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Week Sixteen Picks

December 21st, 2018

I knew a correction was coming. And it came.

I finished week fifteen a disappointing 8-8 straight up, and a downright miserable 6-10 against the spread. That’s brutal.

For the season, I’m now at 138-84-2 (.621) straight up, 108-107-9 (.502) with the points.

Can it get worse? Of course.

Here’s what not to expect to go with your eggnog.

Washington (+10) at Tennessee
The Titans need a win to remain in contention for the AFC six seed. The Racists need the end of the season to hurry up and arrive. Titans by 14.

Baltimore (+4.5) at LA Chargers
The winner remains alive for a division title. The loser ends up as either the five seed (Chargers) or the the six (Ravens). The home team looks like the better team to me, so I have to pick them. But anything more than a field goal seems excessive to give. So let’s say Chargers by three.

Tampa Bay (+7) at Dallas
The good news for all involved is that given the Buccaneers’ inability to stop the run, this game should go by pretty quickly. Not that anyone outside of Dallas will be watching. The Cowboys should feel free to pop the corks on their NFC East title celebration at halftime. Dallas by 17.

Buffalo (+13.5) at New England
We could talk about the inevitable end of the Josh Gordon moment, if you like. Or the Patriots’ two-game losing streak. But, me, I’m going straight to the meat of this thing, which is this:

What I’m saying is New England by 21.

Atlanta (-3.5) at Carolina
When a team tells you they’re done for the season, believe them. Falcons by four.

Jacksonville (+4) at Miami
The Dolphins aren’t making the playoffs, but they don’t know that yet. Miami by three.

NY Giants (+9) at Indianapolis
There’s really only one postseason slot still up for grabs in the AFC, and the Colts need a win here to remain in grabbing position. Indy by 10.

Houston (+1.5) at Philadelphia
The Texans need a win to hold on to the AFC two seed and a first-round bye. The Eagles need a win to keep their hopes of returning to the postseason alive. I think the Texans are better than the Eagles by enough to overcome the road disadvantage. Houston by a field goal.

Minnesota (-6) at Detroit
The Vikings season is going to end with a(nother) loss to the Bears. Might happen next week. Might be in the wild card round. But it won’t be this weekend. This weekend the Vikings will be busy beating the Lions. But not by six. Not in Detroit. Vikings by four.

Green Bay (-3) at NY Jets
The fact that this game is viewed as competitive says a lot more about the Packers than it does about the Jets. And it may turn out to be even more of a challenge for Green Bay than it looks. Packers by a point.

Cincinnati (+8.5) at Cleveland
You’ve got to figure this meeting of these division rivals turns out to be at least as one-sided as the last one, right? Browns by 15.

LA Rams (-14) at Arizona
The Rams aren’t getting the NFC one seed back. But they have an easy enough path to the end of the season that one suspects they’ll hold on to the two. Los Angeles by 20.

Chicago (-4) at San Francisco
The Bears go into this game with a league-best takeaway-giveaway differential of +13, the 49ers with a league-worst -22. That’s quite a swing, isn’t it? And it’s not even the biggest difference between these two teams. Bears by 14.

Pittsburgh (+6) at New Orleans
If the Steelers win this game, they effectively own the AFC North title. Lose and they may well end up out of the playoffs. Don’t despair, Steelers fans; September will be here soon enough. Saints by a touchdown.

Kansas City (-2.5) at Seattle
What happens with the Chargers on Saturday night really only affects what specifically is on the line for the Chiefs here. Should Los Angeles win, Kansas City will need this game to stay a half step ahead in the contest for the AFC West title (and the conference one seed). Should the Chargers lose, the Chiefs will have an opportunity to lock up home field with a victory. The Seahawks can probably wrap up the NFC five seed next week more easily than this. And still … Seahawks by a point.

Denver (-3) at Oakland
Ho-ho-hum. Raiders by a field goal.

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