The final week of the regular season and still a few games that matter in the AFC anyway. Will the playoff teams field a full squad? I hope so as it cheats the fans who pay to see the top players. Anyway here’s this week’s picks and I have noted the games to avoid if you are having a bet.
Indianapolis at Buffalo (Avoid)
Indy stated playing half a squad last week and this week will be no different. Can The Bills beat Indy’s reserves? Hard to say but I will go with Indy who will want some momentum going into the week off. Indy to win by 7 points +
Jacksonville at Cleveland
This should be an interesting if not particularly exciting game with The Browns starting to look quite good when running the ball and the Jags still have a remote chance at the post season. Cleveland will want to maintain their momentum and I just give them the edge by 3-7 points.
San Francisco at St. Louis
The 49ers are looking like a playoff team in the making and a good draft and some astute free agency signings and who knows what next year could bring. The Rams still look like a team in serious need of a lift and I really can’t see them winning this one which would almost be as big a surprise as Bulger still being QB next year. The 49ers for me by 7 points +
Pittsburgh at Miami
Can the Steelers come back from the dead and do what they did in 2005? Not a chance is my view but they could still pip the Ravens or Denver if either were to lose. First they would have to win this one and I’m not too sure they can do that. This is a really tough one to call but I will go with Miami who will still be fired up given they could still sneak in if the results went right for them. I will go with Miami by 3-7 points.
NY Giants at Minnesota (Avoid)
The Giants have underachieved this year especially given their 5-0 start while the Vikings looked great up until the last 2 weeks. I would guess both might want this as the Vikings would like some momentum going into the post season and that week off while the Giants will want to end on a high. However it’s is just possible that the Vikings will want to protect their starters so who knows how this one will pan out; best avoided if you are a having a bet. Given the need for a prediction I will go with the Vikings as I think that Childers will want some momentum and will not want to take the chance on missing that week off to prepare so the prediction is The Vikings by 7-10 points.
Atlanta at Tampa Bay
Nothing to play for now for either club but the Falcons will want to get a winning season so should be up for this one. It’s the Falcons for me by 10 points+
New Orleans at Carolina (Avoid)
The Saints are assured of home field advantage now and despite their recent losses they will not want to risk their starters against a tough Panthers defence. The Panthers are also on a bit of a roll and like the Giants will be a bit disappointed with their season. I expect a Panthers win by 10 points+
New England at Houston (Avoid)
Houston will be well up for this game while it’s hard to see why the Patriots would play all out and risk injuries in what for them is a meaningless game. Having said that Bill Belichick might decide he wants that No 3 seed and so potentially avoid the Colts until the championship game should things pan out that way. They would also then possibly miss out on the dangerous Ravens who look like taking the No 5 seed with a win. Another one best avoided and I will tentatively pick the Texans for the win by 7 points+.
Chicago at Detroit
Not a lot to say here The Lions still need around 10 players to be close to a level season while the Bears are learning that a QB does not make a team. I expect the Bears to win by 10 points +
Baltimore at Oakland
The Ravens will be well up for this game knowing a win will put them in the post season and despite Oakland recent improved form I really can’t see any other result but a Ravens win. Baltimore are a much better side than their record suggests and no one will fancy playing the Ravens in the post season. The Ravens to win by 10points +
Green Bay at Arizona (Avoid)
Not much to say here both teams assured of their playoff places and both capable of beating anyone on their day. Should still be a good game but I will be surprised if the starters a play the whole game for either side especially as they could easily be meeting again next week. Prediction wise I will just give the Cardinals the edge by 3-7 points.
Washington at San Diego (Avoid)
The Chargers are safely in as no 2 seed and again have no reason to play all out and risk injuries. However I think they will be good enough even if they ease off and they will sweep the tough NFC East with a win here. The Skins will be rebuilding again next year and should make a game of it as many will be playing for their careers. Overall I give the Chargers the edge by 7 points+
Tennessee at Seattle
Another game with nothing to play for between The Titans who almost staged an almighty comeback from 0-6 and the Seahawks who have a lot of rebuilding to do before they trouble the post season schedulers again. I expect the Titans to be too strong here and take them to win by 7-10 points.
Philadelphia at Dallas
Oh what a game to finish the season with the winner taking the division and possibly even a first round bye. It’s also possible they could meet again next week so neither team will give this one up easily. The Eagles are a great team when they click but are prone to mistakes and when things go wrong they tend to go very wrong. The Cowboys have quietly put together a good season and have come in somewhat under the radar and although they don’t look like Super bowl winners to me they do look like they have got the defence sorted. This one should be close and I am really not sure which side to pick. Overall I just think the Eagles are the stronger team and providing they play something like their best they should just sneak it by 3-7 points.
Kansas City at Denver
Denver have came really close to blowing their post season aspirations for a second year running however I do expect them to win this one and get the No 6 seed. The Broncos should win this by 14 points +
Cincinnati at NY Jets (Avoid)
The Jets could end up in the playoffs not on merit but because two division winners have laid down having nothing to play for. Last week the Colts bowed out at half time and it’s hard to see why the Bengals would want to play all out in this one. I really hope the Jets don’t make it not because I don’t like them but because it would be so unfair on the other AFC teams who have had to play 16 proper games. I will have to pick the Jets to win this one given Cincinnati are unlikely to be at full strength. The Jets to win by 7-10 points.