Two really good games in the live TV slots on Sunday night and Neil Monnery previews them both, with one big upset straight up coming from his tips...
"One man who'll suit up for the first time since September will be TE Andrew Quarless. He isn't Rob Gronkowski nor is he even Jason Witten but if he gets open he does catch the ball. Rodgers needs to find a reliable to go guy and Quarless is unspectacular but he is dependable."
New England Patriots @ New York Jets
Start-time: Sunday 18:00
TV: Live on Sky Sports 2
The Pats are seemingly en route to yet another #1 seed in the AFC, this isn't a shock to anyone. The Jets though are 9-5 and as it stand are on the outside looking in. That is coming in from left field.
For New England, a first round bye already assured, the head coach has already intimated that he is thinking about the play-offs and he will not be risking players who struggling with injuries. Julian Edelman has practised this week but I don't expect to see him suit up on Sunday, or if he does it will be in a very limited role. He is a huge part of the Patriots offense and his return will be key for January.
The defense though is the under-appreciated part of this team. Matt Patricia has done a superb job with this unit, he has made good players play to the limit of their talents in a very well coached scheme. They funnel running backs through the middle, the defensive ends know how to contain the running game, stopping runners from bouncing outside. They though plays into the hands of the Jets, as Chris Ivory is very much a north/south runner.
Over on the other sideline, the Jets can be congratulated on a good season whatever happens in the final two weeks. They may have had a very soft schedule but you can only beat who is put in front of you. They have two premier WR's in Decker and Marshall and a very serviceable QB in Ryan Fitzpatrick. Serviceable might be underselling the Harvard graduate but I have one big question mark against him and the Jets offense.
So far this season they've only face teams with a top 10 rated total defense three times. They lost against Houston (4), they lost against New England (6) but beat Dallas (10) by three points and we all know about the Cowboys offense since Tony Romo went down. The Jets have good offensive numbers but when they play a good defense, they do struggle more than you'd expect.
Betting wise though I'm going to the Sportsbook for two 27/20 picks, first on the Jets winning straight up. This game means everything to them and it really doesn't for New England. Secondly over 49.5 total points, I have won many times on the over this season but keep losing the under so I'm going back to the over on Sunday (I retain the right to change my views for the second preview). First TD wise at 9/1 and 17/1, Decker and Chandler represent value picks.
2pt Back New York Jets to win straight up at 27/20 on the Sportsbook
3pt Back over 49.5 total points at 27/20 on the Sportsbook
1pt Back Eric Decker to score the first touchdown at 9/1 on the Sportsbook
1pt Back Scott Chandler to score the first touchdown at 17/1 on the Sportsbook
Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals
Start-time: Sunday, 21:25
TV: Live on Sky Sports 2
Both teams are in. Seeding though is still very much up for grabs although Green Bay will need to win out and for Arizona to drop both games if they are to move up from #3 to #2 and get that all important first round bye.
It has been a strange year for the Cheeseheads, everyone fell in love with them despite not overly impressing before back-to-back defeats in Denver and Carolina. Aaron Rodgers hasn't been protected that well. The running game has been iffy at best. The receivers are dropping passes like they were the 1990s English slip cordon and yet they will be playing in the play-offs once again.
One man who'll suit up for the first time since September will be TE Andrew Quarless. He isn't Rob Gronkowski nor is he even Jason Witten but if he gets open he does catch the ball. Rodgers needs to find a reliable to go guy and Quarless is unspectacular but he is dependable.
Over in Arizona they look set for a deep run in the play-offs but the injury to the Honey Badger at the end of their game last week is gutting. He is a dynamic player who creates plays and whilst they have the likes of Deone Bucannon, you can't ever truly find a player to step up and do the things that a star player does.
Offensively though I've been in loves with the Cardinals all season long. David Johnson's run for a TD on Sunday was a thing of beauty but the balance they have, with Carson Palmer finding his plethora of deep threats, is what makes them tick. They are well coached and have lost only twice all season.
Betting wise I'm not playing on the winner market but am dabbling on the unders against my better judgement. Under 47.5 total points is available at 11/8 on the Sportsbook and I'm gingerly playing that. First TD scorer market small plays are my thing, so 10/1 on Michael Floyd and after bigging up Quarless, I have to take him at 20/1 really.
2pt Back under 42.5 points on the extended spread at 13/10
1pt Back Michael Floyd to score the first TD at 10/1 on the Sportsbook
1pt Back Andrew Quarless to score the first TD at 20/1 on the Sportsbook
Neil Monnery NFL P/L 2015 Season
Staked - 177pts
Returned - 237.98pts
P&L - +60.98pts