NFL Predictions Week 16: Top Underdogs Picks, Vegas Odds and Score Predictions

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 18, 2019

Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Sunday, Dec. 15, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)
Mike Roemer/Associated Press

The Green Bay Packers enter Week 16 on a three-game winning streak and with a one-game advantage in the NFC North.

Even with those credentials, Matt LaFleur's team will head to U.S. Bank Stadium as a 4.5-point underdog for their meeting with the Minnesota Vikings. 

Green Bay already owns a victory over the Vikings from Week 2, and it has wins over two other sides currently in playoff positions. 

Not putting faith in Aaron Rodgers to close out a division title seems a bit foolish, which is why the Packers could be one of the best underdog picks of Week 16. 

More underdog value could be found in franchises already eliminated from playoff contention that are looking to finish strong, like the Arizona Cardinals or Carolina Panthers. 


NFL Week 16 Schedule

All times ET

Odds via Caesars; predictions against the spread in bold

Saturday, December 21

Houston (-3) at Tampa Bay (Over/Under: 49.5) (1 p.m., NFL Network) 

Buffalo at New England (-6.5) (O/U: 37.5) (4:30 p.m., NFL Network) 

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco (-6.5) (O/U: 45) (8:15 p.m., NFL Network) 


Sunday, December 22

Baltimore (-10) at Cleveland (O/U: 47.5) (1 p.m., CBS) 

Cincinnati at Miami (-1) (O/U: 46.5) (1 p.m., CBS) 

Pittsburgh (-3) at New York Jets (O/U: 38.5) (1 p.m., CBS) 

Jacksonville at Atlanta (-7) (O/U: 46) (1 p.m., Fox) 

Carolina at Indianapolis (-7 (O/U: 46) (1 p.m., Fox) 

New Orleans (-2.5) at Tennessee (O/U: 50.5) (1 p.m., Fox) 

New York Giants at Washington (-2.5) (O/U: 42) (1 p.m., Fox) 

Detroit at Denver (-6.5) (O/U: 38.5) (4:05 p.m., CBS) 

Oakland at Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5) (O/U: 45.5) (4:05 p.m., CBS) 

Dallas (-3) at Philadelphia (O/U: 46) (4:25 p.m., Fox) 

Arizona at Seattle (-9.5) (O/U: 50) (4:25 p.m., Fox) 

Kansas City (-5.5) at Chicago (O/U: 45) (8:20 p.m., NBC) 


Monday, December 23

Green Bay at Minnesota (-4.5) (O/U: 45) (8:15 p.m., ESPN) 


Top Underdog Picks

Green Bay (+4.5) 27, Minnesota 17

Morry Gash/Associated Press

Not only are the Packers capable of covering the spread, they can win outright, which also comes at a decent value of +190 (bet $100 to win $190). 

In their last four victories, the Packers have held each opponent under 20 points and they have forced nine turnovers. 

The one blemish in that stretch is a Week 12 blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers that could serve as motivation to prove to a national audience that the performance was a fluke. 

In four NFC North matchups, Aaron Rodgers has 898 passing yards, six touchdowns and a single interception. 

In Week 2, the quarterback got Green Bay off to a fast start with 21 points before halftime. 

The current NFC No. 2 seed also holds an advantage in the ground game, as Aaron Jones has 830 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns, three of which occurred in the last two weeks. 

Minnesota's rushing defense has held nine opponents under 100 rushing yards, but its three largest totals conceded were in losses to playoff teams. 

Green Bay, the Kansas City Chiefs and Seattle Seahawks all earned more than 140 yards on the ground against the NFL's eighth-best rushing defense. 

The Vikings' production could be hampered by Dalvin Cook's health. He suffered an injury in Week 15's win over the Los Angeles Chargers, and Zimmer did not go into specifics about the injury after the game, per ESPN.com's Courtney Cronin.

"I don't know. I'm not a doctor," Zimmer said when asked about Cook. 

Even if the second-year player participates, he will not be at 100 percent, and that could benefit Green Bay's defense. 

If the Packers are not too concerned about Cook or Alexander Mattison, they could put more pressure on Kirk Cousins. 

They have the fifth-most interceptions in the NFL, and two of Cousins' five picks occurred in Week 2. The Vikings quarterback also committed a turnover in two of the last three contests. 


Seattle 27, Arizona (+9.5) 20

Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

Seattle is clearly the better team than Arizona, but that does not mean a blowout is in store at CenturyLink Field. 

Just four of the Seahawks' 14 games have been decided by more than seven points, and the Cardinals have been competitive in a large chunk of their contests.

Kliff Kingsbury's team comes to Seattle off its first victory since October, but its record does not indicate how much it challenged certain foes, including the San Francisco 49ers. 

The Arizona defense has played better of late by forcing four turnovers, and there is a chance the takeaway streak continues against Chris Carson, who has seven fumbles

Despite the recent turnover success, the Cardinals have still been gashed for over 400 total yards five times in the last seven games. 

Russell Wilson could take advantage of that early on to open up a sizable advantage. 

But there should be concerns about Seattle finishing off the game to cover a large spread, as it allowed 17 second-half points to the Panthers in Week 15. 


Other Score Predictions

Houston 34, Tampa Bay 27

New England 17, Buffalo 10

San Francisco 34, Los Angeles Rams 17

Baltimore 49, Cleveland 10

Miami 21, Cincinnati 6

Pittsburgh 17, New York Jets 9

Atlanta 31, Jacksonville 27

Carolina 30, Indianapolis 23

New Orleans 27, Tennessee 16

Washington 26, New York Giants 21

Denver 24, Detroit 10

Los Angeles Chargers 17, Oakland 10

Philadelphia 20, Dallas 17

Kansas City 34, Chicago 17


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from Pro Football Reference