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This week’s NFL action gets underway on Thursday night with a meaningless game between the 4-9 Denver Broncos and the 3-10 Indianapolis Colts with Denver favored by 2.5 points on the road in an 8:25 p.m. start on NBC. However, there are a number of games this weekend that will have a major impact on the playoff picture in both conferences.
Starting with a pair of special Saturday games on NFL Network, the 4-9 Chicago Bears will try and play spoiler against 7-6 Detroit as the Lions try and stay in the NFC wild card race. Detroit has been listed as a five-point home favorite with the total set at 44 for this 4:30 p.m. start. An 8:25 p.m. kickoff at Arrowhead Stadium pits the 7-6 Los Angeles Chargers on the road against the 7-6 Kansas City Chiefs with first place in the AFC West on the line. The Chargers are favored by one point with the total set at 46.
Philadelphia has the best record in the NFC at 11-2, but it will face the rival 2-11 New York Giants this Sunday at 1 p.m. on FOX with Nick Foles at quarterback after Carson Wentz was lost for the season with a knee injury. The Eagles are set as 7.5-point road favorites with a total line of 40. Out in Carolina in an early start on FOX, the 7-6 Green Bay Packers are expected to have Aaron Rodgers back under center as four-point road underdogs against the 9-4 Panthers.
The total for this NFC clash has been set at 45. Another head-to-head matchup in the NFC sends 6-7 Arizona on the road as a 4.5-point underdog against 5-8 Washington with a total line of 43.5.
In early action in the AFC, 6-7 Miami goes on the road to face 7-6 Buffalo in a game that is currently off the board. Baltimore is also 7-6 and trying to stay in the AFC wild card race as a seven-point road favorite against winless Cleveland with the total set at 40 points. Over in the AFC South, 4-9 Houston can play the role of spoiler as an 11-point road underdog against the division-leading 9-4 Jacksonville Jaguars. The total for that game has been set at 39.
There are two inter-conference matchups on Sunday’s 1 p.m. schedule starting with the 5-8 Cincinnati Bengals taking on the 10-3 Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota is gunning for one of the top two seeds in the NFC as a heavy 11-point home favorite with the total set at 42. The 9-4 New Orleans Saints are trying to win the NFC South and they have been listed as prohibitive 16-point home favorites against the 5-8 New York Jets. The total line for that game is 47 points.
There are a trio of late afternoon games this Sunday including a huge showdown on FOX in the NFC West between the 9-4 Los Angeles Rams and the 8-5 Seattle Seahawks with the division title up for grabs. Seattle already won the first meeting this season and it is set as a two-point home favorite with 48-point total line. Next up is 8-5 Tennessee on the road against 3-10 San Francisco as a two-point underdog with a total line of 44.
The top postseason seed in the AFC is up for grabs in a featured 4:25 p.m. start on CBS when the 10-3 New England Patriots go on the road as 2.5-point favorites to face the 11-2 Pittsburgh Steelers. The betting line for the total in this conference showdown has been set at 54 points.
Sunday night’s prime time 8:30 p.m. start on NBC pits the 7-6 Dallas Cowboys against the 6-7 Oakland Raiders as three-point road favorites with the total set at 46. Monday night’s matchup on ESPN in an 8:30 p.m. start is an NFC South tilt between the 8-5 Atlanta Falcons and the 4-9 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Atlanta is favored by six points on the road and the total has been set at 48 points.