Ride Colts and Bills on Jaguars and Jets

You did it. You reached last week in your pool of NFL survivors. Now all you have to do is survive week 18 and then decide if you will take your winnings back to Uncle Sam (these autonomous military drones aren’t going to buy themselves). Before we focus on this week’s picks, here’s a quick debrief of how we fared last week:

Pick of week 17

Best bets: 2-0 (year-to-date: 24-7)

Lean: 2-0 (year-to-date: 19-3)

Traps to avoid: 0 eliminations avoided (year-to-date: 12)

Make way for the choices of week 18!

All lines of BetMGM.

BEST PARIS

Indianapolis Colts (-15.5) against the Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville has lost eight points in a row, losing an average of almost 18 points per game. They’re the lowest-scoring team in the NFL, down 79 points from their 30th place finish in 2020. Another loss on Sunday would win Shad Khan’s first-choice 2022 franchise draft. Whoever the Jaguars pick will have a more exhausting trip to the stage to shake hands with the commissioner than any running back against the Jags’ rushed defense of late. In the last three games, Jacksonville has surrendered a record 176.3 yards per game rushing, setting up the NFL leader. Jonathan taylor for the kind of stat-stuffing day that would make Nate Silver roll his eyes to the back of his head. the Foals are a strong dark horse to get through the AFC playoffs and an even stronger bet to stomp on a team that is so bad their fans are planning to show up to the game in clown costumes.

Almost 22% of entries are on Indy this week, making it the second most popular choice.

Buffalo Bills (-16.5) vs. New York Jets

The wheels were falling off the Bucs wagon last week, until the Jets kicked in as a NASCAR pit crew hopped on energy drinks to help Tampa tighten its lug nuts. New York’s game of the week 10 against the Invoices was more like a destruction derby where Buffalo had a monster truck and the Jets had a small battery-powered electric car. As good as Josh allen and the offense was, the Bills defense ranks third in DVOA, allowing the fewest passing yards per game (172.9), second fewest points per game (17.4) and percentage of lowest completion (56.9%). Jets rookie QB Zach Wilson holds the lowest completion percentage of any starting quarterback and the second lowest QB rating this year. A Bills win will win the AFC East and send the New York Jets back to New Jersey to focus on their legal battles.

Just 9% of entries locked Buffalo. It’s the fifth most popular pick, making it a great game this week.

Quarterback Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills beat the New York Jets 45-17 in Week 10. (Brad Penner / USA TODAY Sports)

RELIES

Kansas City Chiefs (-10.5) to Denver Broncos

Patrick muhammad is undefeated in his career against Denver, and Kansas City have won their last 12 games against their northernmost division rival. With a win on Saturday, the Chiefs will temporarily hold the AFC seed. What stands in their way? A Broncos team that has lost four of its last five games and only exceeded 13 points once in that span. The Broncos are both mediocre and depressing, like a reheated TV dinner. Nothing on this team has improved since their 22-9 loss to Kansas City five weeks ago. I’m going to put my fries and Salisbury steak on Andy Reid once again beating the Broncos in a game up for grabs.

A little over 14% of the entries are on the heads.

OTHER CHOICES TO CONSIDER

You may no longer have previous teams to choose from in your pool, so here are a few more options:

Arizona Cardinals (-6.5) vs. Seattle Seahawks

They entered Seattle as an underdog in Week 11 and beat the Seahawks in double digits behind Colt mccoy‘s 328 passing yards. Arizona would win NFC West with a win here and a Rams loss to the Niners.

New Orleans Saints (-3.5) vs. Atlanta Falcons

Sean Payton in an essential game against a team that ranks 30th overall DVOA.

TRAPS TO AVOID

Tennessee Titans (-10.5) vs. Houston Texans

Almost 20% of the entries are from a Titans team who are used to playing at the level of their competition and who have lost to the Texans at home by multiple scores. Ryan tannehill threw four interceptions this game and hasn’t looked so good this season.

Minnesota Vikings (-5.5) vs. Chicago Bears

I wouldn’t feel comfortable taking a team that has nothing to play for. The Bears have won their last two games as Matt Nagy tries to prove he deserves a head coach job.

Cincinnati Bengals (+6) vs. Cleveland Browns

Almost 4% of entries are on the Bengals, even after it was announced that Cincinnati will be resting starters.

Statistics provided by Pro Football Reference, Football Outsiders, teamrankings.com and nfl.com.

Clyde P. Johnson