John Boell Newsday sports writer John Boell

Boell has worked in the Newsday sports department in various capacities since 1999. In 2010, he became Newsday's

We know the six AFC teams that are in the playoffs, but the top four seeds aren't set (Colts are No. 5; Bengals are No. 6).

Things aren't as clear in the NFC. The Falcons are the No. 1 seed, but the No. 2 seed is still up in the air. The Packers, 49ers and Seahawks are all in, but the Redskins, Cowboys, Vikings, Bears and, of course, the Giants, are fighting for the final two spots. The Giants could have had a home playoff game wrapped up if not for deciding to drop the ball a few weeks earlier than New Year's Eve. Big Blue needs to beat the Eagles, plus get losses by the Bears, Vikings and a loss or a tie by the Cowboys. Good luck, Big Blue, you'll need it!



EAGLES (4-11) at GIANTS (8-7)

LINE: Giants by 7 1/2; O/U: 46

TV: Fox; Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9), 1 p.m.

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Second-half struggles are nothing new, but I still didn't see this coming. The Super Bowl champs are on the brink of being home in January. The Eagles have won eight of their last nine vs. the Giants, and are 7-1-1 against the spread (ATS) in those games. Philly will be motivated to win in what most likely is Andy Reid's swan song, but I think Giants win, cover . . . and miss the playoffs. THE PICK: Giants


COWBOYS (8-7) at REDSKINS (9-6)

LINE: Redskins by 3; O/U: 48 1/2

TV: NBC; Radio: WFAN (660,101.9), 8:20 p.m.

Giants videos

RG3 and the 'Skins have won -- and covered -- six straight. Washington has covered six of last seven vs. Dallas, which is 1-5 with QB Tony Romo in its last six Week 17 games when its season comes down to a win and in (see: make the playoffs). THE PICK: Redskins


BEARS (9-6) at LIONS (4-11)

LINE: Bears by 3; O/U: 44 1/2, 1 p.m.

Bears sneak into playoffs, thanks to Lions -- 0-7 overall and 1-6 ATS in their last seven games. THE PICK: Bears

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TEXANS (12-3) at COLTS (10-5)

LINE: Texans by 7; O/U: 46 1/2, 1 p.m.

Inconsistent Texans (2-4 ATS last six games) can clinch AFC's top spot and home-field advantage with a win. The best sight from this game, or any game this season, will be Colts coach Chuck Pagano back on the sidelines. All the best, coach! THE PICK: Colts


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CHIEFS (2-13) at BRONCOS (12-3)

LINE: Broncos by 16; O/U: 42, 4:25 p.m.

Denver has won 10 straight (7-3 ATS) and clinches first-round bye with a win. The Chiefs clinch the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft with a loss. THE PICK: Broncos


DOLPHINS (7-8) at PATRIOTS (11-4)

LINE: Patriots by 10; O/U: 46 1/2

TV: CBS, 4:25 p.m.

Pats are playing for first-round bye and need a win here, plus a loss by either Broncos or Texans. Tom Brady has a field day. THE PICK: Patriots


RAVENS (10-5) at BENGALS (9-6)

LINE: Bengals by 2 1/2; O/U: 41, 1 p.m.

Both are in playoffs and want to get out of this game without any injuries. Take the points. THE PICK: Ravens


PACKERS (11-4) at VIKINGS (9-6)

LINE: Packers by 3 1/2; O/U: 46 1/2

TV: Fox; Radio: 660, 101.9 (joined in progress), 4:25 p.m.

The Vikings are in with a win. Trouble is, the Packers (12-3 ATS in last 15 vs. winning teams) get a first-round bye with a win. I predict the Vikings go 0-for-2 in their quest Sunday: No single-season rushing record for Adrian Peterson and no playoffs. THE PICK: Packers


CARDINALS (5-10) at 49ERS (10-4-1)

LINE: 49ers by 16 1/2; O/U: 39, 4:25 p.m.

