NFL picks, Week 17: Will resting Todd Gurley, Jared Goff pay off for Rams?

SHARE NFL picks, Week 17: Will resting Todd Gurley, Jared Goff pay off for Rams?
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Under second-year coach Sean McVay (congratulating Todd Gurley after an 80-yard touchdown reception last year against the Titans), the Los Angeles Rams are 11-1 and averaging 32.3 offensive points per game. | Mark Zaleski/AP photo

To coast or not to coast, that is the question for teams that have locked up a playoff position.

Rams rookie coach Sean McVay already has announced that he will rest several starters against the 49ers, including quarterback Jared Goff, running back Todd Gurley, All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald and offensive linemen John Sullivan and Andrew Whitworth.

The line, not surprisingly, moved nearly 10 points. The Rams opened as 6-point favorites. They now are 3½-point underdogs.

BEST BET

49ers at Rams

Time: Noon. Line: 49ers by 3. Total: 45.

Records (overall/ATS): 49ers 5-10/8-7; Rams 11-4/9-6.

Coasting in Week 17 is generally a hit-and-miss proposition, but the stories of teams resting starters in Week 17 and falling flat in the playoff opener are daunting.

The Packers coasted in Week 17 in a 15-1 regular season in 2011, then crapped out at home against the Giants in the playoffs.

But the Packers also had a bye, so their starters had not played in three weeks when the playoffs opened. The Rams are locked into the No. 3 or No. 4 seed, so they’ll be playing on wild-card weekend.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson faces the bigger decision. His team, which has clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC, has a bye. That Nick Foles and the offense needs work might turn out to be a blessing if Pederson elects to play his starting offense against the Cowboys.

The Rams face Jimmy Garoppolo and the surging 49ers. A loss could drop them to the No. 4 seed, which could mean a divisional round game against the Carson Wentz-less Eagles rather than the Vikings. Not the worst way to go.

Mark Potash’s pick: 49ers 27, Rams 21.

Bears game pick

Bears at Vikings

  • Time: Noon, Fox-32.
  • Line: Vikings by 11½. Total: 39.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Bears 5-10/7-7-1; Vikings 12-3/11-4.
  • Outlook: Vikings still haven’t clinched a bye, but the Bears figure to finish strong in likely John Fox finale.
  • Pick: Vikings 24, Bears 14.

Top plays of Week 17

Chiefs atBroncos

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Chiefs by 3½.
  • Total: 38½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Chiefs 9-6/9-6;Broncos 5-10/4-10-1.
  • Outlook: With the No. 4 seed in the AFC locked up, the Chiefs are starting rookie Pat Mahomes at QB. The Broncos are having a tough year, but their defense is still good enough to take advantage of a rookie QB.
  • Pick: Broncos 17, Chiefs 14.

Packers atLions

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Lions by 6½.
  • Total: 43.
  • Records (overall/ATS):Packers 7-8/7-8;Lions 8-7/7-7-1.
  • Outlook: Both teams are out of the playoff picture. Short-handed Packers were dreadful in a shutout loss to the Vikings without Aaron Rodgers and others last week. Lions are more familiar with this situation — and could be playing for coach Jim Caldwell’s job.
  • Pick: Lions 31, Packers 21.

Bengals atRavens

  • Time: 3:25 p.m., Ch. 2.
  • Line: Ravens by 9½.
  • Total: 40½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Bengals 6-9/8-7;Ravens 9-6/8-6-1.
  • Outlook: Ravens are in with a win, but could still make it with a loss if either the Bills or Titans lose. John Harbaugh whining about the start time not a good sign, but he usually has his team prepared in these situations.
  • Pick: Ravens 27, Bengals 13.

The rest of Week 17

Jets at Patriots

  • Time: Noon, Ch. 2.
  • Line: Patriots by 15½. Total: 44.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Jets 5-10/9-5-1; Patriots 12-3/10-5.
  • Outlook: Patriots can clinch home-field with a win or Steelers loss, but could take their foot off the gas here.
  • Pick: Patriots 31, Jets 20.

Browns at Steelers

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Steelers by 11. Total: 38.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Browns 0-15/3-12; Steelers 12-3/7-8.
  • Outlook: Steelers still have an outside shot at the No. 1 seed, but they also could lose interest if Patriots are winning.
  • Pick: Steelers 21, Browns 17.

Texans at Colts

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Colts by 4. Total: 40½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Texans 4-11/7-8; Colts 3-12/6-9.
  • Outlook: Both teams are crawling to the finish line with backup QBs. Jacoby Brissett gets edge at home.
  • Pick: Colts 19, Texans 14.

Redskins at Giants

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Redskins by 3. Total: 37½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Redskins 7-8/7-8; Giants 2-13/6-9.
  • Outlook: Eli Manning always an X-factor in games like this, but Redskins and Kirk Cousins finishing strong.
  • Pick: Redskins 27, Giants 20.

Cowboys at Eagles

  • Time: Noon.
  • Line: Cowboys by 2½. Total: 41.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Cowboys 8-7/7-7-1; Eagles 13-2/10-5.
  • Outlook:Nick Foles expects to start, but with the top seed clinched, the Eagles could be in coast mode early.
  • Pick: Cowboys 20, Eagles 17.

Bills at Dolphins

  • Time: 3:25 p.m.
  • Line: Bills by 2½. Total: 42½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Bills 8-7/8-6-1; Dolphins 6-9/5-8-2.
  • Outlook: Bills have an outside shot — needing a win and a Ravens loss or win plus Titans and Chargers losses.
  • Pick: Bills 23, Dolphins 20 (OT).

Jaguars at Titans

  • Time: 3:25 p.m.
  • Line: Titans by 3. Total: 42.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Jaguars 10-5/9-6; Titans 8-7/7-7-1.
  • Outlook: Titans need a win or losses by the Bills and Chargers to make it. Jags are locked in at No. 3 but will not coast.
  • Pick: Jaguars 24, Titans 20.

Cardinals at Seahawks

  • Time: 3:25 p.m.
  • Line: Seahawks by 9½. Total: 38½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Cardinals 7-8/5-9-1; Seahawks 9-6/6-8-1.
  • Outlook: Seahawks need a victory and a Falcons loss. Cards could be playing last game for Bruce Arians.
  • Pick: Seahawks 27, Cardinals 13.

Saints at Buccaneers

  • Time: 3:25 p.m.
  • Line: Saints by 7. Total: 50½.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Saints 11-4/9-6; Buccaneers 4-11/5-9-1.
  • Outlook: Saints can clinch the NFC South with a victory, but No. 4 seed might be better than No. 3 this year.
  • Pick: Saints 27, Buccaneers 17.

Panthers at Falcons

  • Time: 3:25 p.m., Fox-32.
  • Line: Falcons by 4. Total: 45.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Panthers 11-4/9-6; Falcons 9-6/6-9.6.
  • Outlook: Falcons could still back in with a loss if the Seahawks lose to the Cardinals, but they need it more.
  • Pick: Falcons 23, Panthers 20.

Raiders at Chargers

  • Time: 3:25 p.m.
  • Line: Chargers by 8. Total: 42.
  • Records (overall/ATS): Raiders 6-9/5-8-2; Chargers 8-7/7-7-1.
  • Outlook: Chargers best scenario: They are in if they win, the Jaguars beat the Titans and Ravens beat the Bengals.
  • Pick:Chargers 30, Raiders 21.
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