NFL Week 16 Picks: Analyzing Spreads for Each Game

Ryan FallerAnalyst IDecember 22, 2010

NFL Week 16 Picks: Analyzing Spreads For Each Game

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    FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 19:  A fan of the New England Patriots holds up a sign that reads 'Go Pats!' prior to the start of the game against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Gett
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    NFL Week 16 picks are being tabulated, and all signs point to you needing a big week. Anything less won’t suffice, because three and a half months of losing has your significant other up-in-arms and you need to recover your livelihood and get that bookie off your back all at once.

    Hopefully, this little guide will help you achieve your late-season goals.

    [Note: I do not claim responsibility for you losing more money. Bet at your own risk. All spreads are those posted at, as of Wednesday afternoon; ATS records provided by Predict 'Em. All games take place on Sunday, Dec. 26, unless stated otherwise.]

Carolina at Pittsburgh (Thurs., Dec. 23, 8:20 PM ET, NFL Network)

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    PITTSBURGH - DECEMBER 19:  Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets during the game on December 19, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wi
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Spread: Pittsburgh (-15)

    Outcome: Even without Troy Polamalu or a fully functional offensive line, the Steelers, who are just 4-3 against the spread at home, cover at Heinz Field against what is by far the worst offense in the league, statistically.

Dallas at Arizona (Sat., Dec. 25, 7:30 PM ET, NFL Network)

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    ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 19:  Interim head coach Jason Garrett of the Dallas Cowboys during a game against the Washington Redskins at Cowboys Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Spread: Dallas (-7)

    Outcome: Take Dallas. Because not only have they performed well on the road against the spread, going 3-3, but Cardinals quarterbacks—including the presumptive starter against the Cowboys, rookie John Skelton—have combined for a painful 52.6 passer rating.

Washington at Jacksonville (1:00 PM ET, FOX)

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 05: Head coach Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins looks on against the New York Giants on December 5, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Redskins 31-7.  (Photo b
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Spread: Jacksonville (-7)

    Outcome: This is a hugely important game for the Jags, who need a win to keep their wild card hopes alive. But something tells me Rex Grossman plays well and the ‘Skins cover, silencing the critics who continue to give Mike Shanahan grief over benching Donovan McNabb.

Detroit at Miami (1:00 PM ET, FOX)

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    MIAMI - DECEMBER 19:  Receiver Brandon Marshall #19 of the Miami Dolphins reacts against the Buffalo Bills at Sun Life Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Miami, Florida. The Bills defeated the Dolphins 17-14.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Spread: Miami (-3.5)

    Outcome: Something has to give here. The Lions are 10-4 overall ATS, including 4-3 away from Ford Field. Sounds like a gimme, but the Fish need a win at home to avoid tying their worst home record in franchise history, achieved just three seasons ago.

San Francisco at St. Louis (1:00 PM ET, FOX)

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    GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 05:  Quarterback Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams scrambles to pass the football during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 5, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona. The Rams defeate
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Spread: St. Louis (-2)

    Outcome: No doubt this line would be flipped if the game were being played in San Francisco, where the Rams fell to the Niners last month.  In a game filled with so many postseason implications, the home field advantage is huge, as will be St. Louis’ margin of victory. Well, at least more than two.

New England at Buffalo (1:00 PM ET, CBS)

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    FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 19:  Quarterback Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots communicates with teammates during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots won the game 31-27
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Spread: New England (-9)

    Outcome: Two games better than anyone in the AFC, the Pats could seemingly take this one off, but a No. 1 seed is at stake. And that means welcoming in all AFC playoff participants to the comfy confines of Gillette Stadium. Brady improves on his unreal touchdown-to-interception ratio and New England rolls, improving their road record ATS to a salty 6-2.

New York Jets at Chicago (1:00 PM ET, CBS)

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 12: Head coach of the New York Jets, Rex Ryan looks on from the sideline against the Miami Dolphins at New Meadowlands Stadium on December 12, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
    Nick Laham/Getty Images

    Spread: No Line

    Outcome: The Bears have clinched the NFC North and are still in the running for the conference’s No. 2 seed. The Jets are secure for now as the AFC’s No. 6 seed, but a loss could make things really interesting going into Week 17, including Rex Ryan’s postgame press conference. Both teams play with something at stake, so maybe that’s why the odds makers are telling us not to worry about a line.

Baltimore at Cleveland (1:00 PM ET, CBS)

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 21:  Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens talks to his wide receivers Derrick Mason #85 and Anquan Boldin #81 during a timeout against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on November 21, 2010 in Charlotte, North Caro
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Spread: Baltimore (-4)

    Outcome: The Ravens barely skated by Cleveland the first time around, winning by seven in Week 3 thanks to three Joe Flacco touchdown passes to Anquan Boldin. Involved in a pursuit with Pittsburgh for the AFC North and a No. 2 seed, Baltimore doubles that margin on Sunday.

