NFL Week 16 Picks Against the Spread

Tim Lewis@timdlewiContributor IDecember 22, 2011

NFL Week 16 Picks Against the Spread

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    With just two weeks remaining in the NFL regular season, the time has come to get back all of the money you lost while betting on games during the first 15 weeks.

    That's where I come in—consider these picks an early Christmas present for those of you who are in desperate need of a winning week.

    The moral of the story in Week 16 is simple, look at each team and ask yourself one question, "Does this team care whether or not they win this game?"

    Let's take a look at all 16 games and see if we can't eke out a 9-7 week or better, and maybe you won't have to return all of your Christmas presents this year.

Houston (-6.5) at Indianapolis

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    Thursday night's game is a fairly easy one to pick, the Texans need to win because they are fighting for a first round bye and the Colts need to lose so they draft Andrew Luck with the first pick in the 2012 draft.

    Where the games are being played is always crucial this time of the year and this just feels like a game where Arian Foster gets 30 carries for 150 yards and a couple TDs running indoors on the fast track of Lucas Oil Stadium.

    The Pick:  Houston 

Oakland (+2) at Kansas City

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    Another fairly easy one to predict. Both teams are still alive and fighting for the AFC Worst division title.

    This is a classic case of two teams headed in opposite directions and the team trending positively is playing at home.

    The Raiders have been awful over the last three weeks, losing three straight, while the Chiefs have won two of their last three.

    The Pick:  Kansas City

Denver (-3) at Buffalo

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    Well, let's see, the Broncos have won six of seven and are fighting for a home playoff game in the first round.  The Bills' season is over and a loss will only help their draft position.

    Oh, and the Bills don't have Tim Tebow.

    The Pick:  Denver

Jacksonville (+7.5) at Tennessee

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    Technically, the Titans can still make the playoffs, but realistically, their season is over.  Chris Johnson is 70 yards short of 1,000 yards rushing, so expect at least 20 carries against a Jacksonville team that has essentially given up.

    If you've had the pleasure of watching Jacksonville at all over the past five weeks, you could make a decent argument that they are currently the worst team in the NFL.

    The Pick:  Tennessee

Arizona (+4) at Cincinnati

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    Now THIS is a tough game to call.

    On one hand, you have an Arizona team that's won four straight by a combined total of 14 points and is technically (again, not realistically) still alive for a playoff spot.

    Meanwhile, the Bengals are very much alive for the last playoff spot in the AFC and are playing at home.

    I'll go with the home team in this one and cross my fingers that they win by more than a field goal.

    The Pick:  Cincinnati

Miami (+10) at New England

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    Finally, an underdog we like!  New England will win this game as they need to win their last two games at home to lock up home-field advantage in the AFC.

    However, the Dolphins, despite having nothing to play for, always seem to play the Patriots tough.

    They also have a running back by the name of Reggie Bush that's rushed for 406 yards over his last three games and will continue to have success against a barely average New England defense.

    The Pick:  Dolphins

Cleveland (+13) at Baltimore

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    The Ravens are an easy team to figure out, just take whatever they did the previous week and bet on them to do the opposite the following week.  

    Thus, since they were terrible last week against the Chargers, they will be great this week against the Browns.

    The Browns have lost four straight, including a 14-point loss at home to Baltimore.  They won't keep it that close on the road.

    The Pick:  Baltimore

New York Giants (+3) at New York Jets

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    Quite possibly the toughest game of the week to predict.  Two very inconsistent teams, both fighting for their playoff lives.

    Vegas obviously has no idea who is going to win either based on the home team being a three-point favorite.

    I'll take the points and the team with the better quarterback and more weapons at his disposal on offense.

    The Pick:  New York Giants 

Minnesota (+6.5) at Washington

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    Two teams eliminated from the playoffs playing for a better draft pick.  

    The Vikings have more to lose by winning this game considering the fact that they are still in the race for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

    The Redskins are the best 5-9 team I've seen in a long time.  In their last five games, they lost by three in overtime versus Dallas, won at Seattle, lost to the Jets, barely lost to New England and drilled the Giants last week.

    The Pick:  Washington

Tampa Bay (+7.5) at Carolina

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    ***Five Star Lock of the Week Alert***

    Similar to Jacksonville, Tampa Bay has completely mailed it in.  The Buccaneers have lost eight in a row (the longest losing streak in the NFL) by an average score of 32-17.

    Does anyone seem to care more about winning than Cam Newton?  The fact that he will lead an awful Carolina team to at least six wins this year is absolutely incredible.  

    I anticipate a monster day out of Newton and I would take Carolina if they were favored by 27.

    The Pick:  Carolina

St. Louis (+15.5) at Pittsburgh

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    This spread is off the board as of now due to the unknown status of Big Ben.

    My advice is take the Steelers to cover if Roethlisberger plays and take the Rams if Charlie Batch plays.

    The Pick:  N/A at this time

San Diego (+2.5) at Detroit

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    The Chargers have won three straight and still have an outside shot at winning the AFC Worst.

    The Lions can lock up a playoff berth for the first time since 1999 with a win in front of the home crowd.

    Considering the injuries to Jay Cutler and Matt Forte and some of the miracle come from behind wins, the Lions just seem to be catching all the breaks this season.

    The Pick:  Detroit

San Francisco (-2) at Seattle

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    This one has upset written all over it.  

    The 49ers coming off a short week, having to travel to Seattle and play in one of the most hostile environments in the NFL against a team that's won five of six and is still fighting for a playoff spot.

    Don't buy into the hype.

    The 49ers haven't allowed a rushing touchdown all season and if the Seahawks have to count on Tarvaris Jackson instead of Marshawn Lynch, that simply doesn't bode well for them.

    The Pick:  San Francisco

Philadelphia (+1.5) at Dallas

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    Along with the battle of New York (or East Rutherford, New Jersey I guess), this is the most difficult game of the week to predict.

    The Cowboys are in a must-win situation (depending on the Giants outcome earlier in the day) in order to stay atop the NFC East.  

    The Eagles have finally found their rhythm and are seeking to close the year on a four-game win streak in order to finish 8-8.

    I'll take the team with more to play for and with the revenge factor on their side (Philadelphia beats Dallas 34-7 in Week 8).

    The Pick:  Dallas

Chicago (+13) at Green Bay

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    Let's see here:

    1.  An angry Green Bay team coming off their first loss of the season

    2.  Playing at home against the team they hate the most

    3.  Revenge factor in play from last year when the Bears did not rest their starters and tried to knock Green Bay out of the playoffs in the last week of the season.

    4.  The Bears don't have Jay Cutler, Matt Forte or Johnny Knox

    5.  Josh McCown is the Bears' starting quarterback

    Green Bay wins by 40?

    The Pick:  Green Bay

Atlanta (+6.5) at New Orleans

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    Think we might see a few points scored in this Monday night matchup?

    Both teams have plenty to play for in terms of playoff seeding and they very well could meet again in the first round.

    The Saints won in overtime in Atlanta earlier this season and Drew Brees is playing out of his mind right now—possibly even better than Aaron Rodgers.

    Look for the Saints to win this one by a touchdown

    The Pick:  New Orleans