Last week wrapped up with the Packers defeating the Vikings and winning the NFC North. Most of the other divisions finished up as well as the Texans won the AFC South. The Patriots had an impressive home win against a tough Buffalo team to capture another AFC East crown. The Cowboys stumbled against the Eagles which made them on the outside looking in. The Eagles just have to beat the Giants to take the NFC East. The NFC West will come down to this week after the Seahawks loss to the ever-inspiring Cardinals. Most fantasy leagues have finished but that just means more gambling for us throughout Week 17 and the playoffs. Let’s take a look at a few of the most intriguing matchups for this week.
Tennessee Titans vs Houston Texans
Tennessee, with the Pittsburgh loss last week, has everything to play for as they have a rematch with division foe Houston. These two played only two weeks ago with Houston coming out on top. This game sets up slightly differently. It looks like Derrick Henry will be back this week after sitting out last week due to injury. The motivation is truly on the side of the Titans as the Texans will know their seed in the playoffs by the end of the game. Houston Head Coach Bill O’Brien said earlier this week that he would not sit his starters in this one.That could be a sign that the Texans plan to play this one out but I would suspect they play very conservatively and try to get out of this one healthy. The Titans and their physical style both on defense and offense should be an advantage in this game, and they will use their powerful run game and explosive pass game against this Texans team that has already clinched. Ryan Tannehill has been an amazing revelation for Titans fans and his legend in Tennessee would become even more illustrious if he can clinch this playoff berth against a division rival.The story of this game will be can Houston be aggressive enough to win this game. I do not believe they will be, which is why I like the Titans in this one. The Titans have everything to play for and I see no reason why they should not be able to run over the Texans in this one. My pick is the Titans -3.5.
Oakland Raiders vs Denver Broncos
Oakland has a chance at the playoffs, a very slim chance, but a chance as they need about five things to happen and they will roll into Denver to play a Broncos team that has been up and down to finish the season. Oakland took care of a Charger team that was favored by over a touchdown last week. That was more like a home game for the Raiders in Southern California and this game will not be. Playing in Denver is never easy and against this Denver defense that ranks right in the middle of the league, but features stars and has a defensive guru as a head coach. The Raiders may be without Josh Jacobs in this game due to his fractured shoulder. They will have to rely on their heavily criticized quarterback Derek Carr. Carr is capable of winning this game using his star tight end Darren Waller and secondary weapons to get the win. The Broncos won’t roll over against their division foe and I expect the combination of Phillip Lindsay and Cortland Sutton to give the Raiders terrible defense all they can handle. The current line in this game sits at Oakland +3.5 and I like this spot for the Raiders to cover in a close tilt between division rivals.
San Francisco 49ers vs Seattle Seahawks
San Francisco will go to Seattle looking to take the NFC West title after winning a thriller against the Rams last week. Jimmy Garoppolo had an ugly game but did enough in the end to pull off the win. The 49ers defense has cooled down considerably in recent weeks and if their pass rush isn’t working they struggle to cover. In this matchup, however, they match up very well with the frequently inept offense of the Seahawks. The Seahawks come back home after blowing a golden opportunity last week by losing to the Cardinals. Seattle has struggled all year getting leads in games, finding themselves behind in almost all their games this season and it finally bit them in Arizona. The frustrating part with their offense is how dependent on the run game they are despite having one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. The Seahawks will be without their dependable running back Chris Carson who is out for the season. To accommodate this loss the Seahawks have brought back Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin. I fully expect the Seahawks to try and take advantage of this secondary with a quick-strike passing game. The Seahawk defense hasn’t been great all year but if they can get a turnover or two they could do just enough to win. The line in this game is Seattle +3.5 but the bet I like is the Over 46.5, and expect this to be more of a shootout than most expect.
That wraps this week’s matchup column. I would like to thank everyone that took the time to read and share my work throughout the year. I will be back next week with a wildcard preview. Please check out unwrappedsports.com and also check out my live streams on www.sportcastr.com @semiprousn. I give out my weekly picks and weekly player props. Last but not least please follow @betsunwrapped on Twitter where we give out daily free plays on all sports.
Corey Easley is a Contributor for the Unwrapped Sports Network website. Follow him @Cmoney52 on Twitter.