Week 16 NFL Picks
The Longest Picks Column in NFL History!!
INDIANAPOLIS (+7) over Texans
I know what you’re thinking…Dan Orlovsky. I know, but when it comes to someone actually playing for pride, I think the Colts might put it together. In no way am I saying that I believe the Colts will win on Thursday night. They might, but what I am saying is that Indy is 5-9 against the spread this year including three straight covers. Let’s make it four.
BALTIMORE (-12) over Cleveland
Things working in favor of the Baltimore Ravens for their matchup this week:
- They are 7-0 at home this season
- They just beat the Browns 24-10 in Cleveland three weeks ago
- Seneca Wallace is starting at quarterback for the Browns
- They are playing the Cleveland Browns
I’d expect Ray Rice to have a monster week in the Ravens final home game. Plenty at stake in this one as the Ravens control their own destiny in securing a first round by in the AFC Playoffs. The Browns are the 31st ranked rush defense in the NFL allowing 145.4 yards per game on the ground. Anytime the Ravens can take crucial plays out of Joe Flacco’s hands, they have an excellent chance for a comfortable win.
Denver (-3) over BUFFALO
When Tebow is involved, through numbers and history out the window…unless he’s playing against a real opponent. Buffalo is not a real opponent. The Denver Flying Tebows, as we all know, are 7-2 since the Mile High Messiah took over for Kyle Orton at Miami in week seven. In that same time they are 6-2-1 against the spread, including a 2-0-1 record as favorites this year. The Bills are a bottom three run defense facing the best running team in the NFL and racked up 252 yards on the ground in last week’s loss to the Patriots. Oh yes, I nearly forgot: The Bills suck. They quit on this season the moment Ryan Fitzpatrick signed his contract extension. Coincidence or not, they’ve lost seven straight games. Even though Tebow likes to keep games as close as possible as long as possible, there’s no way Buffalo will provide enough resistance for any late game Tebrow-ics.
BONUS REASON THE BRONCOS CAN’T LOSE: IT’S CHRISTMAS! WOULD J.C. REALLY SPOIL HIS OWN BIRTHDAY PARTY BY LETTING HIS NEPHEW LOSE?
CAROLINA (-7.5) over Tampa Bay
Talk about two teams heading in different directions. Before the season the Buccos were a semi-sexy pick as an upset team to, at the very least, challenge the Falcons and Saints for a playoff spot after an under-the-radar 10-6 in 2010. Even earlier this year they sat at 4-2 following an impressive 26-20 home win against the Saints. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?!? Since that spirited victory the Pirates of the Gulf of Mexico have lost eight in a row by a depressingly-impressive 256-134. Embarrassing.
The Panthers on the other hand have rallied behind the inspired play of the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and put together a respectable 5-9 record despite one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Behind Newton the Panthers have an offense that ranks 5th in the NFL in yards per game and 10th in points. I’d feel safe laying 9.5 in this one. The Panthers are playing like a team that wants to prove they’re close, while the Buccaneers are playing like they want to be close to the golf course.
Arizona (+4.5) over CINCINNATI
Is anyone else sick of hearing about a west coast team coming to the eastern time zone for an early game? Have you heard the one that factors in that this week it’s also on a Saturday?
Oddly enough, the Cardinals have been better with John Skelton than they were with Kevin Kolb. Whether this is an indictment of the front office, a slap in the face of Kolb or an endorsement of Skelton we can’t be sure. What we do know is that the Red Birds are winners of four in a row and six of their last seven (albeit by a grand total of 24 points).
Cincinnati’s early season magic (aka weak schedule) has worn off and they’ve taken the brunt of a brutal stretch in which their only two wins have been against St. Louis and Cleveland.
KANSAS CITY (-2.5) over Oakland
By knocking off the once glorious Green Bay Packers last week, Romeo Crennell ended one undefeated streak last week and started another. The Chiefs are red hot as they play host to the slipping Raiders and the gambling public has taken notice. The line in this game has slid five points since the line became available on Tuesday, moving from Oakland (-2.5) all the way over to the Scalpers. So what changed? Hell if I know, but you never bet against a large jolly man on Christmas. Boom.
TENNESSEE (-7.5) over Jacksonville
Among the least appealing games for the NFL viewer this weekend features a Titans team that has an outside shot at grabbing the six spot in the AFC and a Jacksonville team that…well doesn’t. The Jags are awful and yet, they have found ways to win on four separate occasions this year. Week 1 was a long time ago but these Jaguars (led by Luke McCown – 17-of-24, 175 yards, 91.5 QB Rating) knocked off the Titans 16-14 in No Flo. I’m not anticipating any type of Music City Miracles this week, but the Titans have something to play for and a chip on their shoulder thanks to opening weekend. Lord, please forgive me for betting on Matt Hasselbeck on a holy day.
NEW ENGLAND (-9.5) over Miami
Things we know about the Miami Dolphins: 1.) They are not nearly as bad on defense as they looked in week 1 vs the Pats. 2.) Tony Sparano couldn’t coach St. Thomas Aquinas High School…or most Pop Warner teams. Anything the Dolphins did under his watch was in spite of him, he will never land a head coaching gig in the NFL again.3.) Reggie Bush always plays better when he’s deep inside Kim Kardashian. Fact. The Dolphins are playing very well, the defense has gelled and the offense appears to have found its rhythm with Brandon and Bush making Moore out of Matty than anyone thought they could. But as former Miami Czar Bill Parcells says, “you are what your record says you are.” They are 5-9 team, though 5-2 in their last 7, but gaping holes in their secondary should allow the Brady Bunch to do what they do best: get a sizeable lead and let the defense give most of it back.
