Week 17: NFL picks with caddies Joe Skovron, Justin York, Mark Urbanek and Chris McCalmont
It’s a sad time for NFL fans.
Why? The final week of the regular season is upon us.
Sure, if your team is in the playoffs — or if they clinch a postseason berth on Sunday — it’s exciting, as there’s still the hopes of a championship.
But, if you blink, it feels like the entire season passed you by.
So, let’s enjoy what’s left on Sunday.
PGA Tour caddies Joe Skovron, Mark Urbanek, Justin York and LPGA caddie Chris McCalmont are excited about what’s in store for Week 17.
Here’s a look at who they like with plenty of playoff implications on the line…
Detroit at Green Bay
Spread: Green Bay -8
Skovron’s Pick: Detroit
Why: Nothing on the line besides pride and draft order in this one. Detroit doesn’t have Kerryon Johnson or Marvin Jones Jr. It’s been a rough year for Stafford, but I think the lack of help has contributed to that. The Packers have struggled but Rodgers has still put up some nice numbers. All that said, 70 percent of bets are on GB and the line hasn’t moved so I’m taking Detroit.
Urbanek’s Pick: Green Bay
Why: This is a lot of points in a divisional game generally played tightly, but Stafford isn’t healthy and Rodgers wants to end the season on a high note. I like the Pack to roll in this one. Detroit 17, GB 31.
York’s Pick: Green Bay
Why: Both teams are out of the playoff hunt but look to finish the season with a win. The Packers seem to be scoring easier the last few games with a new play caller at the reins. The Packers should win this one easy… by two scores.
McCalmont’s Pick: Green Bay
Why: Although neither team has anything to play for, the Packers have been playing some inspired football since firing Mike McCarthy. And the Packers are trying to stop the Lions from winning four-straight in the series, including two consecutive games at Lambeau. Conversely, the Lions are coming off a 27-9 loss at Minnesota.
Jacksonville at Houston
Spread: Houston -6.5
Skovron’s Pick: Houston
Why: Neither of these teams have been very good ATS this year. The sharps have bet this spread down from 9 to 6.5. I’m big on siding with Vegas or the sharps, but I’m not so sure on this one. Huge change in the spread and Houston playing to clinch a division title at home. I think Watson, Watt, and Co. get this done by more than a TD.
Urbanek’s Pick: Houston
Why: With a division title on the line at home against a reeling Jags squad that’s starting Bortles again… no brainer. Jags averaging 11 points a game the last four weeks, that’s not going to cut it against a potent Houston O. Jax 17, Houston 27.
York’s Pick: Houston
Why: Houston looks to keep its spot with a first-round bye intact. Jacksonville has nothing to gain by this one, so they should lay down for the high-powered offense of the Texans. Houston cruises to an easy victory at home.
McCalmont’s Pick: Houston
Why: The Texans can earn anywhere from the No. 1 to No. 6 seed, meaning no home playoff game, so they have plenty to play for, while the Jags want to get the season over as soon as possible. And Blake Bortles starts, enough said.
Carolina at New Orleans
Spread: New Orleans -9
Skovron’s Pick: Carolina
Why: The sharps are all over Carolina in early betting at a 7-point spread. They usually know something and might be taking into account that the Saints have clinched home field. Carolina has lost its last five ATS and the Saints have been great ATS all year (10-5). Carolina played them tough in their last game, but they have no Cam this time around. We don’t really know who is going to play for the Saints and how long. Are you confused yet? I am. I’m just going to trust the sharps and take the points.
Urbanek’s Pick: Carolina
Why: Really hard game to pick without knowing how New Orleans will approach the game with their starters. Home field locked up throughout, what’s the point of risking injury? I’ll take the points even with a Cam-less Panthers squad. They often play better without him his entire career, just saying… Carolina 17, NO 24.
York’s Pick: Carolina
Why: The Saints aren’t starting Drew Brees this week and look to rest their Hall of Fame QB until after the bye. They have the No. 1 seed locked up and have nothing to gain by winning. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Panthers win this one outright. Load up on Carolina!
McCalmont’s Pick: Carolina
Why: This is a tough one because the Saints have nothing to play for and the Panthers are hoping to stop a 7-game losing streak to end the season… without Cam Newton. So, I feel the Panthers have more to play for and nine points is a lot, so I think the Saints win outright, but don’t cover.
Cleveland at Baltimore
Spread: Baltimore -6
Skovron’s Pick: Baltimore
Why: Cleveland playing for a winning season and Baltimore trying to lock up the AFC North. Both come in with rookie QBs and some momentum. Baltimore’s defense has been the best in the NFL this year and teams are having a hard time stopping their run game on the other side. Both teams are 4-1 in their last five games ATS. I think this is a toss-up with that line but I’m going to go with that Baltimore D and give the points.
Urbanek’s Pick: Baltimore
Why: There’s going to be an awesome energy in this game. Cleveland’s trying hard to finish the year with a winning record, but I just can’t see them scoring enough against this D. Mayfield hasn’t impressed me against a decent D yet. This will be his true test of the year. Cleveland 13, Baltimore 24.
York’s Pick: Browns
Why: The Browns are continuing to surprise the league with how far the team has come in just one year. It’s a must-win for the Ravens, but this will come down to the end. It will be back in forth all game with Baltimore winning by a field goal.
McCalmont’s Pick: Baltimore
Why: After seeing what the Ravens top D did at the Chargers last week, I can’t see them having a letdown in this must-win game to make the playoffs. Being a Steelers fan, I would love to be wrong about this game, but I can’t pick with my heart here, because the Ravens D, combined with the dynamic Lamar Jackson, will be too much for Baker Mayfield and the Browns. Ravens 24, Browns 10.
Chicago at Minnesota
Spread: Minnesota -4.5
Skovron’s Pick: Minnesota
Why: The Vikes get to the playoffs with a win. It’s hard to tell what Chicago will do with their guys. They have an outside shot of getting the two seed, but they need a Rams loss along with a win of their own. I think Chicago is built to make a run in the playoffs and I’m not really sure what this Vikings team is. I’m defaulting to the numbers. The majority of bets are on the Bears, but the line has gone up. That means it’s a Vikes pick for me.
Urbanek’s Pick: Minnesota
Why: The Bears still have an outside chance at a bye with a win and a Rams loss to the Niners… however, that’s a long shot and this could be a preview of the following week’s playoff game. I don’t see the Bears showing too many cards in this matchup. Minnesota at home with their backs against the wall cover easily. Chicago 16, Minnesota 27.
York’s Pick: Chicago
Why: The Bears will win this game outright. Minnesota wins and they’re in, but if the Bears win and LA loses, they become the No. 2 seed and get a bye. I think this will be a boat race at the hands of the Bears. Bet Chicago till your hands bleed!
McCalmont’s Pick: Minnesota
Why: Minnesota needs this game to make the playoffs, while the Bears need a win to have a chance at the No. 2 seed. However, the Rams have to lose to the 49ers, at home, which isn’t likely. And if the Vikings win and the Bears get the No. 3 seed, they will play again next week in the wild-card round. As a result, if the Bears see the Rams winning, they will scale back their scheme and starters so as not to give away too much for next week.