Week 16 comes to an end as 19 teams are left battling for a playoff spot
‘Christmas comes at an inconvenient time’ according to Bill Belichick, and in a way, he has a point. The NFL season is almost over and playoff seedings are being determined during the hectic part of the holiday season. Last week, 26 teams were still in contention for an NFL playoff spot. This week, that number has decreased down to 19, and it should fall even further by Sunday evening.
1. Steelers vs Saints
23 DECEMBER 2018
*Odds are subject to change. Find the latest odds here.
DeCastro: "Their defense is playing crazy." pic.twitter.com/WI8ceLET4i
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 21, 2018
The Saints spent the first three-quarters of the season proving that offence can win big and the past three weeks proving that you can do the same with defence. However, in recent weeks, they have slowed down, as three consecutive road games resulted in two wins and a loss but their offence averaged only 16.7 points a game.
Heading into the game, it’s hard to ignore Pittsburgh’s win over New England last week. But of the Steelers’ eight wins, it is one of two that came against a team that currently has a winning record.
Playing at home has proven to be a significant advantage for the Saints, who have won 13 of the last 14 games in the Superdome, while winning and covering four straight with double-digit victories.
New Orleans are the favourites to win on Sunday. With their recent show of defence and hopes of a rebound in offence, the Saints will be back in business again.
2. Chiefs vs Seahawks
24 DECEMBER 2018
Kansas City Chiefs 1.63 vs Seattle Seahawks 2.13*
66% completion rate
— Kansas City Chiefs (@Chiefs) December 21, 2018
Patrick Mahomes will be looking to continue his MVP-caliber season, as the Seahawks host the slightly favoured Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The pair will be battling it out for a position in the playoffs.
For Seattle to clinch a playoff spot, it remains as simple as winning on Sunday night. Stopping the Chiefs and Mahomes in order to do so is considerably less simple.
Last week, the Seahawks didn’t look too promising as they lost to the 49ers, and it doesn’t look too promising once again. The Seahawks will be at a decided disadvantage trying to stop Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce.
The Chiefs are 11-3, and their losses were by a combined 7 points to teams with a combined record of 31-11. They head to Seattle as the favourites over the Seahawks who are typically terrific as home underdogs. However, injuries will make it hard for the Seahawks to keep up with the Chiefs.
The Seahawks may have to play without Bradley McDougald, who’s in doubt because of a knee injury he sustained. His potential replacement would be Delano Hill who will get his first NFL start. If that happens, the Seahawks’ pass defence goes from decent to sub-par. And sub-par won’t cut it against the top passing offense in the league.