Week 16 is when things start to get real. The playoff pictures are beginning to come together together, and teams are fighting just to stay alive week after week. So let’s take a look at some of the crucial games in this upcoming NFL week and see who the lines favor:
Indianapolis Colts @ Baltimore Ravens (-14)
As big as the spread as, and as much as the Ravens are mediocre as hell, I just can’t bring myself to bet on the Colts. Jacoby Brisset has showed signs of promise, but even Andrew Luck couldn’t have made this team a winner. Jim Irsay needs to make major overhauls if he ever wants to win a Super Bowl in the Luck era.
Pick: Ravens (-14)
Minnesota Vikings (-9) @ Green Bay Packers
With Aaron Rodgers being placed on IR, this game just went from an ARod revenge game to one of the most boring games of the week. Expect the Vikings to dominate the Packers without their leader in Lambeau, and keep a strong position in the NFC playoff picture.
Pick: Vikings (-9)
Buffalo Bills @ New England Patriots (-11.5)
The Pats are a week off their biggest game of the year, and I think they are going to overlook the Bills.
The Bills have been playing well recently in a final push to make the playoffs, winning three of their last four. Lesean Mccoy has been playing like vintage Shady and the Bills are trying their best to steal the #6 seed. It is always tough to pull out games at Foxborough, but the Bills may have a chance this week.
The Patriots are going to win and lock up home field advantage throughout the playoffs, but this one is going to be closer than past Bills-Patriots contests.
Pick: Bills (+11.5)
Denver Broncos @ Washington Redskins (-3.5)
This is a hard one. Do I trust the Washington team that has been beaten up this year and woefully inconsistent or do I trust Brock Oswieller. While Brock made some good plays in the Broncos win over the Colts last week, you can’t trust him. Washington is the better team, they just need to show it.
Pick: Redskins (-3.5)
Atlanta Falcons @ New Orleans Saints (-6)
After staring off the season slow the Saints suddenly came to be one of the premier teams in the NFL with their backfield duo of Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara. However in the past few weeks their inconsistent way have shown their ugly heads. After almost losing to a bad Redskins team, they have losses to the Falcons and Rams, and won an ugly game last week against the Jets. The Saints should show their true form however at home in a rivalry game where the division is for the taking.
Pick: Saints (-6)
Cleveland Browns @ Chicago Bears (-6.5)
The Cleveland Browns have a chance to get their first win of the season against the Bear this weekend. The Bears and the Browns are pretty similar actually. Both are rebuilding teams with young quarterbacks at the helm, with solid defenses. Don’t be surprised if this game is decided by a defense score.
Pick: Bears (-6.5)
Detroit Lions (-3) @ Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals has lost by a combined 54 points over the last two weeks. The team just doesn’t seem to care right now, and neither does their coach, Marvin Lewis, because he has already announced that he is leaving at the end of the season after and coaching tenure where he never won a playoff game. How are the Lions only favored by three?
Pick: Lions (-3)
Los Angeles Chargers (-7) @ New York Jets
In classic New York Jets fashion they never do what they should. In the year that they were supposed to tank for one of these generational QB prospects they have played some good football. Good enough to take them outta of the top five picks of the draft most likely. They won’t get it done this weekend however.
Pick: Chargers (-7)
Miami Dolphins @ Kansas City Chiefs (-11)
The Chiefs have had a strange season. After starting 5-0 then falling apart they find themselves as the leaders in a weak AFC West. A win against the Dolphins this week will clinch the division for them, but of course the question is: Can they get it done in the playoffs?
Pick: Chiefs (-11)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers (-11)
The Buccaneers came into the season with Super Bowl aspirations only for it to be pissed away withing weeks. The teams is facing injury after injury on the defense side of the ball, and the offense is sporadic at best. The only way the Panthers lose this game is if Cam has one of those performances where he turns the ball over three or four times.
Pick: Panthers (-11)
Los Angeles Rams (-7) @ Tennessee Titans
This is one of the more interesting game on the lineup this week. The Rams absolutely embarrassed Seattle last week in Seattle and are looking scarier by the week as they prepare for their playoff push. The Titans on the other hand I have never been impressed by. They have been benefited by a weak conference and division, but if they want to get a wild card spot they need this game. However I think everyone would agree we don’t want a team like the Titans in the playoffs.
Pick: Rams (-7)
Jacksonville Jaguars (-4.5) @ San Francisco 49ers
I am surprised this line is so low. Now the Jags are no offensive powerhouse with Bortles at QB, but they have quietly put up at least 30 points a game over the past three weeks. I understand Jimmy G has the Niners looking like a new team, but they are going to hit a wall facing an elite team fighting for a playoff bye.
Pick: Jaguars (-4.5)
Seattle Seahawks @ Dallas Cowboys (-5)
Whatever team loses this game is finished. Both of these teams came into the season with high expectations but have fallen short due to various things such as injuries and suspensions.
The Cowboys get Zeke back this week which is huge. Zeke will cover up all of the issues with the Cowboys offense, and make Dak look a hell of a lot better than he has in the past six games(5 TDs, 7 INTs, QB Rating of 76.6).
However the Seahawks are coming off two embarrassing losses against two playoff bound teams, the Jags and the Rams. This may be the end of the legion of boom as we know it, but I don’t expect them to give up on the season just yet. Expect Russel Wilson to have a great game abusing and inexperienced Dallas secondary.
I think the Cowboys will win, but it will be close. I mean this the the team that barley beat the Raiders last week, and was bailed out by an index card.
Pick: Seahawks (+5)
New York Giants @ Arizona Cardinals (-3.5)
The Giants are coming off their best performance in a long time against a good Eagles team, but they are still the same team. They are team with a bad offensive line, little running game, half of their wide receivers on IR, and a defense that has played severely under their ridiculous price tag.
Pick: Cardinals (-3.5)
Pittsburgh Steelers (-10) @ Houston Texans
After a heartbreaking loss to the Pats last week the Steelers are going to come out in a blazing fury and destroy a depleted Texans team. Even without star receiver Antonio Brown, the Steelers are more than capable of putting up points. The only issue with the Steelers comes with the fact they aren’t a great road team and can play down to competition (The Steelers have lost five straight ATS), but they should get this done.
Pick: Steelers (-10)
Oakland Raiders @ Philadelphia Eagles (-9)
Expect the Eagles to wrap up the number one seed in the NFC for their fans on Christmas Day.
The Eagles are coming off one of their worst games of the year, where they eked a 34-29 win over the lowly Giants. The defense has looked bad over the last three games, allowing over a 1000 yards, and giving up over 29 points a game. They need to figure this out and the Raiders are a good team for them to figure it out against. The Raiders aren’t out of the playoff race yet, but they might as well be. They will put up a fight, but the Eagles will dominate them at home as they have done as season(Eagles are +109 at home this season in scoring differential).
Pick: Eagles (-9)