Still five of the eight divisions in the NFL are up for grabs entering Week 16 action, which seems unusual this late in the season, including all four in the NFC. Here are the eight breakdowns with Bovada NFL odds.
I've said the past two weeks that the Patriots would win the division -- not exactly a bold prediction -- and that was made official Sunday with a 41-13 home blowout of Miami that reportedly is going to get Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin fired after the season. New England can't take its foot off the gas, however, as it still probably has to win out to earn the No. 1 overall seed in the conference over Denver.
The Bengals (9-4-1) continue to lead Pittsburgh and Baltimore (9-5 each) by a half-game. All three teams won Sunday, with Cincinnati dominating the Cleveland Manziels, Pittsburgh taking a 27-20 decision in Atlanta, and Baltimore avoiding a home upset vs. Jacksonville with a 20-12 victory. Bovada oddsmakers list the Ravens and Steelers as +160 division favorites with Cincinnati at +200. I can see why because the Bengals host Denver this week as 3.5-point underdogs on NFL Odds and are at Pittsburgh next. Baltimore is in Houston -- which will be using a third-string quarterback -- and then hosts Cleveland. The Steelers host Kansas City on Sunday.
NFL Free Pick: I'm changing my tune here and going with Pittsburgh. I originally thought the Steelers would lose Sunday in Atlanta, but that was before Julio Jones was hurt. Steelers win out.
The Colts (10-4) were the pick all year and they beat Houston 17-10 on Sunday to clinch the South for the second straight season. However, Indy probably isn't going to get better than a No. 3 seed because it loses head-to-head tiebreakers with both Denver and New England.
Denver clinched the AFC West for a fourth straight season with Sunday's 22-10 win in San Diego despite a second straight pedestrian game from Peyton Manning. The Broncos must finish a game ahead of fellow 11-3 team New England to get home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
The Philadelphia Eagles were heavy division favorites entering this past week as they were also 3.5-point home favorites on NFL odds for Sunday night's showdown with Dallas. A win there would have all but wrapped up the East title. However, Dallas pulled the 38-27 road upset thanks to three Dez Bryant touchdown catches (against my fantasy team no less!). Now Dallas (10-4) is a -300 favorite at sportsbooks to win the East with the Eagles (9-5) at +200. The teams split two meetings so a second tiebreaker would be division record. Philly wins that currently at 3-1 with Dallas at 3-2. The Cowboys have a tough one this Sunday at home vs. Indianapolis -- Dallas opened at -3 -- and then close at Washington. The Eagles finish at Washington and at the NY Giants.
NFL Free Pick: I'm sticking with the Eagles for my NFL pick as they win out and Dallas drops one of its final two.
The Packers (10-4) remain -400 big favorites to win the North with Detroit at +300 despite the fact they have the same records and the Lions currently hold the tiebreaker. Green Bay is in Tampa this week and finishes at home vs. Detroit, so that looks like a winner-take-all game. The Lions are in Chicago this Sunday with the Bears on a short week after hosting New Orleans on Monday.
NFL Free Pick: Pack are just about invincible at home and they take the division with a Week 17 win over the Lions.
The Saints (5-8) are even money favorites and were in Chicago on Monday. So it's possible that Carolina (5-8-1) could be in sole possession of first by the end of the night. Atlanta (5-9) visits New Orleans next week, with the loser probably finished. The Falcons are the only unbeaten team in the division, with Carolina at 3-2 and New Orleans at 2-2.
NFL Free Pick: Saints by virtue of next week's win over the Falcons.
Seattle is a -300 favorite with Arizona at +200 despite the Cardinals having a one-game lead. However, Arizona is also going to have to turn to its third-string quarterback Ryan Lindley going forward with Drew Stanton's injury in Thursday's win over St. Louis. Plus the Cards are hosting the Seahawks as 7.5-point underdogs on NFL odds. When is the last time you saw a top seed in the conference this late in the season be more than a touchdown underdog at home?
NFL Free Pick: Seattle wins out and gets not just the division but the top seed in the NFC.