Week 17 Early Games: 0-16! Inconceivable!

PITTSBURGH (12-3) -13.5 vs. Cleveland (0-15)

A modified screenplay by IWI Sports.

C: Now, a clever man would pick the Steelers because he would know that only a great fool would pick the Browns. I'm not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the Browns. But you must have known I was not a great fool; you would have counted on it, so I can clearly not choose the Steelers as I know that they will rest their starters this week.

T: You've made your decision then?

C: Not remotely. Because the Browns come from Cleveland, as everyone knows. And Cleveland is entirely peopled with distraught sports fans. And distraught sports fans are used to losing, as you would not like to lose to  me. So, I can clearly not choose the Browns.

T: Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.

C: Wait till I get going! Where was I?

T: Cleveland.

C: Yes -- Cleveland, and you must have suspected I would have known that Cleveland’s QB is DeShone Kizer, so I can clearly not choose the Browns.

T: You're just stalling now.

C: You'd like to think that, wouldn't you? The Steelers are 12-3 which means they're exceptionally strong. So, you could have picked the Steelers, trusting on their strength to save you. So, I can clearly not choose the Steelers. But, you've also followed the Browns the entire season which means you must have studied. And in studying, you must have learned that the Browns are terrible so you would have put this team as far from yourself as possible, so I can clearly not choose the Browns.

 T: You're trying to trick me into giving away something -- it won't work

C: It has worked -- you've given everything away -- I know who to pick. 

T: Then make your choice.

C: I will. And I choose the Steelers. 

T: You guessed wrong.

C: (roaring with laughter) You only think I guessed wrong -- (louder now) -- that's what's so funny! I switched picks when your back was turned. You fool.

You fell victim to one of the classic blunders—the most famous of which is, “Never get involved in a land war in Asia”—but only slightly less well-known is this: “Never bet against the Browns when 0-16 is on the line”! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha…[thunk].


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PICK: Cleveland +13.5

NEW ENGLAND (12-3) -15.5 vs. NY Jets (5-10)

New England secures the top spot in the AFC with a win, so they are not losing this game. The Jets are starting Bryce Petty at QB, so they are not winning this game. Expect New England to play this game the same way Dash runs his first track race at the end of The Incredibles.

PICK: NY Jets +15.5

INDIANAPOLIS (3-12) -4.5 vs. Houston (4-11)

This is the QB depth chart for Houston:

  1. TJ Yates

  2. Taylor Heinicke

  3. Josh Johnson

Both Yates and Heinicke left week 16 with concussions, so the Texans signed Josh Johnson on Tuesday. Also, DeAndre Hopkins is missing the first game of his career with a calf “injury”.


Dallas (8-7) -2.5 @ PHILADELPHIA (13-2)

Philly has secured the top spot in the NFC so there is nothing on the line this week for the Eagles. Head Coach Doug Peterson has said they’ll play their starters and not take the week off. That’s a Coughlin-esque move. Won’t happen. Philly has too much on the line this year. They’ll cruise through week 17 and enjoy a bye in playoffs week 1 before being upset at home in week 2 of the playoffs.

PICK: Dallas -2.5

Washington (7-8) -3.5 @ NY GIANTS (2-13)

New NY Giants GM Dave Gettleman has already started clearing house. He cut starting right tackle Bobby Hart after last week’s game. Awesome move! Hart was a cancer in the locker room and Gettleman cut him straight away to send a message to the rest of the team. This message was heard loud and clear and I think it’ll put some fire behind the guys that want to remain with the team.

Also, there is a good chance that this is Eli Manning’s last game. The Giants don’t owe Eli anything as they have paid him more than $219MM during his career which works out to about $950,000 per interception.

Hopefully the Giants were not watching Sam Darnold’s bowl performance (8 sacks, 2 fumbles, 1 pick six) as that looks eerily like an Eli Manning stat line. We’d much rather see the Giants use the 2nd pick in the draft to take Saquon Barkley and then offensive lineman with the remainder of their picks.

PICK: NY Giants +3.5

DETROIT (8-7) -7.5 vs. Green Bay (7-8)

Green Bay will be without Jordy Nelson, DaVante Adams, Richard Rodgers, Aaron Jones, Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre, Reggie White, Ray Nitschke or Bart Starr. The Packers are sitting so many players we are not sure who will be suiting up. Also, Clay Matthews (commercials) will likely miss the game.


MINNESOTA (12-3) -12.5 vs. Chicago (5-10)

Vikings needs this win to clinch a first-round bye, so they’ll come to play this game. Chicago has zero motivation other than winning one for John Fox who will likely be fired on Monday. I’m pretty sure the Vikes motivation outweighs the Bears motivation by at least 2 touchdowns.