Jaguars Reach NFL Playoffs For First Time In 10 Years
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With just two weeks to go in the NFL season, there are still seven playoff spots up for grabs.
New England, Pittsburgh and Jacksonville have clinched a spot in the AFC, while Philadelphia and Minnesota have earned a ticket to the postseason in the NFC.
Making the playoffs is nothing new for the defending Super Bowl champions and the Steelers. But it’s a big deal for the Jaguars, who finished 2016 at 3-13. The last time Jacksonville made the postseason was 2007. Since that time, the Jaguars have won a total of 42 games in nine years.
**VGB’s Week 15 record against the spread: 5-6-3. Over/under totals: 10-4.
Here are the Week 16 picks against the spread for all 16 games (odds provided by bovada.lv).
Ravens Should Make Playoffs In AFC
Indianapolis at Baltimore — The Colts (3-11), losers of five straight, are playing for nothing. The Ravens (8-6) are playing for one of two AFC wild card spots. They have two home games left against two teams with dismal records — Indy and Cincinnati. With this schedule, the Ravens have no excuse to miss the postseason. Baltimore is 4-2 at home and 3-3 against the spread (ATS). The Colts are 2-5 ATS on the road.
VGB’s pick — Indianapolis (+14), Over (41)
Hundley Has No Chance Against This Defense
Minnesota at Green Bay — Aaron Rodgers has been placed on injured reserve, which means Brett Hundley returns behind center for the Packers (7-7). Even though the Vikings (11-3) are already in the playoffs, they are still playing for home-field advantage in the NFC. Minnesota has one of the best defenses in the league, which should make for a long day for Hundley. The Vikings have won by 10 or more points six times this season.
VGB’s pick — Minnesota (-9), Over (40.5)
Bitter Rivals Met Just Three Weeks Ago
Buffalo at New England — These two longtime division rivals don’t like each other. And they just played three weeks ago in Buffalo where the Patriots (11-3) destroyed the Bills (8-6) 23-3. Rob Gronkowski was suspended in that game for an illegal hit against Buffalo’s Tre’Davious White. Will there be any fallout from that play? Both teams need a win in this game — the Patriots for home-field advantage, the Bills just to make the playoffs.
VGB’s pick — Buffalo (+13), Under (47)
Broncos Finally Win First Road Game
Denver at Washington — The Broncos (5-9) earned their first win on the road last week in what can only be described as a lost season. They don’t have a starting quarterback and their once formidable defense now gives up more than 23 points a game. The Redskins (6-8) have lost four of their last six, but they are 4-3 at home. They haven’t scored more than 20 points in any of their last four games. The Broncos are 5-9-1 ATS, while the Redskins are 7-8.
VGB’s pick — Denver (+3.5), Under (40.5)
Saints Look To Gain Revenge On Falcons
Atlanta at New Orleans — Matt Ryan threw three picks two weeks ago in Atlanta and the Falcons (9-5) still beat the Saints (10-4). Now the two NFC South rivals meet in New Orleans for a game which will have a big influence on who wins the division title. The Saints lost running back Alvin Kamara on their first drive of the game in Week 14. He could be the difference-maker in this rematch. The Falcons are 6-8 ATS, while the Saints are 7-7.
VGB’s pick — Atlanta (+6), Under (52.5)
Bears Undefeated Against NFC North Teams
Cleveland at Chicago — Could this be the week the Browns (0-14) finally break into the win column? Probably not. The Bears (4-10) are undefeated this season against AFC North teams, including wins over Pittsburgh and Baltimore. The Bears have lost six of their last seven, but they have the running game to score against the Browns. Cleveland is also the worst in the league against the spread at 3-11. Chicago is 7-6-1.
VGB’s pick — Chicago (-6.5), Under (38)
Lions Still Have Shot At Playoff Spot
Detroit at Cincinnati — It seems like the Bengals (5-9) have quit on Marvin Lewis, who is likely in his last year as head coach after 15 seasons. The Bengals have lost five of their last seven and they’re 0-3 against NFC teams. The Lions (8-6) need to win their last two games to have any shot at the playoffs. Detroit is 5-2 on the road, 7-6-1 ATS and 1-2 against AFC North opponents. The Lions play Green Bay at home in Week 17.
