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Just three weeks remain until the regular season ends and the playoff seedings and potential matchups are known.

The playoff picture is becoming clearer and this past week saw Denver clinch a playoff spot and Indianapolis winning the AFC South.

The Broncos and Colts join Seattle as the only teams to have officially clinched playoff spots but several other teams are virtually certain of playing football in January.

New England is all set to wrap up the AFC East at 10-3 but will be without TE Rob Gronkowski after he suffered a season-ending injury. The Pats need just one more win or one Miami loss to win the division and will have a chance for both this week as they are short favorites at the Dolphins.

Cincinnati controls its fate in the AFC North with a two game lead over Baltimore and a game hosting the Ravens in Week 17 should they not have wrapped up the division title by then.

The Ravens and Dolphins are both contending for the second AFC Wild Card with each currently 7-6. Baltimore holds the tie breaker by virtue of its 26-23 win at Miami earlier this season.

At 6-7 both San Diego and the New York Jets remain mathematically alive for the Wild Card but their realistic chances are slim.

Denver has yet to clinch the AFC West as its 11-2 record is just one game better than Kansas City’s 10-3. But the Broncos really have a two game lead after sweeping the season series against the Chiefs.

Barring a total collapse the Chiefs will be the fifth seeded team in the AFC and will play a Wild Card on the road, likely at either Cincinnati or Indianapolis, despite having the better record.

Seattle has all but clinched both the NFC West title and the top NFC seed but should do so with two home games to end the season after this week’s game at the Giants.

New Orleans holds the edge over Carolina in the NFC South with a one game lead over the Panthers but has a game at Carolina next week. The loser of the division is likely to be the fifth seeded team in the playoffs as both teams have wins over San Francisco.

The 49ers are unlikely to catch Seattle for the Division title but still have to hold off Arizona for a Wild Card. San Francisco leads the Cardinals by just one game and will end the season at Arizona in Week 17.

Dallas and Philadelphia are battling for the NFC East title with the Eagles a half game ahead of the Cowboys prior to Dallas’ Monday night game at Chicago. But the Cowboys already own a win over the Eagles and will host them in Week 17.

Chicago had a chance to tie Detroit for the NFL North lead with a home win over Dallas but let’s not forget Green Bay. At 6-6-1 the Packers are a half game behind Detroit and will be either a half-game ahead of or behind Chicago on Tuesday morning.

The Packers may have QB Aaron Rodgers back for their game in Dallas on Sunday and will be at Chicago in Week 17. This division remains very much up in the air with just three weeks remaining and three teams in contention. Only the division winner likely advances to the playoffs.

Home Favorites, through Sunday, are enjoying solid success with a 71-56-4 ATS record (56 percent). Home Underdogs are just 34-31-2 ATS and showing the slightest of losses after the factoring in the ’vig’ at just 52.3 percent. Home Pick ‘em are just 2-5 and double digit favorites are 10-14 ATS.

The wild scoring in the fourth quarter of many games on Sunday contributed to OVER going 10-5. For the season the OVER holds 108-93 edge with six games pushing.the closing total at the LVH Sports Book.

Here’s a look at the 16 games that comprise the Week 15 schedule.


San Diego +10 at Denver (55): At 6-7 San Diego remains technically alive for a Wild Card but their realistic chances are slim. The Broncos figure to have any edges associated with any weather issues and the nighttime temperatures. Even with an explosive offense that started in week one, Denver has still covered 5 of its last 6 games with the lone failure occurring on the road in their overtime loss at New England. DENVER


Washington +6 at Atlanta (51): Things are a mess with the Redskins as they take to the road after three straight home games. Atlanta has played well the past three weeks despite their poor record and are back home after a pair of road games. If this were September we might expect a bounce back from Washington after last week’s humiliating 45-10 loss to Kansas City. But it’s mid December and the season has taken a toll on many levels. At least the hosts have shown they are still playing hard. ATLANTA.

SF -5 at Tampa Bay (41½): San Francisco thanks to Frank Gore edged Seattle in a game critical to their playoff hopes in what was, as expected, a very physical contest. Tampa Bay has played well with 4 wins in its last 5 games. The lone loss, though on the road, was to red hot Carolina. Here they face another elite team that is playing with need. At less than a TD the Niners are worth backing as Tampa is stepping up in class and facing a 49ers team that is in pretty good health. SAN FRANCISCO.

Arizona -3 at Tennessee (41½): Tennessee is back home after competitive, but losing, efforts at Indianapolis and Denver. Arizona is just 2-4 SU on the road but 4-2 ATS. In their lone game as a road favorite they won and covered at Jacksonville. But Tennessee has lost 4 straight at home after winning their first 2 and are 1-3-2 ATS. Yet they are still competing and playing with no pressure. The Cardinals are an improving team but may be a season away from being Playoff worthy. TENNESSEE.

