The final week of the NFL regular season is upon us and most of the playoff picture has been decided. However, the AFC West still has a couple questions to be answered. Here is a look at the best games of the week.
New England Patriots @ Miami Dolphins
Odds: Patriots -10
The 13-2 Patriots routed the New York Jets 41-3 in Week 16, but they’re still looking to wrap up the top seed in the AFC. The Dolphins are in the playoffs for the first time since 2008 after a 34-31 overtime win in Buffalo, as Jay Ajayi had his third 200-yard game of the season to power Miami to 10-5.
There’s a question of rest on both sides but it looks like the Patriots will be going full throttle while the Dolphins will be more inclined to rest their starters. Their playoff position is locked in while the Patriots need to win just in case the Oakland Raiders do as well.
The Patriots are 3-2 SU and ATS in their last five meetings with the Dolphins, including a 31-24 win in Week 2. New England is also looking to finish 8-0 SU on the road.
Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles
Odds: Eagles -3.5
The Cowboys are 13-2 after a beatdown of the Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football. If you’re wondering why they’re an underdog to a flailing Eagles squad, it’s because the Cowboys are likely to be resting some players.
The Eagles beat the New York Giants 24-19 last Thursday to go to 6-9. That’s was an important momentum-changer for a young team that is looking to end the season on a positive note. The narrative sets up well for them to finish with back-to-back wins and end their campaign on a high note. They’ll have had 10 days to prepare for this contest.
Oakland Raiders @ Denver Broncos
Odds: Broncos -2.5
The Raiders are 12-3 after a huge 33-25 win over Indianapolis, but it came at a huge cost as franchise quarterback Derek Carr broke his leg and is out for the season. That means Matt McGloin will start under center and he’ll have to face an angry Denver defense that got dominated in a 33-16 loss in Kansas City on Christmas night.
The defending Super Bowl champions have been eliminated from playoff contention, but they can still play spoiler against the Raiders, who are 2-3 SU and ATS in their last five against the Broncos, who fell 30-20 in Oakland in Week 9. The Raiders need this game to lock in the No. 2 seed in the AFC as well as a first-round bye. Otherwise, they could fall into a Wild Card spot.
Kansas City Chiefs @ San Diego Chargers
Odds: Chiefs -5.5
The Chiefs are 11-4 after their big win over the Broncos and now have an opportunity to steal the second seed in the AFC, along with the AFC West title – if the Raiders lose. The Chiefs have two wins over the Raiders this season, but they’ll need help from Denver.
Meanwhile, the Chargers are 5-10 and should be embarrassed after losing in Cleveland. They can also play spoiler in this divisional showdown, but what’s likely closer to the truth is that this team has packed it in. They are banged up, their head coach is likely to get fired at the end of the season and they enter on a four-game losing streak.
The Chiefs are 5-0 SU and 3-2 ATS in their last five against the Chargers, who lost 33-27 in overtime in Kansas City in Week 1.
Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions
Odds: Packers -3.5
The 9-6 Packers are the hottest team in the NFL after their 38-25 win over Minnesota. They have now won five straight games and quarterback Aaron Rodgers is squarely in the middle of the MVP race. Their offense is cooking as they’ve scored at least 30 points in three straight games.
The Lions are 9-6 and appear to be a sinking ship. They’ve survived a number of close games this season but their schedule has ramped up in December and they simply haven’t measured up. They were handled by the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys in back-to-back weeks, and now the general assumption is that they’ll again fall short to a team that is better than them.