The 49ers clinch NFC West with a win and will be pumped up after embarrassing loss at Seattle. Arizona is 1-6 on the road. THE PICK: 49ers


RAMS (7-7-1) at SEAHAWKS (10-5)

LINE: Seahawks by 10 1/2; O/U: 41, 4:25 p.m.

Seattle (6-1 ATS last 7 games) can still win the NFC West but needs a win and a 49ers' loss. It can get a first-round bye if those events occur plus a Packers' loss. THE PICK: Seahawks



JETS (6-9) at BILLS (5-10)

LINE: Bills by 3 1/2; O/U: 39 1/2

TV: CBS; Radio: ESPN (98.7), 1 p.m.

It's never a dull moment around Gang Green. First, we hear that last week Tim Tebow opted out of running the Wildcat offense (which I didn't believe), only to have Tebow come out and say he never did. Now, the Jets -- who have won six straight vs. the Bills, eight of their last nine overall including 6-3 ATS -- have to go back to original starter Mark Sanchez because Greg McElroy has a concussion. Can't you just see it: Sanchez gets banged up vs. the Bills, and Tebow comes in and leads the Jets to an improbable late win? Now that would be some finish! THE PICK: Jets


BROWNS (5-10) at STEELERS (7-8)

LINE: OFF (Both QBs questionable), 1 p.m.

Steelers look to avoid a) being swept by Cleveland for first time since 1988 and b) their first losing season since 2003. THE PICK: Steelers


PANTHERS (6-9) at SAINTS (7-8)

LINE: Saints by 5; O/U: 54, 1 p.m.

Panthers (three straight wins and covers) could be playing for coach Ron Rivera's job, and haven't forgotten last year's season-ending 45-17 loss. Saints look to end forgettable "Bountygate" season with .500 record. Carolina, 10-1 ATS in last 11 in New Orleans, keeps it close. THE PICK: Panthers


BUCS (6-9) at FALCONS (13-2

LINE: OFF (Falcons resting players?), 1 p.m.

Falcons claim they're going to play their starters and harness their inner Herm Edwards and "play to win" vs. Bucs, who are 0-5 overall in last five games (1-3-1 ATS). Tread softly. THE PICK: Falcons


RAIDERS (4-11) at CHARGERS (6-9)

LINE: OFF (Raiders QB questionable), 4:25 p.m.

Oakland, 1-7 ATS in its last eight games, may start QB Matt Leinart (he's still in the NFL?). Could be coach Norv Turner's final game in San Diego. Happy trails! THE PICK: Chargers


JAGUARS (2-13) at TITANS (5-10)

LINE: Titans by 4; O/U: 42, 1 p.m.

Jacksonville is a surprising 5-2 ATS on the road this season. THE PICK: Jaguars



JOHN BOELL 114-119-6 (9-7 Best Bets)

Giants Jets Redskins Bears

Packers 49ers Seahawks Colts

Broncos Patriots Ravens Steelers

Panthers Falcons Chargers Jaguars

TOM ROCK 123-110-6(11-5)

Eagles Jets Redskins Bears

Packers 49ers Seahawks Colts

Chiefs Dolphins Bengals Steelers

Saints Falcons Raiders Titans

BOB GLAUBER 107-126-6(5-10-1)

Eagles Bills Cowboys Bears

Packers 49ers Seahawks Colts

Broncos Patriots Bengals Steelers

Saints Falcons Chargers Titans

KIMBERLEY A. MARTIN 129-104-6(11-5)

Giants Bills Redskins Bears

Packers 49ers Seahawks Texans

Broncos Patriots Ravens Steelers

Saints Falcons Chargers Titans



When you're below .500 for the season, there aren't many. But I was the only one of Newsday's four NFL prognosticators in Week 13 to take the Rams (4-6-1) hosting the seven-point favorite 49ers (8-2-1). Not only did they cover, they won in overtime, 16-13.



There were a lot, but none worse than taking the Cardinals (4-8 after a 4-0 start) getting 10 points at Seattle (7-5) in Week 14. I repeat: at Seattle! The Seahawks (5-0 at home ATS before the game) squeaked past Arizona, 58-0. Ouch!