New Orleans -6½ at St Louis (50): The Saints need a win to stay a game ahead of the Panthers and maintain their Division lead and a chance for a number 2 seed as opposed to a number 5 seed if they fall to a Wild Card. New Orleans is just 3-3 on the road but two of the losses were at Seattle and New England. St Louis is capable of staying close into the second half but ultimately New Orleans has too many options on offense and a much improved defense capable of pulling away from the Rams. NEW ORLEANS.

Seattle -7 at NY Giants (41): Seattle is 5-2 both SU and ATS away from home this season. And they have covered their last 4 games overall. Normally this would be a spot for the home underdog but the Giants have played poorly vs. winning teams all season and have been outscored by over 17 points per game by teams that are currently 8-5 or better. Against teams that are currently 5-8 or worse, Seattle is 7-0 SU, winning by an average of 13 points per game. SEATTLE.

Chicago +2 at Cleveland (43): Despite all the injuries the Bears remain the more talented team. It’s debatable as to whether the Browns have enough offense to exploit the Bears’ vulnerabilities on defense. Cleveland’s own defense, which played well early, has been worn down by the rigors of a season in which its offense has struggled. Neither team will be bothered by an inclement weather. CHICAGO.

Houston +6 at Indy (45½): Houston finally axed coach Gary Kubiak with Wade Phillips taking over as interim coach for the Texans, whose losing streak has reached 11. Despite the coaching change Houston is unlikely to show much intensity as they play out the string. The Colts have had trouble stopping the run so Houston should be able to put points on the board. And although their defense has put up solid statistics the Texans have allowed at least 27 points in 9 of 13 games. OVER

Buffalo -2 at J’ville (43): Surprisingly both teams have identical 4-9 records. The Bills are favored for just the second time this season yet are 1-5 both SU and ATS on the road with all 5 losses by at least a TD. It’s hard to support such a team especially considering how well the Jags have played over the past month despite their awful first half of the season. JACKSONVILLE.

New England -2½ at Miami (45.5): New England TE Rob Gronkowski suffered a season ending injury in the win over Cleveland and the impact of his absence was felt when he missed most of the first half of the season. Without Gronkowski the Patriots may rely much more on the ground game. With both teams needing to win we could well see conservative game plans designed to limit the possibility of mistakes. UNDER.

Philly -4 at Minnesota (51½): Depending on Monday’s result Philadelphia is either tied or alone atop the NFC East with an 8-5 record and a 5 game winning streak. Last week they exploded for 28 fourth quarter points in the snow to defeat Detroit. Philly is on the road for the first time in more than a month after 3 straight home games and a Bye week. They are favored on the road by more than a FG for the first time all season and are playing with need .Vikings playing with no pressure. Prime spot for an upset. MINNESOTA.

NY Jets +10½ at Carolina (41): The Panthers’ defense, which has played well all season, will be facing a much less formidable challenge in rookie Geno Smith than they faced, and will face again next week, in Drew Brees. The Jets are in a negative situation while the Panthers are at home where they’ve won 4 games this season by more than two touchdowns. CAROLINA.

KC -3½ at Oakland (41): Despite a 4-9 record Oakland has been more competitive than expected prior to the season. Kansas City won the earlier meeting with the Raiders, 24-7, but were outgained 274 to 216. Kansas City’s strong running game should have success against a Raiders’ rush defense that has faltered over the second half of the season. The Chiefs have also been a perfect 4-0 both SU and ATS as road favorites this season with all 4 wins by more than a touchdown. KANSAS CITY.

GB (NL) at Dallas: This game has yet to be lined due to both Dallas playing at Chicago on Monday night and, more importantly, the still uncertain status of Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers. The comeback 22-21 win over Atlanta, behind QB Matt Flynn, snapped Green Bay’s 0-4-1 SU slide that commenced when Rodgers was injured early in their midseason loss to Chicago. Even with a loss Monday night the Cowboys control their own destiny in the NFC East which likely will come down to their week 17 home tilt against Philadelphia. OVER.

Cincy -3 at Pittsburgh (41): The Steelers have had trouble all season establishing the run which should be an advantage to the Bengals’ defense. The Cincy offense has been much more reliant on the run and has topped 150 rushing yards in 5 of their last 9 games. This has been a low scoring series since Mike Tomlin succeeded Bill Cowher as Pittsburgh coach with their 13 meetings since 2007 averaging just 37 total points per game. UNDER.


Baltimore +6 at Detroit (48): Baltimore is a woeful 1-5 SU and 1-4-1 ATS on the road but 3 of the road losses have been by exactly a FG and another by just 6 points. These results give the impression of a poor traveling road team yet one that has been more competitive than the obvious results suggest. Given the importance of the game to both teams and the fact that the Ravens are the more experienced, accomplished and disciplined team the preference is to back the defending Super Bowl champions who know how to play when the stakes are great. BALTIMORE.


Last Week





Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to Gaming Today readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Contact Andy at [email protected]

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About the Author

Andy Iskoe

Owner and author of “The Logical Approach,” Andy Iskoe has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in-season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football.

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