Hopefully no one jumped off the bandwagon.
Team NESN pushed through a stretch of mediocrity and since has caught fire in the Westgate SuperContest, going 9-0-1 over the last two weeks to shoot up the OddsShark group standings and have the whole world thinking, “maybe these guys actually know what they’re talking about.”
It was a joyous Christmas weekend for the NESN.com duo of Mike Cole and Ricky Doyle, as they went 5-0 with their picks in Week 16 after a nearly as impressive 4-0-1 showing in Week 15. This hardly is a time for Team NESN to rest on its laurels, though, as Week 17 is upon us and the squad still needs wins.
Surely you do, too, so let’s look at our picks for the final week of the 2016 NFL regular season.
Buffalo Bills (-3.5) at New York Jets, 1 p.m. ET
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
You could argue the firing of the Ryan brothers and a quarterback change will spark the Bills. Or you could argue that it’ll have a negative impact on Buffalo in Week 17. But we’ll let you sort that out among yourselves, as we’re more focused on the ineptitude of the Jets, who are having a whole bunch of problems on and off the field. It might not be a 41-3 thrashing like the Jets were handed last week by the New England Patriots, but we sure like the Bills to take care of business in the Meadowlands.
Carolina Panthers (+6) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1 p.m.
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.
The Bucs are a weird team in that it’s hard to get too high or too low on them based on their week-to-week inconsistency. On the flip side, the Panthers are a difficult club to figure out, largely because Carolina shows some weeks that it isn’t quite as bad as its record indicates. In any event, we like the number of points we’re getting in this matchup by taking the Panthers, who have faltered against good teams but held their own against so-so competition.
Arizona Cardinals (-6) at Los Angeles Rams, 4:25 p.m.
L.A. Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles
The Rams have had trouble scoring points all season, and the Cardinals have put up 75 over the last two weeks, including 34 against the Seahawks in Seattle in Week 16. We know it’s been a disappointing season in the desert, but we’re trying not to overthink things here. Arizona still is a far better team, so the idea of the Cards winning by at least a touchdown sounds beyond reasonable.
Seattle Seahawks (-9.5) at San Francisco 49ers, 4:25 p.m.
Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.
No Carlos Hyde. Colin Kaepernick has a shaky track record against the Seahawks. And, perhaps most importantly, Seattle still has something to play for with the NFC’s No. 2 seed hanging in the balance. Add it all up, and we expect the ‘Hawks to win rather convincingly despite the team’s Week 16 loss to the Cardinals and some general inconsistency down the stretch.
Green Bay Packers (-3.5) at Detroit Lions, 8:30 p.m.
Ford Field, Detroit
Just like Team NESN in the SuperContest, the Packers are sizzling, winning five in a row to set up a winner-take-all showdown with the Lions for the NFC North title. Aaron Rodgers is playing great, the Packers are limiting their mistakes and the defense has come alive. Combine that with Matthew Stafford’s lingering finger issue and Detroit’s lack of a running game, and it smells like Green Bay will be walking out of the Motor City with an impressive victory and a divisional crown on its head.
Thumbnail photo via James Lang/USA TODAY Sports Images