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NFL Week 16 Predictions: Early Projections for Vegas' Odds, Lines and Spreads

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 16, 2019

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady passes against the Buffalo Bills in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019, in Orchard Park, N.Y. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Ron Schwane/Associated Press

Three of the five NFL divisions still up for grabs will come into focus for Week 16. 

The New England Patriots can solidify their spot atop the AFC East with a victory over the Buffalo Bills in one of three Saturday contests. 

On Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles play for the NFC East lead, while the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings square off Monday night in the NFC North. 

There will be other contests that affect the AFC and NFC playoff races, but those three are the most important because they could determine division champions. 

                  

NFL Week 16 Schedule

All Times ET

Odds via Caesars; predictions against the spread in bold

Saturday, December 21

Houston (-1.5) at Tampa Bay (1 p.m., NFL Network) 

Buffalo at New England (-6.5) (4:30 p.m., NFL Network) 

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco (-6.5) (8:15 p.m., NFL Network) 

       

Sunday, December 22

Baltimore (-10) at Cleveland (1 p.m., CBS) 

Cincinnati at Miami (-1.5) (1 p.m., CBS) 

Pittsburgh (-3) at New York Jets (1 p.m., CBS) 

Jacksonville at Atlanta (-7) (1 p.m., Fox) 

Carolina at Indianapolis (-7) (1 p.m., Fox) 

New Orleans (-1.5) at Tennessee (1 p.m., Fox) 

New York Giants at Washington (-2.5) (1 p.m., Fox) 

Detroit at Denver (-6.5) (4:05 p.m., CBS) 

Oakland at Los Angeles Chargers (-5) (4:05 p.m., CBS) 

Dallas (-2.5) at Philadelphia (4:25 p.m., Fox) 

Arizona at Seattle (-9.5) (4:25 p.m., Fox) 

Kansas City (-5) at Chicago (8:20 p.m., NBC) 

       

Monday, December 23

Green Bay at Minnesota (-4) (8:15 p.m., ESPN) 

            

Predictions

Buffalo at New England (-6.5) 

Ron Schwane/Associated Press

The spread for Saturday's tilt at Gillette Stadium reflects New England's six-point margin of victory from Week 4 at New Era Field.

Buffalo totaled more yards in the 16-10 defeat, but it was careless with the ball by giving up four turnovers.

Although the Bills achieved some success against the Patriots, and since then, Bill Belichick's team has lost to each of the other three AFC division leaders, beating the reigning champion at home is still a difficult task. 

The Patriots are 4-0 in the AFC East, with one of those victories coming at home versus the New York Jets in Week 3. 

The current division leader has not lost to a divisional foe at home since 2016, when the Bills won 16-0 in Week 4 with Jacoby Brissett under center for New England. 

Tom Brady has not lost to an AFC East side in his home stadium since Week 17 of the 2014 campaign, a defeat that also came at the hands of the Bills. 

The Patriots' current eight-game home winning streak versus division teams features eight double-digit victories. 

In fact, eight of New England's 11 wins have been by 10 points or more, including Week 15's bounce-back victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in which it earned 291 total yards and forced five turnovers. 

The Bills can keep the game tight by earning takeaways of their own and limiting Brady's production. 

Despite throwing for under 200 yards in three of the last four contests, the 42-year-old has seven touchdowns and two interceptions in that span. 

Brady's ability to produce scoring plays while earning a small passing-yard total could come into play Saturday since the Bills rank third in total yards and passing yards allowed.

The Patriots sit first in total yards conceded and second in passing yards given up, and that could be their X-factor in minimizing Josh Allen's offensive threat. 

In Week 4, Allen completed less than half of his passes and was picked off on three occasions. He also failed to create momentum on the ground with 26 rushing yards. 

If the Patriots contain the second-year quarterback once again, they should continue their home dominance within the division and capture the AFC East crown. 

                      

Dallas at Philadelphia (+2.5)

Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Sunday afternoon's clash at Lincoln Financial Field may not be easy on the eyes. 

Dallas enters Week 16 off its first win over a team with a winning record, while Philadelphia struggled to close out wins over the New York Giants and Washington Redskins in back-to-back weeks. 

The Cowboys possess more offensive firepower with Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper healthy, but the Eagles have found a way to win with a depleted receiving corps. 

The key for the home side could be its rushing defense, which is the third-best in the NFL behind Tampa Bay and the New York Jets. 

In all but one of Dallas' defeats, Elliott has been held under 100 rushing yards, and his triple-digit outings on the road have been against both New York franchises and Washington. 

On his last three road trips, the 1,000-yard rusher has 212 rushing yards on 56 carries. 

Conversely, Dallas allows 13 more ground yards per contest than its NFC East foe, and it allowed 151 in its last away game. 

Miles Sanders, who has developed into a dual-threat back lately, could hurt the Cowboys defense, as he is coming off 172 total yards versus Washington. 

Additionally, Zach Ertz has at least 90 receiving yards in his last four home games, and he has found the end zone on four occasions in the last month. 

A year ago, the Eagles tight end earned 145 receiving yards and two scores at home against the Cowboys. 

If Sanders and Ertz continue to produce at a high level, and the Eagles take away Elliott's effectiveness, the Eagles could earn their third straight win and take over first place in the NFC East.

                        

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com