2020 NFL Playoff Picture, postseason odds: Best Super Bowl picks, Week 13 futures bets from proven model

As we enter Week 13, the 2020 NFL Playoff picture is finally coming into focus. There are over 20 teams with realistic hopes of occupying one of the league’s 14 spots in the 2020 NFL playoff bracket this season. The addition of an extra wild card team in 2020 means that only one team gets a bye in the AFC and NFC, which has made the fight at the top in both conferences extremely competitive.

The Steelers (11-0) and Chiefs (10-1) are battling it out in the AFC while the Saints (9-2), Packers (8-3) and Seahawks (8-3) are fighting for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. Before you evaluate the NFL playoff picture 2020 and make any postseason bets or 2021 Super Bowl predictions, you’ll want to check out the 2020 NFL Playoffs outlook from the proven computer model at SportsLine.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NFL game 10,000 times and is up over $7,900 for $100 players on its top-rated NFL picks since its inception five-plus years ago.

It’s a sizzling 20-10 on top-rated NFL picks this season, already returning almost $900. The model enters Week 13 on an incredible 116-75 roll on top-rated NFL picks that dates back to the 2017 season. Additionally, the model also ranked in the Top 10 on NFLPickWatch in three of the past four years on straight-up NFL picks and beat more than 95 percent of CBS Sports office pool players three times during that span. Anyone who has followed it is way up.

Now, the model has evaluated the latest postseason odds from William Hill Sportsbook, simulated every snap of the rest of the 2020 NFL season, and the results are in. Head to SportsLine now to see them.

Best values for 2020 NFL Playoff picks

One of the model’s best bets for the postseason: The New York Giants (+200) win the NFC East. New York is tied with the Washington Football Team at 4-7 on top of the division, with the Cowboys (3-8) and Eagles (3-7-1) also in the hunt. However, the Giants are playing the best football, which gives them the inside track.

New York has won three games in a row entering Week 13 and the defense is coming off a dominant performance in which it allowed just 155 yards of total offense and forced three turnovers against the Bengals. The Giants’ defense now ranks 10th in total defense and ninth in points allowed. Meanwhile, even though the offense still ranks 30th in scoring and 29th in total yards, it’s turned in four consecutive games with at least 350 yards from scrimmage.

SportsLine’s model has New York winning the division in 42.7 percent of simulations, a strong value since the +200 line implies that the Giants only win it 33.3 percent of the time. However, the value stops there as the model only has the Giants winning the NFC (+5000) in 0.66 percent of simulations and winning the Super Bowl (+10000) 0.11 percent of the time.

How

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Texas A&M beats LSU but earns no style points to impress playoff committee

The offenses of the LSU Tigers and Texas A&M Aggies were uncharacteristically ugly in their  Saturday contest.

It’s hard to envision that just two years ago, the LSU Tigers and Texas A&M Aggies accumulated a total of 146 points in their seven-overtime classic. It’s further proof that the year 2020 has actually felt like it’s been going on for a century. We certainly didn’t get such a performance on Saturday between the two squads. It’s as if both teams studied the offensive game tape of the Chicago Bears entering this weekend because there was literally no points or yardage on offense to be had.

Sure, the No. 5 Aggies managed to defeat the now-hapless Tigers 20-7, but it was an absolutely ugly win.

Where have the good offenses gone?

If there is a positive to this game, it’s that both defenses looked solid. That’s always a good thing. But a defense always appreciates when their offenses keep them on the sidelines for ample rest while putting points on the board. Just ask the aforementioned Bears.

The play of quarterbacks Kellen Mond and T.J. Finley was far from ideal. Combined, the two completed 34-of-81 pass attempts for a grand total of 336 yards. That’s not good. In fact, most of the yardage went to Finley, who had 231 yards, as opposed to Mond’s meager 105 yards.

Neither team was effective in third-down situations, as Texas A&M and LSU each went 2-of-17 on the night. Not exactly the greatest look for either team, especially Texas A&M, who is a top-five team.

If Texas A&M has one person to thank for their win, it’s running back Isaiah Spiller, who rushed for 141 yards on 27 carries. In fact, his longest carry of the game was a 51-yard touchdown near the end of the first quarter.

We expected LSU’s offense to take a dip this season, as quarterback Joe Burrow and running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire were both selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, while star receiver Ja’Marr Chase opted out of this season. As for Texas A&M, they didn’t exactly do themselves any favors to maintain their top-five spot in the national rankings.

All-in-all, it was truly a game to forget.

For more NCAA football news, analysis, opinion and unique coverage by FanSided, including Heisman Trophy and College Football Playoff rankings, be sure to bookmark these pages.

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Women’s Euro qualifier: Northern Ireland beat Belarus to edge closer to play-off spot

Northern Ireland edge five-goal thriller to keep Euro dream alive

Northern Ireland saw off Belarus 3-2 in a five-goal thriller to edge closer to securing a place in the play-offs for Women’s Euro 2022.

Kirsty McGuinness’ clinical second-minute left-foot finish put NI ahead but Anastasiya Shcherbachenia equalised after a defensive mix-up on 16 minutes.

Rachel Furness netted a penalty on the hour, Shcherbachenia levelled again but McGuinness’ second on 70 won the game.

NI will be in a play-off if they win at home to the Faroe Islands on Tuesday.

Northern Ireland’s women’s team has never previously taken part in a major championships or been in a play-off to reach one.

Having drawn two and lost two of their first four games of this campaign, qualification for Women’s Euro 2022 finals appeared unlikely but wins on the road against the Faroes and Belarus in recent months left Kenny Shiels’ side with their destiny in their own hands as they approached this double-header in Belfast.

Norway top Group C with maximum points but NI can clinch the runners-up spot, which would ensure a play-off berth if they can overcome the Faroes at Seaview next week.

NI manager Kenny Shiels praised his side’s character after the win over Belarus

NI off to a flying start

The hosts began the game brightly and opened the scoring with a brilliant first-time finish from Sion Swifts striker McGuinness, who fired home after Emily Wilson’s initial effort had been saved.

Northern Ireland went close to extending their lead when Furness shot towards goal and visiting goalkeeper Nataliya Voskobovich spilled the ball but after consultation with one of her assistants, the referee adjudged the ball had not crossed the line.

Belarus were back in the game soon after when home goalkeeper Rebecca Flaherty needlessly raced off her line as captain Shcherbachenia latched onto a long ball and drilled a shot low under the advancing NI keeper.

Demi Vance then won the ball, went on a strong run from halfway and unleashed a long-range effort that was well saved by Voskobovich.

The Belarusian keeper then pushed over Wilson’s effort from an acute angle on the right as the sides went in level at half-time.

Anastasia Linnik and Rachel Furness in action during the first half at Seaview
Anastasia Linnik and Rachel Furness in action during the first half at Seaview

Second-half drama

Soon after the restart, lively Liverpool midfielder Furness saw her cross-shot palmed away by the keeper and Lauren Wade was unable to meet the ball at the far post.

The home side’s advantage was restored when Julie Nelson appeared to be bundled down inside the area and Furness calmly slotted home the resulting spot-kick.

Belarus fought their way back into the game again in the 67th minute however, as Shcherbachenia ran onto a through ball from Anna Pilipenko and drilled a well-struck drive into the net.

Parity only lasted three minutes as McGuinness’ left-foot shot across goal cannoned off the post and bounced off the goalkeeper’s head into the net.

A touch of fortune for Northern Ireland, but one

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