Not many of these regular season weeks left. For some the hard work is done. Others can but hope. An increasing number are becoming resigned to their fate.

Welcome to Week 16 of the National Football League

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Important newsflash. This time of the NFL season should come with a massive alert. Beware teams that have already qualified for postseason. Beware those who have little or nothing tangible left to play for. Just beware, basically!

Not all sides will down tools of course if they’ve already achieved their main objective, or indeed already know their ignominious fate. But some might, almost unconsciously, however much they may feel less inclined to so do.

So proceed with caution, dear friends, and look out too for those desperate to pull off the near-impossible, for they might summon the required minerals to do just that! Let’s remind ourselves as to who is sitting pretty right now, with a postseason spot of some kind guaranteed.

AFC – Bills, Chiefs, Bengals. 4 spots are therefore still up for grabs.

NFC – Eagles, Vikings, 49ers, Cowboys. 3 spots therefore remain.

Teams whose hopes have completely gone up in flames are Texans, Bears, Broncos, Rams (last season’s Super Bowl winners, don’t forget), Cardinals, and Colts. Some big teams, big names, and coaches looking anxiously at their inbox.

Let’s take a look at a couple of matches that will doubtless enthral us over the weekend – and don’t forget, there’s a stack of Saturday action given the time of the year.

As far as Super Bowl outright betting goes, the 13-and-1 Eagles still can’t get to be favourites. That honour presently sits with the Bills, but at 7/2 it’s a wide-open-looking race for the Lombardi still.

Cincinnati Bengals @ New England Patriots, 6pm UK Saturday, Gillette Stadium

A match that will test the above theories to breaking point. New England desperately need to win to keep their hopes alive, but are an inferior team at present, no question. Cincinnati, carrying all before them right now, are already there. Will the fire be burning quite as bright? Go figure ..

Betting – Bengals 4/7, Patriots 7/5, game total 41.5. On the spread it’s Bengals -3.5 @ 21/20.

If this was a postseason knockout football match I’d see Cincinnati winning comfortably, and I’d expect a spread of around -7 or more. At least. For the above reasons that can’t quite be taken in the same manner, in my view.

So – can New England pull it off? They’re having a modest season, like to run the football, and that will play into a definite Bengal strength. As for the visitors, they have the weaponry, IF they have the motivation.

It doesn’t seem five minutes since the Bengals could hardly get out of their own way – it’s not always been the case in recent years that they’ve had SB aspirations, and indeed came so close last term.

For me they’re different gravy and won’t rest on their hard-earned laurels on Saturday. Let’s hope they show their class and do the business in Massachusetts on Saturday early evening, UK time. What a great way to start the Chrimbo festivities.

Selections – Bengals to win @ 8/13. Bengals on the spread -3.5 @ 21/20. Game total over 41.5 @ 20/23


Detroit Lions @ Carolina Panthers, 6pm UK Saturday, Bank of America Stadium

Two NFC franchises who at this stage are merely in the ‘hopeful’ camp. A win then is a must to maintain what chances remain.

The Lions are on a win-steak of three, and we’ve profited from that in recent weeks. The Panthers hunt up the Bucs in the Division no-one seemingly wants to win, the South, while Detroit won’t catch the Vikings in the North but could nab a spot with a strong finish.

Betting – Lions 7/10, Panthers 6/5, and the game total is 43.5. Lions on the spread are -2.5.

Detroit are the form team, and have plenty of motivation. QB Jared Goff is playing arguably his best-ever football, and they’ve a side devoid perhaps of headline standouts but packed full of quality nevertheless.

They have a top-five offense but in stark contrast a leaky, lowly-rated D. Carolina are more secure but far less effective in possession.

Another absolute cracker in prospect, and I’m taking Detroit to maintain their excellent run of form.

Selections – Lions to win @ 7/10. Game total over 43.5 @ 10/11. Lions -2.5 @ 10/11

NFL Betting Odds

From everyone here at Betfred, and especially the FredZone, can I wish you all a very Happy Christmas. Take care as always, and have a lovely time doing whatever floats your boat over these festive few days.

All the very best,