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Sunday NFL previews

It's all coming down to the business end of the NFL season, and there are some crucial matchups this evening. You'll find plenty of match previews out there for NFL, but how many of them are genuine betting analysis? Best man to read is a former colleague of mine, Andy Richmond, @bickley14.

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49ers @ Patriots preview

Game Preview

Prime-time, two of the NFL’s best teams and a potential Super Bowl preview what more could you want – and how this shapes up should provide us with a good guide to the post-season; the 49ers and Patriots have played 6 common opponents. San Fran has outscored those teams by 16.4 points per game – that’s more than 3 points better than New England against those same teams.

Last week the New England Patriots disposed of the Houston Texans, but things won’t get any easier this week as the San Francisco 49ers make the cross-country trip to Foxboro. The two teams are tops in the league in point differential as New England is scoring 198 more than its opponents, while San Francisco holds a 132-point advantage. The Patriots feature the top scoring offense (36.3 points/game) in the league, while the 49ers’ defence has been the stingiest with only 14.1 points surrendered.

Those are the bald, bland numbers behind the game, but there is so much more behind this and it’s a game that really can’t be missed.

Read more via NFL Insight

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Steelers @ Dallas preview

Game Preview

After picking up a huge win as time expired in Baltimore the week before, the Pittsburgh Steelers missed the opportunity to close the gap at the top of the AFC North with a disappointing loss against the San Diego Chargers last week. Still, with the Ravens facing three tough games in the coming weeks, they know all is not lost yet.

After beating Pittsburgh’s divisional rivals in Cincinnati on a last-second field goal last Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys head back to Texas to take on the Steelers knowing they are still very much in the hunt for the NFC East crown. With four wins in their last five games, they’ll be confident that they can knock off the Steelers at home to keep pace with Washington and New York although they may have to do it without their top offensive threat as wide receiver Dez Bryant broke his left index finger against the Bengals – he caught a fourth-quarter touchdown pass after the injury, and insists that he’ll play Sunday.

Read more via NFL Insight

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Packers @ Bears preview

Game Preview

There was a point to the NFL scheduling most of the divisional games towards the end of the season as we then get games like this. The Vikings beat the Bears last week to stay in contention for the NFC North crown and more head-to-head matchups are on their way, starting with Sunday’s continuation of the oldest NFL rivalry. A Packers victory and they clinch the divisional title, while the Bears need a win to keep ahead of the Vikings and a surging NFC East for the final wild-card spot – that scenario was unthinkable until recently.

Until last week, Chicago (8-5) held either sole possession or a share of the North lead. After Week 5, the Bears were 4-1 while Green Bay were 2-3, but since then the Packers have won seven of their last eight, only a horror show against the Giants preventing a clean sweep. The Packers, winners of two straight at Soldier Field, have outscored the Bears 116-65 in the last five meetings and this head-to-head gives Green Bay a chance to win consecutive division championships.

For the Bears, their recent form has been in a real downward spiral and it’s that sort of form that sees them just about hanging on to the last playoff spot in the NFC, although injuries are a real problem for them and look sure to hamper their efforts. There is no love lost between the teams either and already this week there has been plenty of trash-talking amongst the teams but surely the Bears will need to be on their guard against a Packers side that is finding a way to win despite trailing in five of their last seven victories. The much maligned Packers defence has been responsible for a lot of those victories; they have given up 21.0 points per game over the last eight but yielded three total field goals in the fourth quarter of the past six.

Read more via NFL Insight

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