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NFL picks 2018, Week 17: Experts predictions for the final playoff order

Can’t miss picks for the week’s most important games ... and all the other ones too!

Los Angeles Chargers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images

Another regular season is finally drawing to a close. Oh, hey. Let’s not get sentimental about it. It means one more week of games, most of which are now meaningless, until the football gets really good. It also means these are some of the hardest games of the season to pick with players on playoff teams resting, endangered coaches showing out, etc. But damned if our gracious panel isn’t going to try and pick them anyway.

If you put much stock in our panel’s picks, then an early congratulations to the Indianapolis Colts for going back to the playoffs. There is no consensus among our panelists, but there are five picks for the Colts and just three for the Titans. Call it the Blaine Gabbert factor.

We still don’t know if Marcus Mariota will be able to play this week. He’s day-to-day right now. That’s not the only injury issue clouding this game. Colts tight end Eric Ebron is still in the concussion protocol. Center Ryan Kelly is dealing with a neck injury. Both players’ status is up in the air as of this writing. Throw in the fact that the Titans did beat the Texans earlier this season with Gabbert under center, and this one is probably a lot harder to pick than you might think.

Speaking of no guarantees, the 49ers are getting a few picks to beat the Rams this week. They had no problems beating the Cardinals last week, but the 49ers are a different sort of opponent, one that beat the Seahawks just two weeks ago. All the Rams need to do is win this one to have a first-round bye in the playoffs.

The Rams don’t win, that opens the door for the Bears to grab the No. 2 seed in the NFC (New Orleans already has the top spot clinched). However, the Bears have to beat a rather determined Vikings team, one that has to win or be eliminated from one of the wild card berths. The majority of our panel is taking the Vikings to win this one.

Philadelphia is rooting for the Bears this week. The Eagles are holding onto a thin whisper of playoff hope, and in order to return to the postseason they need the Vikings to lose and to beat Washington themselves. The later part of that should be no problem, not according to our panelists, but the former is going to require some luck. Then again, the Eagles have Nick Foles, who’s kind of like a rabbit’s foot wrapped in four leaf clover.

There’s a complicated scenario atop the AFC, thanks to the Chiefs and Chargers both losing last week. Because of that, the Patriots (sorry) still have a chance at the No. 1 seed in that conference. For that to happen, the Patriots need to beat the Jets (easy, per our panel) and for the Chargers to lose to the Broncos and the Chiefs to lose to the Raiders. That’s one helluva longshot. Nobody on the panel sees the Chargers or the Chiefs losing this week.

All the Chiefs have to do is win to get the No. 1 seed. The Chargers could get it too, but they need to win or tie and see the Chiefs lose.

There’s another important playoff scenario around a game that’s tough to predict. All the Ravens need to do to win the AFC North is beat the Browns. In past years, that’d be a slam dunk. Not anymore. I wouldn’t expect the Browns to go out quietly in this one. In fact, our panel has three picks in favor of Cleveland. They can also hope the Steelers lose to the Bengals, because if they do, the Ravens would have the division title.

Nobody on our panel is taking the Steelers to lose. Pittsburgh could still make the playoffs, but they have to get the win AND they have to have the Ravens lose or tie. A win and a Colts-Titans tie would also punch their ticket.

OK, without further ado, here are the picks. You can get more info on the computer picks via OddsShark.

NFL picks Week 17

Games RVB Stephen White Geoff Schwartz Charles McDonald Adam Stites Christian D'Andrea Coin flip OddsShark computer
Games RVB Stephen White Geoff Schwartz Charles McDonald Adam Stites Christian D'Andrea Coin flip OddsShark computer
MIA vs BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF MIA BUF BUF
DET vs GB GB GB GB GB GB GB GB GB
NYJ vs NE NE NE NE NE NE NE NYJ NE
CAR vs NO NO NO CAR NO NO NO NO NO
DAL vs NYG NYG DAL NYG NYG NYG NYG NYG DAL
ATL vs TB ATL TB TB ATL ATL ATL TB TB
JAX vs HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU
LAC vs DEN LAC LAC LAC LAC LAC LAC LAC LAC
OAK vs KC KC KC KC KC KC KC OAK KC
SF vs LAR SF LAR LAR LAR SF LAR LAR LAR
CHI vs MIN MIN CHI MIN CHI MIN MIN CHI MIN
CIN vs PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT
AZ vs SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA
PHI vs WAS PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI PHI WAS PHI
CLE vs BAL CLE BAL CLE BAL BAL BAL CLE BAL
IND vs TEN IND TEN IND IND IND TEN IND TEN
These picks are pretty important!