- Can the struggling Arizona Cardinals get back on track against a Dallas Cowboys team that is rolling?
- Will the battered Baltimore Ravens be able to overcome the visiting Los Angeles Rams?
- Last week’s picks went 1-3, costing us 1.95 units and bringing our season total to +7.81 (18-25 record)
It’s a new year and a chance at a fresh start for all. That includes these upset picks, which ended 2021 on a sour note, backing two teams that were never competitive over a 1-3 weekend.
We’re still up on the season, but we’re running out of weeks to add to our total. It’s the time of year when you really start to cherish the huge favorites we see in the NFL’s Week 17 lines. Soon, it’ll be playoff time and all those 10-plus-point lines will be gone. So if there’s any more massive Houston Texans upsets you want to chase, do it now.
Personally, I’m going to be targeting games featuring teams that will still be playing after Week 18.
NFL Week 17 Upset Picks
|Arizona Cardinals vs Dallas Cowboys||DAL -6.5||+220||Cardinals||1.5|
|Los Angeles Rams vs Baltimore Ravens||LAR -5.5||+190||Ravens||1.5|
Cards Conquer Cowboys
Two NFC playoff teams clash in Jerry World this weekend, where the Dallas Cowboys are 6.5-point favorites over the Arizona Cardinals.
Though both these teams have already punched their ticket to the postseason, this definitely feels like a must-win for the reeling Cardinals. Not only do they still have a chance at winning the NFC West, but Arizona could use a confidence boost as they’re mired in yet another second half slump.
Kliff Kingsbury has a history of second-half slumps dating back to his first year at Texas Tech.
His teams have been good in their first 7 games but then fall off.
The Cardinals are 15-5-1 in games 1-7 under Kingsbury but 8-18 the rest of the season.
At TTU: 27-15 then 8-25 pic.twitter.com/HNiDgEW8Ep
— Josh Weinfuss (@joshweinfuss) December 28, 2021
For all the wins the Cowboys have racked up on the year, they could also use one over a quality opponent. The last team Dallas beat with a winning record was the Patriots, which essentially came a lifetime ago, in Week 6. They spent all December just beating up on bad offenses and backup QBs.
Since DeAndre Hopkins was ruled out for the season, Arizona has resembled some of the troubled offenses the Cowboys spent the last month beating up on. They’ll need Kyler Murray to create big plays against this Dallas D to stand a chance. Fortunately, he’s very comfortable performing in his home state.
The last time @K1 played in Dallas, he scored 3 TDs in a blowout win. Can he improve to 8-0 since high school at AT&T Stadium?
— NFL (@NFL) December 31, 2021
What isn’t talked about much is that Arizona’s defense is also a top-five unit in DVOA. They’ve been missing JJ Watt, but they’re still capable of coaxing an uneven performance out of Dak Prescott, who has had plenty this season.
.@ShannonSharpe on where he ranks Dak Prescott among current NFL QBs:
"I think Dak is at the bottom of the Top 10. Dak has been in the league far too long to have the huge inconsistent swings that he has." pic.twitter.com/T7bhzEuz5Z
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) December 2, 2021
Arizona may not be a trustworthy favorite, but they’re a perfect 5-0 straight up this season as the underdog. Look for them to slow the Cowboys coronation this week with a convincing road win (where they’re also an impressive 7-1).
The Pick: Cardinals ML +220
Ravens Rally Past Rams
The Baltimore Ravens are still in the playoff hunt, but even with that extra motivation, they’re 5.5-point home underdogs to the Los Angeles Rams.
The Ravens no longer control their own destiny, but winning out would give them a really strong shot at grabbing one of the last AFC spots. Baltimore’s incredibly long injury list seems to have finally caught up with them, as the Ravens have dropped their last four games, including a shellacking at the hands of the Bengals.
Joe Burrow vs Ravens this season
Dec. 26: 525 pass yards
Oct. 24: 416 pass yards
Burrow is the first player in NFL history with at least 400 pass yards in 2 games vs the same team in the regular season. pic.twitter.com/wqIZe0jYSp
— Stathead (@Stathead) December 30, 2021
That Cincy drubbing has sent most bettors to the Rams side of things, but prior to that game (which Josh Johnson started 10 days after signing with the team), Baltimore had been a competitive bunch, despite having almost a quarter of their cap space on injured reserve.
The Ravens will have either Tyler Huntley or a limping Lamar Jackson under center for this game, which should be enough to compete with Matt Stafford. The Rams QB has been doing his best Jared Goff impression in recent weeks, which has to have LA fans nervous as the postseason nears.
Matthew Stafford with his 3rd INT of the day 🤮 pic.twitter.com/TkhnOuDLaO
— Action Network NFL (@ActionNetNFL) December 26, 2021
Baltimore’s run defense remains strong, so they should be able to contain a suddenly impactful Sony Michel. This game will come down to whether Stafford can avoid mistakes and pick on this decimated secondary.
Considering the Rams are just 6-7 ATS as the favorite and the Ravens are 4-1 when getting points, which side to play the spread seems obvious. But considering how bad Baltimore’s luck has been in close games lately, let’s bet on them to catch some breaks and get the outright win.
The Pick: Ravens ML +190