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Bets Dressed - Week 17 - Uniform Matchups and Picks

The Week 17 main slate is upon us. And it’s a doozy. With 10 games in the early window alone, the witching hour will swing many fantasy championships. Plus there’s no shortage of games to swing the playoff picture. But it’s all about aesthetics in this neck of the woods, and there’s a lot to like in the penultimate week of the regular season. Let’s get right to it.

A quick note on methodology.

As always, I’m analyzing every NFL uniform matchup and picking a winner against the spread based on who dresses best. And just because a team is ranked higher in the Uniform Wardrobe Power Rankings doesn’t mean it will automatically win the uniform matchup. It’s what you wear in the instant matchup that counts.

Week 17 Uniform Matchups and Picks.

Uniform Graphics by The Gridiron Uniform Database

Raiders at Colts in a classic, top-shelf uniform matchup.* The Colts blue pairs beautifully with the silver and white of the Raiders. Complementary contrast at its finest. Feels wrong to pick a winner here, but Colts it is.

In the first of many in Week 17, this game has all sorts of playoff implications. Las Vegas can keep its miracle run alive under interim coach Antonio Pierce. And the Colts can get one step closer to a postseason berth under first-year coach Shane Steichen and renaissance man Gardner Minshew. The Colts are a top-half team in offensive EPA, and the Raiders are Bottom 5. Give me the better offense at home.

*And the runner-up for best of the week.

The Pick: Colts -3.5

Uniform Graphics by The Gridiron Uniform Database

Cardinals at Eagles with a sharp uniform matchup that found itself on the best of the week shortlist. The Cardinals icy whites have been an excellent addition to the NFL aesthetic. And the Eagles in midnight green over white has consistently grown on me over the last two years. Arizona is the pick, but solid marks all around.

The Jonathan Gannon tampering case was a lingering story this offseason, and let there be no doubt that the Eagles will use it as motivation in this one. A boat race in the City known for Boathouse Row feels like a very likely outcome. But this Cardinals team has been frisky all season - playing hard each week with their only three wins coming against teams still in the playoff race. My gut tells me Philly rolls, but never count out the Cardinals for the cover.

The Pick: Cardinals +12

Uniform Graphics by The Gridiron Uniform Database

Panthers at Jaguars has my attention. Black-teal-white is one of the better looks in the current Jacksonville wardrobe. But the headline story here is rumors that Carolina will be debuting blue pants with their white jersey. I’m digging the look and thinking that it could look even better with the black helmet. Add this matchup to a growing list of minty fresh showdowns this season. Giving the nod to the Panthers in anticipation of a first-time outfit.

Trevor Lawrence has been somehow starting games he probably should have been sitting out, but that streak ends here. This Jaguars team that was looking like a dark horse Super Bowl contender is now very much in danger of missing the playoffs. Meanwhile, Bryce Young and the Panthers have finally shown signs of life in recent weeks. With the Jacksonville defense cratering, I like Bryce Young to get the better of backup CJ Beathard and maybe even win this one outright.

The Pick: Panthers +6

NOTE - The Panthers have yet to reveal their choice of pants.

Uniform Graphics by The Gridiron Uniform Database

Rams at Giants with a healthy share of blue but a solid matchup all around (thanks to the Rams going with yellow pants). This Rams outfit is the best in their wardrobe, and they are the clear pick.

Cards on the table: I desperately want this Rams team in the dance. All due respect, but there’s no comparing the ceiling of the Rams to teams like the Vikings, Packers, Saints, or Seahawks. Los Angeles has the juice to win the whole thing if everything breaks their way. But before we get to put that theory to the test, the Rams need to take care of business against the lowly Giants. While there’s a very real chance they could be caught looking ahead to their date with San Francisco in Week 18, I trust Sean McVay, Matthew Stafford, and Aaron Donald to lead by example and handle business.

The Pick: Rams -5.5

Uniform Graphics by The Gridiron Uniform Database

Patriots at Bills in a relatively forgettable uniform matchup. The Patriots could surprise us with silver pants, but I wouldn’t put money on it. Buffalo has given us a pleasant respite from the blueberry look, and they are the pick here.

The Bills are poised to be the most dangerous in the AFC playoffs - so long as they get there. This is a classic “don’t look ahead” spot against a frisky Patriots team that just knocked off the Broncos in Denver. But Josh Allen* and the boys haven’t forgotten getting upset by New England back in Week 7. Get ready for a revenge rout.

*Everyone is crowning Lamar Jackson with only two weeks to go. But the Josh Allen MVP path is still there.

The Pick: Bills -13

NOTE - The Patriots have yet to reveal their choice of pants.

