It's the final week of the NFL regular season and things are extremely tough this week especially with teams that are keeping one eye on their game and another on a different game that will be making an impact on them. I've struggled a bit down the stretch as the record tightens up. There are solid Week 17 plays out there so let's take a look and find them.
Note: All times are ET and all games are on Sunday, Dec. 30.
Here are this week's best NFL picks against the spread:
Dallas Cowboys (9-6) at New York Giants (5-10), 1 p.m.
The Dallas Cowboys swear that they will be playing their starters for this one, but the Vegas line doesn't seem to reflect it. Even if they decide to sit some players, it's not like they can sit everyone. It looks like Zack Martin is one who will be out, but Ezekiel Elliott swears he will play. The team didn't exactly light up the awful Buccaneers, racking up only 232 yards of offense against them last week. Jerry Jones has said he wants to see better results from that side of the ball before the postseason. The Giants had won four of five at one point in November, but they've lost their last two, falling to the Titans and Colts. Saquon Barkley is losing steam and Odell Beckham isn't 100 percent. We'll see if the wide receiver plays, but there's really no reason for him to. The defense is a bit banged up with Kerry Wynn and Alec Ogletree both dealing with stuff. I'll bite and take a chance that Dallas keeps their starters in long enough to build a lead and hold on at the end. SELECTION: Cowboys +6
Jacksonville Jaguars (5-10) at Houston Texans (10-5), 1 p.m.
The Texans could still move up to the No. 2 seed potentially with a win and a Patriots loss that probably won't occur. Houston wants to finish out with a win after losing two of its last three. The Texans’ passing attack looked good vs. Philadelphia, but once again the running game just wasn’t there. Houston will be balancing keeping Deshaun Watson healthy with trying to win. Once the Pats game gets out of hand, then I think we see starters leave this one. Jacksonville has shown a little bit of a pulse defensively the last two weeks holding the Redskins and Dolphins to 23 points. The Jaguars have gone under in three of their last four because the offense is completely broken with Cody Kessler and Blake Bortles under center. The Texans won this one 20-7 back in Week 7 at home as they held the Jags under 300 yards of total offense. SELECTION: Under 40.5
As I said above, there wasn't going to be a ton of plays considering how tight the lines were. I like the Vikings a little bit this week, but I want to see the line fall a little more. The Bears can move up to the No. 2 seed in the NFC, but that's if the Rams lose (vs. San Francisco) and I don't see that happening. Still, Minnesota has been really flaky this year so the Vikings could even lose to the Chicago backups. This would be a great week for teasers to make some of these lines more manageable. Let's say you did a six-point teaser with the Ravens, Eagles and maybe the Saints then you've got three good teams in essentially straight-up situations. With New Orleans playing Teddy Bridgewater, I don't fear the Saints falling at home to the Panthers. He's got something to prove.
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.