Last week, Philly (who lost Tuesday night) was our No. 2, and San Diego, who also lost, was our No. 3. The Cowboys (our No. 6), Jaguars (No. 7) and Dolphins (No. 9) went down, too, and I imagine a lot of pools were won and lost last week as a result. For those of you still left, let's take a look at this week's numbers:
|Team ||Opponent|| % Picked|| Vegas ML*|| Vegas Odds
|Falcons ||Panthers ||21.20% ||1050 ||91.3%
|49ers ||Cardinals ||17.80% ||240 ||70.6%
|Colts ||Titans ||17.00% ||475 ||82.6%
|Lions ||Vikings ||8.30% ||165 ||62.3%
|Rams ||Seahawks ||8.20% ||140 ||58.3%
|Jets ||Bills ||5.80% ||115 ||53.5%
|Ravens ||Bengals ||3.60% ||475 ||82.6%
|Giants ||Redskins ||3.40% ||192.5 ||65.8%
|Texans ||Jaguars ||2.10% ||+145** ||40.8%
|Eagles ||Cowboys ||1.80% ||270 ||73%
|Packers ||Bears ||1.80% ||487.5 ||83%
|Chiefs ||Raiders ||1.50% ||187.5 ||65.2%
|Saints ||Buccaneers ||1.20% ||350 ||77.8%
|Patriots ||Dolphins ||1.10% ||192.5 ||65.8%
|Jaguars ||Texans ||1.00% ||-145 ||59.2%
|Chargers ||Broncos ||0.70% ||165 ||62.3%
|Steelers ||Browns ||0.60% ||235 ||70.1%
*average of the two moneylines
** Texans are underdogs
Keep in mind this late in the year, you want to check who's available to the remaining teams in your pool, as the above numbers are just averages across a large sample of pools. Moreover, as more owners get eliminated, the sample from which they're drawn shrinks, making it less reliable.
1. Atlanta Falcons
I'm not a believer but coming off a loss and playing at home for home field throughout the playoffs against Carolina, they're the no brainer if you have them available. I give the Falcons an 89 percent chance to win this game.
2. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts need this game to assure a playoff birth, and they draw a Titans team at home that can't stop the pass and seems to have mailed it in a few games ago. I give the Colts an 84 percent chance to win this game.
3. Green Bay Packers
Lovie Smith says he'll play his guys, but unless the Panthers AND Bucs pull off miraculous upsets early, Chicago has nothing to play for. In that case, it's hard to see them going all out simply to send a message to a rival or sweep the NFC North. I give the Packers an 83 percent chance to win this game.
4. Baltimore Ravens
The Bengals have won the last three meetings between these teams, but at home and with a possible first-round bye on the line, I expect the Ravens to bring at least their B+ game, and that should be good enough. I give Baltimore a 79 percent chance to win this game.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Browns have beaten the Patriots and Saints this year, and this game is in Cleveland, so it's far from a lock. But Cleveland's also lost games to the Bills and Bengals recently, and the Steelers are playing for the No. 2 seed and a bye. I give the Steelers a 74 percent chance to win this game.
6. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs need this game to lock up the No. 3 seed, and they're undefeated on the year at Arrowhead. Oakland might be missing Darren McFadden
, too. I give the Chiefs a 68 percent chance to win this game.
7. New Orleans Saints
The Saints are probably not playing for anything (assuming Atlanta beats Carolina), but if Atlanta loses, New Orleans could have home field throughout the playoffs. I expect the Saints will try, but if Atlanta is up big at the half, the Saints could pull their starters against a feisty Bucs team that still has a remote chance to get in. I give the Saints a 65 percent chance to win this game.
8. San Diego Chargers
The Chargers laid an egg last week, but they're so much better than the Broncos I'd expect them to roll now that the pressure's entirely off. Of course, the game is in cold weather, high altitude and on the road. I give San Diego a 64 percent chance to win this game.
9. New York Giants
The Redskins have played well the last two weeks, and the Giants are missing their top-two receivers and playing on the road. Moreover, the Giants were stranded in Green Bay for an extra day after their season-killing loss and have less time (and incentive) to get ready for this week. I give New York a 63 percent chance to win this game.
10. San Francisco 49ers
They draw a weak Cardinals team at home, but it's hard to rely on a 5-10 squad regardless of the circumstances. I give the 49ers a 63 percent chance to win this game.