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    LAST CALL

    As the sad reality of the end of the NFL regular season sets in, we’re now gifted ONE EXTRA week of a full NFL slate, thanks to the recently expanded 7-game schedule. One last Red Zone Sunday, one last “breakfast and countdown” vibe, and one last NFL Sunday Funday where everyone is involved. It’s also one last big NFL card for us to dominate as we strive for climbing over the .500 mark this year – it’s attainable, and we have a path, if you will.

    Week 17 came and went and eliminated teams like the Jets and the Dolphins, while teams like the Packers and Patriots shockingly have straightforward “win and you’re in” scenarios to clinch a spot in wild card weekend. There have been some breakthroughs from teams like the Giants, Vikings, and Chargers, but there are still the familiar sights of the last week of the season we’ve come to know. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady amazingly still have aspirations for postseason runs, wouldn’t it be kismet if they met again this postseason? The Patriots are the BEST WORST team ever that could still make a run, and all the top young QBs of the league are in a resting or prepping position for the last week of the regular season. Get your scenario calculators out, it’s the frenzy of week 18 coming our way. Let’s make it ours heading into the postseason:

    Also a quick reminder: our NFL Playoff contest is live so get yourself involved in postseason picks!

    THE HEADLINERS

    Saturday Slate

    Chiefs (-9.5) @ Raiders – The NFL got quite frisky with the week 18 schedule, as this game is an important one for playoff seeding. The Chiefs are looking to lock up the 1 seed, and their performance could affect what the Bills do vs the Patriots. The Raiders improved under Stidham though, so this could be a trap in Vegas.

    Jaguars (-6.5) vs Titans – The winner takes the AFC South and hosts a wild card weekend game, and the loser goes home with an abrupt end to their season. My spidey senses tell me the Jags could fart this one away, but Trevor Lawrence has been immensely better in year two over year one. The Over/Under of 39 is low for a reason, this one should be ugly.

    Sunday Slate

    Bills (-7.5) vs Patriots – The Bills look to secure either the 1 or 2 seed in the AFC, but how much effort will we get from them based on the scenario? This is a wait-and-see line as we don’t know if we’re getting Josh Allen or Case Keenum at QB. For the Patriots, it’s a win and you’re in at the 7 seed…but how on earth do they contain the Buffalo wide receiver threats? They need to score at least once on defense to stay in it.

    AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

    Packers (-4.5) vs Lions – A fascinating divisional matchup of two teams still in it. The Packers just need to win to get in, while Detroit needs a win and a Seahawks loss for a postseason berth. I have a funny feeling we get one more inspired Aaron Rodgers effort here, but the Lions are ready to keep their dream alive under Dan Campbell.

    Eagles (-13.5) vs Giants – Lots to ponder on who we see out on the field for these teams. The Giants may be resting players as their seed is pretty much set in stone and all they can do is await their wild-card opponent. It will be interesting to see effort levels from both squads – this feels like an UNDER game at 41 total points projected.

    Bengals (-7) vs Ravens – Interestingly enough, if the playoffs started THIS week these two teams would face one another. Could this be the first of back-to-back meetings? The Ravens got the better of Cincy in their first meeting, and this game and line will be dependent on Lamar Jackson’s status as well. 

    THE “WHO CARES?” GAME

    So many to choose from as many teams are eliminated, but one beauty featuring two completely eliminated teams is the Texans vs Colts matinee, which you might be able to get PAID to go to…just a rumor I heard. Honestly, the measly over/under of 38 might be too many points as both of these teams already have their vacation flights booked for next week. An all-time clunker to finish both of these miserable campaigns in Houston and Indianapolis. 

    WEIRD VIBE PREDICTION OF THE WEEK

    Last week’s Broncos +14 was a doozy, and BTW it looked great all day. What a call on the weird holiday vibe winners, which swept the board. For the farewell regular season vibe, which random team will get one more W that shouldn’t? It’s the Cleveland Browns of course! Since the whole world is pointing at Kenny Pickett and loving this Steelers run, we have taken our vibes across the street and predicted a crashing party in Pittsburgh. A weird pick indeed to wrap up the even weirder regular season.

    WEEK 17 RECAP

    It was another grind but we got the winners where we needed to, thanks to the Seahawks showing up at home and the Raiders playing the 49ers tough. The losses were all within a score and there for the taking, so my senses were not far off from a winner of a week. I can feel a big one coming for the regular season finale.

    Week Seventeen: 2-3 ATS, Season Overall: 40-46-1 ATS

    EARLY WEEK 18 NFL PLAYS FOR ALEX 

    As I teased earlier, expect one more inspired Stidham effort from the Vegas offense, and the Raiders cover +9.5 hosting the Chiefs.

    Since there could be a backup playing for the Bills, expect some randomly low-scoring and tight game because the Patriots have lived in dogfights all year. Give me Patriots +7.5.

    Knowing the Bear fan culture, they’ll be rooting for a loss and a better draft pick but get an amazing effort in the meaningless finale. Regardless of the score, the Bears/Vikings go OVER 46 points.

    The Commanders are dead, and with Carson Wentz still up and playing I hate them even more. I’ll take Cowboys -3 right now.

    I’ve made my keep betting on crappy teams with big spreads all season. It’s not surefire but I’m riding it till the end of this year – Cardinals +14.5 it is.

    Other leans: Colts/Texans Under 38, Browns ML

    Sad cause the regular season is over? DON’T BE – our NFL Playoff contest is live so there are more chances to win this season!

    EATS AND DEETS

    The best crowd: Pats fans headed to snow-filled Buffalo for a week 18 game that’s basically a Patriots playoff game. That should be a special level of rowdiness! 

    Goofiest line: Eagles still favored by almost two scores? Not sure that’s the correct spread these days.

    Simultaneous screen count: Break ’em all out, especially if you’re a SCENARIO team this weekend – you know who you are.

    Tailgate pick of the week: It’s time to get your playoff snacking plans ready – let’s go burgers and dogs as more ode to the true tailgaters out there.

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    About Author

    Alex Lauzon

    Lauzon is a podcast host, live broadcaster, analyst and betting extraordinaire for the Course of Life brand. After earning a degree in broadcast journalism at Quinnipiac University, he worked in ESPN and ESPN radio newsrooms. He has interviewed athletes and celebrities from all walks of life who often love to play golf. When he's not playing golf or talking about the game on Course of Life, Lauzon enjoys time with his wife and dog, checking off the next island vacation destination or counting down the days to the next Dell Match Play in his hometown of Austin, Texas.

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