The NFL’s penultimate round kicks off this Sunday morning and continues throughout the Christmas break with some massive matchups. Playoff spots are still on the line with just two games to go and after a 3-1 outing in last week’s NFL betting tips, we are back with another slate for Week 16 here.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (Sunday 12.30pm AEDT)
Green Bay star QB Aaron Rodgers made an early comeback from injury in an attempt to propel the Packers into playoffs last weekend. However, they were unsuccessful against the Panthers, going down 31-24. Now that they are eliminated from the playoff picture, Green Bay have decided to put Rodgers on ice for the rest of the season, meaning backup Brett Hundley will resume his place as starting QB.
The Vikings clinched the NFC North with a win over Cincinnati last weekend and can contend for home field throughout the NFC playoffs with two wins to finish the season. They currently sit just one game behind Philadelphia for the NFC lead.
With so much to play for on the side of the Vikings and vice versa for the Packers, it’s hard to see Green Bay being competitive in this one, especially given the Vikings outstanding defence throughout the year. They allow just 17 points per game, which is the second best total in the league while allowing under 200 passing and under 100 rushing yards per game, one of only two teams to boast that achievement.
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (Monday 5am AEDT)
New England captured a thrilling win over Pittsburgh last weekend to ensure that as long as they win their remaining two games, they will have home field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs. Luckily for them, the two games will come against AFC East opponents in the Bills and the Jets, who hthey have been extremely dominant over in the last decade.
The Bills are in a tight deadlock at 8-6 with three other teams and can still make the playoffs, but will likely need to win their last two games to clinch a spot. It’ll be a tough ask at Gillette Stadium, where the Bills have won just 2 games in their last 16 tries.
Usually at this point of the year, the Patriots have already wrapped up top spot in the AFC and are susceptible to a few losses to AFC East opposition, however, needing to win their last two matchups to bear out the Steelers, we can’t see them dropping this crucial home game here. Star tight end Rob Gronkowski finally looked back to his dominant best in the game against the Steelers last weekend which makes the Patriots very scary.
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (Monday 5am AEDT)
Massive NFC South matchup this weekend between the Saints and Falcons, who are locked in a three-way dual for the division title with the Carolina Panthers. The Saints and Panthers both have a 10-4 record while the Falcons trail by one game, meaning all three teams can still take the division out.
Both teams are coming off good wins on the weekend, after the Saints downed the Jets and the Falcons were too good for Tampa Bay. The Saints have boasted one of the best offences in the league throughout the season, putting up 28.6 points per game and 266 passing yards. Drew Brees continues to be an offensive force to be reckoned with, posting yet another dominant season that sees the Saints challenging for a fourth NFC South crown under his reign.
After a troubled start to the season that saw them go 3-3 after making the Super Bowl last year, the Falcons have six of their last eight games as Matt Ryan and co. have turned the corner on their season. They defeated the Saints in Atlanta just two weeks ago in a thrilling finish, and this one promises to be another close game. Tough to pick a winner in a division game that is renowned for upsets, so we’ll steer clear. The division over the past few years has also been renowned for massive scoring games, and with both offences in full swing at the moment, we like the over on total points here.
Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys (Monday 8.25am AEDT)
Both the Cowboys and the Seahawks need minor miracles to make the playoffs as they both trail the 6th placed team in the NFC, the Falcons, by one game. The Seahawks had a great chance to put some pressure on the top NFC teams on the weekend, but were punished by Los Angeles to the tune of 35 points at home.
The Cowboys lost three games in a row without the services of star running back Ezekiel Elliot but have won their last three, averaging over 29 points per game. Elliot returns to the line-up after a six-game suspension this weekend and should be fired up. As good as their defence has been over the last few years, the Seahawks are in the bottom half of the table in terms of rushing yards allowed per game this season. Seattle allowed LA to rush for 244 yards last week as Todd Gurley had a monster game.
Elliot averages 97.9 yards per game on the ground so far this season and will be chomping at the bit to get back out there after an extended hiatus. Expect the Cowboys to utilise him after watching what the Rams did to Seattle last weekend.
TIP: Ezekiel Elliot OVER total rushing yards – Price not yet available
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