The Loop NFL Picks: Week 17

Vikings at Lions (+6½):
Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins, whose career record dipped to 50-51-2, says he was disappointed by the Christmas loss in New Orleans that ended the Vikings’ playoff hopes and guaranteed a losing season. The debacle was even more painful for Vikings being paid less than $2 million per game.
Pick: Vikings by 8
Chicago Bears nose tackle Bilal Nichols (98) swats the ball out of the hands of Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) in the second quarter of an NFL game at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020. Minnesota would recover the fumble but it would force 4th down as Chicago beat the Vikings, 33-27. (John Autey / Pioneer Press)
Packers at Bears (+5½):
The suddenly-competent Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears would have a great chance to win their fourth in a row and lock up a playoff berth if the Packers decided to rest Aaron Rodgers and most of their star players. News flash: They’re not.
Pick: Packers by 14
Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen chases down Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky in the third quarter of a NFL Football game at U.S. Bank stadium on Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017. The Vikings beat Chicago, 23-10 to finish the season 13-3 and earn a first round bye in the playoffs. (Pioneer Press / John Autey)
Washington at Eagles (+2):
Sophomoric quarterback Dwayne Haskins was cut by Washington just days after being caught maskless at a strip club. On a positive note, the former Ohio State star is still due more than $4.2 million on his contract, which the team is expected to pay him in convenient dollar bills.
Pick: Eagles by 3
Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) in action before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020 in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Daniel Kucin Jr.)
Cowboys at Giants (+1½):
Hard to believe, but 5-10 New York could lock up a playoff berth with a victory combined with a Washington loss. Their chances of pulling it off are so realistic that Joe Biden has already started calling them the President-elect Giants.
Pick: Cowboys by 7
New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) is sacked by Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)
Cardinals at Rams (+3):
Los Angeles fell in Seattle last week after quarterback Jared Goff suffered a broken thumb. It was hard to say whether the Rams’ weak offensive showing was due to the injury, or the fact they had Jared Goff at quarterback in the first place.
Pick: Cardinals by 7
Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16) during an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Steelers at Browns (-9):
Pittsburgh is resting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, starting backup Mason Rudolph in his place. In anticipation of facing Rudolph again, Browns star Myles Garrett is promising to try really, really hard to not bash him in the head with his helmet.
Pick: Browns by 7
Quarterback Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers fights with defensive end Myles Garrett #95 of the Cleveland Browns during the second half at FirstEnergy Stadium on Nov. 14, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Jason Miller/Getty Images/tNS)
Jets at Patriots (-3):
New England coach Bill Belichick blew up on the sidelines during Monday night’s blowout loss to Buffalo, smashing a phone in disgust. It’s the surest sign yet that the famed coach has gone from channeling Vince Lombardi to channeling Russell Crowe.
Pick: Patriots by 7
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches from the sideline in the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
Dolphins at Bills (-3):
The Bills have been allowed by New York State to have more than 6,000 fans at their playoff game next week. However, in order to limit the spread of COVID-19, Bills mafia members will be required to wear N-95 face masks while body-slamming tables in the parking lot.
Pick: Dolphins by 3
A Buffalo Bills fan watches the first half of an NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Buffalo Bills in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Jaguars at Colts (-14):
The Colts said they will not post the out-of-town scores of other playoff contenders during Sunday’s game. It’s a news blackout tactic they have usually only employed when one of the Irsays gets pulled over by the cops.
Pick: Colts by 20
This mug shot provided by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department shows Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay. Authorities say Irsay is in jail after being stopped on suspicion of drunken driving. Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Bryant Orem says Irsay was arrested Sunday night, March 16, 2014, in the northern Indianapolis suburb of Carmel. (AP Photo/Hamilton County Sherriff’s Department)
Chargers at Chiefs (+3½):
Kansas City will give Patrick Mahomes the week off, giving the Super Bowl MVP some rest. This means the star quarterback will be giving no effort during Week 17, as opposed to the half-hearted effort he has given the past few weeks.
Pick: Chargers by 7
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) celebrates a touchdown during an NFL football game against the Las Vegas Raiders, Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Reed Hoffmann)
Titans at Texans (+7½):
Houston standout J.J. Watt ripped into his disinterested, underachieving teammates after their 11th loss of the season. Watt said “I feel bad for our fans” and is promising to make it up to them by giving both remaining Texans fans a free Subway sandwich.
Pick: Titans by 3
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) before an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Saints at Panthers (+6½):
Carolina lineman Russell Okung made a historic deal this week, becoming the first NFL player who will have part of his salary paid in Bitcoin. We’d make a smart witticism about the move, except for the fact that we really don’t understand the whole Bitcoin thing, either.
Pick: Saints by 8
(Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP, File)
OTHER GAMES
Ravens at Bengals (+12):
Pick: Ravens by 20
Falcons at Buccaneers (-6½):
Pick: Buccaneers by 3
Raiders at Broncos (+2½):
Pick: Raiders by 3
Seahawks at 49ers (+6½):
Pick: Seahawks by 1
Seattle Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister (48) is stopped just short of the goal line by San Francisco 49ers middle linebacker Fred Warner (54) and linebacker Dre Greenlaw, left, during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Seattle. The 49ers won 26-21. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
RECORD
Week 16
8-8 straight up
4-12 vs. spread
Season
157-82-1 straight up (.657)
99-135-6 vs. spread (.423)
All-time (2003-20)
3065-1707-10 straight up (.642)
2318-2323-139 vs. spread (.499)

You can hear Kevin Cusick on Wednesdays on Bob Sansevere’s “BS Show” podcast on iTunes. You can follow Kevin on Twitter — @theloopnow. He can be reached at kcusick@pioneerpress.com.
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