Tennessee at Kansas City (1:00 PM ET, CBS)

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    ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 19: Matt Cassel #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs passes against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on December 19, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Chiefs beat the Rams 27-13.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Spread: Kansas City (-5)

    Outcome: Matt Cassel clearly didn’t miss his appendix last Sunday against the Rams, showing good mobility in addition to passing for 187 yards. I have been picking the Chiefs to falter down the stretch, but this game and spread look manageable against a Titans team that has lost its last three road games by an average of more than 13 points.

Indianapolis at Oakland (4:05 PM ET, CBS)

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    LANDOVER, MD - OCTOBER 17: Austin Collie #17 of the Indianapolis Colts moves the ball upfield after making a reception against Kareem Moore #41 of the Washington Redskins at FedExField on October 17, 2010 in Landover, Maryland.  (Photo by Win McNamee/Gett
    Win McNamee/Getty Images

    Spread: Indianapolis (-3)

    Outcome: The Colts will be without receiver Austin Collie, who suffered his third concussion of the season last week versus Jacksonville. Peyton and his depleted army won’t be able to compensate for the loss on the road against the Raiders, who despite being so-so ATS (7-7) are making a surprise push for the playoffs.

Houston at Denver (4:05 PM ET, CBS)

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    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 19:  Jabar Gaffney #10 (left) and Brandon Lloyd #84 of the Denver Broncos smile at the Raider fans during their game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 19, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Spread: No Line

    Outcome: Not much to say about this one, other than if you’re betting on it, you either have a problem or way too much money to burn. Neither team has a defense, but I’d take the Broncos just for the hell of it.

San Diego at Cincinnati (4:05 PM ET, CBS)

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    SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 16:  Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers speaks to his teammates in the huddle during their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 16, 2010 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Don
    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Spread: San Diego (-7.5)

    Outcome: Somewhat mirror images of one another, the Chargers and Bengals are underachieving despite having rosters seemingly overflowing with talent. The only difference is, San Diego managed to wake up midway through November, while Cincy hit the snooze. Needing a win to stay alive in the AFC playoff race, the Chargers cover by steamrolling the apathetic Bungles.

Seattle at Tampa Bay (4:15 PM ET, FOX)

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    TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 19:  Running back LeGarrette Blount #27 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers straight-arms safety C.C. Brown #39 of the Detroit Lions during the game at Raymond James Stadium on December 19, 2010 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Im
    J. Meric/Getty Images

    Spread: Tampa Bay (-6)

    Outcome: Like many teams this time of year, the Bucs need some help getting into the postseason, but they must do their part first and foremost. Although not by enough to cover at home, Tampa gets it done against the Seahawks, who see their playoff aspirations flicker away after a third consecutive defeat.

New York Giants at Green Bay (4:15 PM ET, FOX)

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    DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 12:  Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers leaves the field at halftime after leaving the game with a concussion while playing the Detroit Lions on December 12, 2010 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Spread: No Line

    Outcome: By no means an avid gambler, I first thought the absence of a line meant odds makers were waiting on the status of Aaron Rodgers, who was cleared to play on Tuesday. Now, I’m convinced the hesitation is due to the fact these teams’ combined records ATS for Sunday’s game cancel each other out—the Packers 4-2 ATS at home; the Giants 4-2 ATS on the road.

Minnesota at Philadelphia (8:20 PM ET, NBC)

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    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - DECEMBER 20:  Quarterback Brett Favre #4 of the Minnesota Vikings leaves the field after being sacked by the Chicago Bears at TCF Bank Stadium on December 20, 2010 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Spread: No Line

    Outcome: Brett Favre won’t be put on injured reserve, but Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier said Wednesday his quarterback is unlikely to play at Philadelphia after suffering a concussion against Chicago. This is Favre we’re talking about, though.

    Regardless of whether the future Hall of Famer plays, the down-and-out Vikes won’t be able to contain Vick and the rest of the Eagles’ offensive arsenal, no matter the spread.

New Orleans at Atlanta (Mon., Dec. 27, 8:30 PM ET, ESPN)

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    SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 19:  Quarterback Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons audibles to Jason Snelling #44 during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on December 19, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Spread: Atlanta (-3)

    Outcome: The Falcons can smell home field advantage, and a win will ensure they stay home for as long as they’re in the NFC playoffs. But all you probably care about is that Atlanta is 10-4 this season ATS, which is significantly better than the Saints’ mark of 5-9.