I have done very little in the way of researching these. I have friends in town, and will be heading to Amsterdam on Saturday for New Years, so my free time has been limited, but for great reasons. However, as awful as I did last week only place to go is up!
I tried to do a good mix of teams fighting for playoff spots, or at least something to prove. Some big news from last with Derek Carr breaking his leg, and really reshaping the AFC playoff picture. While the Raiders are still a good team, he made that offence go. It will be interesting to see if they can adjust with a different QB at the helm.
Another big story is Steve Smith will be playing his last game. Hate to see him go but what a career. Play-maker on the field and some of the best soundbites of all-time, including this gem, which is my personal favorite. Even as he aged you always had to keep your eye on him out there, because he could still burn you.
Panthers @ Buccaneers (Line: Bucs -5)
I don’t know why but this match-up is intriguing to me. Division game, one team exceeding expectations while the other does not look like the Superbowl team from last season. The Bucs haven’t been stellar at Home this season (3-4, -6 PD) but are coming off two Road defeats. They’s also won their last three Home games. I just think they are still out looking for that slim hope of the playoffs, while the Panthers have been inconsistent all season. Once again I am going with the Bucs.
Cowboys @ Eagles (Line: Eagles -3.5)
Dallas has locked up the division and Homefield Advantage already (13-2, +129 PD) and will be resting a lot of their key guys. Their strength is in their offensive line which I have to imagine will be rotated in and out. The Eagles are still solid at Home (5-2, +56 PD), but were out of the playoff race awhile ago. However, last game, last Home game, against the much hated Cowboys is always a good one. I think they win over a mainly second-string Cowboys team.
Texans @ Titans (Line: Titans -3)
The Titans stumbled in Jacksonville last week allowing the Texans to sew up the division. This one had the opportunity to be worth all the marbles, but it wasn’t meant to be. The Texans haven’t been great away from Home (2-5, -70 PD) and are debuting Tom Savage at QB. I think the Titans have something to prove, and will win this one handily.
Giants @ Redskins (Line: Giants +7)
The Giants aren’t great on the Road (3-4, -14 PD), but not awful. They are also fighting for Homefield Advantage in the first round, which would be huge for them (7-1, +31 PD). The Redskins aren’t out of it either, and will be watching for the Lions vs Packers results. They have much more to lose, but haven’t been stellar at Home (4-3, +5 PD). I am going with the Giants and the line on this.
Saints @ Falcons (Line: Saints +7)
Falcons are rolling right now, and currently sitting in second place in the NFC Playoff Picture. However, if they fall to 10-6 there’s a good chance they might play in the first round. They aren’t great at Home (4-3, +52 PD), but the Saints aren’t great on the Road either (3-4, +9 PD). However, it’s in a dome (Peace Out Georgia Dome) and that Falcons defensive secondary is pretty bad. I see this one being a high-scoring affair and the Saints playing spoiler, and covering at the least.
The final week of the regular season will not be boring, that’s for sure. Some great match-ups with a lot on the line, and some teams out of it who would like to hit a division foe one more time. Unfortunately I doubt it will be widely televised in Amsterdam, as I would like to at least see the swan song of #89. Happy New Year to all!