This would look like a possible let down game and the Patriots have shown a propensity to allow lesser opponents to stay close (see: Colt, Indianapolis and Redskins, Washington). However, tis the season for the Hoodie and Co to hit full stride. Last week’s 3 quarter dominance against the Lord’s team was more than comeback win. It was the type of character revealing contest we haven’t seen from New England since the 2001-04 glory days. Gutsy big wins can’t be followed by giving one back, especially with the early Christmas gifts they’ve been given by the Ravens, Steelers and Texans.
New York Giants (+3) over NEW YORK JETS
Tom Coughlin is again coaching for his job and trying to avoid the 791st second half collapse in his career as the Giants head coach. Rex Ryan is coaching because he likes people looking at him and wondering how his stomach staples are holding up with all the shit his is clearly full of. Two teams that control their own playoff destinies playing in their home building (when’s the last time you could say that?). Weather should be fine, game should be tight, give me the points and the better quarterback in a close one at JetLife Stadium.
WASHINGTON (-7) over Minnesota
In one of few true who gives a shit matchups of the week we get to see Rex Grossman match wits with Christian Ponder. Neither of these two teams are any good, but fantasy playoffs should have quite a bit riding on this game. Adrian Peterson is 105 yards from Robert Smith’s all-time Vikings rushing yardage crown, while Roy Helu and Jabar Gaffney have quietly put together solid fantasy seasons and find themselves inserted in more than a few semifinal and championship matchups this week.
(For the record I am laying the points and supporting both Matt Hasselbeck and Rex Grossman…)
ST. LOUIS (+14) over Pittsburgh
QUARTERBACK MATCHUP OF THE YEAR: KELLEN CLEMENS VS CHARLIE BATCH!!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS FOOTBALL FANS! A 14 point line is just too much with these two manning the offenses. While I don’t see the Pittsburgh defense allowing much, if anything to the Lambs, I also don’t see this game totally 14 points. BONUS BETTING TIP: Rams and the Under (34.5). Lock it up.
San Diego (+2) over DETROIT
Haven’t we heard this scenario before? Holiday weekend, huge home game for the Lions to prove to everyone that they are legit, the raucous crowd at Ford Field will not let their Lions lose right? How’d that turn out on Thanksgiving…right I remember now. The Lions came out flat, didn’t score in the first three quarters and trailed 24-0 in the 3rd. I know the Chargers aren’t in the same class of the Packers but they’re a hot team that, for some reason, always decides to ruin Norv Turner’s life for the first three months of the season before turning it on. It can’t be explained, including their 3-0 mark this year, the Chargers at 20-2 during Norv’s tenure as head coach during the months of December and January. Detroit likes to fall behind early in games, the Chargers like to jump out to big starts. After all it is December, the Chargers are averaging over 36 points per in their last three games including dropping 34 on the Ravens vaunted D. NORV!!!!!
SEATTLE (+1) over San Francisco
Trap game! Trap game! Trap game! If you couldn’t tell, I think this is a typical trap game for the 49ers. While they own the NFL ‘s 5th best defense allowing just over 300 yards a game, they led the league allowing just 71.5 rushing yards per game and 13.2 points per contest. They are coming off a muscle-flexing 20-3 blackout aided home win against the Steelers with the national spotlight shining on them (power permitting). The Birds of Water have won three in a row and five of six being led by mostly-mistake-free football from T Jack, Mr. Skittles and the 12th Man manning-up as of late. I expect to see more of the Niners squad that wandered in to Arizona two weeks ago and found a way to lose 21-19 than the Monday night mashers we saw five days ago.
Philadelphia (+1) over DALLAS
Tony Romo loves big-game clutch situations where he can finally quiet critics about his ability to rise to challenges and not shrink in the spotlight…never mind. The Eagles are a different team with Mike Vick under center, especially when he’s completely healthy, which he now appears to be. The carrot is being dangled for the Eagles, with a little help from the J-E-T-S they can still back into the playoffs. Jason Garrett needs the win more than Andy Reid, but I think this is one more bump in the road before Jerry Jones starts knocking on Jeff Fisher, Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher’s doors…
GREEN BAY (-11) over Chicago
This is a quarterback’s league. The difference between Aaron Rodgers and Josh McCown is worth a lot more than 11 points to me. Chicago’s defense has done an admirable job of attempting to keep the Bears afloat and within sniffing distance of the postseason, but the injuries on the offensive side of the ball just leave them no chance in this, or really any other matchup the rest of the way. Perfect place for ARod to rebound after last week’s letdown.
NEW ORLEANS (-7) over Atlanta
Perfect way to close out a great sports weekend with this NFC South showdown. The Falcons have been playing well, but the team peaking right now in the NFL is the New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees is going to break Dan Marino’s long held single-season passing yardage record and is playing at a level on par (possibly slightly better) with Rodgers and Brady and as good as his Super Bowl run two years ago. I can’t see anybody going into the Dome and grabbing a win from Sean Payton and his Giant cahones.
LAST WEEK: 7-9
THIS WEEK: 1-0