Vikings plotting Detroit raid


The Minnesota Vikings are one of several teams facing a nervous fortnight in the race for a playoff spot as the NFL regular seasons enters its penultimate round of matches.

Last week’s 41-17 thrashing of the Miami Dolphins kept the 7-1-6 Vikings in the last NFC wildcard spot and they are fancied to take care of business again when they travel to divisional rivals Detroit on Sunday.

Minnesota Vikings -5 @ 25/28

Head coach Mike Zimmer got back to basics in the win over Miami, gashing the Dolphins defence with his rushing attack as running-back Dalvin Cook went for 136 yards and two touchdowns.

Expect a similar approach against a 5-9 Lions team that has flattered to deceive once again this season. Franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford has failed to hit the heights of previous years, while a bad offensive line and no running game has really hamstrung Detroit.

They have failed to put up more than 20 points in their last four games at home and have lost the two to Minnesota.

A return to the rushing game, coupled with the top receiving duo in the league in Adam Thielen and Steffon Diggs, means the Vikings offense should see them over the line with plenty to spare.

Baltimore Ravens +4.5 @ 25/28

The Ravens are in a similar position to the Vikings, sitting in the last wildcard spot in the AFC with an 8-6 record after easing past Tampa Bay last week.

They now travel to LA to take on the in-form Chargers, who moved into contention for the No.1 seed in the AFC by beating the Kansas City Chiefs last time out.

The Bolts have proven to be a clutch team this season, digging out last minute wins over the Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers. However, both of those triumphs came on the road, where they seem more at home than at their temporary accommodation, the StubHub Center, which is often over run with away fans.

The Ravens arrive in southern California with the best defence in the NFL and having won four of the last five, their only defeat being an overtime loss at the Chiefs.

A strong defence and the No.2 ranked rushing attack means they should keep it close against the Chargers.

Houston v Philadelphia – over 45.5 points @ 10/11

The final tip comes from another crunch Week 16 match-up as Houston travel to the reigning Super Bowl champions Philadelphia. The Texans can wrap up the AFC South with a win and surprisingly start as 23/20 underdogs despite having won 10 of their last 11 matches.

The 7-7 Eagles must win to stay in the wildcard hunt and shocked the LA Rams last week with Nick Foles back in at quarter-back due to another injury to Carson Wentz. Having won the Super Bowl with Foles under centre, you wouldn’t rule anything out.

With that in mind, the total points market appeals here with the Texans averaging nearly 26 points a game and the Eagles 22.

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