NFL week 12 tips: Raiders to maintain grip on AFC against Panthers
Simon Sinclair | 29 November 2016
Thanksgiving week sees all 32 teams in the NFL back in action since week 3 of the campaign, making it an intense time in the battle for the playoffs.
Three fixtures have already taken place with Dallas Cowboys all but securing their place in the post-season with their win over Washington Redskins, while Detroit Lions took control of the NFC North.
Sides in the NFC will have to react on Sunday, with eyes on Seattle Seahawks, New York Giants and Green Bay Packers to respond.
In the AFC, New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders are enjoying a fierce tussle for the number one seed in the Conference, while divisional rivals Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs face off in Colorado.
Here are Coral’s five top NFL week 12 tips…
Carolina Panthers @ Oakland Raiders
The Panthers are not out of the post-season hunt yet as they are just two games behind Atlanta Falcons in the NFC South. Ron Rivera’s men have won three out of their last four contests, with their only defeat coming in heartbreaking fashion in the dying seconds against the Chiefs.
Carolina usually hit their peak around this time in the campaign, and will need to deliver their best to overcome the Raiders on the road. Oakland have managed to live up to the off-season hype, with many selecting them to win the AFC West, which they are currently on course to do.
Jack Del Rio’s men secured a controversial win over Houston Texans to earn control of the number one seed in the AFC ahead of the Patriots, and the club will be determined not to relinquish the crown.
Derek Carr and his passing offense have the tools to take apart the Panthers’ secondary, so backing the Raiders to triumph by 13-18 points at 6/1 could yield a healthy return.
Seattle Seahawks @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Seahawks are nearing the peak of their form just at the right time of the season, reeling off impressive wins over the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles.
Quarterback Russell Wilson is firing on all cylinders at the moment, and will be the driving force behind Seattle’s bid to oust Dallas from the number one seed in the NFC. He and his offense are playing frighteningly well, but their only problem coming on the injury front, with CJ Prosise ruled out for at least a month.
Tampa Bay produced a huge win last week for their playoff hopes, defeating the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium where few visiting teams ever claim victory. Jameis Winston is also playing exceedingly well at the moment supported by outstanding wideout Mike Evans.
Whether it will be good enough to go blow-for-blow with Seattle is another matter, which is why betting on the Seahawks for a 1-6 point win at 5/2 would be a prudent option.
San Diego Chargers @ Houston Texans
The Texans will enter this match still fuming about their defeat to the Raiders. The officials robbed Bill O’Brien’s men three times over the course of the contest with a series of poor decisions. Houston remain at the top of the AFC South, but will need to beat San Diego to maintain their grip.
Quarterback Brock Osweiler displayed small signs of improvement, but he is still a liability for the Texans in their offense, with the pressure falling on running back Lamar Miller and the defense to keep the club in matches. They’re facing a good offense this week, which could be too much for them to handle.
The Chargers return from their bye week still the most bizarre team in the NFL. At their best they can beat any team in the league, but at the same time are capable of major implosions such as their defeat to Miami Dolphins. Philip Rivers threw four interceptions in the loss, and will have to bounce back to ensure that his side are not out of post-season contention.
There is little between the teams, but the odds provide better value for Texans at home, which is why backing them at 11/10 to win on the money line could be a solid earner.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos
The Chiefs were stunned by the Buccaneers in their last outing, spurning the chance to keep pace with Oakland at the top of the AFC West. This division is one of the most competitive in the NFL with Kansas City battling with the Raiders and their opponents on Sunday the Broncos for the title.
Andy Reid’s men have the quality all over the pitch to dominate the West and make a push late into the post-season, but they can ill afford another poor defeat. They match up well against the Broncos and will be determined to put one over on their rivals.
The reigning Super Bowl champions return from their bye with their miraculous win over New Orleans Saints still fresh in their minds. Denver have struggled to reach their peak this season and have been reliant on their home form to keep them in the mix in the AFC.
Kansas City are in need of a bounce back game and making a statement at the home of their biggest rivals could kickstart a push for the Super Bowl, consequently it would be a good idea to back them on the money line at 8/5.
Green Bay Packers @ Philadelphia Eagles
The Packers are in a team crisis at the moment. At the start of the season their offense was sputtering, drawing criticism on All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers. However, over the last few weeks the 32-year-old has hit his stride, but has been let down by the club’s porous defense.
Washington Redskins exposed Green Bay’s defense to score 42 points, inflicting a fourth defeat on the spin to Green Bay, leaving their post-season prospects bleak to say the least. Mike McCarthy needs a strong performance from his team to get them back on track and ease the pressure on his position.
The Eagles have to win to keep their hopes of reaching the playoffs alive. The NFC East is extremely strong this term and even a 10-6 record might not be enough to reach the post-season.
Carson Wentz has plateaued in recent weeks, but could be handed a chance to regain his best form against Green Bay’s woeful secondary. As a result, backing the Eagles for a 7-12 point margin of victory at 7/2 would be a smart choice.
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