The penultimate week of the 2021 NFL regular season is upon us – no more Thursday night games. Here are two teams we are certain will lose in Week 17 – the underdogs in each. Both games are Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. Check out the biggest losers for Week 17 of your NFL bets.
Sure Losers for Week 17 of the 2021 Season
Tampa Bay at NY Jets (+11)
Tom Brady vs. Zach Wilson – yeah, slight mismatch of quarterbacks. Tampa Bay was shocked in Week 15 by the Saints but bounced back with a 32-6 win at Carolina on Sunday. Brady completed 18-of-30 passes for 232 yards and a touchdown. Brady was forced to play without injured receivers Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Breshad Perriman in this game but it didn’t appear to be much of an issue. Godwin is done for the year. Evans and Perriman might be back this week.
Antonio Brown caught 10-of-15 targets for 101 yards and a touchdown. Brown had been off the field for nine games while nursing an ankle injury and then serving a three-game suspension. It was Brown’s third 100-yard game of the season.
The victory clinched the NFC South title for the Bucs, their first division title since 2007. As a Wild Card tam last year, the Buccaneers memorably won three straight road games before becoming the first team in NFL history to both play in and win a Super Bowl in their own home stadium. Now the Bucs are guaranteed at least one home playoff game.
The Jets beat the equally awful Jaguars 26-21 on Sunday to end a three-game slide. New York was without 14 players due to injury and COVID as well as head coach Robert Saleh. The matchup was the fourth time in the common draft era that QBs drafted first (Jacksonville QB Trevor Lawrence) and second overall (Jets QB Zach Wilson) faced each other as rookies.
Wilson set a franchise record for a QB running the football, amassing 89 yards on the ground on three carries. He had a 52-yard TD run, the longest by a Jets quarterback ever. Wilson also completed 14-of-22 passes for 102 yards and one touchdown. It was the longest run by any quarterback since Marcus Mariota — then with the Tennessee Titans — had an 87-yarder against the Jaguars in 2015.
Braxton Berrios also returned a kickoff 102 yards for a score. It was the first game in Jets franchise history they had a run of 50+ yards and a return of 100+ yards. Fourth-round rookie Michael Carter averaged 7.4 yards a carry and reached 100 yards (118) for the first time in his pro career.
Atlanta at Buffalo (-13.5)
Atlanta was a 20-16 winner over Detroit on Sunday. Matt Ryan threw a tie-breaking, 12-yard touchdown pass to Hayden Hurst early in the fourth quarter. Foye Oluokun’s interception of Lions fill-in quarterback Tim Boyle’s pass at the Atlanta 1 with 33 seconds remaining preserved the win.
Ryan completed 18-of-24 passes for 215 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. Ryan was at best when targeting Kyle Pitts, which he did on 25% of his attempts; Pitts accounted for 47% of Ryan’s passing yards (102). Ryan connected with his other tight end, Hayden Hurst, for his only TD of the day, hitting him for a 12-yard TD down the right side.
Overall, Pitts has recorded 64 receptions for 949 receiving yards on the season. He needs a mere 128 receiving yards to surpass long-time Chicago Bears tight end Mike Ditka (1,076 in 1961) for the most such yards by a rookie tight end in NFL history.
Buffalo won 33-21 at New England on Sunday in a minor upset. Josh Allen completed 30-of-37 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns, adding 12 rushes for 64 additional yards. Despite missing two of his top-four receivers in Cole Beasley and Gabriel Davis, Allen’s 314 passing yards were his most in six weeks.
Isaiah McKenzie caught 11-of-12 targets for 125 yards and a touchdown. Filling in for an absent Beasley (COVID-19) in the slot, McKenzie matched Beasley’s season high for catches, matched his 2021 touchdown total, and provided 15 more yards than Beasley had in any game this year.
The Bills (9-6) took over first place in the AFC East – Buffalo holds the tiebreaker edge with a 4-1 record in divisional gams (NE is 3-2). The Bills improved to 5-3 on the road and now have a winning road record for the third straight season for the first time since 1990-93
The Bills handed Bill Belichick his first loss as Patriots head coach in games vs. divisional opponents when both teams are within one game of the division lead in Week 13 or later (6-1). The Bills produced 400+ points in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1990-91
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