The clock is ticking and it is certainly time for some teams to panic. Last week we had the first team officially ruled out of the playoffs, Oakland Raiders, and we will see a few more this week. We also saw the first team to seal their division in the LA Rams. Not a surprise really as they have the best record in the entire NFL.

This week is a key week for some of the others hoping to follow the Rams ans secure their play in the post season.

We will have a host of divisional head to heads which will show how the playoff will shape up. These will ramp up the chasing pack as noone can afford to lose from here on out. I take a look at some of the key matches this weekend.

Giants @ Redskins

There will be no Odell Beckham Jr in this game, which is a shame as he has thrown both of the Giants best touchdown passes of the year so far. Ironic as normally he is the one you can rely on to catch them. However, they are facing an incredibly depleted Redskins team who looked to be making a playoff charge before their injury woes kicked in. With Saquon Barkley having been so impressive this season I can see him enjoying himself. I can’t see past a Giants win which I wouldn’t have said had the Redskins been healthy.

That is the thing about the Giants this year though. They are a bad team but can pull off victories due to their few star players, just look at them toppling the mighty Bears last week. But the Redskins will have the veteran running back Adrian Peterson who despite the team faltering has been putting up numbers akin to when he was in his prime.

Sterling Shepard to score a touchdown

Adrian Peterson to score a touchdown

Saints @ Buccaneers

This is a revenge mission for the Saints. Their season started with a surprising loss against Tampa Bay. However they then went on a winning streak which saw them top the NFL standings before their surprising defeat to a resurgent Cowboys last week. The two teams are having very different season and with pressure to secure home field advantage in the playoffs the Saints will be gunning for a win, possibly even a statement win.

Mark Ingram to score a touchdown

Alvin Kamara to score the last touchdown

 

Broncos @ 49ers

When you are debilitated with injuries to all of your star players the all out injured you don’t want to face one of the most inform teams in the NFL. I’ll keep this one short – the Broncos will win. And they will win big. I feel sorry for Kyle Shanahan as his record as 49ers boss will not look as good as it should given his talent and the players they have invested in.

Royce Freeman to score a touchdown

Broncos to win by 13-18 points

Eagles @ Cowboys

This is the game of the weekend in my opinion. In the most open division as to be frank all four teams have been poor. Not what I thought I’d be saying about the defending Superbowl champions who only won back to back games for the first time last week. They have been far short of the team who steam rolled their way through last year and impressed many when they were considered underdogs. This season is more disappointing those who are now expecting them to produce.

The Cowboys have been very impressive in their current streak of four wins in a row, which has also seen them take control of the division. A win here and they can consider themselves as over the lin in terms of securing their progression as divisional winners. This is because they have gone back to what almost took them all the way a few years ago – give the ball to Zeke. Elliott has been unstoppable and has driven them all the way in this win streak. Dak Prescott has also stepped it up since being told he wold be getting a new contract, funny what money can do for a player.

I can see this going either way and will be incredibly tense for the fans as so much is riding on this. It is a must win game for both teams. The game to watch but maybe not the highest quality for a neutral.

Ezekiel Elliot first touchdown scorer

Golden Tate to score a touchdown

Rams @ Bears

Offense versus defense is how this is being labelled. But the Rams have a pretty impressive defense of their own. This is a preview I think to a playoff game so although they have secured their place in the playoffs the Rams will not want to slow down the momentum. The pressure is also there to secure the top seeding and ensure they always play at home in the off season. This is why I can’t see past them despite being impressed by the turn around the Bears have had this season.

I can see this being a battle which will decide the Defensive Player of the Year standings as Donald takes on Mack. Whoever has the better game here will undoubtedly take home the crown. I do see defense having a big impact on the game which is why this won’t be high scoring affair, famous last words I know. It will however, be highly entertaining and could show you a glimpse of what is to come in the playoffs.

Brandin Cooks to score a touchdown

Rams to win both halves

 

Steelers @ Raiders

No running back, looking like they have lost their way a little. Something is not quite right in Pittsburgh. A few weeks ago it looked as though they had the division won and a genuine challenge for the top seeding in the AFC. Now they have lost a few games and are only topping the division courtesy of a draw against the Browns at the start of the season. The Raiders ran Kansas City close last week so as much as their season is over don’t necessarily write them off.

But this is the sort of game that can help the Steelers recover. As the Raiders look to be hoping for a favourable draft placement in order to build for the future in Las Vegas. But this does not mean that there is no threat from Oakland. I can see them wanting to show that they can mix it up and now is the chance to use all of the play book and try a few things for the future. What do they have to lose. With that in mind I am also willing to throw in a bold prediction too.

Antonio Brown first touchdown scorer

Raiders to score in every quarter

Odds are correct at the time of posting

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