Uniform Graphics by The Gridiron Uniform Database

Saints at Buccaneers had such potential. But New Orleans continues to be its own worst enemy - again going with black pants instead of gold.* On the bright side, at least the selection is simple: Tampa Bay all the way.

The Bucs are on fire. Winners of three straight and can lock up the NFC South with a win at home against the Saints. New Orleans has been one of the most underwhelming teams of the season, and Tampa Bay can (and should) put them (and us) out of their misery.

*An especially frustrating decision with the Bucs in pewter pants.

The Pick: Buccaneers -2.5

Uniform Graphics by The Gridiron Uniform Database

Titans at Texans in an AFC South showdown between a pair of basement dwelling wardrobes. While I have no shortage of issues with the Titans, the light blue pants are their best road look. The Triple Mismatch Club Titans get the edge over the painfully generic Texans.

Just two weeks ago, the Texans dropped a karmic bomb on the Titans - winning 19-16 on an overtime field goal while Tennessee tried to rub Oilers throwbacks in their face. To add insult to injury, Derrick Henry played one of his worst games as a pro - 20 touches for 10 yards. But Henry has made a career out of big games against Houston, and the Titans will need another one here to keep this one close.

The Pick: Titans +4.5

Uniform Graphics by The Gridiron Uniform Database

49ers at Commanders in the most lopsided uniform matchup of the week. San Francisco is NFL aesthetic royalty while Washington exudes poorly dressed paupers. Niners by a mile. Make it two.

Niners-Commanders is not only the most lopsided uniform matchup of the week, it’s also the most lopsided football game. San Francisco is looking to bounce back after laying an egg in front of a national audience on Christmas Night. And right on time, here comes a Commanders team busy making plans for the first weekend after the season. This may be my favorite play of the day. Avert your eyes from the incoming slaughter.

The Pick: 49ers -12.5

NOTE - The Commanders have yet to reveal their choice of pants.

Uniform Graphics by The Gridiron Uniform Database

Steelers at Seahawks. Party like it’s Super Bowl XL. For the second time in two weeks, a team from Pennsylvania heads to the Pacific Northwest. At least this one won’t be earning worst of the week. The yellow pants from Pittsburgh give a much needed burst of color to a matchup that should look decent on the screen. Steelers are the clear choice.

Both Pittsburgh and Seattle are fighting for their playoff lives. Like many other games in Week 17, the loser runs the risk of missing the dance. Last week, Mason Rudolph brought some much needed explosiveness to the Steelers quarterback position, and Geno Smith saved the Seahawks season with a late drive on the road.* In a game I see coming down to the wire, I’m happy to be on the side with a field goal and the hook.

*One week after Drew Lock did the same at home.

The Pick: Steelers +4.5

Uniform Graphics by The Gridiron Uniform Database

Chargers at Broncos in a uniform matchup I’ve always enjoyed more than most. While the Broncos wardrobe has its Panelist Era flaws, this Triple Mismatch Club iteration has always been my favorite (and I’ll always be a sucker for that helmet logo*). Los Angeles always looks elite on the road, and they are the no brainer pick.

The big story of the week was the Broncos benching Russell Wilson and signaling to the world that he’ll be cut in the offseason. In response, there has been no shortage of outlandish takes regarding integrity of the game and the obligation of Denver to tell Broncos futures bettors of their plans ahead of time. To that I say: don’t be ridiculous. The Broncos have every right to sit a guy that has clear limitations with no spot in their future plans.** The Russell Wilson trade is the second worst trade in recent memory (behind only the Deshaun Watson trade). The new braintrust behind Sean Payton is wisely planning to move on from Wilson while mitigating financial blowback to the greatest extent possible. But amidst all this distraction, I could see the Chargers catching the Broncos by surprise. Give me the points in this divisional game.

*My money is on a modern classic Orange Crush approach for the Broncos redesign. But I’d have no issue with Denver retaining the criminally underrated angry horse logo. As I’ve said before, I’m a fan of helmet logos that explore the space horizontally (Chargers are another great example).

**My only gripe when it comes to “tanking” is when teams do something mid-game that blatantly signals taking a foot off the gas to secure a loss (e.g., the Eagles pulling Jalen Hurts a few years ago in a move that played a role in Doug Pederson’s firing). Teams have every right to send out whatever players they want to start a game. But once that game starts, play to win.

The Pick: Chargers +3.5

NOTE - The Chargers have yet to reveal their choice of pants.

Uniform Graphics by The Gridiron Uniform Database

Bengals at Chiefs has been a mainstay uniform matchup in recent years - and featured in the last two AFC Championship Games.* Orange and red are made to clash, but the harm is mitigated by Cincinnati being the road team in white over white. The Chiefs are as classic as always, but this Bengals uniform is one of my favorite icy white looks in the league - primarily because of that pop of orange in the helmet. And Cincy is the selection.

Feels wrong to have a Bengals-Chiefs game without Joe Burrow. But such is life. While Jake Browning came back to Earth against the Steelers last week, signs are pointing to Ja’Marr Chase returning this week. In four career games against Kansas City, Ja’Marr has averaged a slash line of 8-123-1. I had the Chiefs down for a get-right game against the Raiders last week, and we all saw how that went. I think they get off the schneid against Cincinnati, but - if Ja’Marr is good to go - the Bengals can cover the number.

*While that is incredibly unlikely to happen this year, never say never.

The Pick: Bengals +7

NOTE - The Chiefs have yet to reveal their choice of pants.

Uniform Graphics by The Gridiron Uniform Database

Packers at Vikings in an NFC North grudge match to bring us home in Week 17. It wouldn’t shock me to see Minnesota roll out the Color Rush bodysuit for a late-season primetime game. But I’m rooting for them to stick with the primary home outfit. The Packers could theoretically go with white pants (an understandable move if the Vikings do go Color Rush), but I’m guessing they’ll keep it classic. Green Bay is the choice no matter how this one breaks.

As noted above, I’m not sure any neutral fan would rather see either of these teams in the playoffs over the Rams. But the NFL is not a popularity contest. And the winner of this one has a very real chance of playing meaningful football after Week 18. As for the loser, pack your bags and leave town. Minnesota is going with Jaren Hall under center. As rough as the Packers defense* has been of late, I think Rashan Gary and the pass rush can get after the rookie signal caller. If they can make life uncomfortable for Hall, the Packers should live to fight another week.

*Green Bay will be without Jaire Alexander as he serves a suspension for the second most absurd coin toss related incident in NFL history. First place still belongs to Steelers-Lions on Thanksgiving Day in 1998. Pour one out for everyone’s favorite ref, Phil Luckett.

The Pick: Packers +1.5

NOTE - The Packers have yet to reveal their choice of pants, and the Vikings have yet to reveal their uniform.

Worst NFL Uniform Matchup of Week 17.

Uniform Graphics by The Gridiron Uniform Database

Falcons at Bears in a dark and dreary affair worthy of worst of the week. Admittedly, this one won’t be competing for worst of the year.* But in a week without a clear and obvious choice for the spot of shame, Atlanta-Chicago will have to deal with the dishonor.

Believe it or not, the Falcons AND the Bears are both technically alive for the playoffs - albeit hanging by a thread. If nothing else, this game should present an ideal opportunity for the Falcons to scout Justin Fields. Despite no shortage of name brands on the offensive side of the ball, Atlanta and Chicago are teams with better defenses than offenses. And for our under purposes, that’s just fine.

*Unless the Bears break out the navy bodysuit - then it will be in the worst of the year sweepstakes.

The Pick: Under 38

NOTE - The Bears have yet to reveal their choice of pants.

Best NFL Uniform Matchup of Week 17.

Uniform Graphics by The Gridiron Uniform Database

We asked. And the Dolphins and Ravens delivered. This Miami-Baltimore matchup is one of my favorites of the 2023 season.* Yin and yang above the belt. Happy Easter-ish below. And everything about it is an excellent example of complementary contrast. From the helmets to the jerseys to the pants, it all clicks.** Couldn’t be more excited to see this one on the screen.

Not only is this one of the best uniform matchups of the season, it’s in the running for best football game of the season. To be fair, we were equally hyped up for Ravens-Niners, and it ended up being a dud. However, as an eternal optimist, something tells me this one is going to deliver. Each team is loaded on both sides of the ball. Unstoppable forces and immovable objects all over the place. But there are two vulnerabilities for each team that I have my eye on. The Ravens are vulnerable against jet motion (plus Kyle Hamilton may be a no go). And the Dolphins live in light boxes. I like both offenses to take advantage and get us over the number.

*It’s best of the year application has been received.

**I can’t quite put my finger on it. But it’s screaming 90s to me. And I’m all for it.

The Pick: Over 46.5

The Gridiron Uniform Database.

The uniform graphics you see here are courtesy of The Gridiron Uniform Database. If you’ve never paid their site a visit, stop what you’re doing right now and check it out. Best site on the Internet and an invaluable resource to uniform nerds and casuals alike.

Coming Attractions.

Another uniform week in the books. You know the drill. Back for more on Thursday.

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