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Week 16 NFL Picks: Predictions for Midweek Odds, Spreads and Updated Prop Bets

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistDecember 23, 2015

Dec 17, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Rams quarterback Case Keenum (17) throws a pass in the first half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Edward Jones Dome. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

There's a belief among pro football bettors that the games at the end of the season are a bit easier to figure out than those in the first half.

In the final two weeks, many teams realize that they are no longer playing for postseason consideration and that it's just a matter of finishing the season without getting hurt. 

Wise guys may start to whisper about this team quitting or that team taking its foot off the gas pedal, and that's why the linemakers will come up with some huge spreads as the regular season nears its conclusion.

Such is the case as the streaking Seattle Seahawks host the St. Louis Rams. Seattle has won five straight games and they have not been threatened in those games. Quarterback Russell Wilson has thrown 19 TD passes during the streak, and he has not thrown an interception.

As a result, the Seahawks are 14.5-point home favorites over the Rams, according to Odds Shark

Have the Rams quit on the season? Are they just lambs being led to the slaughter? In the words of ESPN college pregame analyst Lee Corso, "not so fast."

The Rams have won back-to-back games over the Detroit Lions and Tampa Bay Bucs. In their Week 16 31-23 triumph over Tampa Bay, quarterback Case Keenum was on fire. He completed 14 of 17 passes for 234 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

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That's not the kind of performance that comes from a team that has quit on the season.

Seattle is obviously playing its best football of the season, but the Seahawks are not necessarily going to believe the Rams will be able to stay with them. If they don't get off to a quick start, St. Louis may just be able to push them hard well into the second half.

We like St. Louis to stay within 14.5 points. The oddsmakers have made the wrong assessment concerning Jeff Fisher's team and the Rams won't get the win, but they will get the cover.

Week 16 Point Spreads and Predictions
GameLineOver/UnderPrediction
San Diego at OaklandOakland -547Oakland; Over
Washington at PhiladelphiaPhiladelphia -347.5Washington; Over
Pittsburgh at BaltimorePittsburgh -11.547.5Pittsburgh; Under
San Francisco at DetroitDetroit -1043Detroit; Under
Indianapolis at MiamiNo line--Indianapolis
New England at N.Y. JetsNew England -345.5N.Y. Jets; Over
Dallas at BuffaloBuffalo -742.5Buffalo; Under
Houston at TennesseeNo line--Houston
Chicago at Tampa BayTampa Bay -345.5Tampa Bay; Under
Cleveland at Kansas CityKansas City -1442.5Kansas City; Over
Carolina at AtlantaCarolina -7.547.5Carolina; Under
Jacksonville at New OrleansNew Orleans -3.5--Jacksonville
St. Louis at SeattleSeattle -14.540.5St. Louis; Under
Green Bay at ArizonaArizona -4.549.5Arizona; Over
N.Y. Giants at MinnesotaMinnesota -5.545.5Minnesota; Under
Cincinnati at DenverDenver -3.540.5Denver; Under
Odds Shark; Silverman selections

Packers, Cards to Engage in Wild West Shootout

The Arizona Cardinals and the Green Bay Packers are the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds, respectively, in the NFC as action gets underway in Week 16.

The Cardinals have rolled to a 12-2 record. Arizona showed signs of being a great team last year when they roared out of the gate with a 9-1 record, but that's when injuries tore them apart.

They have managed to stay fairly healthy this year on offense, and that's why they have been so consistent. Carson Palmer has been the triggerman for the top-ranked offense in the game, and he has been superb. Palmer has thrown for 4,277 yards, and he has tossed 32 TD passes.

The Packers are in first place in the NFC North, and if they win here and the Minnesota Vikings lose at home to the New York Giants, they will clinch the division title.

Any other set of circumstances means the Packers and Vikings will meet in Green Bay for the division title in Week 17.

Aaron Rodgers is not going to let this game slip away. The Packers are capable of trading points with the Cardinals, who will be without free safety Tyrann Mathieu (ACL). Mathieu is a brilliant athlete and a ball hawk (five interceptions and 21 passes defensed), and Rodgers will take advantage of his absence.

The over-under in this game is a hefty 49.5 points. We expect these two teams to make it into the 50s, and that makes the over a solid play.

Dec 20, 2015; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) looks over the line of scrimmage against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Redskins now the betting favorite in the NFC East

The Washington Redskins are in first place in the NFC East with a 7-7 record. They have a one-game lead over the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants.

The Redskins, however, are not the only team in this division that controls its own destiny. If the Redskins beat the Eagles, they will win the division regardless of how the Giants finish the season.

However, the Philadelphia Eagles also control their own destiny. The Eagles host the Redskins in Week 16, and if they beat the Redskins and follow with a victory over the Giants at MetLife Stadium in Week 17, they will clinch the division.

The Redskins are strong betting favorites to win the division, according to Odds Shark.

Redskins supporters have to risk $140 to win $100 if they are going to win a prop bet on their team winning the division. Eagles supporters will get a $160 return on a $100 bet if Philadelphia emerges as the NFC East winner.

The Giants are still alive, but it's not just a matter of winning their two remaining games against Minnesota and Philadelphia. They will need Philadelphia to beat Washington, and they will also need the Redskins to lose their season finale at Dallas. If the Giants emerge as the NFC East winners, their backers will earn $700 for a $100 bet.

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