The final week of the NFL regular season is often the most unpredictable one. While several teams fight for playoff seeding or look to sneak into the playoffs, others have nothing to play for and rest some of their star players.
Every game on the schedule is a division matchup, and four have the potential to decide who will be the final teams that make the 2012 postseason.
Of all the teams still alive in the NFC wild card race, the New York Giants are the biggest long-shots. They have a good chance to beat the Philadelphia Eagles, who they are giving 9.5 points at home. If New York wins, they’ll still need the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and Dallas Cowboys to lose, in order to clinch a playoff berth.
The Vikings are the only team in that group that’s expected to lose. Minnesota is a three-point underdog to Green Bay. They currently are in the lead for the sixth seed.
Chicago doesn’t control its own destiny, but has a good chance of making the postseason. If the Vikings lose, a win gets the Bears in. They’re giving the Lions three points on Sunday afternoon.
Dallas and Washington will play on Sunday Night Football to decide the NFC East winner. The Redskins are three-point favorites after defeating the Cowboys in the first meeting between the two teams. Robert Griffin III threw four touchdowns in the Thanksgiving Day victory.
All of the AFC postseason teams are set, but a few games could still affect the 2012 playoff picture. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady are both looking to lead their teams to first-round byes.
The Denver Broncos are the biggest favorites of the week, giving the Kansas City Chiefs 16 points. The New England Patriots are also expected to win big. New England is a 10-point favorite at home against the Miami Dolphins.
If both Denver and New England win their games, Houston will have to win to keep their bye. The Houston Texans will visit the Indianapolis Colts. Indianapolis doesn’t have much to play for, since they are guaranteed to be a wild card team, but don’t have a chance to win the AFC South.
No contest has a betting line of less than three points. A few games haven’t even been given point spreads by oddsmakers in Las Vegas, as of Monday afternoon.
Below are the complete betting lines for all the Week 17 games, including the point spreads and totals. These are the consensus odds from multiple casinos in Las Vegas. An asterisk denotes a point spread from an offshore sportsbook.
New York Jets (+3.5) at Buffalo Bills, 41
Miami Dolphins (+10) at New England Patriots, 49.5
Baltimore Ravens (+3) at Cincinnati Bengals, 42
Cleveland Browns (+7) at Pittsburgh Steelers*
Houston Texans (-4.5) at Indianapolis Colts, 41.5
Jacksonville Jaguars (+4) at Tennessee Titans, 42
Philadelphia Eagles (+9.5) at New York Giants 46.5
Green Packers (-3) at Minnesota Vikings, 46.5
Chicago Bears (-3) at Detroit Lions, 44.5
Carolina Panthers (+4.5) at New Orleans, 54
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3) at Atlanta Falcons*
Kansas City Chiefs (+16) at Denver Broncos, 42
Oakland Raiders (+4.5) at San Diego Chargers*
St. Louis Rams (+10.5) at Seattle Seahawks*
Arizona Cardinals (+15) at San Francisco 49ers*
Dallas Cowboys (+3) at Washington Redskins, 50