We are in the home stretch of the 2017 NFL season and we have a basic idea of what teams are going to be in the playoffs and which teams are already looking forward to the NFL draft.

The league is still buzzing over the controversial decision to bench Eli Manning in favor of former Jet quarterback, Geno Smith. Expect the line on that game against the Raiders to move upwards in favor of the Raiders.

Another team in the NFC East is also seeing days without their star offensive player. The Cowboys have yet to win without Ezekiel Elliot and without a good running game, Dak Prescott is struggling mightily. Even given the Cowboys’ struggles, they are still favored over the Redskins in the Jerry Dome.

Given all those storylines, we can expect an exciting week of football because after all, an NFL week is like Pizza. Every week is good, just some are better than others.

Here are the 3 locks of the week:

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (-4)

The Panthers are coming off a gut-wrenching win against the New York Jets and will look to beat the Saints and takover the #1 spot in the South. This is one of the best games of the week, featuring two of the game’s best quarterbacks. Both have had average to above-average years but the real story has been the players around them.

For Brees, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram have combined for almost 1400 yards of rushing offense. This has taken a tremendous load off of Brees whose attempt and touchdowns are way down from last year.

For the Panthers and Newton, Christian McCafrey has been sensational out of the backfield, Leading the team in catches and over the past few weeks has been more involved in the running game.

The SuperDome in New Orleans has been known for featuring some of the highest scoring games of the past seasons. If the Panthers get into one of these shootouts and Cam on his game, expect the Panthers to win this one. Pick:Panthers

New York Giants at Oakland Raiders (-6.5)

Where do I start? The Giants have just benched Eli Manning for….Wait for it….Geno Smith. That is not a typo. Geno Smith will be starting an NFL regular season game for the first time since early last year.

The Giants will throw Smith right into the fire against the reining AFC player of the year, Khalil Mack. The Raiders on the other hand, have had their own share of problems on the offensive side of the ball. Derek Carr has been inconsistent and Amari Cooper is among the league leaders in drops.

The Raiders still have playoff hope and with a win will get back to .500. Expect the Raiders to dominate the Giants and expect the Raiders’ defense to improve those interception numbers on defense. Pick:Raiders

Philadelphia Eagles (-5) at Seattle Seahawks

Primetime Sunday will feature two teams that are playing great football. The Eagles have MVP candidate, Carson Wentz and the Seahawks have a very underrated quarterback in Russell Wilson. It’s not often the Seahawks are not favored at home. That just speaks to how well the Eagles are playing right now. But whenever teams go to Seattle, they just don’t play the same.

Eagles can clinch a playoff berth with a win on the road. The Seahawks desperately need to win this game. Entering the game, they are the 7th seed and with a loss, can really damage their playoff aspirations.

Expect the 12th man to be a major factor in this one. This was a tough game to pick but there isn’t another team in the NFL I would pick to go against the Eagles and bring them back down to earth. Pick: Seahawks

Recap:

Panthers +4

Raiders -6.5

Seahawks +5

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