NFL Week 16 Preview: Chargers QB to shine and plummeting Patriots?
Odds and look-ahead to penultimate weekend
We’re heading into the final two weekends of regular season action, and there are still four divisional titles up for grabs across the NFL. There’s also the matter of a Wild Card tussle which is certain to go down to the wire.
Ahead of a season-defining weekend for sides across the AFC and NFC, we take a look at the big games and talking points – and deliver the odds. Starting with an elder statesman who refuses to lose his shine…
Rivers delivers for L.A.’s offensive masters
The NFL has seen more than a few ageing Quarterbacks producing stellar displays this season, including Philip Rivers. Time and again, he’s delivered for Los Angeles Chargers, but this weekend faces a tough Baltimore Ravens defence.
The 37-year-old has thrown for at least two Touchdowns in all but one of this season’s games. He’s helped the Chargers score a minimum of 26 points in each of the last four games. And they’re 19/20 to Score Over 25.5 Points again this weekend.
There’s plenty of impetus for both sides here. They are second in their respective divisions, but each could go top with a win this weekend.
Both have distinctive and differing strengths. The 253 points given up by Baltimore leaves them with the NFL’s best defence, while their hosts have the AFC’s second-strongest offence. It could be a close affair, and the Chargers are 10/3 to win by 1-6 points.
Has Pats’ air of invincibility finally disappeared?
While results elsewhere mean New England Patriots are still on course to win the AFC East, the bigger picture is far from rosy. A limp defeat to Pittsburgh Steelers at the weekend ensured five regular season losses for the first time since 2009.
While a last-gasp collapse against Miami Dolphins in Week 14 can be excused as a madcap finale, their other four defeats (all on the road) are harder to write off. And most have been fairly sizeable – three of them have come by a margin of 10+ points.
They need to rediscover that edge – especially defensively. With two games remaining, they’ve already given up more points than each of the last two seasons. But this weekend’s visit of Buffalo Bills could be the ideal morale-booster.
The Bills have won twice on their travels this season, and the Pats are 1/8 in the Money Line.
However, Buffalo have stunned a strong Minnesota Vikings side on the road in recent months. They’re 5/1 to win in Foxboro and consign the Patriots to three straight defeats for the first time in 16 years.
Can Vikings recover form on the road at Detroit?
Home comforts are all that’s keeping Minnesota Vikings’ Wild Card tilt alive at present. Four successive victories at U.S. Bank Stadium have been punctuated by three straight defeats on the road – recording a combined 17 points in the last two.
They look set for a low-scoring, cagey affair this weekend against NFC North rivals Detroit Lions. Matt Patricia’s side are out of the playoff running at 5-9, but can grind out a sporadic win – as they proved in the recent 17-3 victory in Arizona.
The Vikings soundly won the reverse game, with Kirk Cousins completing a ruthlessly-effective 18 of 22 passes en route to a 24-9 win.
And despite recent road struggles, they should be able to contain a Detroit side for whom no Receiver can boast more than five season TDs.
Our odds have the Vikings at 2/5 in the Money Line. Meanwhile, Mike Zimmer’s defence are 11/5 to keep Detroit under 13.5 Points for the second time this season.
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All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing