Week 17 is always a challenge, but it comes down to motivation – even more so than any other week. Remember, these are your young athletes, and while they all have a very high level of competitiveness, the season is long and grueling – and the end is in sight for many. A 10-0 deficit for a team that is three hours away from cleaning out their lockers and getting ready for New Year’s Eve quickly changes that level of intensity. The key to one of the most challenging weeks of the year is to find out who still cares, and then go with that team and do not look back. So incentive not just to win but also to play hard will be the main topic as we close out the last 16-game slate of the year. With Week 17 being a little bit different than most weeks with so much at stake for many teams, let’s break down the week according to each division. Here we go:
Both games are at 1PM (all times will be in Eastern), and the Patriots have won the division but have a shot at a bye and an outside chance at the #1 seed in the AFC.
NEW ENGLAND (-13 to -13.5) vs. NEW YORK JETS (Over/Under 45)
The AFC East is relatively simple to break down for the final week. New England currently has the #2 spot in the AFC, which will give the Patriots both a home game and a bye in two weeks should they beat the Jets. The point spread is a big one, but New England needs to win by double digits to encourage a lackluster offense to start ramping it up for January. PICK: Patriots
BUFFALO (-3 to 3.5) vs. MIAMI (Over/Under 38.5 to 40)
Both the Bills and the Dolphins are playing out the season, with just the finale left in Buffalo. Miami has to be tired of these winter trips, and closing out the year in upstate New York is just one more reason to take their talents to South Beach for New Year’s Eve and beyond. Miami was in the hunt for the postseason before two consecutive losses (at Minnesota, Jacksonville). A loss to the Jaguars screams “we’re done”, while the Bills are fighting to the finish. Take the home team in the cold. PICK: Dolphins
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