The NFC picture is not quite as clear. Green Bay and Atlanta are the only two teams that have wrapped up their division. San Francisco has clinched a playoff spot, but like Baltimore in the AFC their spot is yet to be determined. The NFC East has three teams tied at 8-6, and the Washington Redskins have the upper hand. A huge game this weekend will likely determine the NFC West winner, with the 49ers and Seahawks deciding their fate. Seattle also has an upper hand for the Wild Card, as does Minnesota. The Vikings have a couple of very difficult games to finish the year, so they might miss out on the post season. The New York Giants also have a chance at the playoffs, but they need some help. After this weekends game, we should know a lot more about the post season. Let's get to the games.
As always, home team in CAPS.
Atlanta 3 1/2 DETROIT
The Falcons are gearing up for the post season, and the Lions have had a miserable season. I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of changes next season in Motown.
Washington 5 1/2 PHILADELPHIA
The Redskins have the inside track to the division title, and I doubt anybody thought that at the beginning of the season. The Eagles have been a train wreck for most of the year, and I expect a major shakeup at the end of the season. I don't see any reason to go against the Redskins now, and Robert Griffin III is expected to play. That really helps.
MIAMI 4 Buffalo
Believe it or not, the Dolphins actually have a shot at the playoffs. No really they do. They have to win outright and have everybody else lose. It isn't going to happen. But that could change next year.
TAMPA BAY 3 St. Louis
The Bucs got smoked last week, but their season was pretty much over anyway. Wait until next year. The same can be said about St. Louis, who needs another year or two. I'll take Tampa at home.
GREEN BAY 11 1/2 Tennessee
This is just a warm up for the Packers as they get ready for a strong post season run.
New York Giants 1 1/2 BALTIMORE
This is a huge game for Baltimore, who desperately need a win. They are in the playoffs but they are in a massive tailspin right now. The Giants need to win but they need a lot of help to get to the playoffs. The Ravens could get healthy at the right time, but I'm not sure it is going to matter at this point. The Ravens really need this game. I'll take my chances with them.
HOUSTON 7 Minnesota
The Texans got back on track last week and they will likely be the AFC's number one seed. Despite their terrible game against New England they will be very tough to beat in the playoffs. The Vikings can make the playoffs in the NFC but they have a tough remaining schedule. The Texans still need this game though, so I am going to pick them at home.
CAROLINA 7 1/2 Oakland
DENVER 12 1/2 Cleveland
The Broncos are rolling, so much that some are calling them the most dangerous team in the NFL right now. They are looking good, but the playoffs are a different story. The Browns certainly are not going to get in their way.
New England 14 1/2 JACKSONVILLE
The Patriots loss last week means they likely will play in the first round of the playoffs. This should be an easy tune up.
Chicago 5 1/2 ARIZONA
The Bears got off to a tremendous start, and now they are likely out of the playoffs. Talk about a total collapse. The Cardinals looked promising too, with looked being the key word there. They really need a quarterback, like really bad. May be the Bears do too.
Indianapolis 6 1/2 KANSAS CITY
The Colts are gearing up for a shocking post season berth, and the Chiefs season just can't end soon enough. Losing here isn't going to help anything.
San Francisco 1 SEATTLE
This is a huge game in the NFC, and playoff seedings are on the line. The 49ers looked great last week even though they almost squandered a huge lead. I still don't know how Seattle is getting it done, but they are. They won't here though. Some think the 49ers are the best team in the NFC. Winning here might prove it.
DALLAS 2 1/2 New Orleans
Both teams have outside chances at the playoffs, but need to win both of their games and hope everyone else loses. And, since they are playing each other, one team really has no shot. Let me rephrase that. Neither team is going.
Game of the Week
PITTSBURGH 3 1/2 Cincinnati
The Bengals have a better chance at the playoffs, but even if they get there they won't last long. The Steelers had a devastating loss last week, and it likely cost them a playoff berth. They have to win both of their final games and get some help. I think they will win here so that is a good start.
Stinker of the Week
NEW YORK JETS 2 1/2 San Diego
Yawn, yawn, yawn.
Record For Week 15: 11-5 ( 10-6 without the spread )
Record Through Week 15: 100-109-4 ( 121-92 without the spread )
Game of Week Record: 6-8
Stinker of Week Record: 6-8
Jim Poore has been a long time contributor to Patriots Insider with his weekly picks column. Let him know what you think. Email him here:
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