Wondering which NFL teams are going to win in Week 16? You’ve come to the right place to find out
Guys, I have to admit, I almost didn’t write any picks this week, and that’s because my original plan was to spend 72 straight hours in line waiting for the new “Star Wars” movie to come out, but then I realized that I hate lines and only kind of like “Star Wars” movies, so I decided it would make a lot more sense to just write the picks, and then go see the new “Jumanji” movie, because I feel like the line for that will be a lot shorter.
Also, “Jumanji” has never let me down before, unlike “Star Wars,” which seems to upset its entire core fan base every time they release a new movie. As a matter of fact, it’s almost like cheering for the Raiders. I mean, no matter how much everyone hates the “Star Wars” finale, there’s no way they’re going to hate it more than Raiders fans hated the team’s final game in Oakland.
Here’s a short list of how fans reacted after the Raiders loss to the Jaguars on Sunday: They threw beer on the field, they threw nachos on the field, they booed their starting quarterback and I’m pretty sure at least one guy stole his seat from the stadium. Let me see if I can find some video. Yep, he definitely took his seat from the stadium.
Look Raiders fans, I understand booing your quarterback and even stealing a chair, but why would anyone waste beer and nachos. You’re better than that.
The next time we see the Raiders play a home game, it will be in Las Vegas, which coincidentally is where I spent four days last week for my sister’s birthday. I would rehash it all here, but the memories are still fuzzy and we need to get to the picks, so let’s get to the picks.
Actually, before we get to the picks, here’s a quick reminder that you can check out the weekly picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here. If you click over, you’ll notice that Jared Dubin is coming on strong and trying to overtake me for the season lead in picks. However, I’ll definitely make sure that doesn’t happen, even if I have to cut his internet before Week 17 so he can’t email them in. That’s right, I’d stoop to that level to win, don’t pretend like you wouldn’t.
Anyway, with Christmas coming up, now is the perfect time to recommend a new podcast to your friends, and guess what, I have the perfect one for you: The Pick Six podcast, which is our daily NFL podcast here at CBSSports.com that’s hosted by Will Brinson.
For the rest of the season, I’ll be joining Brinson on the podcast multiple days per week to talk football and anything else we can think of. On Tuesday’s episode, which you can listen to below, we spent 20 solid minutes talking about trying to figure out where Drew Brees ranks on the all-time list of NFL quarterbacks. I also spent another five minutes laying out my plans for how I’m going to spoil the new “Star Wars” movie for our resident “Star Wars” fan, Sean Wagner-McGough. I have no shame.
NFL Week 16 Picks
Buffalo (10-4) at New England (11-3)
Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET (NFL Network)Point spread: Patriots -6
I’m not sure if it qualifies as a dynasty just yet, but after beating the Steelers on Sunday, the Bills have now officially made it to the playoffs two times in three years. Sure, that’s not quite the same as making it 16 times in 17 years (like the Patriots) or winning six Super Bowls (like the Patriots), but since the Bills didn’t make the postseason a single time from 2000 to 2016, I’m going to grade them on a curve and call this thing a dynasty, and do not try to tell Bills fans that this isn’t a dynasty or they will smash you through a folding table.
In this battle of dynasties, I was leaning toward taking the Patriots, but then I saw them play on Sunday against the Bengals and now, I’m not so sure. If you only saw the final score, then you probably thought it was just an easy 34-13 win for New England, but it was slightly more complicated than that. The Patriots offense had trouble moving the ball against the Bengals, which was mildly concerning, because Cincinnati has one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Although the Patriots offense has struggled all year, I wasn’t ready to hit the panic button yet, because I figured they would slowly get better each week, but somehow, I think they’ve actually gotten worse, and now, they have to play one of the best defenses in football.
The last time these two teams play, the Patriots escaped with a 16-10 victory, and that was mostly because Josh Allen had his worst game of the season with three interceptions. Between then and now, two things have happened: Someone has apparently taught Allen how to read a defense and someone has also somehow taught him patience.
In the nine games since his three interception meltdown against the Patriots, Allen has only thrown three interceptions total. For the Bills to win this game, all they need from Allen is for him to not make any dumb mistakes. Oh, and they also need to make sure the Patriots don’t get their hands on the Bills sideline video below.
Clearly, the Patriots diabolical plan was to get caught filming on purpose so that fans would take it upon themselves to start shooting the film for them. It’s ingenious. I wish I had thought of it.
As for the game, if I’ve learned one thing about the NFL over the past few years, it’s that Saturday games can get weird, and I expect this one to get weird with a Bills win.
