Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Prisco’s Week 18 NFL picks: Bills sink Dolphins on road for AFC East title; Texans punch ticket into playoffs

One game over. 500. One lousy game.

That’s where I am picking NFL games against the spread this season with one week to go. That’s because I was a disappointing 7-9 last week to drop my season record to 123-122-11. It was a lot better straight up as I went 12-4 to bring that season record to 158-98-0.

This week’s games are the toughest to pick with so many teams resting players and other teams already with reservations for Cabo and Bermuda. That’s what makes this such a challenging week.

Then again, aren’t they all? 

So maybe it’s the unexpected week, a tough one on paper that ends up being full of winners. Just let me finish the regular season above .500 ATS. Please.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (+3.5)

Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET (ABC, fubo)

Who plays for the Ravens since they clinched the top seed? They might play some key starters for a bit. The Steelers need it to have this game to have any chance to make the playoffs. But you know these two don’t like each other. Even if guys like Lamar Jackson sit, I think the Ravens will win it. 

Pick: Ravens 24, Steelers 21

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (+1.5)

Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ABC, fubo)

The winner of this game will be in the playoffs and could win the AFC South if Jacksonville loses to the Titans. The Texans are a different team with C.J. Stroud, who played well last week after missing two games. I think he plays a good game here and the Texans make the playoffs. 

Pick: Texans 31, Colts 26

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (+5.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS, Paramount+) 

If the Bucs win, they win the division. It’s that simple. But they didn’t play well last week against the Saints. I think they will play much better here against a Carolina team that didn’t score last week against Jacksonville. Bucs win and also win the division. 

Pick: Bucs 24, Panthers 13

If you want a more analytical approach to your NFL picks, then I highly suggest that you check out the SportsLine Projection Model, which has been on fire this year. Check it out if you want to know which side to bet for every game in Week 18.

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals (-6)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS, Paramount+)  

The Browns are locked in as the No. 5 seed, which means they might rest players here. The Bengals are eliminated, but they should play here against their rival in the last game of the year. This a tough one to pick, but I will go with the Bengals in a close one as the Browns will be looking ahead to more important things. 

Pick: Bengals 23, Browns 20

Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (-3)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox, fubo)

The Vikings still have an outside chance to make the playoffs, while the Lions have already clinched a spot and could just be playing for a higher seed. The Lions lost a tough one last week at Dallas, but back home they will get right for the playoffs with an impressive showing here against a Vikings team with a mess at quarterback. 

Pick: Lions 31, Vikings 18

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-3) 

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox, fubo)

It’s simple for the Packers: Win and they are in the playoffs. They are coming off an impressive victory over the Vikings, but this won’t be easy. The Bears have played good football down the stretch, with Justin Fields playing well. But I think Jordan Love will play better. The Packers take it. 

Pick: Packers 30, Bears 24

New York Jets at New England Patriots (-2.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox, fubo) 

This is a game featuring the bottom-feeders of the AFC East. The Jets looked lifeless in losing to the Browns last week, and that will show up again here. The Pats aren’t good, but they compete, which will be the difference. And this just might be Bill Belichick’s last game coaching the Patriots. 

Pick: Pats 21, Jets 14

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-3)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS, Paramount+)  

The winner of this game will win the NFC South if the Bucs lose to the Panthers. The Saints played well in beating Tampa Bay last week, while the Falcons did not in losing to the Bears. They are also playing consecutive road games, which is a challenge. The Saints win it and still might be able to earn a wild-card spot if they do. 

Pick: Saints 23, Falcons 14

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (+5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS, Paramount+)   

The Jaguars have had trouble in Nashville in their history, but that won’t be a factor here. Even if Trevor Lawrence can’t play, the Jaguars will do enough to find a way to win this game. The defense will come up big, no matter if it’s Will Levis or Ryan Tannehill for the Titans. Jaguars win it and win the division. 

Pick: Jaguars 23, Titans 16

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers (-3)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS, Paramount+) 

The Chiefs are in the playoffs, so they will play next week. So who plays this week? Does Patrick Mahomes play? The Chargers are heading to an offseason of change, but with Easton Stick playing here it won’t matter who plays for the Chiefs. They still win it. 

Pick: Chiefs 27, Chargers 20

Denver Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders (-2.5) 

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox, fubo)

These two have been eliminated from playoff contention. The Raiders will be playing to try and make Antonio Pierce the full-time coach. What’s the motivation for Denver with Russell Wilson benched a week ago? Jarrett Stidham will start again. But the Raiders will get the best of him. 

Pick: Raiders 21, Broncos 17

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (+2.5)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox, fubo)

Seattle needs this game to have a playoff chance. The Cardinals are playing out the string, but as they showed in beating the Eagles last week they are far from thinking about a resort beach. Look for the Cardinals to play hard and win this one to end Seattle’s playoff hopes. 

Pick: Cardinals 27, Seahawks 23

Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants (+5) 

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS, Paramount+) 

The Eagles would be locked into the fifth seed if the Cowboys win their game being played at the same time. The Eagles haven’t played well, so they need a good game to get ready for the playoffs. The Giants lost to the Eagles two weeks ago in a close one, and this will be close as well. The Giants hang around.

Pick: Eagles 26, Giants 24

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers (-3.5)

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox, fubo) 

The 49ers are locked in as the top seed, so they will likely rest players. The Rams are in the sixth spot right now, which means they will play next week in the playoffs. The Rams could also opt to rest guys. This is another tough game to pick, but I will go with 49ers at home — even resting guys. 

Pick: 49ers 27, Rams 20

Dallas Cowboys at Washington Commanders (+13) 

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox, fubo) 

The Cowboys need this one to lock up the NFC East. They squeaked by last week against the Lions, but won’t do that here. They will handle this one easily and move on to the playoffs as division champs as Dak Prescott has a big day. 

Pick: Cowboys 36, Commanders 21

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins (+3)

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC, fubo)

The winner wins the AFC East. The Bills and Josh Allen have dominated Miami in Allen’s career, and I don’t see that changing here. Look for a big game from Allen against a defense that is banged up. The Bills win it. 

Pick: Bills 30, Dolphins 23

Related articles

Share article

Latest articles


Subscribe to stay updated.