It’s rare that all 16 games in the NFL are played on the same day — thanks to the holidays.
Only one division title out of eight is still up for grabs with New Orleans and Carolina fighting it out in the NFC South for a playoff home game.
The Saints play the Bucs in Tampa, while the Panthers collide with the Falcons in Atlanta. This game is just as meaningful to the defending NFC champs as a loss could knock them right out of the playoff picture. Carolina and Atlanta are both 3-2 in divisional games.
The final week of the season will have many sports players scratching their heads as teams that have already clinched playoff spots — like Kansas City and the Los Angeles Rams — may not play their full lineup. But those are often game time decisions, making it difficult to parlay teams in advance.
***VGB’s Week 16 pickem record: 12-4
NFL’s Hottest Team Is Not In The Playoffs
Go ahead, try and name the hottest team in the league.
The Kansas City Chiefs, winners of three straight? No, but those wins helped the team seal the AFC West title.
The Carolina Panthers, also winners of three straight? Nice try, but their victories have gained the team from Charlotte at least a wild card spot.
The San Francisco 49ers? There you go. Jimmy Garoppolo’s team was 1-10 before the former New England Patriot joined his new club in a trade. The 26-year-old has completed almost 70 per cent of his passes, with five touchdowns and close to a 100 quarterback rating as the 49ers have won four in a row. It looks like San Fran has found its franchise QB.
In other news around the NFL:
- The Cleveland Browns are one more setback away from becoming the second team in NFL history to lose 16 games in a season. The Detroit Lions were the first to do it in 2008. The Browns are two-touchdown underdogs to beat the Steelers on New Year’s Eve. They are 1-30 in the last two seasons.
- It may just be a late Christmas gift for the Patriots as the team signed free agent James Harrison earlier this week. The 39-year-old linebacker, who only played five games this season, was released by the Steelers. The veteran defensive star was Pittsburgh’s all-time leader in sacks.
- Rumors have been swirling around the league that John Fox and his coaching staff will lose their jobs at the end of the season. Those rumors have been making the rounds for a lot of teams. The Chicago Bears are 14-33 (.298) under Fox. They’ve had double-digit losses in three straight seasons. “I think there’s a lot of speculation every year,” Fox told the Chicago Sun-Times, “and this year is no different.”
VGB’s Top 10 NFL Teams
(Current odds to win Super Bowl LII listed after team record. Odds provided by bovada.lv.)
Minnesota (12-3) +375 — Vikings talented defense allows 16 points a game.
New England (12-3) +240 — Pats win 12 games for eighth season in a row.
Los Angeles Rams (11-4) +1000 — Gurley leads league in scoring with 19 TDs.
Pittsburgh (12-3) +475 — Steelers in line for 13 wins for first time since 2004.
Carolina (11-4) +1800 — Panthers have won seven of their last eight games.
Philadelphia (13-2) +1000 — Foles 2-0 as starter, but struggles against Oakland.
New Orleans (11-4) +1000 — Saints 11-2 since losing first two this season.
Baltimore (9-6) +2800 — Ravens have lost just two of their last eight games.
Jacksonville (10-5) +1400 — AFC South champs need to improve on road.
Seattle (9-6) +7500 — Seahawks need win and Atlanta loss to make playoffs.