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PLAYBOOKSPORTS.COM’s MARC LAWRENCE BEST UPSETS FOR NFL WEEKEND OF DEC 24 – 25

By Marc Lawrence, PlaybookSports.com — A couple of items for very-last-minute shoppers: NEW ENGLAND over Cincinnati by 8 Yes, the Hoodie blew it. With the ball near midfield with three seconds left and overtime staring both the Pats and the Raiders in the eyes, he should have taken a knee and headed to overtime after regulation. Instead, the Pats handed the ball off to RB Rhamondre Stevenson who ran 23 yards before lateraling to Jakobi Meyers, who then tried a ridiculous, cross-field lateral to Mac Jones. Raiders’ defensive end Chandler Jones grabbed the ball in midair and ran to the end zone with no time remaining. For the Patriots it was clearly lateral damage (sorry about that). Their penance for such a guffaw: Currently as the No. 8 seed in the AFC playoff picture they must close out the season against the likes of these 10-4 Bengals, 8-6 Miami, and 11-3 Buffalo. Thus, it starts today against a Cincinnati squad who enters just 7-29 SU and 12-22-2 ATS away against the AFC East, including 1-6 SU and 0-6-1 ATS when coming off a double-digit win. Yes, the Hoodies need to roll up their sleeves and get to work against a Joe Burrow-led Bengals’ bunch on an AFC best 6-game win skein.

NY Giants over MINNESOTA by 3

 With Minnesota’s historic 33-point comeback overtime win over the Colts (the largest in NFL history), the Vikings have now been involved in 10 one-score contests this season – winning all 10 games. That’s called being fortuitous. QB Kirk Cousins was on fire in the comeback win, throwing for 417 yards after halftime. The question that begs now that the Vikes have clinched the division and a playoff spot is can they thwart the path of others looking to earn their playoff stripes? Owning the league’s 32nd-ranked (worst) defense, they concede all of the defensive numbers to the Giants in this contest. Minny has been out-yarded in 5 of their last 6 games and are 1-5-1 ATS in the last seven games against NFC East opponents. With the G-Men barely clinging to the No. 6 spot in the NFC playoff pictures, and 7-1 ATS on Saturdays, look for Big Blue to improve on its 7-2 ATS mark as a dog under rookie head coach Brian Daboll. Grab the points.

Green Bay over MIAMI by 6

Despite its 3-game road trek failure, including Saturday’s loss in the Ice Bowl in Buffalo, the Fish still control their own playoff destiny, even if they lose to the Packers today, so long as they top the Patriots and the Jets over the final two weeks of the campaign. Meanwhile, the Packers are not dead just yet. They’ve just been comatose. For the first time in over two-and-a-half months they finally have a winning streak. The Cheese Heads are the No. 10 seed in the NFC, currently 1.5 games behind the Commanders for the NFC’s final wild-card spot. Green Bay enters 6-1 ATS as a dog in games when favored last game. Miami returns home off a winless three game road trek knowing they are 0-4 ATS coming off three straight road games, as well as 0-4 ATS when coming off three losses-exact. And that’s not to mention the fact they are 1-5 ATS as a host in this series. With Rodgers suddenly smelling playoff blood, we turn it over to THE CLINCHER: QB Aaron Rodgers is 9-4- 1 ATS as a dog from game 15 out, including 6-0-1 ATS when the Packers own a win percentage of .666 or less.

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