(43-39-3 against the spread this season)
By Danny Picard
BOSTON — I had another 3-2 week in Week 17. And now, it’s the final week of the regular season.
I’ll still be making picks for the playoffs, but this week right here is a dangerous one because you have a lot of teams either sitting their starters or having nothing to play for. So, I’ll try to stick with the teams that are involved in a “clinching scenario.”
Here are my picks for Week 18:
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (-1.5) over New York Jets
-Is this Bill Belichick’s final game with the Patriots? Well, if it is, this is the lock of all locks against the 6-10 Jets at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots are 4-12, but they haven’t lost to the Jets since 2015, and they play twice a year. The weather is nasty, and the Jets have no shot. Give me the Pats all day by a touchdown.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (-4) over Carolina Panthers
-It’s reported that Baker Mayfield gets a $1 million bonus if the Bucs make the playoffs. He’s dealing with a rib injury, but you know what heals damaged ribs? A million bucks. The 8-8 Bucs control their own destiny. A win over the 2-14 Panthers in Carolina, and Tampa wins the division. That’s exactly what they’ll do. The 4-point spread is dangerous, but I feel like living on the edge. Buccaneers win by a touchdown and get their Hat and T-Shirt.
DETROIT LIONS (-4) over Minnesota Vikings
-The 11-5 Lions have already clinched their division, and they currently hold the No. 3 seed in the NFC. But if Dallas and Philadelphia both lose their 4 p.m. games, then Detroit can jump up into the No. 2 seed with a win at home over the 7-9 Vikings at 1 p.m. So, the Lions still have something to play for, especially coming off a controversial loss to the Cowboys. These Lions feel like the type of team that will try to make a statement heading into the playoffs. I’m taking them to win and cover in Week 18.
DALLAS COWBOYS (-13.5) over Washington Commanders
-All eyes will be on the NFC East in the 4 p.m. slate. The 11-5 Cowboys can win the NFC East and secure the No. 2 seed with a road win over the 4-12 Commanders. The high spread might scare you off, but keep in mind that Washington allows 30 points per game this season. And with Philadelphia also playing at 4 p.m., the Cowboys have to play this game as if it’s for the division, because it is. Give me Dallas to win big and clinch the NFC East.
GREEN BAY PACKERS (-3) over Chicago Bears
-The 8-8 Packers can clinch a playoff berth if they just beat the 7-9 Bears at Lambeau. Green Bay has won two straight, and I’m a believer in Jordan Love. If this game was in Chicago, I’d probably stay away, but the Packers won’t disappoint at home. Love goes off like he did in a Week 1 win over the Bears, and the Packers win by a touchdown to get into the tournament.
Follow Danny on instagram @DannyPicard.