The NFL was really left between a rock and a hard place in Week 17. There isn’t a single game left on the board that isn’t dependent upon some other result, and in the name of competitiveness, the league elected to not flex a game into Sunday Night Football for the first time since 1977. That said, there is still a slew left to decide on New Year’s Eve, and all 16 games will be played in either the 1 p.m. ET or 4:25 p.m. ET timeslots.
0: The number of passes Patrick Mahomes has thrown in his NFL career. Mahomes is the only first-round quarterback who hasn’t gotten on the field this year, and we aren’t sure what he can do. We know we’re going to see him in at least some respect in Week 17 for the Chiefs in a meaningless game against the Broncos, and there’s a good shot that he’s going to both start and finish the game. There’s a reason why Denver went from +3 to -3 over the course of about 10 minutes of betting action on Christmas Eve when lines opened. That number could continue to rise if Andy Reid formally announces that Mahomes is going to be his starter in Week 17.
16.5: The number representing the highest point spread of Week 17. Not surprisingly, the two teams that are still fighting for the No. 1 seed in the AFC are the massive favorites against two of the worst teams in the NFL. The Patriots are 16.5-point favorites against the Jets while the Steelers are -16.5 against Cleveland. New England holds all of the cards right now, but if it slips, Pittsburgh can swipe that coveted No. 1 seed. The underlying story of the day, of course, is that Cleveland is trying to avoid the second 0-16 season in NFL history.
27: The number of interceptions the Browns have thrown as a team this season. The most by any team in the NFL since 2009 was the 2013 Giants. Eli Manning had a particularly terrible season that year, and the G-Men were intercepted 29 times. The last team to toss 30 interceptions in a season was Detroit in 2009. That team also went winless that season, and it threw 32 interceptions for the campaign.
50: The number of points in the over/under of the Saints/Buccaneers game, the highest total amongst the Week 17 betting odds. This is a particularly low week for totals with eight of the 16 games opening up with totals of 42.5 or fewer, but perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising with all of the teams that don’t have much left to play for. The Saints have plenty left to gain in Week 17, though, and they’re being forced to go all-out against Tampa Bay. A win, and they’re going to be welcoming either the Falcons or Seahawks to the Superdome next weekend. A loss, and it’s up to fate to decide what will happen. Carolina could steal the No. 2 or No. 3 seed with a win at that point, and that could send the Saints to Charlotte, Minneapolis or Los Angeles next week instead of getting to play at home.
Opening Week 17 NFL Odds
Packers at Lions (-7.5, 42.5)
Jets at Patriots (-16.5)
Texans at Colts (-3.5, 41)
Browns at Steelers (-16.5)
Redskins at Giants (+3, 40)
Bears at Vikings (-13.5, 40)
Cowboys at Eagles (OFF)
Bengals at Ravens (-10, 41)
Bills at Dolphins (+2.5, 42)
Panthers at Falcons (-3, 47)
Saints at Buccaneers (+7.5, 50)
Jaguars at Titans (OFF)
Raiders at Chargers (-7.5, 47.5)
Cardinals at Seahawks (-10, 41)
Chiefs at Broncos (+3, 41)
49ers at Rams (-4, 43.5)
(Odds Courtesy of BookMaker.eu)