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Sunday, 31 December 2017

NFL Week 17 Picks 2017 (December 31st)

It might be the conclusion of the regular season in the NFL, but this time of the year is difficult to produce longer posts with family time the key.

However I will have picks from the final week of the season which is still very important for some teams as they try and secure their Play Off Seeding, while you have to try and work out the motivation of those who are out of contention.

Onto the Week 17 NFL Picks.

Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings Pick: There are some signs that the Minnesota Vikings Offensive unit are not playing as well as they were earlier in the season and that has to be a worry for them. Going into the Play Offs, Defensive Football does win games, but the Vikings will still want more from Case Keenum and company who could not take advantage of the injuries the Green Bay Packers were suffering in Week 16.

This is a much better Defensive unit they are facing and the Chicago Bears have to be motivated to want to put a Divisional rival in a difficult spot. The Vikings may be going for the Number 1 Seed in the NFC, but the Bears won't want their rivals to earn home field not only through the Play Offs, but also potentially having that advantage in the Super Bowl if they can get there.

However it is Week 17 and the Bears also know that John Fox is looking like a lame duck Head Coach despite Fox himself saying he is not worried about what the future will bring. Lame duck Head Coaches may struggle to get the best out of their team and I do have some concern about what kind of effort Chicago will bring.

They should still be able to get some pressure on Keenum up front with the amount of pass rush pressure they can generate and the Minnesota Offensive Line does have a few issues. Preventing Keenum having the time to make his plays downfield would be huge for Chicago, although the Vikings could aid their Quarter Back with the team likely able to establish the run.

Chicago will feel they can do the same with their own Offensive Line having success opening holes for either Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen running the ball. That is going to be the go to play for the Bears, although Minnesota may decide to sell out and force Mitchell Trubisky to throw the ball downfield.

The Vikings will feel they can trouble the rookie Quarter Back enough to believe stopping the run, like they tried to do against Green Bay in Week 16, and then knowing the Secondary can make the big plays when Trubisky does go to the air.

With the pressure Minnesota can get up front, Trubisky will be throwing into a ball-hawking Secondary under pressure and that can help the Vikings pull away for a win by a big margin. Extra possessions and Minnesota trying to get their Offensive unit back on track should be enough for the Vikings to cover a big spread.

They have been very good when hosting Chicago in recent years and they have blown them out in back to back games at home. While it might not be a huge margin over the spread, I think the Vikings can win here and cover the number.

New York Jets @ New England Patriots Pick: The good news for the New York Jets is that they have extended the contract of Todd Bowles as Head Coach after a season of overachievement under Bowles. The bad news is they are finishing the regular season at a motivated New England Patriots side and without their starting Quarter Back Josh McCown.

There is a chance that Bryce Petty, who I am assuming will be ready to start on Sunday, will have a decent game against the Patriots, but it is a big ask for the Quarter Back. He may get some support from the run being established, but ultimately Petty has to show the courage to throw into a Secondary which has given up some big numbers.

He could be under pressure from the New England pass rush, but Petty can still make some big throws which can help the Jets get into a position to score points. However Petty is also someone who can be guilty of looking at where he is going to throw the ball for too long and New England may have better success turning over the ball than they have been in recent weeks.

Another issue for the Jets is they could be facing an angry Tom Brady who has been receiving more criticism than you would expect. Brady has thrown more Interceptions than we are used to seeing from the guaranteed Hall of Famer Quarter Back, but this is the kind of time of the season when we begin to see the best out of Brady and I would not be surprised if he shows some of that off on Sunday.

The New York Jets have struggled to really get some pressure up front and we all know what Brady can do when he feels he has all the time in the world. The Running Backs are likely to be a bigger factor in the passing game rather than the running game, but they should help the New England Patriots take short passes some distance down the field.

There are holes in the Jets Secondary which Brady should also be able to exploit and I do think the Patriots can record a big win against a team who can be a thorn in the side. However the Patriots are much more motivated and look to have the better of the Jets on both side of the ball and that might result in a big win for the team looking to secure the Number 1 Seed in the AFC.

Petty could cause some problems, but he may also throw a couple of poor passes which can give the Patriots the extra possessions to win this game and cover a huge number.

Rest of the Week 17 Picks are below.

MY PICKS: Minnesota Vikings - 11.5 Points @ 2.00 Paddy Power (2 Units)
New England Patriots - 14.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (2 Units)
Kansas City Chiefs + 4.5 Points @ 1.95 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Jacksonville Jaguars + 3 Points @ 1.91 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
New Orleans Saints - 5.5 Points @ 2.00 William Hill (2 Units)
Los Angeles Chargers - 6.5 Points @ 1.91 Sky Bet (2 Units)

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