What are the picks, bets and, predictions for NFL Week 18?
The National Football League enters its final week of the season with three playoff berths available. Here are the picks and predictions for Week 18.
With Damar Hamlin still in critical condition due to a cardiac arrest suffered last Monday night, the National Football League prepares for its last weekend of the season.
The final part of the calendar was stripped of much of its competitive and festive atmosphere due to the dramatic events that took place on Monday.
Apart from the Buffalo Bills, the rest of the teams that make up the league returned to training 36 hours after Hamlin’s medical emergency.
Under the lights of Monday Night Football, millions of people were witnesses to the dangers of playing football and also of the complicity that exists on the part of the fans, for a sport of extreme violence to survive to this day.
Whether Hamlin’s collision with Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins caused him to go into cardiac arrest has yet to be determined, but at least it made many understand that every game played has an element of danger to the players.
The most recent report that the Bills gave on the health of Damar Hamlin indicates that the the defensive back continues in critical condition, but with notable signs of improvement. .
Entering the final week of the calendar, 19 organizations remain in the running for the Vince Lombardi Trophy, the most entering the final week of a season since 2006, when there were 20. Only three playoff spots remain: two in the AFC and one in the NFC.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Lions at Packers (-4.5):
The last game of the season will define the last wild card ticket in the National Conference.
At some point in the season the Packers found itself with a 1-7 record, but times have changed for the Packers organization. The team’s future is reduced to a single win.
For the third time in his career, veteran quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a chance to lead the Packers to the playoffs after being under .500 for at least 10 games. No quarterback has achieved it so far.
The Packers posted a .500 mark on their four-game winning streak. Green Bay's rebound in defense has led to 68 points over the past four weeks, thanks to three fumble recoveries and nine interceptions.
The Packers became the first team with a 100-yard kickoff return touchdown and a 75-yard interception return touchdown in the same game since Minnesota did it in Week 11 of the 2016 season.
However, while the Packers’ goal is the closest to what the other two contenders (Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks) need to achieve, Detroit earned a Week 9 win over Green Bay that stopped a five-loss hemorrhage.
The Lions have scored 30 or more points in six of their eight wins, but their defense has been shaky, giving up 30 or more points in four games that were all losses.
For Detroit to make the playoffs, it needs to beat the Packers, but the Lions need a Seahawks loss or tie to reach the postseason for the first time since 2016.
Lions 21-24 Packers
Rams at Seahawks (-6.5):
If there’s one thing the Rams can still do before shedding their crown as defending champions, it’s shutting the postseason door on a divisional rival. For pride and dignity, the Rams will get a victory in Seattle that will leave the last NFC wild card berth to the winner of the meeting between the Lions and the Packers. Rams 28-26 Seahawks
Cardinals at 49ers (-14):
San Francisco is the biggest dominant force in the NFL today. The Cardinals stopped competing a long time ago. J.J Watt will retire with a loss. Cardinals 14-28 49ers
TWO MINUTE DRILL
Chiefs (-9.5) at Raiders:
Although the Bills-Bengals game suspension could affect the playoff picture, the Chiefs could take over the AFC No. 1 seed with a win. They won’t be thinking of resting anyone against the Raiders, who, while they managed to push the 49ers into overtime, aren’t playoff-caliber. Chiefs 30-27 Raiders.
Titans at Jaguars (-6):
Historically, Saturday night games in the NFL are for postseason rivalries and this game pretty much is. Whoever wins takes the division pennant. Titans 20-24 Jaguars
Buccaneers at Falcons (-4.5):
The Bucs don't have a lot to gain and a lot to lose. They are division champions and their seeding place will not be affected by their record, however injuries are a constant affliction in this league and they will prefer to play with the second team. Buccaneers 17-24 Falcons
Patriots at Bills (-7):
There isn't a game that could have more mixed feelings than this old AFC East rivalry. The Bills continue to think more about teammate Damar Hamlin, but they need to get back on the field to get competitive again and bring some joy back to the community. The Patriots control their destiny: with a win they acquire a wild card ticket. Patriots 20-23 Bills
Vikings (-7.5) at Bears:
The Bears accumulate nine losses and will put Nathan Peterman under center to take the balls, and we all know what will happen. Vikings 21-10 Bears
Texans at Colts (-2.5):
The Texans are not going to miss the opportunity to keep the first position of the next Draft and look for their franchise quarterback. Texans 14-21 Colts
Jets (-1) at Dolphins:
With the Jets out and the Dolphins scrambling for a quarterback, this game has few appealing elements. Even so, Miami will look for the miracle. Jets 17-21 Dolphins
Panthers at Saints (-3.5):
They do not fight for anything, there is not much to tell. Panthers 20-21 Saints
Browns at Steelers (-2.5):
The Steelers need a miracle to get the last ticket to the playoffs; it won’t be for them. Browns 17-21 Steelers
Ravens at Bengals (-7):
Cincinnati is waiting to see how the suspended game will affect their position in the postseason; what they can do is get a victory to tie up the division. Ravens 14-30 Bengals
Chargers at Broncos (-2.5):
The Chargers will seek to continue lighting their fire ahead of the postseason against the worst collapse of the year, although they will do so without headlines. Chargers 17-10 Broncos
Giants at Eagles (-14):
The Eagles still haven’t locked in the NL East pennant and with it the first seed. On the third try they will succeed. Giants 17-24 Eagles
Cowboys (-7) at Commanders:
Ron Rivera's work with the Commanders has been a disaster in the last month and that's how it will end. Cowboys 21-7 Commanders
Line of play
|Chiefs @ Raiders||Under 52.5|
|Titans @ Jaguars||Jaguars -6|
|Ravens @ Bengals||Bengals -7|
|Buccaneers @ Falcons||Under 40.5|
|Patriots @ Bills||Under 42.5|
|Vikings @ Bears||Vikings -7.5|
|Texans @ Colts||Under 38.5|
|Jets @ Dolphins||Dolphins +1|
|Panthers @ Saints||Saints -3.5|
|Browns @ Steelers||Steelers-2.5|
|Chargers @ Broncos||Under 39.5|
|Giants at Eagles||Eagles-14|
|Cardinals @ 49ers||Over 40.5|
|Rams @ Seahawks||Under 41.5|
|Cowboys @ Commanders||Cowboys -7.5|
|Lions @ Packers||Packers-4.5|
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