Week 15 saw five division winners lose games, so one cannot even predict the craziness that awaits us in Week 16 with playoff hopes on the line.
In an attempt to help you sort through the madness, here are against-the-spread picks for every game on the schedule, complete with a breakdown of three games where the favorite is a lock to cover the spread.
|Home Team||Away Team||ATS Pick|
|Buffalo Bills||Miami Dolphins||MIA -2.5|
|Carolina Panthers||New Orleans Saints||CAR -3|
|Washington Redskins||Dallas Cowboys||WAS +3|
|St. Louis Rams||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||TB +4|
|New York Jets||Cleveland Browns||NYJ -1|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Indianapolis Colts||KC -7|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Minnesota Vikings||CIN -8|
|Houston Texans||Denver Broncos||DEN -10|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Tennessee Titans||JAC +5|
|Seattle Seahawks||Arizona Cardinals||SEA -10|
|Detroit Lions||New York Giants||NYG +10|
|San Diego Chargers||Oakland Raiders||SD -10|
|Green Bay Packers||Pittsburgh Steelers||PIT +1|
|Baltimore Ravens||New England Patriots||BAL -2|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Chicago Bears||PHI -3|
|San Francisco 49ers||Atlanta Falcons||ATL +14|
All spreads courtesy of VegasInsider.com
Carolina Panthers (-3) over New Orleans Saints
Home-field advantage will play a massive role in a game that will decide the NFC South, and the Panthers have the huge advantage of playing in front of their own crowd.
Drew Brees has struggled on the road, including last week when he threw two interceptions.
|Location||Completion Percentage||Yards per Attempt||TDs||INTs||Passer Rating|
In addition, Saints head coach Sean Payton is making a bold roster move this week by starting rookie Terron Armstead at left tackle. Armstead shot up draft boards with an impressive performance at the NFL Draft Combine, but it will be a rude awakening for the rookie as he faces a Panthers defense that has registered the second-most sacks (45) in the league.
I'm honestly surprised to hear Payton will start Terron Armstead at left tackle. Completely thrown in the fire.— Larry Holder (@LarryHolder) December 18, 2013
This matchup will be a reverse of what we saw in Week 13, with the Carolina pass rush getting to Brees early and often, so New Orleans’ road woes will continue.
Prediction: Carolina Panthers 24, New Orleans Saints 17
Kansas City Chiefs (-7) over Indianapolis Colts
We get a preview of a possible AFC Wild Card Round matchup, and you can be sure that both teams are going to play it close to the vest. Prior to last week, it seemed like this would be a game where both teams were pretty much locked into their seeds and so would have nothing to play for.
Instead, after last week’s interesting turn of events, the Kansas City Chiefs still have a slim chance of grabbing the No. 1 seed (they need the Denver Broncos to lose), and the Indianapolis Colts could move up in the standings.
Kansas City is starting to heat up again after a three-game losing streak, and the Chiefs are averaging 42 points per game over their last four outings.
|12||San Diego Chargers||38|
On the contrary, the Colts have given up over 40 points in their last two road games, and the offense is struggling without Reggie Wayne in the mix.
|Category||With Wayne||Without Wayne|
|Points per Game||26.7||21.6|
|Yards per Attempt||7.0||6.3|
Prediction: Kansas City Chiefs 34, Indianapolis Colts 24
Baltimore Ravens (-2) over New England Patriots
Don’t look now, but the Baltimore Ravens have won four games in a row and are starting to emanate that “team of destiny” vibe that they had last year. Not that destiny is evidence for you picking the Ravens to cover spread.
No, you should pick Baltimore to cover the spread because it matches up quite well with a banged up New England Patriots team.
Tom Brady has 6 TD passes and 9 INT in 6 head-to-head matchups with Joe Flacco (including playoffs). Flacco has 12 TD passes and 4 INT— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 17, 2013
Furthermore, this looks like a matchup where Baltimore will be able to find some success on the ground against the Patriots' 31st-ranked run defense.
The absence of Rob Gronkowski will be the difference in this critical game, as the Patriots haven’t been able to compensate for his elite red-zone production. Baltimore will extend its winning streak to five against its familiar foe.
Prediction: Baltimore Ravens 23, New England Patriots 20