Pickin’ With Pano: NFL Week 17

Welcome back for the final week of the NFL’s regular season. We hope you enjoyed your Christmas, and the 4-1 present Pano provided. He looks to stay hot down the stretch, and give you a great way to start the New Year. There is no Monday Night game this week, but there are several games this Sunday with make or break Playoff scenarios. Here are five that you should benefit from. Don’t forget to continue checking back for Pano’s Playoff Picks, starting next week with the Wild Card round. Bookmark the site, set a reminder on your phone, whatever you need to do – just don’t miss this golden opportunity. Good Luck this weekend, and we wish you and your loved ones a safe, healthy, and prosperous New Year!!

Week 16 Record: 4-1
Season To Date: 18-11

By David Panosian

Ravens Bengals
Baltimore Ravens (+7) at Cincinnati Bengals, 1:00pm CBS:
The Baltimore Ravens head to Cincinnati to face off against the Bengals in a must win game for the defending Super Bowl Champions. The Bengals are locked into a playoff spot as division champ and will be playing for seeding, but it is safe to say the Ravens will be the more desperate team.  Baltimore is coming off of a very disappointing loss to New England at home, and much like I felt prior to the Detroit game, I like their chances to rebound. This is a team that historically has won many big road games; look no further than last January for evidence. I think they have a decent chance to win this, and I believe the 7 points in this match-up are attractive. The Ravens are survivors, and they will certainly be facing one heck of a test on Sunday. At least from the perspective of the point spread, I expect them to pass it.
Bills Patriots
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-9), 4:25pm CBS:
The Buffalo Bills head to New England to face the Patriots in a game the Pats need in order to clinch a first round bye in the playoffs. The Bills, on the other hand, have nothing to play for and will be headed home once this one is over. Two key offensive weapons, EJ Manual and Steve Johnson, will be missing from this one, as Manual is hurt once again and Johnson is in California mourning the loss of his mother. Look for the Patriots to be able to take advantage of this with the likes of Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and company. The Patriots will be simply be too strong on this day. Historically, the Bills give the Patriots everything they have (they sure did in game one), but I am just not seeing it happen again here in week 17. Lay the 9 points and take the Pats. There are simply too many factors here suggesting this one ends in a Pat victory by 14 or more points.
Packers Bears
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (+3), 4:25pm FOX:
Unlike the Dallas Cowboys, who have a star quarterback hurt and unable to go, this game boasts the comeback of Aaron Rodgers. Can he return, in the nick of time, to lead the Pack in a winner take all game (NFC North crown on the line). A key question is, will there be any rust? I think there is a decent chance there is. I doubt the Packers offense can pick up right where they left off pre-injury, and also remember the Packers lost to Chicago at home during their last matchup (also the game Rodgers got hurt in). Alshon Jeffrey has emerged as a major force to be reckoned with, and his play has made the Bears extremely explosive. I like their chances to put up some serious points in this one. I see this contest being a close one, with a virtual 50/50 chance that either team wins. Taking this into account, I’m going to have to say take the points. I like the Bears’ chance of covering. I’ve recommended taking the Bears in this column previously, and once again I am taking them and the points. Hopefully they don’t let me down!
Rams Seahawks
St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-11), 4:25pm FOX:
The St. Louis Rams head to Seattle to take on the Seahawks, in a game Seattle needs to clinch the NFC West. The Hawks surprisingly lost to the Arizona Cardinals last week, and I predict that Pete Carroll has them ready for this one. The Rams will be minus Jake Long, and with Kellen Clemens I predict a long day for the Rams offensively. Seattle lost at home for the first time in the Russell Wilson era this past Sunday, and I would be shocked if it happened again. The Seahawks offense should have excellent field position for much of the afternoon, and I like their chances to put up some serious points here. Marshawn Lynch is a good bet to score, and I like Russell Wilson to have 2-3 passing touchdowns as well. I feel comfortable recommending you lay the 11 points and take Seattle here. The Seahawks are simply too strong.
Eagles Cowboys SNF

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (+7), SNF 8:30pm NBC:
The Philadelphia Eagles head to Big D to take on the Cowboys in a winner take all game (with the winner taking the NFC East). There is a reason why NBC flexed this one to Sunday Night, though they obviously were not counting on Tony Romo being forced to sit out. Romo valiantly led the Cowboys back versus the Redskins last week after hurting his back, and it is a shame he won’t be available for this one. That said, I’m going on a hunch here and see the Cowboys having a very solid chance to cover. The game is at home, and Kyle Orton is one of the better backups in the NFL. Dallas’ offense should be able to stay afloat. Also remember that Nick Foles struggled mightily in the earlier loss to Dallas this season. Add it all up and I like the chances of the ‘Boys covering. Take the seven points here.

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