Last week, we made it a point to suggest that the Buccaneers had been snake-bitten all season. They couldn’t figure out how to finish games, and there was too much on the line for the Panthers for them to punt that game. Carolina tried its best to screw up our survivor pool, but we got the job done in the end and wrapped up a playoff spot in Week 16.
Now, we’re down to one last week of the regular season, and we only have half of the NFL that we can choose in Week 17.
Fortunately, there are a few obvious selections that are still on the board.
The Ravens are double-digit favorites over the Bengals in Week 17, but that’s a bloody rivalry game that could ultimately feature really bad weather. Though Baltimore could need to win that game to get into the playoffs, there are too many variables that could go against us. We’ll pass on the Ravens and ultimately not use them in 2017.
Even though we were knocked off by the Colts when they played against the Texans in Week 9, we could go the other way and play Indy in Week 17 against Houston. That Week 9 game wasn’t our fault. Deshaun Watson was still healthy at the time of publishing that article. He, of course, tore his ACL in practice that week, ending both his season and the season of the Texans.
But the choice that we’ve been saving for this very moment is Minnesota. The Vikings need to win this game against Chicago to secure a first-round bye in the playoffs, and we aren’t going to miss out on one of the very best teams in the NFC.
The Vikes are riding a huge wave of momentum right now. They’ve been beaten just once since Week 4, a very excusable loss at Carolina. Minnesota has only been defeated by the Panthers, Lions and Steelers this season, and Chicago has zero business going into U.S. Bank Stadium and walking out with an upset.
The Bears have been relatively easy to handicap all season. If you can stop Jordan Howard, you’re going to win and probably win going away. If you can’t, you take fate into your own hands.
The Vikings had a terrible offensive game against the Bears in Week 5 on Monday Night Football, but even on a day when Sam Bradford got hurt and Case Keenum had to come in and save the day, they still got out of Soldier Field with a 20-17 victory.
Minnesota has one of the best run defenses in the NFL, and there isn’t going to be any way Chicago is going to move Everson Griffen and the gang up front. Howard had 76 yards on 19 carries in the first meeting; he’s lucky to get to 50 yards in this game on the road as we see it.
Remember, too, that the MNF game in October was Mitchell Trubisky’s first NFL start. Now, the Vikings know all about him, and they shouldn’t have a problem slowing him down.
This doesn’t have to be the prettiest game on the docket, but we think it’s going to be the easiest win of the week outside of New England over the Jets.
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Past NFL Survivor Picks
Week 1: Steelers over Browns (W)
Week 2: Raiders over Jets (W)
Week 3: Packers over Bengals (W)
Week 4: Jaguars over Jets (L)
Week 5: Eagles over Cardinals (W)
Week 6: Falcons over Dolphins (L)
Week 7: Cowboys over 49ers (W)
Week 8: Saints over Bears (W)
Week 9: Texans over Colts (L)
Week 10: Rams over Texans (W)
Week 11: Chargers over Bills (W)
Week 12: Patriots over Dolphins (W)
Week 13: Titans over Texans (W)
Week 14: Bills over Colts (W)
Week 15: Redskins over Cardinals (W)
Week 16: Panthers over Buccaneers (W)