It wasn't a terrible conclusion to the NFL season in my handicapping world, but it wasn't money-making either.
I went 3-3 ATS in week 17 to remain 11 games under .500 for the entire season. The 2017 season was a struggle, but I regained some semblance of my footing toward the end of the season, so the playoffs should register some better handicapping.
There are some big spreads in the Wild Card weekend, so you're going to have to give up some points in a couple of these games. Here's the best bets for the NFL Wild Card weekend.
Overall: 44-55-3 ATS
Tennessee (+9) at Kansas City
For all the times I picked Tennessee and lost in 2017, you'd think I would tire of that demise eventually.
It may be a new year, but it's the same old me.
The only thing Tennessee does semi-well on offense is run the ball and the Chiefs rank in the bottom-10 in yards per rush attempt in the NFL, giving up 4.3 yards per carry.
The Titans also should be able to move the ball with some consistency through the air, since the Chiefs give up 6.9 yards per pass attempt, also ranking in the bottom-10.
Teams that can be balanced, especially while committing to the run, fair well against the Chiefs. Look to Buffalo's victory in late November and their blueprint for success.
And for being one of the better offensive units in the NFL, the Chiefs have been inconsistent at times on that side of the ball. Tennessee shouldn't win this game, but they're balanced enough to keep it within single digits. — Go Against The Chalk with Tennessee
Atlanta (+6) at Los Angeles Rams
Everybody made good money using the Rams in 2017.
The Rams were over .500 against the spread and won by a spread-adjusted 7 points per game, the best mark in the NFL. So why am I taking the Falcons?
Because the numbers don't lie.
Los Angeles can't stop the run. It's a secret that no one wants to talk about, but the Rams allow 4.7 yards per rush, the third-highest mark in the NFL. And against the Falcons, that's a major problem.
If Atlanta can establish the run, that opens up the passing game. If they can remain balanced, then this game should be much closer than the six points you're getting in this contest.
Atlanta actually averages more yards per play on offense and allows fewer yards per play on defense. The Falcons aren't scared about going on the road (they're 11-5 straight up on the road in the last two seasons), so don't expect much of a home-field edge for the Rams. — Go Against The Chalk with Atlanta
Buffalo at Jacksonville (-8)
Finally, a favorite I actually like in the Wild Card weekend.
Jacksonville has been atrocious in recent weeks, but I won't let that cloud my judgment. The Jaguars are still the best defense in the NFL, and the Bills are one of the worst offenses in the NFL.
And that defense employed by the Bills isn't what many perceive it to be.
Offensively, the Bills rank 29th in offense in yards per play. Among playoff teams, the next-lowest offensive output is Carolina at 19th.
Defensively, while Jacksonville is the top team in the NFL, Buffalo ranks 20th.
It's a nice story for the Bills to return to the playoffs, but Jacksonville is the more talented team, and the Bills' best player LeSean McCoy, is probably not going to play. That's a problem for an offense completely reliant on the running game.
Even if McCoy plays, I'm confident in this number. The Jaguars will move on to the Divisional round with ease. — Go Chalk with Jacksonville
Carolina at New Orleans (-7)
I want to take Carolina so bad. I would get Cam Newton and a team that can't possibly get beat three times to the same team in a season.
But I just can't trust the Panthers. Offensively, they're a mess. And defensively, they're not that good.
And now they have to travel to New Orleans to play in that environment against a team that is tops in the NFL in total offense. I just can't see the Panthers keeping up in this contest.
If Carolina's defense showed me something in recent weeks, maybe I would take the bait of backing the Panthers as a touchdown underdog. But Carolina is giving up 5.9 yards per play in the last three games, the worst mark in the NFL.
That's a major problem against New Orleans. This has the makings of plenty of points for the Saints, so I don't see Carolina putting up that many points. It may be close at halftime, but this will get out of hand in the fourth quarter. — Go Chalk with New Orleans
Scott Levine is the Associate Editor for the Clinton Herald. During his free time, he blogs about fantasy sports and handicaps games. Check out more at Against The Chalk.
Scott Levine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @ScottLevineCH