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I think it’s time to once again revise my season-long predictions. Remember about six weeks ago when I said the Rams wouldn’t lose again the rest of the year? Yikes. And the Steelers being a Super Bowl team. Also not good.
So let’s take a look at how things stand going into the final two weeks of the regular season…
Right now with home field advantage likely throughout the NFC playoffs, how can anyone pick against the Saints? They’re so dominant in the Superdome. But then again, Drew Brees hasn’t looked sharp of late either. I have a hard time picking any of these NFC teams on the road this postseason therefore I don’t see the Bears or Cowboys beating the Rams in LA. So I guess that means the NFC Championship Game should be a doozy…Saints-Rams in The Big Easy.
In the AFC, flip a coin…especially if the Chargers win out and the Chiefs lose in Seattle on Sunday (see my picks below). I’ll tell you this…I’m going to fade the Patriots at all costs and the Chiefs with Andy Reid’s spotty playoff history.
Who does that leave? A Saints-Chargers Super Bowl…Drew Brees against his old team! And guess who has a preseason future of those two teams at 150-1…
Week 16 NFL Picks
Last Week: 11-5 Straight Up (SU), 9-7 Against the Spread (ATS)
Overall: 149-73-2 SU, 117-107 ATS
(Picks against the spread in parentheses; home teams in caps)
TENNESSEE 27, Washington 13 (ATS: Titans -10.5)
This Josh Johnson story has been fun for the last two weeks in Washington. Signed off the AAF’s San Diego roster…learns his teammates’ names via a video game…and wins a road game against last year’s AFC runner-up. But the buck stops there. Good luck slowing down the NFL’s newest greatest RB, Derrick Henry (at least as of the last two weeks) and facing a Tennessee D that has been swarming at times this year including the last two weeks. Easy win for the Titans.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS 26, Baltimore 24 (ATS: Ravens +4.5)
I think the Ravens have a big chance here…and I was THIS close to picking the upset. But the Chargers have visions of not leaving California in January…so a game-winning field goal as time expires wins it in a Saturday night thriller!
MIAMI 23, Jacksonville 16 (ATS: Dolphins -4.5)
The Dolphins still have a shot, albeit a small one, at a playoff berth. The Jaguars are likely to get their coach, Doug Marrone fired. Don’t overthink it.
INDIANAPOLIS 30, New York Giants 20 (ATS: Colts -9.5)
Indy has come out of nowhere to be a legitimate contender for the AFC’s #6 seed. With a ton of cap room in 2019, don’t be surprised if they are a lot of people’s dark horse pick as AFC Champion next season. For now, the Giants aren’t going to slow down Andrew Luck.
Atlanta 24, CAROLINA 20 (ATS: Falcons +3.5)
The Panthers have lost six in-a-row and Cam Newton can’t throw the ball with any velocity or accuracy down the field. Atlanta’s defense isn’t very good…but I’ll take my chances. How does Carolina coach Ron Rivera survive this avalanche of losses?
NEW ENGLAND 31, Buffalo 17 (ATS: Patriots -10.5)
The Patriots need to win out and hope for a Houston loss to get a first round bye. This also shouldn’t be a difficult pick.
PHILADELPHIA 23, Houston 20 (ATS: Eagles -0.5)
Can you really pick against the Nick Foles-magic this time of year? Houston needs this game…badly…but they won’t get it. Philly wins on a late Jake Elliott field goal.
Green Bay 28, NEW YORK JETS 24 (ATS: Packers +1.5)
As of this writing, I have to think that there’s no way Aaron Rodgers sits out this game, right? If he does, I reserve the right to change my pick. Deshone Kizer isn’t winning on the road. Oh wait, Green Bay hasn’t won on the road this year (0-7). They’re due, right? It does the Jets no good to win this one (for draft position purposes).
CLEVELAND 30, Cincinnati 16 (ATS: Browns -7.5)
Another dark horse AFC contender in 2019 might be the Browns…Baker Mayfield is the real deal and this team is light years better than it was earlier in the season. 7.5 points seems way too light.
DALLAS 27, Tampa Bay 14 (ATS: Cowboys -7.5)
The Cowboys clinch the NFC East with a win…and that’s what they’ll do. The bigger question – will former #1 overall pick Jameis Winston be back in Tampa Bay next year?
Minnesota 24, DETROIT 22 (ATS: Lions +5.5)
Here’s another potential upset I just about picked. The Lions have nothing to play for while the Vikings are in the absolute opposite boat. But do you really trust Kirk Cousins, behind that poor offensive line, on the road against a defensive-minded coach. Minnesota…CLOSE…but I’m not that confident in them even straight up.
Chicago 24, SAN FRANCISCO 16 (ATS: Bears -3.5)
The 49ers have played well of late but the Bears still have a shot at a playoff bye (if the Rams continue their shoddy play). In an ugly game, Chicago wins and covers.
Los Angles Rams 34, ARIZONA 13 (ATS: Rams -14.5)
This has to be the week the Rams play like their old selves, right? If not, they’ll be a popular pick to lose quickly in the playoffs.
NEW ORLEANS 37, Pittsburgh 24 (ATS: Saints -6.5)
Game of the week on paper. Both teams need it badly but probably Pittsburgh even more so. Like I said above, beating the Saints at home with their improved defense seems a bit far-fetched right now…so the Steelers’ division title and postseason fate hangs on Week 17’s result.
SEATTLE 30, Kansas City 26 (ATS: Seahawks +2.5)
My pick of the week. Why? I think Seattle’s offense rises to the challenge at home and their defense does just enough to slow down Patrick Mahomes. If I’m wrong about this pick, the Chiefs likely secure home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. But they’ll have to wait another week to see if they’re the #1 or #5 seed in the conference.
OAKLAND 24, Denver 20 (ATS: Raiders +2.5)
In what could be the last ever professional football game played in Oakland…on Christmas Eve…on Monday Night Football…against a team recently eliminated from the playoffs…now tell me why picking the Raiders is a bad thing.
Week 16 Fantasy Football Guidance
‘Boom & Crush’ Record (15+ PPR fantasy points from a non-must start player)
Last Week: 1-2
‘Be Careful’ Record (12 or less PPR fantasy points from a top-15 player)
Last Week: 1-2
Boom & Crush:
QB: Matt Ryan (ATL at CAR)
RB: Derrick Henry (TEN vs. WASH) – I mean, how could you NOT start him after these last two weeks!?
WR/TE: Doug Baldwin (SEA vs. KC)
QB: Deshaun Watson (HOU at PHI)
RB: Phillip Lindsay (DEN at OAK)
WR/TE: Julian Edelman (NE vs. BUF)