After killing it for nearly a month, I’ve went .500 in back-to-back weeks. I’m glad that this week is almost entirely made up of division games. You have some history to go off from and are a little more predictable.
The one major thing I make sure to study this late in the year is the standings and injury reports. A lot of teams that don’t have much left to play for can be cautious with their young players and keep them out of games. Also, some teams that are near the bottom of the league could end up tanking. I don’t see much tanking this year, so that’s a good thing.
After a close game last weekend, can Carolina stay perfect against the Atlanta Falcons?
We pick every NFL game against the spread and throw out a few upsets in Week 16 of the 2015 NFL season.
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders (-6) – My pick is Oakland Raiders
I went back and forth with this pick in my head. San Diego scored their first touchdown in three games last week against Miami. They ended up winning the game 30-14 in what might be their last home game in San Diego. I believe the game is an aberration. If you rely heavily on Donald Brown to run the ball, your offense is highly flawed. I’m taking Oakland to cover at home.
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles (-3) – My pick is Washington Redskins
I watched nearly the entire Redskins/Bills game last week. Washington looked like a title contender in the first-half, but then went on to nearly lose the game. I guess it was a dichotomy of their season. They either look great or horrible…the same could be said about Philadelphia. Washington won at home in their previous meeting by a field goal. If they win again, I believe they would win the NFC East. Washington is horrible on the road, but I think they keep this one tight. I’m taking the points.
Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) – My pick is Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I’ve went out a limb by picking Chicago a few too many times this year. This will be Lovie Smith’s payback game. I’m taking the Bucs to cover the spread and it may not be close.
Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons (+7) – My pick is Carolina Panthers
Two weeks ago, Carolina beat Atlanta by the score of 38-0. Enough said. I’m taking Carolina all day long.
Dallas Cowboys at Buffalo Bills (-6) – My pick is Buffalo Bills
Rex Ryan has put down a foundation to build upon in the coming years. They won’t make the postseason this year, but I like what he’s done in a short period. Dallas is a dumpster fire at the moment. This line could be as high as ten points and I would still pick Buffalo. I hate the Cowboys right now.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens (+10.5) – My pick is Pittsburgh Steelers
I hate, hate, hate that extra half-point, but the Steelers have been playing like the best team in the NFL. Baltimore lost to Kansas City 34-14 last week and one of Baltimore’s touchdowns came via a hail may at the end of the first-half. It could have easily been an even bigger blowout. I know these two teams are huge rivals and their games are usually very close, but Baltimore is FUBAR due to injuries. I can see Pittsburgh winning by a similar score.
New England Patriots at New York Jets (+3.5) – My pick is New England Patriots
After suffering injury after injury, the Patriots appear to have rebounded from their two-game slide. Having Rob Gronkowski back can make a team look healthy. The Patriots beat the Jets by a touchdown earlier in the year. Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t turn the ball over and the Jets had the lead as late as the middle of the fourth quarter. Gronkowski had eleven catches on sixteen targets. I expect him to get the same amount of targets on Sunday. I’m taking New England to cover on the road.
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans (OFF) – My pick is TBD
This line is currently off the board until we hear if Brian Hoyer graduates from the concussion protocol. I’ll post my pick later in the week.
Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs (-12.5) – My pick is Cleveland Browns
I had high hopes for the Browns last week. Yes, they were playing in Seattle, but I thought they had a shot at winning against the large 14.5-point spread. They ended up losing by 17 points. I think this spread is a little more manageable. I could see the Chiefs winning by thirteen points, but I’m rolling the dice and taking the points.
San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions (-10) – My pick is San Francisco 49ers
If the Lions didn’t look so great against New Orleans on Monday night, this line would probably be less than a touchdown. The Saints secondary is the worst in the league, so of course they had issues with Calvin Johnson. The Lions are one-dimensional and can’t run the ball. This line is a little too high, so I’m taking the points.
Indianapolis Colts at Miami Dolphins (-2) – My pick is Miami Dolphins
Ugh. I’m a Colts fan and they’ve been so difficult to watch with Andrew Luck out. Matt Hasselbeck is good for a 40-year old quarterback, but there isn’t enough zip left in his arm to get the ball deep to some of their speedy receivers. Frank Gore and Andre Johnson both look their age right now. The Colts still have an outside shot at still winning the AFC South, but I don’t think they’ll make it. Miami has been trying to run the ball more lately and trying to reign in Ryan Tannehill to keep him from throwing interceptions. I think they will win and cover the spread against the Colts.
Jacksonville Jaguars at New Orleans Saints (-3.5) – My pick is Jacksonville Jaguars
News came out this week that Drew Brees has a torn plantar fascia. It’s unknown at the moment if he will start on Sunday, but Vegas still has a line on the board. New Orleans has a horrible secondary and Blake Bortles has been pretty darn good lately. He did have a lazy throw at the end of the first half against Atlanta that went from a possible Jacksonville touchdown to an Atlanta field goal to end the half. I’m taking the points in this contest.
Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals (-4.5) – My pick is Green Bay Packers
This could end up being a playoff preview. The Packers have bounced back from a mid-season lull. They are on a three-game winning streak heading into this weekend. Arizona is also on a winning streak, they have won eight straight games, but are only 4-4 ATS during that stretch. I predict this game will be close and a late field goal could be the difference. I’m taking the points.
St. Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks (-13.5) – My pick is St. Louis Rams
When the Chicago Bears beat the St. Louis Rams earlier in the season, Martellus Bennett called the Rams, ‘the baby Seahawks.’ They are built similar, but the Rams are a lot younger and inexperienced. The Rams beat Seattle in Week 1 in overtime. A lot has happened to both teams since that game, but this line is over a field goal too high. I’m taking the points all day.
New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings (-5.5) – My pick is Minnesota Vikings
Odell Beckham Jr. is suspended for this game after going bonkers in last week’s game against Carolina. Eli Manning has used Beckham as a crutch lately. I don’t expect him to have a very good game without both Victor Cruz or Beckham. Teddy Bridgewater was fantastic last week against the Bears. He seems to have found his stride and is now actually putting up proper fantasy numbers. I’m taking the Vikings to cover.
Cincinnati Bengals at Denver Broncos (-3.5) – My pick is Denver Broncos
This is another possible playoff preview. This is the battle of the backup quarterbacks as A.J. McCarron will start in place of Andy Dalton and Brock Osweiler will once again get the nod in place of the injured Peyton Manning. A.J. Green will also suit up after dealing with a back issue. I expect both quarterbacks to play the role of game manager since both defenses are stout. The over/under is 40.5, so I would go heavy on the under. As far as the line goes, I’m taking the Broncos to cover at home.
*These picks are for entertainment purposes
Sweetbob’s NFL picks against the spread record in previous seasons:
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob