The end of the 2021 NFL season is upon us with the league’s first-ever Week 18 slate. As usual, the final weekend of the regular season is a mess with regard to teams taking it easy with starters, fully packing it in or, in some cases, competing to the end with important matchups. Before we roll through Week 18, though, Week 17 ended up being relatively positive in this space, though the news (and player availability fallout) broke against us in multiple games. Still, we press on with a quality season-long output, and we’ll try to keep it going.
Now, a quick glance at the 17-week progress before getting to the five-pack of selections.
- Last Week: 3-2
- 2021 Season: 48-36-1
Come get these winners.
Denver Broncos (+11.5) over Kansas City Chiefs
It’s extremely difficult to handicap Week 18, simply because of all the scenarios in play. This is a game that pits one team (Kansas City) that has incentive to win for playoff seeding and another (Denver) that is playing for nothing. As such, this line is a couple of points higher than it should be for a game in the Mile High City. The Broncos aren’t fantastic on offense by any stretch, but there is no indication that Denver won’t give effort, and professionals are professionals that need to put quality play on tape. Give me the points.
Detroit Lions (+4) over Green Bay Packers
I have to be honest. I’m going to despise this play if Tim Boyle is the quarterback for Detroit. Alas, it seems like Jared Goff should be ready to go on Sunday, and the Lions have been very frisky down the stretch of the season. More importantly, the Packers aren’t playing Aaron Rodgers in this game, and I would give Green Bay a power rating at least a touchdown lower with Jordan Love. Moreover, Green Bay isn’t likely to press hard at other positions. It’s also a play on the number, and four is enough for Detroit at home.
Miami Dolphins (+6.5) over New England Patriots
This is similar to the first game, with the Patriots needing to win and the Dolphins having nothing to play for. That clearly swung the line at least a field goal in New England’s favor, and that is a pretty significant overreaction. There isn’t a power rating in the world that can get you to Miami being almost a touchdown underdog at home here, and we’ll hope for the Dolphins to play for pride.
Atlanta Falcons (+4) over New Orleans Saints
Oh look, a game with one team needing to win and the other eliminated from contention. The themes are the same and, in this case, New Orleans doesn’t have a trustworthy offense and this is a rivalry game. I know there aren’t too many true rivalries in the NFL, but the Falcons aren’t going to pack it in against the Saints, and this number should be Saints -1.5 if that.
Las Vegas Raiders (+3) over Los Angeles Chargers
This is the Sunday night game for a reason, with real stakes on both sides. Normally, I like to fade the Chargers in Los Angeles, but this number is out of whack. The Raiders are undervalued in getting a full field goal at home, and the world will be playing catch-up on the Chargers by kickoff. Give me Las Vegas.