A couple of weeks ago, the playoff picture in the NFL looked like a giant mathematical puzzle, but as we head into the final week of the season, things are perfectly clear. This is particularly true in the NFC, where there is only one team left in the hunt, while the remaining games are being played to finalize the seedings. There is also till the business of the NFC South to take care of, as it is going right down to the wire to decide who will be crowned the champion, just as the NFL lines for Week 17 indicate.
The New Orleans Saints are in control of their own destiny and can become the unlikely division winners if they can take out the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the rod this weekend. They could still potentially win it with a loss, assuming that the Atlanta Falcons take care of the Carolina Panthers, but I’m sure they will want to win it by getting the victory over their division rivals in the final week of the season.
Experts at our online sportsbook seem to think that New Orleans can get the job done, as they are in as 6 ½ point favorites, with the point total set at 50.
New Orleans (11-4) vs. Tampa Bay (4-11) Week 17 Game Info, NFL Lines & Prediction
The NFC South is for the taking. The show continues. pic.twitter.com/Wa0LdrBsu7
— NFL (@NFL) 29 de diciembre de 2017
- When: Sunday, December 31, 4:25 PM EST
- Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
- TV: FOX
- Radio: 105.3 FM (New Orleans) / 97.9 FM (Tampa Bay)
- Streaming Option: NFL Live
- NFL Lines: New Orleans Saints -6.5 (Over/Under at 50 points)
- Chance of Rain: 21°C/69°F
- Humidity: 57%
- Precipitation: 34%
- Cloud Cover: 70%
- Wind: 9 mph ENE
- Stadium Type: Open
- Total Meetings: 51
- First Meeting: December 11, 1977 / Tampa Bay 33 – New Orleans 14
- Last Meeting: November 5, 2017 / New Orleans 30 – Tampa Bay 10
- All-Time Series: New Orleans lead 32-19
- Largest Margin of Victory: New Orleans winning by 41 points
- Longest Win Streak: New Orleans winning 7
- Current Win Streak: New Orleans winning 2
Why bet on the New Orleans Saints?
The New Orleans Saints could potentially climb all the way up to the #2 seed in the NFC, but they would need a lot of things to go their way for that to happen. Their main focus is going to be on winning the division, which would likely mean that they would at the very least land themselves home field advantage heading into Wild Card Weekend.
If the Saints had been given the option of choosing which team to play in a must-win game, you can almost guarantee that they would have chosen the Buccaneers, as this is a team that they have dominated in recent seasons, winning 10 of their last 12 meetings against them. They have also won 4 of their last 5 games in Tampa, although they are just 2-4 ATS in their last 6 visits there. Overall, the New Orleans Saints are 8-7 ATS and O/U on the season.
- Average Score For: 28.27
- Total Yards: 396.00
- Rush Yards: 131.87
- Passing Yards: 264.13
- Average Score Against: 19.67
- Total Yards: 328.6
- Rush Yards: 111.80
- Passing Yards: 216.80
Why bet on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
The Saints could actually have won the division last weekend if the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had been able to finish off the Carolina Panthers, but some last-second magic from Cam Newton put an end to that. That ending has been typical of how things have gone for the Bucs this season, particularly in the last few weeks. They have now lost 5 straight games but by an average of less than 6 PPG.
Their last 3 defeats have all been by 3 points. It has been a case of close but no cigar for a team that was expected to be a playoff contender this season. It remains to be seen what changes will be made in the offseason, but this may well be the last time we see this group of players and coaches together. The Buccaneers are 5-9-1 ATS this season, and 7-8 O/U.
- Average Score For: 20.27
- Total Yards: 357.4
- Rush Yards: 89.20
- Passing Yards: 268.20
- Average Score Against: 23.87
- Total Yards: 381.73
- Rush Yards: 119.20
- Passing Yards: 262.53
Latest Betting Trends for NFL Week 17
- New Orleans is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games
- New Orleans is 11-2 SU in its last 13 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of New Orleans’s last 5 games on the road
- Tampa Bay is 4-9-1 ATS in its last 14 games
- Tampa Bay is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Tampa Bay’s last 9 games
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
I don’t see the Saints passing up their opportunity to win the division, but I do think they will be made to work hard for the win. Let’s go with the Saints to back their NFL lines to win, Tampa to cover, and the UNDER.
Score: New Orleans Saints 23 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20