There are just six rounds of games left in the NFL's regular season – five for the poor sods who had to play on Thanksgiving Day – and it is now that teams feel extreme pressure to reach the post-season play-offs.
In the upper echelons you can call five near-certain divisional winners – Indianapolis and New England in the AFC; Minnesota, New Orleans and Arizona in the NFC. But three divisions, the AFC North and West, and the NFC East are still up for grabs.
The dominant narrative is the unbeaten runs of the Colts and the Saints. They are virtually joint-favourite for the Super Bowl – 7-2 Indianapolis, 100-30 New Orleans – but the NFL can produce extraordinary twists. New England go to the Saints Monday night (1.30 a.m. Tuesday) aiming to crush New Orleans ambitions – I fancy them to do it. £10 win, at 11-10 (generally). The Colts travel to Houston after struggling to put Baltimore away. A Texans' win is less likely but worth a punt – £10 at 17-10 Boylesports.
Trainer Paul Nicholls unleashes two more of his battleships at Newbury today – Big Buck's and Denman. BB should bag the sportingbet.com Long Distance Hurdle but Nicholls has been fretting about top-weight Denman's chances of another Hennessy Gold Cup, favouring second-string What a Friend instead. But I'm a Denmaniac – £20 win, 4-1 with Paddy Power.
*Liverpool and Manchester City landed the odds in a drab draw but in the Dubai World Championship Ross Fisher never recovered from a double-bogey at the first. Lee Westwood was imperious anyway – but given Dubai's debts, he'd better cash his cheque quickly.