Smith again. This game doesn't seem very appealing to me.

    SATURDAY NOTES: Doug Pederson said Nick Foles will play this game, but he didn't mention for how long. Foles could be pulled after a quarter or so, meaning the Eagles are unbettable. However, the Cowboys will be missing Tyron Smith again, so they're difficult to wager on as well.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: Argh. I should've bet the Cowboys at -3. I don't like their potential mental focus, but the Eagles have announced that Nick Foles will play 3-4 series, and then it'll be Nate Sudfeld the rest of the way. I woke up today knowing I should bet Dallas -3, but that line is no longer available.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    The Eagles may sit their starters in a meaningless game, but Dallas is coming off a crushing defeat.

    The Vegas. Edge: Eagles.
    Lots of money on the Cowboys.
  • Percentage of money on Dallas: 68% (13,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Eagles.
  • History: Road Team has won 11 of the last 15 meetings.
  • Favorites after playing the Seahawks are 17-33 ATS.
  • The underdog is 76-50 ATS in Cowboys games since 2010.
  • Jason Garrett is 4-8 ATS after losing as a favorite.
  • Opening Line: Eagles -2.
  • Opening Total: 41.
  • Weather: .

    Week 17 NFL Pick: Cowboys 23, Eagles 16
    Cowboys -3.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Under 40.5 (0 Units) -- Correct; $0
    Cowboys 6, Eagles 0

    Week 17 NFL Picks - Late Games
    New Orleans at Tampa Bay, Buffalo at Miami, Carolina at Atlanta, Cincinnati at Baltimore, Jacksonville at Tennessee, Kansas City at Denver, Oakland at LA Chargers, San Francisco at LA Rams, Arizona at Seattle



    Prop/Teaser/Parlay Picks
    A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week
    (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted whenever winners are announced.) Picks carried over on a week-to-week basis will be in black.

  • Prop/teaser/parlay picks posted in Week 17 NFL Picks - Late Games

    Fantasy Football Rankings - June 24

    2019 NBA Mock Draft - June 22

    2019 NFL Mock Draft - June 12

    NFL Power Rankings - June 3

    2020 NFL Mock Draft - May 10

    NFL Picks - Feb. 4


    Note: For legality purposes, this Web site does not promote or advocate gambling. This is solely for entertainment purposes only.

    Last Week's NFL Picks Against The Spread (Week 21, 2017): 0-1 (-$330)
    Last Week's 2-3 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2017): 0-1 (-$330)
    Last Week's 4-5 Unit NFL Picks (Week 21, 2017): 0-0 ($0)
    Last Week Over-Under (Week 21, 2017): 1-0 ($0)
    Last Week's Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks (Week 21 and seasonal, 2017): -$720

    2017 NFL Picks of the Month: 4-2, 66.7% (+$1,040)

    2017 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 137-140-8, 49.5% (-$3,790)
    2017 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 32-40-3, 43.8% (-$2,395)
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    2017 Season Over-Under: 136-139-2, 49.5% (+$640)
    2017 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: -$510

    1999 Season NFL Picks Against The Spread: 27-41-3 (39.7%)
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    2002 Season 2-3 Unit NFL Picks: 41-49-2 (45.6%)
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    2002 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 11-12 (47.8%)
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    2013 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 17-9-3, 65.4% (+$2,970)
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    2016 Season 4-5 Unit NFL Picks: 21-22-5, 48.8% (-$1,465)

    2001 Season Over-Under: 3-2 (60.0%)
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    2009 Season Over-Under: 128-135-4, 48.7% (-$3,195)
    2010 Season Over-Under: 128-135-5, 48.7% (-$5)
    2011 Season Over-Under: 131-131-5, 50.0% (+$135)
    2012 Season Over-Under: 125-121-5, 50.8% (+$30)
    2013 Season Over-Under: 132-130-5, 50.4% (-$340)
    2015 Season Over-Under: 143-119-5, 54.6% ($0)
    2016 Season Over-Under: 123-141-1, 46.6% (+$95)

    2007 Season Prop/ML/Teaser/Parlay Picks: +$1,035
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    2006 NFL Picks of the Month: 3-3 (50%)
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    Career Over-Under: 2,080-2,031-56 (50.5%)
    Career Second-Half NFL Picks: 22-15-1 (61.1%)
    Career NFL Picks of the Month: 39-24 (61.9%)

    My Team-by-Team ATS Record
    This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.

    Cowboys: 9-6 (2014-16: 23-27)
    Bears: 9-7 (2014-16: 17-27)
    Bucs: 4-11 (2014-16: 26-22)
    49ers: 9-7 (2014-16: 32-15)
    Eagles: 12-7 (2014-16: 23-25)
    Lions: 6-10 (2014-16: 26-22)
    Falcons: 8-10 (2014-16: 29-22)
    Cardinals: 9-6 (2014-16: 24-27)
    Giants: 11-5 (2014-16: 22-24)
    Packers: 6-10 (2014-16: 31-21)
    Panthers: 7-10 (2014-16: 26-26)
    Rams: 13-4 (2014-16: 24-22)
    Redskins: 9-7 (2014-16: 26-23)
    Vikings: 8-9 (2014-16: 28-21)
    Saints: 6-12 (2014-16: 25-21)
    Seahawks: 7-8 (2014-16: 27-26)
    Bills: 9-8 (2014-16: 24-21)
    Bengals: 7-8 (2014-16: 16-31)
    Colts: 8-8 (2014-16: 21-26)
    Broncos: 9-6 (2014-16: 24-23)
    Dolphins: 4-10 (2014-16: 28-19)
    Browns: 5-11 (2014-16: 21-22)
    Jaguars: 11-8 (2014-16: 18-28)
    Chargers: 5-9 (2014-16: 25-23)
    Jets: 8-6 (2014-16: 24-21)
    Ravens: 6-9 (2014-16: 23-23)
    Texans: 9-6 (2014-16: 23-26)
    Chiefs: 9-8 (2014-16: 29-26)
    Patriots: 10-9 (2014-16: 31-23)
    Steelers: 10-7 (2014-16: 28-22)
    Titans: 7-11 (2014-16: 23-20)
    Raiders: 4-10 (2014-16: 23-26)
    Divisional: 46-40 (2011-16: 266-272)
    2x Game Edge: 23-20 (2011-16: 103-107)
    2x Psych Edge: 42-42 (2011-16: 194-165)
    2x Vegas Edge: 18-20 (2011-16: 241-255)
    2x Trend Edge: 26-33 (2011-15: 181-159)
    Double Edge: 19-14 (2011-15: 77-75)
    Triple Edge: 2-2 (2011-15: 6-3)
    Quad Edge: 0-0 (2011-15: 0-0)

    2003 Preseason: 3 | 4 | 5
    2003 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 20 | XXXVIII
    2004 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2004 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XXXIX
    2005 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2005 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XL
    2006 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2006 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLI
    2007 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
    2007 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLII |
    2008 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
    2008 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLIII |
    2009 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLIV |
    2010 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
    2010 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLV |
    2011 Preseason: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
    2011 Season: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | XLVI |
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