The festive period has thrown up an exciting round of NFL matches as the battle for post-season places reaches its climax.
We’ll take a look at five of the best matchups and tell you which sides you should have in your teaser for this weekend’s round of contests.
Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills
The Dolphins are making a strong bid to reach the playoffs for the first time since the 2008 season. Despite a serious knee injury sustained by quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the club still managed to overcome the New York Jets in their last outing. Backup signal-caller Matt Moore threw four touchdown passes to steer his side to a comfortable victory over Todd Bowles’ men, leaving his team in the fifth seed in the AFC Conference.
Adam Gase’s men know that if they win their final two matches of the season they’ll be in the playoffs, although they can secure their place with one victory should other results go in their favour. Consequently, Miami will be desperate to defeat the Bills in their clash on Saturday to give themselves a solid chance of advancing before their clash against the New England Patriots on the final day of the term.
The Bills are out of contention for a place in the post-season, and Rex Ryan’s position is in doubt for next campaign meaning that he at least will be fired up to defeat the Dolphins. However, Moore’s play against the Jets was encouraging and with Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker in his offense, Miami have the tools to claim the win at 37/202.85+1851.851.85-0.54 with BetOnline sportsbook.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints
The Buccaneers put in a spirited performance in their defeat to the Dallas Cowboys last week, but are running out of time to secure their place in the playoffs. Quarterback Jameis Winston had a solid outing, although his fourth-quarter comeback attempt failed in AT&T Stadium. He has the weapons to put enough points on the board to overcome the Saints, but he will need to be error-free to alleviate the pressure on his defense on the road.
New Orleans have one of the best offenses in the NFL, but were shut down by the Buccaneers in their previous contest this term. Drew Brees endured one of the worst games of his career as he threw three interceptions at Raymond James Stadium in a 16-11 defeat for his side. The 37-year-old returned to his best by carving apart the Arizona Cardinals and he will be hungry for revenge against the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay’s secondary got the best of Brees, although they were exposed at times by Dallas last week. However, should they be able to generate the same pass-rush as they did in their week 14 meeting then Dirk Koetter’s men will secure their ninth win of the campaign. Therefore back the visitors at 3/22.50+1501.501.50-0.67 on the money line with TopBet sportsbook.
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers
The Packers have been outstanding over the last month of the season, winning their last four games on the bounce to propel themselves into playoff contention. They are just one game behind the Detroit Lions in first place in the NFC North and play their rivals in the last week of the season, which could see them leapfrog Jim Caldwell’s men into the fourth seed in the NFC Conference. However, Green Bay have to overcome the Vikings first, who beat them in the second week of the campaign.
Aaron Rodgers has returned to the peak of his powers after struggling for the first half of the term, connecting with wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams. Meanwhile, TY Montgomery has been a revelation since switching positions to become a running back, churning out yards on the ground.
The Vikings have fallen off their map since their bye week. Mike Zimmer’s men started the season 5-0 and were well on their way to be battling with the Dallas Cowboys for the number one seed in the NFC. However, since week five of the term they’ve lost seven out of their nine matches and were hammered at home last week by the Indianapolis Colts.
With Rodgers on top form and the Packers offense on song backing the home side to win at33/1001.33-3000.33-3.000.33 with BetOnline is a solid option to take for Saturday’s contest.
Indianapolis Colts @ Oakland Raiders
The Colts came to play last week against the Vikings in a game that no-one expected much from them, but Andrew Luck and company produced a fine performance to destroy the home side with a 34-6 victory.
There is still a glimmer of hope for Chuck Pagano’s men in the race for the playoffs in the AFC South, although they will have to be flawless in their execution once again in a contest against one of the best teams in the NFL.
Oakland were forced to grind out a win over the San Diego Chargers last week, but proved their Super Bowl credentials by winning ugly on the road. Derek Carr and his potent offense were held in check for the majority of the game, but produced in clutch moments to see out the narrow victory.
Jack Del Rio’s men need to defeat to the Colts to continue their push for the number one seed in the AFC and know that a loss will all but hand home-field advantage to the New England Patriots. As a result, taking Oakland in this match at 57/1001.57-1750.57-1.750.57 is the option to take for this showdown.
Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers
A crunch match between two old foes in the AFC North – a contest neither can afford to lose in the battle to reach the post-season. The Ravens need the victory more than their rivals otherwise their playoff hopes will hinge on the Miami Dolphins’ performance in their clash with the Buffalo Bills. John Harbaugh’s men will be determined to avoid that fate and defeat the Steelers on their way to winning the division.
That’s easier said than done as the Steelers are one of the hottest teams in the league heading into the contest, having won their last five matches on the spin. Their defense is beginning to round into form, while the potent offensive trio of Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon are a headache for any opposing team. Therefore, Mike Tomlin’s men will have plenty of confidence of emerging with the victory, especially as Baltimore have shown signs of their age on the defensive side of the ball in recent weeks.
The Ravens’ offense has been stagnant for the majority of the season and will not be able to cope with the potential of a shootout against their rivals. Pittsburgh should be able to close out the AFC North with a win so back them at 21/501.42-2400.42-2.400.42 with TopBet.
Miami Dolphins to beat Buffalo Bills
Saturday 24th December 13:00 ET (18:00 GMT)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers to beat New Orleans Saints
Saturday 24th December 16:25 ET (21:25 GMT)
Green Bay Packers to beat Minnesota Vikings
Saturday 24th December 13:00 ET (18:00 GMT)
Oakland Raiders to beat Indianapolis Colts
Saturday 24th December 16:05 ET (21:05 GMT)
Pittsburgh Steelers to beat Baltimore Ravens
Sunday 25th December 16:30 ET (21:30 GMT)
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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