When you bet on the NFL, you should know all about the numbers. Numbers for stats, numbers for trends, numbers for betting lines, numbers for ‘totals’ – You should know it all. Here at Bang the Book, we are set to talk about the NFL betting lines for Week 17. Here are the most important numbers that you need to remember for the week!
0 – The number of teams in the AFC which control their own destiny for the last Wild Card slot. It’s amazing to think that after the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins controlled their own destiny for playoff spots going into last week than neither holds their own destiny this week. The San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers are still in the mix for all of this mess as well. The Dolphins probably have the easiest road into the second season, as they need to win as short favorites against the New York Jets and get the Ravens to lose or have the Chargers win. All three situations are favorable in the eyes of the NFL odds, and only the win and one of the other two need to happen. Baltimore needs a win as a dog on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals and a loss by Miami or San Diego to get into the show. Pittsburgh, needs both losses by Baltimore and Miami and a win over the Cleveland Browns to still be alive, and then it would come down to the game for the Chargers against the Kansas City Chiefs. San Diego needs a win and losses by both Baltimore and Miami to claim the sixth seed in the AFC.
1 – The number of teams in NFL history which have won 11 games and not gotten into the playoffs. The New England Patriots from 2008, the ones which lost QB Tom Brady to a season-ending ACL injury in Week 1 were that team. But now, the Arizona Cardinals could be in the same boat. Worse for the Cards is that they don’t even control their own destiny. They need a win over the San Francisco 49ers, who have already clinched a Wild Card slot this year, and a New Orleans Saints loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as 13-point favorites just to get into the playoffs. The poor Cardinals have done everything imaginable this season, including becoming the first team ever to beat QB Russell Wilson at CenturyLink Field last week, but it sure doesn’t look like it’s going to be enough when push comes to shove.
1 – The number of wins in “win or go home” games for the Dallas Cowboys in the QB Tony Romo era. The good news? Romo isn’t going to be playing in this “win or go home game” against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football. With Romo nursing a bad back, QB Kyle Orton is going to get the nod for the first time this year in the biggest game of the season. The Cowboys are 1-6 all-time in playoff games or de facto playoff games with Romo calling the shots, including going 0-3 in these games where the winner gets into the second season and the loser goes home. It happened last season against the Washington Redskins, and barring an upset at home, it’s going to happen again this year, too.
3 – The longest run from scrimmage last week for the Miami Dolphins against the Buffalo Bills. In fact, the Fins were just an atrocity over the course of that whole game offensively, getting QB Ryan Tannehill sacked seven times in a game where there was a grand total of just one play which went for more than 13 yards. The Dolphins looked nothing like a team which needed that game to keep control of their own destiny to get into the playoffs, and instead, the 19-0 loss suggested that they packed it in for the rest of the campaign. We’ll have to see which Miami team comes out on Sunday against the New York Jets.
3 – The minimum number of sacks which the Jacksonville Jaguars have had over the course of their last six games. The Jags are continuing to assault quarterbacks, and their aggressiveness with their front seven is part of the reason why they played such better ball in the second half than they did in the first half of the campaign. Jacksonville has a tough draw this week on the road against the Indianapolis Colts, who do a great job protecting QB Andrew Luck and an even better job of protecting the football. Win or lose, the Jags have nothing to worry about, as they were clearly not nearly the worst team in the league at the end of the season like they were for the first eight games of the year.
6 – The number of games which the Detroit Lions have led in the fourth quarter in a row. Unfortunately for them, they are just 1-5 in those games, and the one win was a blowout game which was never in doubt in the final stanza against the Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving Day. Detroit led in the fourth quarter of 13 of its 15 games this season, and going just 7-8 is the type of stat that gets head coaches fired. Head Coach Jim Schwartz isn’t going to be an exception in all likelihood, as we think that Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings is the last time he is going to be a head coach in this league in quite some time. He’ll be one of the first fired on Black Monday.
13 – The number of points which the New Orleans Saints are favored by this week over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That makes the Saints the biggest favorites of the weekend. They badly need this game too, because they need either a win or a loss by the Arizona Cardinals to get into the playoffs. On top of that, New Orleans is still hoping that the Carolina Panthers slip up against the Atlanta Falcons, because if they do, the boys from the Bayou will go on and win the NFC South as long as they can figure out how to win against the Bucs, a team which nearly beat them earlier this season in Tampa Bay.
