Week 18 NFL Picks: The Regular Season Finale

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports.

Folks, we’ve arrived at the final week of the regular season. The regular season finale features a number of teams jockeying for playoff position. The Week 18 NFL picks will showcase a number of these matchups below, but before we get into it, here’s a reminder of how things went in Week 17:

  • Saints +5.5 (W)
  • Saints/Eagles O43.5 points (L)
  • Commanders -1 (L)
  • Jaguars -4.5 (W)
  • Packers -3.5 (W)
  • Vikings/Packers O48 points (W)
  • Bengals to win (T)

Season Record: 56-59-5

Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 18 NFL Picks
Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports
  • Spread: Jaguars -6.5
  • Titans ML: +225
  • Jaguars ML: -265
  • O/U: 40 points

Frey’s Picks: Jaguars -6.5, O40 points

The Tennessee Titans have fallen off a cliff down the stretch of this season, and now, they are throwing Joshua Dobbs out there at QB in a game that will decide the AFC South. The Titans have now lost six straight games and have allowed the Jaguars to jump into first place in the division.

Meanwhile, over this same stretch of six games, Trevor Lawrence has caught fire for Jacksonville. They have gone 5-1 in the past six weeks, and Lawrence has a TD:INT ratio of 11:2 in that timeframe. Expect the Jaguars to come out firing, and they will win this game to earn their first playoff berth since 2017.

Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers Kenny Pickett (8) sprints out of the pocket during the first half against the Las Vegas Raiders at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, PA on December 24, 2022. Pittsburgh Steelers Vs Las Vegas Raiders Week 16
  • Spread: Steelers -2.5
  • Browns ML: +125
  • Steelers ML: -145
  • O/U: 40.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Steelers -2.5

The Pittsburgh Steelers as a franchise are no strangers to important games, and this upcoming Sunday, they are another team fighting for their playoff lives, as improbable as it may be. After starting the season 4-8, Mike Tomlin’s Steelers have now won four straight games to put themselves in a position to potentially land the No. 7 seed in the AFC playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Browns are another team with very little to play for this week, other than potentially spoiling a playoff run for their division rivals. Expect Tomlin to have his guys ready for this game, and they will continue his streak of .500-or-better seasons.

Minnesota Vikings @ Chicago Bears

A Look at the Vikings Defensive Woes
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.
  • Spread: Vikings -7.5
  • Vikings ML: -330
  • Bears ML: +275
  • O/U: 43 points

Frey’s Picks: Vikings -7.5, U43 points

The Chicago Bears will be starting Nathan Peterman this week, which has caused this line to balloon from 1.5 points to 7.5 points in favor of the Vikings. It wouldn’t be surprising if Chicago rested even more of their starters, considering there is very little reason for them to try to win this game. In fact, if they lose, and the Texans win, Chicago will land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Meanwhile, the Vikings will at least run their starters out to begin Sunday’s game against the Bears. They have an outside chance at earning the No. 2 seed in the NFC, depending on what happens in San Francisco later that afternoon.

Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
  • Spread: 49ers -14
  • Cardinals ML: +675
  • 49ers ML: -1050
  • O/U: 40.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Cardinals +14

Speaking of San Francisco, the 49ers managed to escape a scare against the Las Vegas Raiders and Jarrett Stidham last weekend. Now, they find themselves in a spot where they face off with David Blough and the Arizona Cardinals in Week 18.

This point spread has jumped to 14 in the middle of the week, and let’s be clear, the 49ers will probably win this game. However, especially if they jump out to an early lead, they could take out some of their starters in the second half of the game. If that happens, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see a backdoor cover from the gunslinger David Blough as he attempts to prove he can be a fulltime QB2 in the NFL.

Detroit Lions @ Green Bay Packers

A Look at the Packers & Vikings in Week 17
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) gestures to fans as he leaves the field after a game against the Los Angeles Rams on Monday, December 19, 2022, at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers won the game, 24-12.Tork Mason/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin Apj Packers Vs Rams 121922 1788 Ttm
  • Spread: Packers -4.5
  • Lions ML: +191
  • Packers ML: -221
  • O/U: 49 points

Frey’s Pick: Lions +4.5

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers have been on the hot streak of all hot streaks in recent weeks. They’ve gone from 4-8 and dead in the water to a situation where if they win this week, they are in the playoffs. The problem is, they have to beat the Detroit Lions in order to get there.

Now look, the Packers have historically owned the Lions, especially in the Aaron Rodgers era. Prior to the turn of the calendar to 2022, Green Bay had won five straight games against the Lions. Now, though, they are on a two-game losing streak against Detroit, including an ugly 15-9 loss earlier this season at Ford Field.

The Packers will probably find a way to win this game, but I would expect the Lions to keep it close. In fact, it would be the most Lions way to miss out on the playoffs for Mason Crosby to hit a game-winning, 55-yard field goal as time expires.