There was a dramatic shift in the playoff standings after the games in Week 16, thanks to some crazy results. The Saints clinched home field advantage through the playoffs after a big win versus the Steelers, who are now on the outside looking in. There were several other games that had a major impact on the standings, but with spots still to be decided, the final weekend of the season is sure to be a crazy one. We are going to take a look at the schedule to see if we can find some underdogs that might be worth playing this coming weekend, so let’s get right to it.
Jacksonville Jaguars (+7) at Houston Texans
The Texans let one get away over the weekend, losing to the Philadelphia Eagles after going ahead late, a loss that now leaves them outside of the top two in the AFC. They will close out the regular season with a home date against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and while it’s a game that I would certainly expect them to win, I am not sold on the 8 ½ point spread. Even when the Texans are winning, which has been a regular occurrence this season, they don’t tend to do so in blowout fashion. I think the underdog Jaguars can keep this one close.
Chicago Bears (+5) at Minnesota Vikings
The Chicago Bears are in the playoffs and look destined to be in the #3 spot in the NFC, which means a home game on Wild Card Weekend. That might give them the ability to rest some guys and go a little easier this weekend on the road at the Vikings, who need to win to guarantee themselves a spot in the postseason. The thing to consider here is that there is a very good chance that it could be a rematch between these two in the opening round, so the Bears will not want to get blown out here. I think they play everyone and keep things close.
Miami Dolphins (+3½) at Buffalo Bills
It has proven to be a disappointing season for both of these teams, as neither one of them will be playing beyond the final week of the regular season. Given that little nugget of information, it’s tough to know which way this will go, but there is one stat that stands out here that may well give us a clue. The Miami Dolphins have gone 4-1 SU against division opponents this season, with the single loss coming at the hands of the New England Patriots. The Bills, meanwhile, are just 1-4 in divisional play, so I am not entirely convinced that they can find a way to win this one. The Dolphins look like a good bet against the spread, and perhaps even SU.
Cleveland Browns (+6) at Baltimore Ravens
The flex scheduling in the NFL has seen this game moved to a later kick-off time, which means that the Baltimore Ravens will know what they need to do based on how things go between the Steelers and the Bengals earlier in the day. The Ravens need to win regardless, but if the Steelers lose, they can relax a little and even afford to lose this one. If the Steelers win, though, the pressure is really on for Baltimore, which could make things a little nervy against a Brown team that suddenly looks very good. I think this one might be closer than a lot of folks expect.