The end of the season has arrived, and it's done so without them having to miss any games at all. Sure there's been delays, some teams will feel hard done-by with some of the decisions made by the league, but with Covid rampant in the US it's a big achievement to have played all 240 games so far and to be able to complete the entire regular season.
With the addition of the 7th playoff team in each conference the league has got what it wanted and there's actually quite a lot at stake as we come into this week. The Chiefs have secured the AFC #1 Seed and with it a bye week and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Bills are #2 there, and the Steelers are the third seed. The 4th seed is up for grabs with the winner of the AFC South taking it, most likely the Titans, but could be the Colts should they slip up. One of 4 teams in the AFC race will miss out. It's the Browns (vs Steelers reserves), Ravens (vs. Bengals), Miami (vs. Bills, likely to rest players in the second half) and the Colts (vs. 1 win Jacksonville) – It seems like it will stay as is and the Colts will miss out on 11 wins. Harsh, but they shouldn't have lost the opener to the useless Jags!
The NFC is lesser quality but has more going on… The Packers will secure the #1 seed with a win against the Bears. However, if they slip up… then the Saints can clinch that spot IF the Seahawks also win, and create a 3-way tie… the Seahawks could snatch that 1 seed IF they win, the Packers lose and the Saints fail to win… does that make sense? It SHOULD basically stay the same, but it could be one of three teams getting homefield. It's actually quite significant with these teams. Outside of those, Washington are win and in, they play in the Sunday night game and the Eagles seem to be resting everyone to allow them to win and stop the Cowboys getting in (Cowboys and Giants have a chance depending who wins their matchup) – The Rams are in at the moment, they play the Cardinals without Jared Goff, Cooper Kupp, Darrell Henderson… if the Rams lose (and Cards win) then it all comes down to the Packers and Bears game… IF the Rams lose and Bears win, then the Bears AND Cardinals get in and they miss out… Again, I think that's correct! https://www.nfl.com/news/nfl-playoff-clinching-scenarios-for-week-17-of-2020-season
So, on to the final previews.
The Cowboys need to win to have a chance of making the post-season and I think they've got too much offensively for the Giants to keep up with them. They've stepped up on defense in recent weeks and have been racking up points now that Andy Dalton has settled into the system. He's got a great trio of WRs in Cooper, Lamb and Gallup and Zeke looked back to health last week saying it was the best he's felt all season with over 100 yards on the ground. The Giants on the other hand will be starting Daniel Jones who's not looked right since his hamstring injury, his mobility is key for him, without it he's below par. Colt McCoy is poor too.
Essentially I don't think the Giants will be able to score enough to keep this one close, I'm a little worried about the line going towards the Giants, that doesn't make sense to me. Cowboys moneyline – 4/5 (365) take them at 10/11 on -1.5 if you want, but the odds aren't far apart.
There will be some big priced TD scorers this week, picking who it will be however won't be easy. There's a ton of movement on rosters with teams resting players or just giving up and giving the younger players a shot, I'm trying to stick to teams who need wins and seem more settled, with that in mind I don't mind Zeke at evens (see above) – But I'll stick with JK Dobbins who's come on really well in the second half of the season, Mark Ingram has been a healthy scratch in recent weeks and misses this with illness, while Gus Edwards is questionable but likely to play with a neck injury. Dobbins has scored a rushing TD in his last 5 games, and should carry that on against a below-average Bengals rush defense. JK Dobbins – 5/4 (Unibet) happy with 11/10 everywhere else. A few longshots I have had a poke on – James Washington 11/2 (Uni), Smythe 15/2, Shaheen 21/2 (both Uni), KeShawn Vaughn – 15/2 (Sportnation), Darrynton Evans – 9/1 (Skybet), JJAW 20/1 (Skybet). Again, it's a crap-shoot but there will be big price scorers around the league.
I think I'll stick to that for this week, player props are also all over the shop and there's limited selections on a lot of games. If there's a passing line on Cam take the under, Jerrick McKinnon for the 49ers had low lines last week and flew over his rec. line take the over on him if it's low again.
- Cowboys moneyline
- JK Dobbins anytime TD scorer
Check out my site – TDTips.com for very in-depth previews, I've mentioned the permutations in every game and the players who are in and out.
Happy New Year to all, I hope the Christmas period went well.
Adam (@TouchdownTips on twitter)