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NFL Week 12 TV special

Julio Jones of the Atlanta Falcons
1 of 1

Arizona at Atlanta 

The lowdown
TV Sky Sports 2 Starts 6pm
Venue Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
Surface Artificial
Weather Indoors
Best handicaps Arizona +6; Atlanta -5
Points line 50.5-51 points

Verdict

Arizona are three wins behind Seattle in the chase for the NFC West and while that may be beyond them, Bruce Arians will still be looking for a strong finish to give them every chance of claiming a wildcard spot.

The Cardinals have been inconsistent this year as they illustrated in a frustrating loss to Minnesota last week, but they can still catch Atlanta cold after the Falcons had their bye last week.

Atlanta are at the top of the NFC South but there are still concerns about their defence, who have conceded an average of 28 points per game this season.

Quarterback Matt Ryan has been picking defences apart seemingly at will for most of the campaign but he will have to be at his best to get some change out of an Arizona team who have conceded a league-low seven touchdowns in their ten matches.

The match-up between cornerback Patrick Peterson and Falcons receiver Julio Jones should be an intriguing one, but the Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer has some excellent offensive outlets himself and they can keep the game closer than the odds suggest. 

Recommendation
Arizona +6
2pts 10-11 general

 

Team news
Arizona Wide receiver Michael Floyd has been struggling with a hamstring injury and cornerback Justin Bethel is questionable with a foot injury.
Atlanta The Falcons will be making game-time decisions on the availability of cornerback Desmond Trufant and punter Matt Bosher.

Key stat
The points total has gone over the line in each of Arizona’s last five matches


Carolina at Oakland 

The lowdown
TV Sky Sports 2 Starts 9.25pm
Venue Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, California
Surface Grass
Weather Cloudy, 14C
Best handicaps Carolina +3.5; Oakland -3
Points line 49.5 points

Verdict

Carolina could have done with linebacker Luke Kuechly being available for this crunch game against the leaders of the ultra-competitive AFC West, but the Panthers can still make their mark in Oakland.

The Raiders have won eight of their ten games and would be number one seeds in the AFC if the season had ended this week and the Panthers will have to cope with their excellent offence.

Quarterback Derek Carr has had an excellent campaign and excellent early draft picks in the last few years are beginning to bear fruit.

But Oakland could still be vulnerable on the other side of the ball against a team who have enjoyed four days of extra rest since their Thursday victory over New Orleans.

The Raiders will have to cope with the mobility of quarterback Cam Newton and Carolina have started playing like a team who would make their mark in the playoffs with three wins in their last four after listing five of their opening six matches.

Oakland have chalked up just 15 sacks this season and they could have trouble containing Newton while the visitors should take the opportunity to show they are not finished yet.

Recommendation

Over 22.5 Carolina points
1pt 5-6 bet365

 

Team news
Carolina Star linebacker Luke Kuechly is ruled out with concussion, while centre Ryan Kalil (shoulder) and defensive end Mario Addison (foot) will also be missing.
Oakland Cornerback David Amerson has been struggling with a knee problem but he is the only injury concern for the Raiders.

Key stat
Carolina have covered the handicap in just one of their last eight matches


Kansas City at Denver 

The lowdown
TV Sky Sports 2 Starts 1.30am
Venue Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
Surface Grass
Weather Clear, 4C
Best handicaps Kansas City +3.5; Denver -3.5
Points line 39-39.5 points

Verdict 

This is the first of two meetings between these AFC West rivals which will have a huge bearing on the race for the playoffs.

Kansas City may have been distracted by the scale of this match when they fell to a 19-17 defeat to Tampa Bay last week, so expect them to come back out fighting.

Denver were fortunate to come out on top against New Orleans in their last game and their defence should be boosted by the return of cornerback Aqib Talib.

However, they could face a difficult game against Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who is one of Kansas City’s major offensive outlets.

Kelce chalked up more than 100 yards in the defeat to the Buccaneers and he is set to shoulder the burden for a lot of the Chiefs’ passing game as number one wide receiver Jeremy Maclin is injured.

No Chief has received more passes than Kelce and with an average yardage of 11.7 per reception, the 6ft 5ins target should be able to eclipse Paddy Power’s line of 58.5 receiving yards in this crucial divisional clash.

Recommendation
T Kelce over 58.5 receiving yards
2pts 5-6 Paddy Power

 

Team news
Kansas City Linebacker Dee Ford is ruled out with a hamstring injury and wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (groin) is also ruled out. Cornerback Marcus Peters should be available after a hip injury.
Denver Long snapper Casey Kreiter is out but defensive lineman Derek Wolfe should return and cornerback Aqib Talib is expected to feature after missing the last three matches with a back injury.

Key stat
Denver have won eight of their last ten matches against Kansas City

Atlanta are at the top of the NFC South but there are still concerns about their defence
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