The NFL season is coming to its climax and this week sees huge fixtures involving the chasing pack.

We preview three vital games between play-off hopefuls, including a mammoth fixture in New Orleans,  alongside our ambassador Jason Bell.

Seattle Seahawks @ Washington Football Team

The Washington Football Team have won four games on the spin to catapult themselves atop the NFC East, while the Seattle Seahawks are in a two-way tie with the LA Rams for the NFC West. The Football Team continues to get by with hard-nosed defence and plucky offense, anchored by comeback man of the year Alex Smith and star rookie Chase Young. In back-to-back weeks they’ve beaten the Steelers and 49ers, so they can clearly upset a bigger fish if they make the play-offs. A win against Seattle will be vital, but they go into the game as 9/4 underdogs.

The Seahawks are quite erratic, but last week made a real statement with a 40-3 mauling of the winless Jets. A high-powered offence has led them out of a few close match-ups this year, but there remains an uncertainty whether this team has hit its ceiling or hasn’t yet scratched the surface. This fixture offers an exciting litmus test to see how they may fare in the post-season.

Seattle are 20/53 favourites, with a 6 handicap. Washington’s hard-nosed nature means the chances of a blow-out are unlikely, so it may be worth entertaining WFT on a +6 handicap at 10/11.

Kansas City Chiefs @ New Orleans Saints

In what could be a Super Bowl preview, the reigning champions Kansas City Chiefs travel to New Orleans to take on the Drew Brees-less Saints. Kansas City have just one defeat all season and they’ve ground out wins without looking convincing. Single-score margins have been the hallmark of their last five wins, hinting at some vulnerability. The Chiefs are 10/17 to leave Louisiana with the win.

The Saints have turned to former BYU standout Taysom Hill in Brees’ absence, with the unconventional quarterback giving opposing defensive coordinators sleepless nights. Despite a recent loss to the Eagles, they’ve been in good form and should be eyeing a long postseason run. New Orleans are 6/4 to win at home.

Kansas have made a habit of finishing late in close games, and there could be value in second-half touchdowns. Four or more touchdowns in the second half is 6/4, and if neutrals get their way in a shootout, this could offer good value.

Cleveland Browns @ New York Giants

The Cleveland Browns have almost confirmed their play-off position. Just three years removed from falling to 0-14, they’ve impressively turned the franchise around and the future looks bright. Baker Mayfield continues to run the offense well with strike running back duo Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt offering threats from everywhere.

The New York Giants are also by no means out of the play-off picture, just a game behind Washington with three to play. It should be a cracking Sunday Night Football fixture, with Cleveland 5/14 to return to Ohio with a potentially huge win.

The Giants are 12/5 to keep their play-off hopes alive, with a handicap of 6. With so much at stake for both sides, there could be uncharacteristic errors, which could lead to a high-scoring fixture. The over/under of points sits at 44, and it’s not hard to envisage each team visiting the endzone multiple times, so back the over at 10/11.

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