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NFL Week 16 Picks: Matchups Guide, Advice and Early Score Predictions

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistDecember 17, 2019

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) reacts after throwing a touchdown pass to Michael Thomas in the second half an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

The New Orleans Saints closed out Week 15 with a big win over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night. In doing so, they took another step closer toward possibly earning a first-round bye in the postseason. They'll need help, though, as the NFC's top two seeds are currently controlled by the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers.

Interestingly, all four first-round byes are still up for grabs with two weeks remaining. Four playoff spots are also available. This means Week 16 is going to carry a lot of weight, even with roughly half the league looking toward next season.

How will the week unfold? Here you'll find a look at the top matchups, score predictions for every game and the early odds and over/unders from Caesars.

      

Week 16 Lines, Over/Unders and Predictions

Houston Texans (-2.5, 51) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Tampa Bay 28-26

Buffalo Bills (+6.5, 38.5) at New England Patriots: New England 22-19

Los Angeles Rams (+6.5, 45) at San Francisco 49ers: San Francisco 26-22

Baltimore Ravens (-10, 48) at Cleveland Browns: Baltimore 31-22

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3, 38.5) at New York Jets: Pittsburgh 24-17

Carolina Panthers (+7, 45.5) at Indianapolis Colts: Indianapolis 26-18

Cincinnati Bengals (+1, 46.5) at Miami Dolphins: Cincinnati 20-17

Jacksonville Jaguars (+7, 45.5) at Atlanta Falcons: Atlanta 28-20

New Orleans Saints (-1.5, 50) at Tennessee Titans: New Orleans 31-23

New York Giants (+2.5, 42.5) at Washington Redskins: New York 22-18

Detroit Lions (+6.5, 37.5) at Denver Broncos: Denver 24-16

Oakland Raiders (+5.5, 46.5) at Los Angeles Chargers: Los Angeles 28-21

Arizona Cardinals (+9.5, 50) at Seattle Seahawks: Seattle 33-23

Dallas Cowboys (-2.5, 46.5) at Philadelphia Eagles: Dallas 30-20

Kansas City Chiefs (-5, 45) at Chicago Bears: Kansas City 24-17

Green Bay Packers (+4.5, 46) at Minnesota Vikings: Green Bay 28-22

        

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers

Josie Lepe/Associated Press

After losing to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 15, the Los Angeles Rams are on the verge of missing the postseason. To get in, they need to win out while having the Minnesota Vikings lose out. The first step in that equation is beating the San Francisco 49ers.

The 49ers are coming off a disappointing defeat of their own, having lost on the final play to the Atlanta Falcons. The loss dropped San Francisco from the NFC's No. 1 seed to the No. 5 seed, as the Seattle Seahawks took over the NFC West.

Expect to see maximum effort from both teams in this contest, and an end result that is closer than records might indicate. San Francisco is dealing with several significant injuries, which hampered the defense against Atlanta.

Matt Maiocco @MaioccoNBCS

#49ers inactives vs. #Falcons: QB CJ Beathard WR Jordan Matthews CB Richard Sherman CB K’Waun Williams S Jaquiski Tartt DL Dee Ford DL Jullian Taylor

The 49ers defense, which was elite earlier in the season, has surrendered an average of 31.6 points per game over its last three. Expect the Rams to take advantage and keep this one much closer than their game against Dallas.

      

New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans

Sunday's matchup between the Saints and the Tennessee Titans is huge for both teams. New Orleans needs a win to continue its push for a first-round bye. The Titans need a win if they hope to have a shot at the AFC South.

The Houston Texans are in control of the AFC South due to their one-game lead and superior divisional record. If the Titans are going to steal the division from them, they have to win out while the Texans lose their final two.

If the Saints play like they did against Indianapolis, Tennessee could be in danger of being blown out. The offensive line gave Drew Brees an eternity in the pocket, and he essentially played pitch-and-catch with wideout Michael Thomas.

Kurt Warner @kurt13warner

With the accuracy of @drewbrees & the ability of @Cantguardmike - they are nearly impossible to stop! So much fun to watch two technicians perfect their craft... as a fan of game I could watch it all day long!

Brees finished the game as the NFL's all-time leader in touchdown passes. Thomas finished with the Saints' single-season receptions record.

While New Orleans may not make things look as effortless against Tennessee, they should cover.

        

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

This is the big one, at least in the NFC East race. If the Cowboys win, they'll take the division. If the Eagles win, they can take the division by defeating the New York Giants in Week 17. There's no room for error on either side here.

The problem for Philadelphia is that Dallas' blowout win over the Rams may have galvanized them at just the right time. The win ended a three-game skid and gave the Cowboys some confidence heading into this pivotal matchup.

"You feed off each other," defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence said, per Jori Epstein of USA Today. "When the offense is doing good, they're scoring points, the defense is happy and ready to take the ball away so the offense can score more points. We're just feeding off their energy."

Philadelphia is banged-up, woefully lacking at the wide receiver position and has narrowly escaped bad teams in back-to-back weeks. It's hard to see the Eagles outlasting the Cowboys, and this one may turn into a relative blowout—though probably not as bad as the 37-10 Cowboys victory in the first go-around.