NFL Week 18 Saturday Game Predictions
By: Grant Poarch
Can you believe the end of the regular season is upon us? It seems like just yesterday that Detroit upset Kansas City on opening night. This season has been one of the best in recent memory. The upsets that occurred each week kept me watching just about every game. Even with the playoffs just around the corner, we still have 20 teams that have a chance to hoist the Lombardi at the end of the season. I can’t wait to see what madness goes down this weekend and I’m sure you can’t wait either.
This week, there is only one game where the spread is in double digits. So, my job might be a little bit harder than it has been in prior weeks. However, if my predictions this week are anything like a week ago… you are in for a treat. Last week, I went 12-4 on the money line and 11-5 on the spread. That brings my overall record on the year to 158-98 on the money line and 135-122 on the spread. With that said, fade me at your own risk and tail me at your inevitable benefit. The odds listed are provided by DraftKings.
1/6 (Saturday Afternoon): Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) @ Baltimore Ravens, O/U 35, 4:30PM EST, ESPN/ABC
If this wasn’t a divisional game, I’d feel very comfortable taking the team with motivation over the one who has already clinched the one seed. These two teams hate each other as per normal in this division but this game seems to mean the most to these two.
Unfortunately for us, Baltimore will be resting Lamar Jackson among other starters as they have already accomplished everything possible in the regular season. On the other hand, Pittsburgh needs to win this game and get some help in order to make the playoffs.
As it relates to the game, Mason Rudolph will be given the start for Pittsburgh once again. He has done well in three games so far this year. However, I’m not sure things are going to be as easy even against the Baltimore backups. Rudolph is going to have to play out of his mind once again if Pittsburgh is going to have a chance.
While I don’t see Rudolph playing insane, I do see him taking care of the ball and making just enough plays to win this one. After all, Pittsburgh did take down Baltimore earlier this year even with all the starters in the game. There is no doubt this will be a good game. I can’t wait to watch it and see how desperation clashes with hatred this afternoon.
Prediction: Pittsburgh wins, Pittsburgh covers -3
1/6 (Saturday Night): Houston Texans (-1) @ Indianapolis Colts, O/U 47.5, 8:15PM EST, ESPN/ABC
This game being in primetime is a gift to football fans everywhere. The winner guarantees themselves a playoff spot while the loser will be eliminated. I know I will be watching this one and I think you would be doing yourself a disservice to not do the same.
In the last matchup between these two, Minshew Mania in Indianapolis was born. Rookie QB Anthony Richardson left the game with an injury and Gardner Minshew came in to lead the Colts to a 31-20 victory all the way back in week two.
Houston has certainly improved since then as C.J. Stroud has played like a ten-year veteran instead of the rookie that he truly is. If Stroud never had to deal with the injuries that he has this year, it would not be a shocker to see Houston on top of the division at this point.
As per lately, both teams have been up and down. I don’t think either team, if given a playoff spot, would be able to win a playoff game. However, I will be entertained watching this one. When I think about both teams, my mind is telling me that Houston is the better team. That said, the better team doesn’t always win. I like Indianapolis at home as Houston has struggled on the road lately and this will be the biggest game for the Colts in a few years. Give me the Colts in a close one.
Prediction: Indianapolis wins, Indianapolis covers +1