Week 16 in the NFL has plenty on the line for a lot of teams still in the playoff chase. For the teams that are not, there are players and coaches playing and coaching for their jobs in 2018.
That should make for another exciting, unpredictable, fun week of game action.
Here are this week’s predictions and prognostications, both against the spread and straight up. Thanks again to Bovada for the Week 16 betting lines.
MORE: Week 16 NFL picks straight up
Week 16 NFL picks against the spread
(All times ET)
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Game of the Week
Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys (-5)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m., Fox
The Seahawks were done against the Rams before that game even started. Russell Wilson is still running around and doing his thing, but the lack of rushing and line support is getting to him. Meanwhile, Seattle’s injury-ravaged defense is no longer holding things together. The Cowboys will control the clock with Ezekiel Elliott while their defense continues to be sparked by Sean Lee and the young secondary. Wilson keeps it close, but Dak Prescott eventually puts it away.
PICK: Cowboys win 27-24 but fail to cover the spread.
AFC Game of the Week
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-13)
Sunday 1 p.m., CBS
The Patriots haven’t been carried by Tom Brady in recent weeks. The running game and receiving corps have battled through some injury hits, and the defense has scraped to keep things in reach of victory. New England is more gritty than pretty now, which is perfect for this time of year. Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy are hot, but they’ll be cooled off in this rematch.
PICK: Patriots win 30-14 and cover the spread.
WEEK 16: NFL playoff picture | Clinching scenarios
Upset of the Week
New York Giants over Arizona Cardinals (-4)
Sunday 4:25 p.m., Fox
The Giants found some extra energy against the Eagles, and it will carry over into a good matchup on the road. Drew Stanton is returning for Arizona as starting QB with limited help, while Eli Manning is playing as well as he can to stay in New York’s plans for 2018.
PICK: Giants win 17-16.
Lock of the Week
Kansas City Chiefs (-10) over Miami Dolphins
Sunday, 1 p.m., CBS
The Dolphins are hanging by a thread in the AFC wild-card race, while the Chiefs have their groove back in the West. Kansas City win its division in style here by keeping it simple with Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill, and the defense will have another strong game against the pass vs. Jay Cutler.
PICK: Chiefs win 27-13 and cover the spread.
Rest of the Week
Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens (-14)
Saturday, 4:30 p.m., NFL Network
The Colts will not be able to handle a swarming Ravens defense that can take away pretty much everything. Joe Flacco and Alex Collins should then have their way against the Colts’ defense. Baltimore’s current team beats up Baltimore’s old team.
PICK: Ravens win 33-10 and cover the spread.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (n/a)
Saturday, 8:30 p.m., NBC
The Packers are officially out of playoff contention, and coach Mike McCarthy seems pessimistic about the health of Aaron Rodgers, so it’s looking like there will be no revenge game against Anthony Barr and the Vikings at Lambeau Field. Green Bay’s defense can’t handle the depth and diversity of Minnesota’s offense, and with Brett Hundley, it will be unable to catch up against Minnesota’s defense.
PICK: Vikings win 23-16.
BENDER: Missing playoffs is just what Packers need for actual change
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-5 1/2)
Sunday 1 p.m., Fox
The Falcons had to grind out a win on a short week to survive an inspired effort by the Buccaneers in Tampa Bay. They are built well to move the ball on the Saints’ defense, but the Saints’ offense seems to find a whole new gear at home. The Superdome magic is back, and the Mercedes-Benz mojo should carry over for a season split. This time, the Saints will close it late with Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara.
PICK: Saints win 27-24.
Cleveland Browns at Chicago Bears (-6 1/2)
Sunday 1 p.m., CBS
Hue Jackson isn’t pleased with DeShone Kizer. John Fox is letting down Mitchell Trubisky. Something has to give here. It will be the fact that the Browns have the worse defense and the Bears have the better rookie QB. Trubisky, a Cleveland native, will want to show exactly what his hometown is missing after not drafting him No. 1 overall.
PICK: Bears win 20-17 but fail to cover the spread.
Denver Broncos at Washington Redskins (-3 1/2)
Sunday 1 p.m. Fox
The Broncos have shown some life with wins over the Jets and Colts. But the Redskins also played some spirited football, at least defensively, to get on track against the Cardinals. The Redskins typically handle opponents from the West well, and besides, Kirk Cousins needs to put on a good audition for John Elway.
PICK: Redskins win 24-20 and cover the spread.
MORE PLAYOFF PICTURE:
AFC breakdown | NFC breakdown
Detroit Lions (-5) at Cincinnati Bengals
Sunday 1 p.m., Fox
The Bengals’ offense is in injury shambles, further exposing how inept their Andy Dalton-led unit is. The likely return of Joe Mixon from a concussion will help a little, but A.J. Green draws another tough matchup against Darius Slay. The Lions, meanwhile, have ideal matchups for Matthew Stafford’s wideouts and tight end Eric Ebron across the board.
PICK: Lions win 27-20 and cover the spread.
Los Angeles Chargers (-7) at New York Jets
Sunday 1 p.m., CBS
The Chargers avoided major offensive injuries in the ugly loss at Kansas City, and with some extra time, Philip Rivers will be ready to let it rip again and forget about that INT fest against the Chiefs. There’s no good matchup for the Jets’ offense against the Chargers’ defense, either.
PICK: Chargers win 24-10 and cover the spread.
Los Angeles Rams (-7) at Tennessee Titans
Sunday 1 p.m., Fox
Another team from LA, another matchup lopsided in favor of the visitors. Jared Goff and Todd Gurley will be in great positions to succeed against the Tennessee defense, while the Titans don’t have the same rushing efficiency and firepower to get the better of the Rams’ defense.
PICK: Rams win 26-16 and cover the spread.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-10)
Sunday 1 p.m., FOX
Jameis Winston is coming off his best game of the season, but on a short week, it looks like he’ll be short a few weapons. Cam Newton is locked and loaded with his array of wonderful toys, led by Christian McCaffrey. The Panthers should also be able to run all over Tampa Bay’s depleted front.
PICK: Panthers win 31-23.
Jacksonville Jaguars (-4) at San Francisco 49ers
Sunday 4:05 p.m., CBS
Jimmy Garoppolo gets his first big test against a good defense after going 3-0 in his first three starts with the 49ers. He’ll move around and gun-sling to make a few big plays, but overall, San Francisco’s offense will be contained by Jacksonville’s superb pass rush and secondary. Blake Bortles will keep rolling on the other side, even on a long road trip.
PICK: Jaguars win 27-20 and cover the spread.
Pittsburgh Steelers (-10) at Houston Texans
Monday 4:30 p.m., NBC
The Steelers won’t have Antonio Brown, but they’ll have plenty of frustrations from the Patriots game to take out on the Texans. Martavis Bryant, Le’Veon Bell and JuJu Smith-Schuster are enough weapons to drive Houston’s awful run defense batty. The Texans have DeAndre Hopkins, but pretty much nothing else is working.
PICK: Steelers win 31-14 and cover the spread.
Oakland Raiders at Philadelphia Eagles (-9)
Monday 8:30 p.m., ESPN
Derek Carr and Jack Del Rio aren’t the aggressive, finishing QB-coach combination they were a year ago. The Eagles with Nick Foles and Doug Peterson are pretty much the same team they were with Carson Wentz and Pederson. The Raiders’ defense will have no answers, and the offense will struggle once Marshawn Lynch is contained.
PICK: Eagles win 34-17 and cover the spread.