Detroit Lions vs. Atlanta Falcons Live ESPN Sunday 2.30pm
The Lions have been a real disappointment this season. After making the playoffs last year for the first time since 1999 last season, they have not kicked on and have lost the last 6 in a row. Their long suffering fans will hope that this is not the beginning of another decline. The Falcons thrashed the New York Giants last week and are playing playoff football. Matt Ryan commanded his offence to a blitz of points stunning the Giants. The NFL is all about momentum and the Falcons will be aiming to show they are worthy of a deep run in the playoffs. Pick Falcons easily
Dallas Cowboys vs. New Orleans Saints
The Cowboys pulled out a stunner in overtime beating the favoured Pittsburgh Steelers last week. They showed poise and character after coming from behind in the final quarter. Their destiny is in their own hands – win their last two and they will be in the playoffs – something unthinkable a month ago. The Saints are playing for pride as a spot in the playoffs is gone. They have the offense to be dangerous and put on 41 points shutting out Tampa bay last week. The pressure here in on the boys from Dallas. Pick Dallas Cowboys in a close one
Houston Texans vs. Minnesota Vikings
The Texans clinched the AFC South title last week after accounting for the Colts. After their thrashing by the Patriots in the week previously they had to bounce back, and they certainly did here. They will want to kick on here and get a first round bye however it will not be easy. Pre season the Vikings were predicted to win three games. They have currently won 8 and have a legitimate shot at the playoffs. Based around a running game they have a beast in Adrian Peterson, who looks to be close to breaking a NFL record for rushing yards. More amazing this is after he suffered a serious ACL injury 12 months ago. This will be competitive. Pick Houston with home ground advantage.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Washington Redskins
Another NFC East clash with everything on the line here for the Redskins. Playing their back up rookie quarterback Kirk Cousins last week in RG3′ s absence they easily accounted for the Browns. Cousins had a game to remember however he will be handing his spot back this week. The Eagles are abysmal having lost to the Bengals at home last week and being booed throughout the second half by their own fans. Andy Reid is more or less done as a coach there and his team seem to have given up. The Redskins will be focused and a fresh RG3 could cause all sorts of problems. Pick Redskins at a canter
Baltimore Ravens vs. New York Giants
Both these teams have been fixtures in the playoffs over recent seasons however this year it may be different. The Ravens have a number of key injuries in the defensive area and were well beaten last week by the Broncos. Joe Flacco at quarterback does not really get his offence going and their famed defence is full of holes. The Giants are erratic to say the least and were thrashed 27-0 by the Falcons last week. The first time the Giants have been shutout since the 1996 season has. The NFC East is a three way tie so basically it’s a need of winning both games to be in. This game could decide it for one of these teams in terms of the post season. Pick Giants away from home proving a point.
Seattle Seahawks vs. San Francisco 49ers Live ESPN Monday 2.30pm
Whoever wins this game has a great prize. If the Seahawks win they clinch a playoff spot which would never have been thought of at the start of the season. The 49ers will clinch the NFC West title if they are on the winning side of the ledger. The Seahawks have scored 50 points plus on two consecutive matches, something quite rare, and not done since the 1950 season, plus home advantage in the noisiest stadium in the NFL is worth something. The 49ers had a great win away against the Patriots – again something rare and were up 31-3 at one point before winning 38-31. This could be a great game with plenty on the line.
Pick Seattle in a close one with the 49ers suffering a hangover from a short game turnaround.