Dec 24, 2014 12:52 PM
Packers, Steelers, Panthers choices to win their divisions
The Associated Press
Mike McCarthy can't wait for Sunday. Can't blame him.
The thought of clinching the NFC North at Lambeau Field certainly is an enticing one. McCarthy's Packers can do so with a victory over the Lions, whose recent history in Green Bay is, well, dismal.
Detroit has not won there since 1991. And the Pack is 7-0 at Lambeau this season.
Both teams are 11-4 and the winner still could get home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs if Seattle falls to St. Louis. The focus is not on anywhere but the Green Bay tundra for McCarthy and his players.
"I think it's great that Detroit and our records are the same and we're playing for the title," the Packers coach says. "Yeah, I think this is exactly how you'd want it. I know it's how I'd prefer it."
Especially at home, where the Packers (No. 3, AP Pro32) are 7 1-2 point favorites over the Lions (No. 6, AP Pro32).
Spread should be higher.
No. 23 Cleveland (plus 9) at No. 12 (tie) Baltimore
Ravens put themselves in desperate spot with recent losses.
BEST BET: RAVENS, 26-10
No. 18 (tie) Carolina (plus 3 1-2) at No. 20 Atlanta
Panthers sneak off with second straight division crown at 7-8-1.
UPSET SPECIAL: PANTHERS, 20-19
No. 9 Cincinnati (plus 3) at No. 7 Pittsburgh
Both are headed to playoffs. Steelers get AFC North title.
No. 11 San Diego (plus 2 1-2) at No. 14 Kansas City
Chargers can claim final AFC wild-card slot, just as they did in 2013.
No. 22 St. Louis (plus 13) at No. 1 Seattle
Home-field advantage to the Seahawks. NFC Beware!
No. 8 Arizona (plus 5 1-2) at No. 18 (tie) San Francisco
Harbaugh and Niners must envy what Cardinals have done. But Arizona is so banged-up ...
No. 28 Oakland (plus 14) at No. 5 Denver
There's something rotten in Denver, but not rotten enough to lose this one.
No. 16 Buffalo (plus 3 1-2) at No. 2 New England
Patriots have nothing to play for, but Belichick won't let up.
No. 4 Dallas (minus 6 1-2) at No. 26 Washington
Redskins won at Dallas this year. But Cowboys don't lose on road.
No. 10 Indianapolis (minus 7) at No. 32 Tennessee
Colts need a wake-up call heading into playoffs. Should get it here.
No. 25 New Orleans (minus 3 1-2) at No. 31 Tampa Bay
The two losing NFC South teams without a chance for the playoffs.
No. 30 Jacksonville (plus 10) at No. 15 Houston
Texans have outside shot at advancing.
No. 29 New York Jets (plus 5 1-2) at No. 17 Miami
No Rex Redux likely, even if Jets repeat upset of Miami from last December.
No. 12 (tie) Philadelphia (plus 2 1-2) at No. 21 New York Giants
Eagles have nothing to gain here, Giants can close with flourish.
No. 27 Chicago (plus 6 1-2) at No. 24 Minnesota
End of the Cutler-Trestman-Emery era? If so, it ends ignominiously.
2014 RECORD: Against spread: This week (9-6); Season (117-112-5). Straight up: This week (10-6); Season (158-81-1)
Best Bet: 6-10 against spread, 10-6 straight up.
Upset special: 8-8 against spread, 6-10 straight up.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_NFL