14 – The number of times which the Indianapolis Colts have turned the ball over this year. All things considered, that’s a remarkable total to be averaging less than a turnover per game, and it is the best mark in the league. Indy was sitting right at 1.0 turnovers per game until last week against the Kansas City Chiefs, who were also averaging just 1.0 turnovers per game. In the end though, the Colts, who were heavy underdogs in the game, outdid the Chiefs 4-0 in the turnover department, which was made all the more impressive by the fact that the Chiefs were averaging well over two turnovers forced per game as well. Add up the wins against the San Francisco 49ers on the road, the Seattle Seahawks at home, and this win at Arrowhead Stadium, and there aren’t many who have a more impressive resume of wins than do the Colts.
16 – The number of wins which QB Ben Roethlisberger has for the Pittsburgh Steelers as the starting quarterback against the Cleveland Browns. This is tied for the best record for a quarterback against one team by winning percentage in league history. Big Ben can put his name into the record books for the time being if he can figure out how to win this one on Sunday at home, a win which would also keep the Steelers alive for the last playoff spot in the AFC. Just finishing .500 during this tumultuous season would be a great accomplishment for Head Coach Mike Tomlin and the gang.
18 – The number of points which the Denver Broncos need this week against the Oakland Raiders to break the record for the most points scored in a single season in NFL history. It’s a foregone conclusion that that is going to happen, though it is going to take 50 points to break the record for the highest points per game average in league history as well. There’s no way to catch the New Orleans Saints for the most yards in a single season in NFL history, but we have to think that if the Broncos come anywhere near that 50 on Sunday and then go on to win the Super Bowl, they’ll go down as the best offense in the history of the NFL.
21 – The number of first downs which the Cleveland Browns have allowed on third downs over the course of the last two weeks. Once upon a time, this was one of the best third down defenses in the NFL, but all of a sudden, against QB Geno Smith and the New York Jets and QB Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears, of all teams, the Browns have fallen apart, allowing teams to go 21-of-32 on third downs in these games. Smith had both of his touchdown passes on third downs against the Browns, and Cutler simply picked this defense apart and did what he wanted to do. If the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to have that much success on the most pivotal down in football, there is no doubt that Cleveland is finishing up this season in the most disappointing of manners.
24 – The number of tackles which LB Luke Kuechly had last week for the Carolina Panthers against the New Orleans Saints. Normally speaking, when you talk about middle linebackers getting tackles, you’re talking about stuffing up the running game. Granted, that was a large part of it, but Kuechly made his biggest plays in the screen game, which the Saints really had no choice but to utilize when the weather started getting suspect on Sunday in Charlotte. On top of that, the screen game is the way to slow down a heavy pass rush, but with Kuechly analyzing and breaking to plays so quickly, none of it mattered. The Saints weren’t going anywhere. Kuechly came up just one tackle short of the NFL record in the biggest game of his career.
51 – The number of touchdown passes which QB Peyton Manning has thrown this year. He’s already got the NFL record, one which he set last week against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium, and he is going to hope to build upon that this week against the hated Oakland Raiders. Manning is going to go down as one of the best signal callers in the history of the league, and the argument is going to be made that he is having the best season a quarterback has ever had as well. He has five players which now have at least 10 touchdowns on the campaign, something which has never been done before in NFL history.
103 – The number of yards which the Miami Dolphins had last week against the Buffalo Bills. We’ve already spoken about this game some, but this stat is really the essence of the 19-0 loss in Orchard Park. The Fins didn’t turn the ball over with QB Ryan Tannehill in the game, but they didn’t do anything but punt on any of those drives either. Buffalo isn’t exactly the stoutest team in the league, but seven sacks made the difference. Tannehill has been sacked a ton more than any other quarterback in the league, and that badly needs to change on Sunday against the New York Jets if there is any hope to get into the playoffs.
266 – The number of yards which QB Peyton Manning needs to break QB Drew Brees’ record for the most yards in a single season in NFL history. Brees is sitting on 5,476 yards from his best season, and Manning is sure to break that at some point in the second half of the game against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. Brees, for what it’s worth, should get to the 5,000-yard mark for the third time in his illustrious career this week as well when the New Orleans Saints take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brees needs 219 yards to get to 5,000, and he and Manning will be the only two quarterbacks who get there this year.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.