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Hello 2017! This 11/2 treble looks a Steel’ to kick-start the New Year

Pittsburgh are the easiest pick of the week. Maybe the year. Get reading ...

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Here we are – week 16. Bar one or two perms, we’ve only one game that means a great deal and that’s the NFC North clash on Sunday Night Football. Thankfully, money always means something, so folks – let’s get to work.

Carolina Panthers (+4.5) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Sunday 6pm

Now, I know Tampa Bay have home advantage, and I know that Carolina have nothing to play for, while Tampa Bay simply must win. But that in itself is a reason why I believe this game will be close.

Jameis Winston is as good as any young quarterback in the league, but this is new territory for him. I’m just not sure he has that clutch gene yet.

Carolina aren’t firing right now – but they have a lot of raw talent that has come to the front this year when the better players have shyed away. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Panthers win this game – let alone cover the spread. Back Newton here. He can take risks and prove to the media that he’s not a ‘ditch the pocket’ quarterback.

Selection: Carolina (+4.5)

Have a punt on all the latest gridiron on PP.com

Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-6), Sunday 6pm

Ehh, excuse me? Is this the twilight zone? Big Ben could jog for a 70-yard touchdown against these Browns. To make it worse, they’ve just won a game – aka – their Super Bowl.

I’m fairly sure the roster want rings for it. Pittsburgh, whether they’re too bothered or not, will still beat these Browns by a cricket score.

Everything about the Cleveland organisation screams amateur hour. Now, I’m not saying the Steelers will go full pelt, but I am saying that only the Chargers could lose to the Browns, and that’s out of the way. They’ve won their big day now – they’ll not be bothered.

This is the easiest pick of the week. Maybe the year.

Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos (win), Sunday 9.25pm

Oh boy, it was tough to see Derek Carr go down last week. Genuinely, even as a Chargers fan, I felt awful for him. He’s earned everything he’s gotten this year and, in my opinion, is a definite MVP contender.

But let’s face facts: Matt McGloin. In 10 NFL games (six as starts), McGloin has thrown 11 picks, completed 58 per cent of his passes for just 1,818 yards. That’s about his level. Now, add in Denver’s defence. I’d be surprised to see them score two touchdowns in Colorado.

Denver, with nothing to play for, still have players with lots of ego. This one is going to be extremely low scoring, but with the crowd noise, the thin air and the health – Denver secure the W, and Oakland drop the AFC West to the Chiefs.

This week’s treble: Carolina (+4.5), Denver (win), Pittsburgh (-6) pays about 11/2 when published on Friday.

What do you think?