There is still some mystery concerning the NFL Wild Card picture which begins next week. Those making sports picks will have some decisions to make this Sunday, trying to surmise how this could play out.
Here is a look at each conference and how it breaks down and includes the NFL odds in each scenario.
NFC – Teams Set, Just Who Is Going Where
Unless Seattle loses at home to St. Louis or ties, with both unlikely to occur, and Detroit and Green Bay ends in a tie, even a Dallas victory over Washington is still likely to keep the Cowboys in the third slot in the NFC and hosting a game next week.
The betting odds have Dallas as 5.5-point road favorites, yet given their circumstances, not really certain we will see the best of the Cowboys this week.
There is little doubt the Cowboys are the superior team, but it would seem coach Jason Garrett would have a fairly simple game plan trying to win with skill and execution rather and hopefully minimize risk of injury, because they have little to gain.
NFL football handicappers and fans alike are not thrilled the Carolina vs. Atlanta winner is going to make the playoffs despite having a losing record. This is the second such occurrence of this in five years, thus, it seems the NFL needs to address this either with fewer divisions in each conference or another formula. Either way, the Panthers or Falcons will have a home game next weekend and there is a good chance the sportsbooks will set the NFL odds with them as home underdogs.
The Detroit at Green Bay confrontation has massive implications. The winner become the two-seed and earns a bye, while the loser has to play the following on the road. While either team that losses will presumably be favored in Charlotte or Atlanta, they would be coming in off a disappointing defeat and facing a team charged up after sneaking in the playoffs and wanting to prove themselves, much like Seattle in 2010, when they upset New Orleans 41-36 as 10-point home underdogs.
Another unpleasant possibility for the Packers or Lions would be if Arizona managed to knock off San Francisco this week and they fell to the sixth seed, meaning a trip to Dallas.
Chances are that will not happen and instead the Cardinals will be the sacrificial lamb heading to Big D.
AFC Wild Card Picture Is More Muddled
New England’s the top seed and Denver should be right behind them. The Broncos cannot screw around and lose to Oakland at home, because a Cincinnati victory Sunday night would relegate them to a Wild Card status.
Indianapolis seems like a safe choice for NFL picks this week playing at lowly Tennessee and the Colts appear to be set as the No.4 four seed.
However, the Colts have not be playing well and would take on either Cincinnati or Pittsburgh, who both have built up momentum and would have the firepower to knock off Indianapolis on the road Speaking of the Bengals and Steelers, their battle is also for a division crown and the winner has a definite edge of playing a home game next Saturday or Sunday as opposed to being distraught and also on the road.
Finally, San Diego is presently the sixth-seed and they have a tough road contest at Kansas City and are underdogs. If the Chargers were to lose, they open the door for Baltimore to step in as the Wild Card club if they beat Cleveland.
It is doubtful, the Ravens would lose at home, yet if they did, Houston is next in line followed by Kansas City.
It should be an exciting finish and by late Sunday the Wild Card field will be set and we can start breaking the sportsbooks odds for the postseason.