With four weeks remaining in the 2020 NFL regular season, it’s time to take a fun-filled look at the NFC playoff picture. Can the surging New Orleans Saints hold off Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the race for first place in the conference standings? Could either, the LA Rams or Seattle Seahawks overcome a two-game deficit to beat out New Orleans and Green Bay? With Tampa Bay now, suddenly desperate, can Tom Brady and the Buccaneers hold off the playoff-hopeful Vikings, and Cardinals? With questions everywhere and Week 14 getting underway in days, let’s get down to business so you can place your bets against their NFC odds.
NFL Betting Analysis – Updated NFC Playoffs Picture
- New Orleans (10-2)
The Saints are on fire NFL betting nation! New Orleans has won nine consecutive games while going a perfect 5-0 ATS over their last five. Not only are the Saints still putting points on the board like every year (28.9 ppg, 5th), but more importantly New Orleans has what now looks like the best defense in the entire NFL. The Saints rank first in total defense, fifth against the pass, second against the run and fourth in points allowed (20.1 ppg).
New Orleans has won three straight with Taysom Hill under center and they’ll get drew Brees back inside the next couple of weeks. A 2-2- finish over their final four games looks like a lock, while dates against Kansas City and Minnesota in weeks 15 and 16 could prove difficult. The Saints are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games as a road favorite.
- Green Bay (9-3)
The Packers have won two straight and four of five while going a modest 3-2 ATS during the stretch. Green Bay has won seven of 10 and was the last team to beat New Orleans when they traveled to the Big Easy and got past New Orleans 37-30 in a shootout. While Green Bay leads the league in scoring (31.6 ppg), I have questions about their more modest defense which ranks 15th in points allowed (24.9 ppg). With games against Detroit, Carolina, Tennessee and Chicago remaining, it looks like Green Bay will go 3-1 at the very least to finish at 12-4. Packers are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games against their NFC counterparts.
- LA Rams (8-4)
The Rams have won three of their last four games while beating Seattle, Tampa Bay and Arizona during the run. Los Angeles ranks fifth in passing and ninth in rushing, yet they’ve struggled to put points on the board as they rank 17th in scoring (25.1 ppg) heading into their huge Week 14 home date against New England. The good news is that Los Angeles ranks second in total defense, first against the pass, third against the run and fifth in points allowed (20.3 ppg). Oh yeah…and then there’s the fact that the Rams have the most dominant defensive player in the league in superstar defensive tackle Aaron Donald, the two-time Defensive Player of the Year (2017, 2018). LA has three toughies over its last four as they host New England on Sunday, then host the Jets the following week before heading to Seattle and finishing up at home against Arizona. I think the Rams split their last four to finish at 10-6, although it could very well be 11-5. The Rams are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 games in the month of December.
- Seattle (8-4)
I don’t know what to make of a Seattle Seahawks team that was my preseason ‘under the radar’ pick to win the NFC. Russell Wilson and company had their two-game winning streak snapped in their stunning 17-12 home loss against the Giants on Sunday to fall to 2-3 over their last five. While Seattle ranks a stellar fourth in scoring (29.4 ppg) they also have a defense that has struggled almost all season, though they’ve only allowed an identical 17 points the last two weeks and 21 or less over their last three. Seattle should get past the Jets and Washington the next two weeks, but season-ending matchups against the Rams and Niners look like 50-50 matchups. Still, the Seahawks finish at 10-6 at worst to get into the postseason and challenge for the NFC West division crown.
- Tampa Bay (7-5)
Tom Brady and the Bucs are heading into their Week 14 matchup against Minnesota coming off a much-needed bye after losing two straight and three of their previous four games overall. Tampa Bay kind of showed they’re not ready for prime time by losing to New Orleans, (for the second time), the LA Rams and most recently, Kansas City. Still, Tampa Bay ranks an encouraging sixth in scoring (28.7 ppg) and respectable 12th in points allowed (23.3 ppg). Following their matchup against Minnesota on Sunday, the Bucs have two games against the division rival Falcons remaining with a road date at Detroit sandwiched in between. A 3-1 finish would leave the Buccaneers at 10-6 and likely in the Playoffs.
- Minnesota (6-6)
The Vikings have won five of their last six games and even though each of their last three wins have been dramatic and ugly, Minnesota has kept its playoff hopes alive heading into its huge Week 14 road date at Tampa Bay. Kirk Cousins and company rank a decent 12th in scoring (26.6 ppg), but give up more points per game than they average in allowing 27.4 points per contest (26th). If the Vikes beat Tampa Bay, they’ll go 3-1 over their last four to finish at 9-6. However, I think the more likely scenario is that Minnesota finishes at 8-8.
- Arizona (6-6)
Arizona hasn’t necessarily been playing ‘bad’ football, but Kyler Murray and company have dropped three straight and four of five at the worst time. Still, two of those defeats cam by three points and the Cards rank eighth in scoring (27.7 ppg) and a decent 14th in points allowed (24.7 ppg). Arizona visits the dangerous Giants on Sunday before finishing up at home against Philly and Frisco and then hitting the road to take on the division rival Rams. Arizona splits their last four to finish at 8-8, though it’s possible they could top out at 7-9.
- NY Giants (5-7)
I don’t even know what to say about the Giants, except, this is a team that looks like an upset special just waiting to happen. The G-Men have won four straight and recorded a huge 17-12 upset win in Seattle on Sunday to put a dent in Seattle hopes of winning the NFC West. While the Giants rank an uninspiring 30th in scoring (19.3 ppg), they’re also ranked an impressive ninth in points allowed (22.1 ppg) and have held each of their last three opponents to an identical 17 points. New York does have a difficult trio of games coming up at home against Arizona and Cleveland, followed by a road date at Baltimore and one final home game against Dallas. New York could go 2-2- over the span to finish at 7-9, although a 1-3 finish also looks like a real possibility.
- Washington (5-7)
Washington has won three straight and heads into Week 14 coming off the biggest upset of the entire season after stunning previously unbeaten Pittsburgh 23-17 on Monday. While Washington ranks a modest 25th in scoring (22.0 ppg), Ron Rivera’s defense also ranks a stellar eighth in points allowed (21.7 ppg).Washington has not allowed more than 17 points in each of their last three games and finishes up at San Francisco and home against Seattle and Carolina and at Philadelphia. Like the division rival Giants, Washington could go either 2-2 or 1-3 over their last four to finish with either seven or six victories.
- Chicago (5-7)
The Bears are still mathematically alive for a playoff berth, but I believe it would take a series of minor miracles for Chicago to reach the postseason. Chicago has lost a whopping six straight games, they’ve got all sorts of problems at quarterback and rank a pitiful 28th in scoring (20.5 ppg). The Bears finish at home against Houston, at Minnesota and Jacksonville and at home against Green Bay. At best the Bears win one more game to finish at 6-10 while having no shot of getting into the playoffs.
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