2017 NFL Week 16 Preview

 

Don’t be fooled in NFL Week 16. Because Dec. 25, Christmas Day, is this coming Monday, the NFL has eschewed their usual Thursday game. Instead, the NFL is going to play two games on Saturday, and two games on Monday.

The biggest match ups in NFL Week 16 are Atlanta at New Orleans, and Seattle at Dallas. Keep reading for previews of those two games as well as previews for every other game in 2017 NFL Week 16!

2017 NFL Week 16 Preview

Saturday, Dec. 23

Indianapolis Colts +13.5 at Baltimore Ravens -13.5

It’s going to be interesting to see what the Colts do this off season. Do they stick with QB Jacoby Brissett and try to move QB Andrew Luck? Or, do they try and trade Andrew Luck, grab a QB in the draft, and build up both of their lines?

When it comes to NFL Week 16, it truly doesn’t matter what the Colts do. There’s virtually no chance that the Baltimore Ravens don’t beat the Colts by at least 20 points in this game. Baltimore needed a single week without cornerback Jimmy Smith before adjusting back into one of the better defenses in the NFL.

Ravens win by at least 20. They might beat Indianapolis by 30.

Pick: Ravens -13.5 

Minnesota Vikings Off at Green Bay Packers Off

Who’s going to play quarterback for Green Bay? That’s the question. Is there a reason to play Aaron Rodgers even though the Packers, for all intents and purposes, have been eliminated from the playoffs? I don’t think so. Keep Rodgers on the bench and build for next season.

Whether Rodgers plays or not, it doesn’t really matter. The Packers’ defense has no shot of stopping Case Keenum and the Vikings’ offense. Minnesota must continue to win football games. There’s a chance the Vikings can still garner home field advantage.

Vikings should win by at least 14 points on Sunday. I’ll set that line right now.

Pick: Vikings -14

Sunday, Dec. 24

Detroit Lions -5 at Cincinnati Bengals +5

The Detroit Lions head to Cincinnati confident that they can win out and make the playoffs. I’d be confident as well if my final 2 games of the season were at Cincinnati and home versus the likely Aaron Rodger-less Green Bay Packers.

The Lions should dominate a Cincinnati team that’s losing its head coach after the season. The Bengals have also lost 3 in a row and 5 out of their last 7.

Best Pick: Lions -5  

Cleveland Browns +6.5 at Chicago Bears -6.5

This is the week the Browns must fight for a win. Cleveland faces the Pittsburgh Steelers at Pitt in Week 17. Pitt is tied with New England. Going into Week 17, the Steelers might have to play their starters just in case the Patriots lose so that Pittsburgh can get home field advantage during the playoffs.

The Browns have no shot of beating Pittsburgh. They can upset the Chicago Bears. Just that alone gives me confidence that Cleveland keeps this closer than 6.5 points. I’m siding with the Browns.

Pick: Browns +6.5  

Atlanta Falcons +6 at New Orleans Saints -6

Saints’ RB Alvin Kamara left the first game between these two early. The Falcons still had to intercept QB Drew Brees in the final 3 minutes to prevent New Orleans from taking the lead. That’s not a good sign for the Atlanta Falcons.

The Saints have been looking forward to this match up since losing to the Falcons on Dec. 7. New Orleans should come out guns blazing. Don’t be surprised if the Saints end this game before the second half even starts.

Best Pick: Saints -6.5  

Miami Dolphins +10 at Kansas City Chiefs -10

So far, 56% of NFL handicappers are willing to lay the 10 points on the KC Chiefs. I’ve been debating this spread with myself since it came out after Sunday’s games. The Chiefs have been fantastic. But, 10 points is a lot of points to give up.

I’m not sure I can trust KC to put together 3 straight terrific performances. Also, the Chiefs battled the Raiders two weeks ago and the Chargers in Week 15. Those are AFC West rival teams. Miami isn’t close to causing the same emotions that the Bolts and Raiders cause in Chiefs’ players.

Pick: Dolphins +10

Buffalo Bills +11.5 at New England Patriots -11.5

Some trends say that Buffalo has no shot. Other trends say that Buffalo has a huge shot, though. The road team in this series is 19-7-1 against the spread in the last 27 meetings. Buffalo is 3-1-1 against the spread in the last 5 meetings in New England.

The Patriots head into Week 15 after an emotional win against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Patriot players might relax just enough for the Bills to not only cover the spread, but to also challenge for the win. Lest we forget, Bills’ QB Tyrod Taylor got hurt early in the 3 to 23 loss to New England.

I’m taking the points.

Pick: Bills +11.5 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers +9.5 at Carolina Panthers -9.5

The Buccaneers just aren’t a  very good football team. Almost as important is that in this match up, Carolina has a lot to play for while the Buccaneers don’t. The trends are all over the Panthers in this game.

