Just when it seems like it's easy to read a team, it goes and does something like lose to the St. Louis Rams or Minnesota Vikings. The 2013 NFL season has been an unpredictable one, but Week 16's slate of games certainly offers quite a few matchups that can be taken advantage of by bettors.
With only two weeks remaining in the regular season, there is still plenty of time to make a little extra dough before the playoffs officially begin and the real money is made.
Here is a look at every game and every spread, followed by a closer look at a few teams that will pull off upsets against the spread.
|Away Team||Home Team||Spread||Pick ATS|
|Miami Dolphins||Buffalo Bills||MIA -3||Dolphins|
|New Orleans Saints||Carolina Panthers||CAR -2.5||Panthers|
|Dallas Cowboys||Washington Redskins||DAL -3.5||Cowboys|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||St. Louis Rams||STL -4.5||Rams|
|Chicago Bears||Philadelphia Eagles||PHI -4||Eagles|
|Cleveland Browns||N.Y. Jets||NYJ -1||Browns|
|Indianapolis Colts||Kansas City Chiefs||KC -6.5||Colts|
|Minnesota Vikings||Cincinnati Bengals||CIN -8||Vikings|
|Denver Broncos||Houston Texans||DEN -9.5||Broncos|
|Tennessee Titans||Jacksonville Jaguars||TEN -4||Jaguars|
|Arizona Cardinals||Seattle Seahawks||SEA -9.5||Seahawks|
|N.Y. Giants||Detroit Lions||DET -9.5||Lions|
|Oakland Raiders||San Diego Chargers||SD -9.5||Raiders|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Green Bay Packers||PK||Packers|
|New England Patriots||Baltimore Ravens||BAL -1.5||Patriots|
|Atlanta Falcons||San Francisco 49ers||SF -10||Falcons|
Spreads Provided by Vegas Insider
Minnesota Vikings (+8 at Cincinnati Bengals)
It appears the Minnesota Vikings might just have a winner in the quarterback sweepstakes with Matt Cassel—for now. Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press reported that coach Leslie Frazier will roll with the former New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback for the rest of the season:
You guys might not believe this, but I don't like juggling quarterbacks. I like to have a quarterback and not even have to worry about that position at all. Believe me, things would be a lot better, a lot easier. But we're counting on Matt having success and playing again the next week and leading us to victory the next couple of weeks.
Cassel threw for 382 yards and two touchdowns in the Week 15 win over the Philadelphia Eagles and, more importantly, led the offense down the field on multiple drives to score a total of 48 points—they hadn't scored more than 34 points all season prior.
The decision sits well with more than just Frazier, as Greg Jennings was also quoted in Tomasson's story expressing exuberance over the announcement:
I would love to see Matt back. He's a great guy, he's a great leader. He has a great, great feel of the locker room. I think guys rallied behind him. I would love to see Matt back.
The last part of the good news for this once-woeful team is the potential return of Adrian Peterson, who returned to practice Wednesday, according to Ben Goessling of ESPN.com:
Xavier Rhodes only #Vikings player who won't practice. Peterson will do some work, Frazier says.— Ben Goessling (@GoesslingESPN) December 18, 2013
With a healthy backfield and apparent confidence at the quarterback position, the Vikings might not pull off an upset of the Cincinnati Bengals, but they will certainly make it a close game.
Prediction: Bengals 28, Vikings 23
Jacksonville Jaguars (+4 vs. Tennessee Titans)
What's the one thing that the Jacksonville Jaguars have done well over the last two weeks? Run the ball.
What is the biggest weakness of the Tennessee Titans defense this season? Defend the rush.
No matter who's toting the ball for the Jaguars, they've found a way to get the job done. Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for more than 100 yards in Week 14 against the Houston Texans, and Jordan Todman followed that performance with a 100-yard game of his own against the Buffalo Bills in Week 15.
Though the Jags weren't able to defeat Buffalo, they found out that they have a plethora of talent in the backfield. That stable of backs might once again be limited to just Todman against the Titans with MJD still not practicing, according to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com:
No surprises. Johnathan Cyprien (thigh), Geno Hayes (knee), Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring) only players who did not practice for #Jaguars.— Michael DiRocco (@ESPNdirocco) December 19, 2013
The Jags will also have to get the job done without leading receiver Cecil Shorts, who was placed on injured reserve with a groin injury.
Whether Jones-Drew is able to play, the Jaguars are playing good football and have remained competitive, winning four of their last six games. The Titans are still a formidable foe, but unless Chris Johnson has a great performance—which could happen against a terrible Jaguars rush defense—the Jaguars will pull out their fifth win in the last seven contests.
Prediction: Jaguars 31, Titans 24
New England Patriots (+1.5 at Baltimore Ravens)
Did Tom Brady miss Rob Gronkowski against the Miami Dolphins in Week 15? Yes. With his favorite target out for the season, it was evident that Brady missed a few receivers and would certainly have gone to him on the last play of the game.
But one thing we know about Brady is that he adapts to any situation. The New England Patriots might not have Gronkowski for the rest of the season, but two receivers appear to be ready to return and give the team a boost.
Mike Reiss of ESPN.com reported that rookie receivers Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson practiced Wednesday and that Dobson feels ready to play against the Baltimore Ravens:
Rookie WRs Aaron Dobson (foot) and Kenbrell Thompkins (hip) are present at practice. Looks like they are close to a return to action.— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) December 18, 2013
WR Aaron Dobson on chances of playing: "I think so. I am just going thru the week, trying to progress, and will see how it feels."— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) December 19, 2013
With an offense that finally has some height in the passing game—Julian Edelman, Austin Collie, Shane Vereen and Danny Amendola are all below 6'0"—the Patriots will finally be able to spread the field against a Ravens team that is getting better, but isn't great, defensively.
While Joe Flacco and the Ravens will be desperate for a win, the Patriots are simply better and won't make the same mistakes that the Detroit Lions did in Week 15 against the Ravens.
Prediction: Patriots 20, Ravens 17