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There are only a few weeks left in the NFL Regular Season, and there are still a number of teams that can play their way into the playoffs. Playoff positioning is also up for grabs in the next few weeks, with a number of games this weekend having big consequences on the NFL postseason. We’ll have an NFL Playoff Update article later this week, but for now we’ll break down some of the key NFL games this weekend from a betting perspective.
The Thursday game is a great matchup as 8-4 Minnesota travels to Arizona to face the Cardinals who won their tenth game of the season on Sunday. That was a big revenge spot for the Cardinals, who avenged their lone home loss of the season in a blowout win vs. St. Louis.
Arizona faces a similar type of foe this week, as like the Rams Minnesota is a rush-heavy offense without much of a passing threat. Vikings have been held to under 200 yards passing eight times this season – including a 94-yard passing effort last week in a blowout loss vs. Seattle. This top online sportsbook looks for Arizona to win big again, listing the host as a big 7.5-point favorite.
The only team ahead of Arizona in the NFC is Carolina, who won late at New Orleans Sunday to keep their undefeated record, now at 12-0. Panthers have also been great at the betting window, covering the spread in nine of those 12 games. Only Cincinnati has been better against the spread this season, going 10-2 ATS (Minnesota is also 9-3 ATS). Carolina returns home to face another division foe as the fading Falcons come to town. Atlanta has lost five straight games overall, and has lost eight straight games against the pointspread. Panthers are a solid 7.5-point home favorite.
While Carolina and Arizona are clearly the top two teams in the NFC, the AFC is still completely up for grabs. New England was firmly in control but a slew of injuries led to the Patriots losing two straight, including a shocking loss last week at home against a bad Philadelphia team. Pats now share identical 10-2 records with Cincinnati and Denver, who are ahead of the Patriots with tie-breakers. All three of those AFC contenders are listed as favorites this week, with the Pats a three-point choice on the road at Houston, Cincinnati a three-point choice at home vs. Pittsburgh, and Denver a big 7.5-point favorite at home vs. Oakland.
The biggest favorite on the board this weekend is Kansas City, who is laying 10 points at home against the San Diego Chargers. Like the Patriots, San Diego has suffered a ton of injuries to their receiving corps, and are now rumored to have reacquired Vincent Brown this week. Much help is needed for a Chargers team that has lost seven of their last eight games overall.
One last interesting note for this weekend is that the NFL’s worst team, Cleveland, is actually listed as a favorite. This is the fourth time all season the 2-10 Browns have been favored, losing outright in two of those games. Johnny Manziel will once again be the starter. We’ll be back next week to break down Week 15 from a betting perspective.