Carolina is 4 and 0 ATS in their last 4 home games. The Panthers are also 6 and 1 against the spread in their last 7 games overall. One trend that could give Tampa bettors some hope is that Carolina is only 3 and 7 ATS in their last 10 games versus an NFC South opponent.

The line has already moved to Buccaneers +10. That’s the way I’m going.

Pick: Buccaneers +10

L.A. Rams -6.5 at Tennessee Titans +6.5

Tennessee’s defense has no shot at stopping the Rams’ offense. L.A. can pass the ball almost as well as they can rush the football. This is one of those no-brainer picks for me. The Titans lost 7 to 12 to the Arizona Cardinals in Week 14. In Week 15, the Titans lost 23 to 25 to the San Francisco 49’ers.

There’s nothing to suggest that the Rams don’t provide a complete butt whipping performance against Tennessee on Christmas Eve. I think the Rams explode for at least 35 points in this game.

Best Pick: L.A.  Rams -6.5

L.A. Chargers -7 at New York Jets +7

The Chargers’ defense got hammered in this past Saturday’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. KC racked up 30 points against a defense that often only allows 18.2 total points per game. The Chiefs hadn’t looked good in the entire second half of the season until playing the Raiders in Week 14 and the Bolts in Week 15.

Does that mean the Jets have a shot not only against the spread, but also straight up? I think so. NYJ is a ridiculous 7 and 1 against the spread at home this season. I like the Jets to be more pumped up than the Chargers are now that L.A.’s road to the playoffs is so much more difficult.

Pick:  Jets +7

Denver Broncos +3.5 at Washington Redskins -3.5

The Denver Broncos head to Washington to battle a team that’s sort of in the same situation that they are. Washington’s defense should play the Broncos’ much tougher than Indianapolis’ defense played the Broncos.  The reason I write that is because Washington’s D is actually quite good against opposing wide receivers.

Because Denver has absolutely no rushing attack, Washington gets the nod in a game that should mean very little to most everybody except bettors and fantasy football guys.

Pick: Washington -3.5

Jacksonville Jaguars -4 at San Francisco 49’ers +4

I love how the San Francisco 49’ers have won 3 straight. Once the 49’ers get their defense together, they could be one of those sneaky tough NFC teams. They won’t be the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles. But, they’ll be a decent team.

Even though I love what SF has done in the past 3 weeks, they’ve got no shot at covering a +4 spread against one of the best teams in the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars. In the Jags last 3 games, QB Blake Bortles has recorded ratings of 119.8, 123.7, and 143.8.

Bortles is en fuego. He torches the Niners’ secondary on Sunday.

Best Pick: Jaguars -4

New York Giants +4 at Arizona Cardinals -4

The Giants should beat Arizona straight up. The Cardinals never quit. That makes them a tough out for the New York Giants. However, the Giants have Eli Manning at quarterback. The Cardinals don’t. Eli should be the difference in this match up.

Pick: Giants +4  

Seattle Seahawks +4.5 at Dallas Cowboys -4.5

What should worry Seahawks’ fans about Week 15’s loss is how the defense couldn’t stop the rival L.A. Rams rushing attack. The Rams rushed for over 250 yards. Dallas now has the blueprint to beat Seattle straight up on Dec. 24.

Dallas should rush both Alfred Morris and Rod Smith. If LT Tyron Smith doesn’t play, the Boys’ rushing attack could be much less effective than it normally would be. Then again, Smith left the game against Oakland. That didn’t allow time for the Cowboys to adjust.

In this game, the Cowboys know there’s a chance Smith might not even play. I expect Dallas to put together a game plan B to account for Smith’s possible absence.

Best Pick: Cowboys -4.5  

Monday, Dec. 25

Pittsburgh Steelers -9.5 at Houston Texans +9.5

The Steelers head to Houston with a lot to still play for. Pitt is only a game ahead of the Jacksonville Jaguars for the second seed in the AFC Playoffs. A loss to the Texans could devastate Pitt’s chances of getting a Round 1 bye.

Don’t worry, Steeler fan. Even without WR Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh should dominate Houston’s defense. Blake Bortles threw 3 TD passes versus the Texans in Week 15. Big Ben could throw 5 TD passes versus Houston’s secondary.

Best Pick: Steelers -9.5

Oakland Raiders +9 at Philadelphia Eagles -9

There’s no reason for me to take the points in this game. The Raiders have been pretty much eliminated from playoff contention. The Eagles must continue to win to secure home field advantage. But, the way that the Eagles’ defense allowed Eli Manning to torch them for 3 TD passes and over 400 passing yards in Week 15, tells me that Oakland has a much better shot of covering a 9-point spread than many NFL handicappers believe they do.

The Raiders should be loose in this game. I like them to at least keep it closer than 9 points.

Pick: Raiders +9