VGB’s pick — Detroit (-4), Over (44)
Chargers Should Silence Petty And The Jets
Los Angeles Chargers at New York Jets — A backup quarterback for the Jets (5-9) takes on a team in the Chargers (7-7) that must win just to have any shot at the playoffs. The last time the Jets were home in November, they beat the Chiefs by a touchdown. But Bryce Petty is their starter now, and he was terrible in his first start last week. Philip Rivers and the Chargers need help to make the postseason. It starts with a win in New York.
VGB’s pick — Los Angeles Chargers (-7), Under (42)
Chiefs Closing In On AFC West Title
Miami at Kansas City — Kansas City’s on-again, off-again season is back on. The Chiefs (8-6) won their first five games and then lost six of their next seven. They have now won two straight and can capture the AFC West title with two more victories — over Miami and Denver. The Dolphins (6-8) are 2-5 on the road this season. They haven’t won away from home since Oct. 15. The Dolphins are 5-7-2 ATS, while the Chiefs are 8-6.
VGB’s pick — Kansas City (-10.5), Under (43.5)
Panthers One Of The Hottest Teams In NFL
Tampa Bay at Carolina — The Panthers (10-4) have won six of their last seven games. They’re not going to let the last-place team in their division spoil the party now, are they? The Bucs (4-10) are just 1-6 on the road — that one win coming in Florida at Miami. The Panthers are a legitimate Super Bowl contender and Cam Newton has to be in the discussion for league MVP. Carolina is also 9-5 ATS, while Tampa is 4-9-1.
VGB’s pick — Carolina (-10), Under (46.5)
Titans Face Division Leaders In Last Two Games
Los Angeles Rams at Tennessee — Two straight losses have left a big question mark in the Titans’ playoff chances. The good news is they have two homes games left. The bad news is the Titans (8-6) face two division leaders — both with outstanding defenses. The Rams (10-4) were 4-12 last season. Head coach Sean McVay, at age 31, has turned the NFC West leaders into Super Bowl contenders in his first season with the team.
VGB’s pick — Los Angeles Rams (-7), Under (48)
Garoppolo On A Roll With 49ers
Jacksonville at San Francisco — Don’t look now, but the 49ers (4-10) and Jimmy Garoppolo have won three straight and four of their last five. But don’t get too carried away. Three of those victories were against some pretty bad teams. Now, they face the best defense in the NFL. The Jaguars (10-4) can still earn a bye in the playoffs, so they need to keep winning. The Jaguars are 9-5 ATS, while the 49ers are 7-7.
VGB’s pick — Jacksonville (-4.5), Under (42)
Zeke Returns With Two Games Left
Seattle at Dallas — Ezekiel Elliott returns from suspension just in time to help the Cowboys (8-6) in their push for a wild card spot. Dallas has won three straight, while Seattle has lost two in a row. The Seahawks (8-6) are decimated with injuries on defense and Russell Wilson looks tired from carrying this team. Both teams must win this game to have a shot at a wild card spot. The Seahawks are 4-8-1 ATS, while the Cowboys are 7-6-1.
VGB’s pick — Dallas (-5), Over (47)
Giants Looking For Second Road Win
New York Giants at Arizona — There’s not much left to play for this season for these two teams except a higher draft pick. The Giants (2-12) have to be the most disappointing team this year as the betting line on them before the season began was to win nine games. The Cardinals (6-8) have a decent record at home at 4-3, but they have one of the worst records in the league against the spread at 4-9-1. The Giants are 6-8.
VGB’s pick — New York Giants (+3.5), Over (40)
Injury Sidelines Steelers All-Pro Receiver
Pittsburgh at Houston — The Steelers (11-3) not only lost the game to the Patriots last week, they lost one of the best players in the league as well in receiver Antonio Brown. The MVP candidate, who suffered a lower left leg injury, hopes to return for the playoffs. The Steelers should have plenty of firepower left to beat the Texans (4-10), who have lost four in a row and seven or their last eight. But the Steelers are just 3-4 ATS on the road.
VGB’s pick — Pittsburgh (-10), Over (44)
Eagles A Perfect 6-0 At Home This Season
Oakland at Philadelphia — Nick Foles did a great job in his first start for an injured Carson Wentz. The backup QB threw for four touchdowns for the Eagles (12-2), who secured a first-round bye with the victory. They finish the season off with two homes games where they are undefeated in six starts. The Raiders (6-8), losers of two straight, have certainly lost that magic from last season when they finished 12-4.
VGB’s pick — Oakland (+9), Over (48)