Week 17 NFL picks against the spread

Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE

We break down NFL picks against the spread for Week 17 of the 2013 season, including the 49ers-Cardinals matchup. New to Niners Nation? Sign up here and join the discussion!

Happy Boxing Day! For those that don't know, that's the day after Christmas holiday in the UK and Canada (among other places).

We're back for another round of picks, and hopefully I can finish the regular season strong. I put together a 10-6 record in Week 16, which gets me back up over .500. Due to the Christmas holidays, James' picks may be delayed, but it's worth noting I'm only a game back of him. We'll see if I can finish over .500 before the playoffs.

Week 17 is always a tough week to figure with spreads because of injuries and playoff considerations. We have a host of injured players that may just shut it down rather than risk further injury. For example, Calvin Johnson may be dealing with a torn PCL, and with the Lions out of the playoff picture, maybe they sit him. Of course, even with Megatron in the lineup, I think they could lose on the road at Minnesota.

Another example is the Chiefs. Kansas City is locked in as the No. 5 seed, so they could decide to rest their starters against San Diego. I'm going with the Chargers to cover in part because of that, and in part because the Chiefs are looking a little shaky. I still think that defense can carry them in the playoffs, but after seeing them struggle against Indianapolis, they could be in trouble come playoff time.

The 49ers line with the Cardinals ranges from 49ers -1 to 49ers pick 'em. I'm actually a little bit surprised the line didn't swing at least a point toward the Cardinals. They're coming off a huge win over the Seattle Seahawks, and generally playing solid football. The 49ers will need establish their ground game against a strong Cardinals run defense. Football Outsiders ranks Arizona second against the run, and second in adjusted line yards. Frank Gore and company are gonna have to work for their yards.

Of course, with the loss of Tyrann Mathieu, the passing game could open up a bit. Patrick Peterson remains a force, but Michael Crabtree has historically done well against him. I imagine the 49ers will attack that matchup, but Anquan Boldin against Jerraud Powers could be the more fruitful side of the field. Pro Football Focus rates him as the worst secondary member when it comes to pass coverage. I'll talk to Revenge of the Birds to get a better handle on that.

Games Spread Fooch
Panthers @ Falcons Car -5.5 Falcons cover
Ravens @ Bengals Cin -6 Bengals cover
Jaguars @ Colts Ind -11.5 Colts cover
Jets @ Dolphins Mia -7 Dolphins cover
Lions @ Vikings Min -3 Vikings cover
Washington @ Giants NYG -3.5 Washington covers
Browns @ Steelers Pit -7 Browns cover
Texans @ Titans Ten -7 Texans cover
Packers @ Bears Pick 'em Bears cover
Bills @ Patriots NE -9 Patriots cover
Buccaneers @ Saints NO -13 Bucs cover
49ers @ Cardinals Pick 'em 49ers cover
Broncos @ Raiders Den -12.5 Broncos cover
Chiefs @ Chargers SD -9.5 Chargers cover
Rams @ Seahawks Sea -11 Rams cover
Eagles @ Cowboys Phi -6.5 Cowboys cover
TOTAL 111-109-6
LAST WEEK 10-6
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