The Vikings Lay Claim to Kings of the North.
The Eagles are set to take a Giant leap towards the playoffs in New York & is there anything Denver can do to halt the Chief’s domination of the AFC West?
Minnesota Vikings (10-2) @ Detroit Lions (5-7) (Lions +2.5)
This maybe one of the more entertaining matchups in week 14. An NFC North affair in which anything other than a defeat will see the Vikings clinch the division and a place in the playoffs. However, the Detroit Lions still harbour playoff ambitions of a wild card spot – there’s plenty to play for!
When these two met in week 3, it was the Vikings who came out on top, 28-24 but it was Detroit who were left rueing the decision to go for it on 4th down rather than kick a field goal with the game in their hands. The rematch has all the makings of another keenly fought contest.
Despite their 10-2 record, Minnesota’s last 9 wins have all been by 8 points or less. They head into this weeks’ game with the 19th ranked offense and 31st ranked defense. These are the statistics which give some cause to perhaps give the Vikings a little less credit than their record deserves.
On the other hand, Detroit possess the 6th ranked offense and 32nd ranked defense. Yet in recent weeks their defense has played much better – giving up an average of 19.4 points per game in their last 5 outings compared to 32.1 points per game in their first 7. The Lions are a side improving. Their recent form suggests it and the belief in this team is evident every time they take the field.
Equally impressive is the simple fact that the Minnesota Vikings simply find a way to win games this year! Ultimately it comes down to who do you believe in most and that’s the team that’s clearly showing signs of improvement. Take nothing away from the Vikings but in my opinion, the Lions are a better team than they were in week 3. They are at home this weekend and sooner or later, if you play enough tight games, you’re going to lose one – that time is coming for the Minnesota Vikings.
PICK: Detroit Lions +2.5
Philadelphia Eagles (11-1) @ New York Giants (7-4-1) (Eagles -7)
Each week the doubters expect the Philadelphia Eagles to slip up, and each week the Eagles keep on winning. The manner in which they despatched of the Tennessee Titans last week was hugely impressive. Effectively the game was over by half time with wide receiver AJ Brown dominating his former team, hauling in 2 long TD passes in a 35-10 win.
The Giants, on the other hand, are misfiring. After starting 7-2, they’ve now lost two of their last three – and the third game, they tied! Unbelievably, a post season berth looks in real jeopardy and now they face the first of 2 games in a month against the team with the best record in the NFL.
The Eagles have the number 3 ranked offense. They’re averaging over 28 points per game and that’s complimented by a defense which ranks second in the NFL. They have any number of weapons. QB Jalen Hurts leads the team with 9 touchdowns, Miles Sanders is 76 yards shy of 1000 rushing yards for the season and AJ Brown needs just another 50 receiving yards to pass 1000.
The only way the Giants have any chance to win this game is to limit the Eagles scoring and keep it tight. The Giants have scored more than 24 points just once all season – they average only 20.4 points per game. Their best weapon is Saquon Barkley. He’s got 1055 rushing yards this season and he needs to be fed the ball early and often for the Giants to be competitive – and their defense needs to get turnovers. The problem is, it was defense which the Giants relied on so heavily when they were winning games. In recent weeks injuries have taken their toll and that’s reflected on the scoresheet. The New York Giants have given up 79 points in their last 3 outings. In the same period, Philadelphia’s scored 92 and conceded 60.
The Eagles have too much fire power and the Giants don’t have enough artillery of their own to keep up. This could be another game the Eagles have effectively won by half time.
PICK: Philadelphia Eagles -7
Kansas City Chiefs (9-3) @ Denver Broncos (3-9) (Broncos Total Points, under 16.5)
Nothing about this matchup bodes well for the Denver Broncos. They’ve already lost 9 of their 12 games this season. The Kansas City Chiefs have won 9. Denver has the worst scoring offense in the NFL, averaging a meagre 13.8 points per game. The Chiefs have the top scoring offense, averaging 29.2 points per game. Chris Jones leads the Chiefs with 10 sacks. Bradley Chubb leads the Broncos with 5.5 but isn’t even on the team anymore 0 he now plays his football in Miami! Add into the equation the Chiefs have beaten Denver in each of their last 13 encounters and they’re looking to bounce back from last weekend’s defeat to Cincinnati………the omens are not good for Denver!
The most Denver have scored in any game this season is 23 points – that was over 2 months ago. Kansas City have only failed to reach 24 points once in their last 6 games – and they still beat the Titans.
The irony for Denver is that their defense is outstanding. They’re ranked 3rd overall, they’re 3rd against the pass and only the San Francisco 49ers have given up fewer points. With the big off season trade for Russell Wilson this past off season, that was supposed to be more than enough to make this franchise a championship contender once again. A 3-9 record through 12 games isn’t how it was supposed to turn out. A headscratcher for all concerned and one which will likely result in first year head coach, Nathaniel Hackett being shown the door at the end of the season.
If Denver were somehow to find a way to win this game, it might well be the upset of the season but to win it, they’ll certainly have to score more than 17 points and as this season has already proved, that’s not easy for the 2022 Denver Broncos. Throw into the equation another injury to one of their key offensive players – wide receiver, Courtland Sutton (hamstring) – it looks even more unlikely.
PICK: Denver Broncos total points – under 16.5