NFL Week 18 Upset Alert: Should Dolphins and Colts Even Be Favored? 

We split on our two Upset Alert NFL picks in Week 17, correctly getting Pittsburgh +126 in Baltimore.

We’ve got two more in Week 18 with NFL odds from the best sportsbooks. 

New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins 

Sunday, January 08, 2023 – 01:00 PM EST at Hard Rock Stadium 

Playoff Implications

FOX has this AFC East matchup between the Jets and Dolphins. New York goes for the season sweep as it blasted visiting Miami 40-17 in Week 5.

Fins starting QB Tua Tagovailoa was out injured with a concussion and then-starter Teddy Bridgewater was knocked out on the Dolphins’ first offensive play, which was a safety for New York.

Seventh-round rookie Skylar Thompson took over and was 19-for-33 for 166 yards and a pick. The Jets rushed for 135 yards and five scores. 

New York hasn’t made the playoffs since 2010 but looked like they would end that with a 7-4 start to the season – it hasn’t won since and has been eliminated from wild-card contention on a five-game skid.

Miami looked like it might win the AFC East at 8-3 but also has lost five in a row. They can earn a wild-card spot but needs a win and New England loss in Buffalo. 

How Have the Lines Moved?

The spread on the rematch has been ping-ponging around all week because of quarterback questions on both sides.

We know for sure that Tua is out with his second concussion, and this writer frankly questions whether he will ever play in the NFL again as the former Alabama star seems to suffer one each time he hits the ground. Miami might have to look for a long-term solution in the offseason. 

Bridgewater is a solid backup but left the New Year’s Day loss in New England with a finger injury. If that had been broken, he wasn’t going to play this week but it’s dislocated so he might. However, Skylar Thompson has been taking first-team reps in practice, so the Jets jumped into the favored role. 

That changed Thursday with the news that New York starting QB Mike White was downgraded to limited in practice with a ribs injury that cost him a few games earlier. That doesn’t mean he won’t play, but it will not be former No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson in his spot if White doesn’t. Joe Flacco or Chris Streveler would get the call.  

Consider what might happen here if the game is tied at the half and the Dolphins find out the Patriots are getting killed in Buffalo. Then the Miami players will quit.  

NFL Pick: Jets (+115) at BetMGM

Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts 

Sunday, January 08, 2023 – 01:00 PM EST at Lucas Oil Stadium 

Nothing to Play for But the Draft

This is the most meaningless of the meaningless games on Sunday and frankly, in a meaningless game, any team can win, so why not back the Texans here?  

It does benefit both to lose, though, for draft reasons. Houston would ensure the No. 1 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft by losing and probably would take Alabama quarterback Bryce Young. He’s the -150 favorite at the best sportsbooks to be the top choice, followed by Ohio State QB CJ Stroud at +325 and Kentucky signal-caller Will Levis at +500. 

While Houston looked terrible last week in a 31-3 loss to Jacksonville, the Texans played really well the previous three games in upsetting Tennessee and nearly knocking off both Dallas and Kansas City before late losses. This probably will be Lovie Smith’s final game as Houston’s coach

The Saturday Experiment

Indianapolis fired Coach Frank Reich following an embarrassing 26-3 loss at New England in Week 9. Owner Jim Irsay shocked everyone by naming former Colts Pro Bowl center and ESPN analyst Jeff Saturday as the interim head coach. Indy won its first game under Saturday … and has completely collapsed since. In the team’s past four games: 

• Allowed 33 fourth-quarter points in a 54-19 loss in Dallas. 

• Gagged away a 33-point third-quarter lead and lost 39-36 in OT in Minnesota, the biggest blown lead in a loss in league history. 

• Lost 20-3 with 173 total yards of offense at home Week 16 vs. the Chargers. 

• Lost 38-10 at the Giants this past Sunday, managed 252 yards, and starting QB Nick Foles was hit so hard he was convulsing on the field. 

With Foles out, Sam Ehlinger will get the call, he has 66 career regular-season passes and a 0-2 record as a starter this season. The Colts totaled 19 points combined in those. Even as bad as Houston second-year QB Davis Mills can be, he’s still better than Ehlinger and it’s pretty clear the Indy players have given up.  

NFL Pick: Texans (+130) at FanDuel