NFL Week 17 Tips: Pittsburgh praying for a postseason miracle

Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers must hope the Browns can help them out on Sunday

The playoff drama will reach its peak in Week 17 with plenty still on the line but Matthew Crist thinks that the battle for the AFC North between the Steelers and Ravens will steal the day.

"Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles has given Philadelphia a new lease of life since stepping in for the injured Carson Wentz and there is no reason to believe this resurgence won’t continue until the end of the regular season."

Steelers must do their job

It would have seemed unthinkable just a couple of weeks ago but the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team many fancied to go all the way and win the Super Bowl, must now rely on the Cleveland Browns if they are to progress beyond Week 17.

That's because, after an agonising defeat to New Orleans last weekend, the Steelers must now beat Cincinnati at home and hope that Cleveland beat the Baltimore Ravens in order to take the division and thrust itself back into the number 4 seed in the AFC playoffs.

Fortunately for Pittsburgh, though that would have seemed highly unlikely as recently as October, the Browns are now the shadow of themselves with Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb combining to turn themselves into a pretty competitive outfit.

On paper the Bengals pose little threat to a team fighting for their postseason lives and if the Steelers can overcome any nerves they should have no problem beating a side who appeared to down tools a number of weeks ago and will be starting backup quarterback Jeff Driskel.

The Steelers were only narrowly beaten in the Superdome last weekend and must take some heart from that and backing them to beat the Bengals by 14 points or more at 4/6 on the Moneyline is surely a given? Whether Mayfield and the Browns can help them out, however, is not so likely.

Philly stake their claim

Foles.jpg

Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles has given Philadelphia a new lease of life since stepping in for the injured Carson Wentz and there is no reason to believe this resurgence won't continue until the end of the regular season as the Eagles once again look to make a late bid for glory.

In week 15 Foles stepped in and has gone from strength-to-strength ever since, leading his side to an upset win over the Los Angeles Rams and just last week exploded for a record 471 yards passing and four touchdowns with only one pick in his side's win over the Houston Texans.

So against a significantly weaker Washington side, who will likely be fielding its third-string quarterback Josh Johnson while the most effective member of the side is 33-year-old Adrian Peterson, who became the oldest rusher in NFL history to reach 1,000 yards in a season, expect the Eagles to win this by 1-13 points at 7/5 on the Moneyline.

Acca of the week

It's a four-fold this week with the choices being the Buffalo Bills, Houston Texans, LA Rams and New England Patriots which can be backed at 14.44 on the Sportsbook Handicap betting.

Miami gave it their all only to fade badly when it mattered so it's highly unlikely they will be strong enough to overcome an equally poor Bills team while the Houston Texans will be looking to go into the postseason in positive form.

The Jets surely don't have enough to derail a Patriots side who have just claimed their tenth AFC East title on the bounce, and while the LA Rams know that a win against the Niners could give them a bye in the first round.

Super dog

Bears v Vikings.jpg

Week 17 games can often have very little riding on them as most teams have nothing much to play for; they're either out of the hunt or their playoff seeds have been determined, but that's certainly not the case in this clash between the Bears and Vikings.

The Bears know that if they win and the Rams lose then they will earn the number 2 seed in the division while the Vikings are more than aware that if they lose and the Eagles win then that will be that for their season so despite so much being on the line for the home side, backing the visitors at 9/5 on the Moneyline is just too tempting.

Long shot of the week

This first touchdown scorer treble involves three of the sides desperate for a win to keep their season alive and you can back Antonio Brown, Zach Ertz and Adam Thielen to get the first TD in their respective games at a tempting 165/1 on the Sportsbook.

There's little to play for between the Atlanta Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and as we so often know, that can lead to some of the most entertaining games at this time of the year. So why not back both teams to score 4 touchdowns or more each in the first half at 275/1? If not just for a bit of interest.

Colossus bets

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My picks this week are as follows:

Chicago by 1-6, 7-12 or Minnesota by 1-6
Atlanta by 1-6 or Tampa Bay by 1-6
Indianapolis by 1-6 or 7-12
New Orleans by 7-12 or 13-18
Green Bay by 1-6
Philadelphia by 7-12
Dallas by 7-12

Full Picks

I've picked every game according to their handicap on the Sportsbook at the time of writing (home team in caps):

PITTSBURGH (-14.5) over Cincinnati
BALTIMORE (-6) over Cleveland
Philadelphia (-6.5) over WASHINGTON
GREEN BAY (-8) over Detroit
NEW ORLEANS (-7.5) over Carolina
BUFFALO (-3.5) over Miami
Indianapolis (-3) over TENNESSEE
KANSAS CITY (-13.5) over Oakland
CHICAGO (-5) over Minnesota
Dallas (-6) over NY GIANTS
NEW ENGLAND (-13.5) over NY Jets
Atlanta (-1.5) over TAMPA BAY
HOUSTON (-7.5) over Jacksonville
SEATTLE (-13.5) over Arizona
LA Chargers (-6.5) over DENVER
LA RAMS (-10) over San Francisco

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