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The NFL regular season is supposed to reward teams with the best records with an advantage in the playoffs, but Vegas handicappers differ with their opinion. Of the four teams playing at home in the first round of the NFL playoffs only one is favored to win. Despite all the disparaging comments about their division, the NFC East lays claim to the only home favorite in the wild card round. The Washington Redskins are the sole lone favorite this weekend, and that is by just one point – despite the traditional three points being placed in favor of the home team. The Packer playoff mystique is long gone after last week’s home loss to the Vikings
While many of the top NFL teams such as New England, Seattle, Carolina and Green Bay lost in Week 16, nobody was more negatively affected than the Pittsburgh Steelers. A shockingly flat performance against an injury-riddled Baltimore team that was forced to start an out-of-work Ryan Mallett at quarterback will most likely keep them out of post-season play. Losses by the Patriots and Panthers prevented those teams from securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs, but did not drop them in the playoff standings. Seattle’s loss at worse means only the difference between a fifth and sixth seed, and despite the Packers looking abysmal on Sunday night, they are still in the driver’s seat to win the division and claim the number three seed in the NFC.
With the Patriots no longer playing a meaningless Week 17 game the Pats began Sunday evening as an eight point favorite, and by the end of the night the line was up to nine points. In the NFC Arizona clinched a bye, but their domination over Green Bay coupled with Seattle’s loss to the Rams caused that line to have a swing of a full six points, from the Cardinals being 2½ point underdogs to Arizona being favored by 3½ points.
While NFL Week 15 did not do much to the playoff picture other than end the misery for a handful of teams by officially eliminating them from post-season play, it did bring genuine contenders one step closer to clinching scenarios in Week 16. Eighteen teams still have at least a mathematical chance at a playoff spot with two weeks to go; that is surely something that Roger Goodell’s parity-driven Park Avenue league office that strives for participation banners is surely proud of.
In both conferences the race for the number five seed is nearly as meaningful as getting a first round bye. Both of the number five seeds will most likely be playing against a team with a .500 (or losing record). On the other hand the number six seed will have to go on the road against a ten or eleven-win club.
Prior to their come from behind victory over New Orleans, Carolina became the first team to clinch a playoff spot when Tampa Bay defeated Atlanta 23-19. The Panthers have won their third straight NFC South title and are a virtual lock for a first round bye. Meanwhile New England’s upset loss to Philadelphia dropped the Patriots to the number three seed in the AFC – though what many are overlooking is that the Pats still control their own destiny for a first round bye since Denver and Cincinnati play each other in Week 16.
NFL week seven gets underway tonight with an all-NFC West game, as the Seattle Seahawks travel to Santa Clara to play the San Francisco 49ers. Game kicks off at 8:25 pm eastern time and is televised on CBS. Seattle is favored by 6½ points.
The Detroit Lions travel to Century Link Field to take on the defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks on Monday night to wrap up week four NFL action. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 pm eastern time, with the game broadcast on ESPN. Detroit is still looking for their first victory of the season, while Seattle seeks to even their record at 2-2 after losing their first two games.
Line: Seahawks -10 with an over/under of 43; money line is Seahawks -600 and Lions +450.
The Patriots have added another tight end to their roster after reaching a contract agreement with former Seattle Seahawk Christian Fauria.
|TheAthletic - Sep 18th, 2021|
|CBS Boston - Sep 17th, 2021|