The pick: Bills 20-17 over Patriots
New Orleans (11-3) at Tennessee (8-6)
1 p.m. ET (Fox)Point spread: Saints -1.5
I have no idea why, but the Titans kicking situation has somehow turned into my favorite ongoing drama in the NFL over the past few weeks. There’s been so many other kicking dramas in the NFL this year that no one is really paying attention to what’s going on in Tennessee, but let me just say that Ryan Succop has been so bad this year that it’s basically a Christmas miracle anytime he actually hits a ball through the uprights.
After missing the first eight weeks of the season, Succop returned in Week 9, and since then, he has made exactly one field goal … out of six. ONE. If I were a Titans fan, I would feel more comfortable with one of Santa’s elves kicking field goals over Succop. I have no idea whether elves can actually kick, but if they can hit just 2 out of 6, that’s better than Succop. Things have gone so bad that Titans fans are all asking Santa for the same thing this year.
I don’t know if Santa is going to deliver a kicker, but he did deliver Ryan Tannehill to the Titans — at least I think that’s how Tannehill ended up in Tennessee — and Tannehill has been one of the hottest quarterbacks in the NFL over the past two months. If there’s one team in the AFC that always seems to win games when you least expect it, it’s the Titans. Also, if there’s one time when you should pick against the Saints, it’s in December road games. Since 2013, they’re just 6-6 when playing on the road in December. Not only am I picking the Titans to win, but I’m also going to say fans in Tennessee get a Christmas miracle with a game-winner from Succop … if he doesn’t get cut before Sunday.
This feels like a trap game for the Saints, who will be going into Nashville on a short week and after watching Drew Brees set every NFL record possible against the Colts on Monday. It just feels like a letdown is coming.
The pick: Titans 27-24 over Saints
Dallas (7-7) at Philadelphia (7-7)
4:25 p.m. ET (Fox)Point spread: Cowboys -2.5
These are the two most unpredictable teams in football, which means something predictable is probably going to happen on Sunday because that’s what would be unpredictable, so now I have to make a predictably unpredictable prediction for this game, and after writing this paragraph, I have now confused myself, and the weird thing is that I’m 60% sure this is the same confusion Jason Garrett feels on the sideline during every game he coaches in (And if it is, I have no idea how the Cowboys ever win).
For me this game comes down to one thing and it’s the fact that the Eagles are basically one injury away from not having enough players to field a team. Every time I’ve turned on an Eagles game this season, I swear I’ve seen at least six players go down with an injury. In their win over the Redskins on Sunday, the Eagles were missing multiple key players, including Lane Johnson, Jordan Howard, Derek Barnett, and Nelson Agholor.
Half the problem with trying to pick a winner in an Eagles game is that it’s impossible to know who’s actually going to be healthy by the time they take the field on Sunday.
Another thing that worries me about the Eagles is that their secondary is basically the physical embodiment of Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree: It’s not much to look at and it could literally break down at any second.
The Cowboys have won four straight against the Eagles, and a big reason for that is because Dak Prescott always seems to go off. In the past three wins, Dak has averaged 321 pass yards and nearly two touchdowns per game, and the worst part for the Eagles is that he hasn’t even been the one who’s been killing them. That honor belongs to Ezekiel Elliott, who has NEVER lost to the Eagles (5-0) and has averaged 114.8 yards rushing in those five wins.
On a completely unrelated note, here is my annual PSA for Eagles fans: Please do not try to sneak a Christmas tree into the game on Sunday. I promise you, it will not work.
That Christmas tree could probably do a better job of stopping the Cowboys offense than the Eagles secondary.
The pick: Cowboys 34-24 over Eagles
Green Bay (11-3) at Minnesota (10-4)
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)Point spread: Vikings -4
It’s a well known fact that everyone hates Mondays, and although we all have an intense dislike for the first day of the work week, I’m starting to think that no one hates them as much as Kirk Cousins, and that’s because he can never win on Mondays. Since being drafted in 2012, Cousins has started a total of eight Monday night games and he’s won ZERO OF THEM. That’s right, Cousins is 0-8 all-time on “Monday Night Football.”
As if that’s not bad enough, Cousins also seems to struggle when he plays against a team with a winning record. In 35 career games, Cousins is 6-29. Sure, you can try to tell me that it’s not all his fault that he’s losing these games and that football is a team sport, but I’m not buying it. As Cris Carter once said, everyone needs a fall guy and Cousins is my fall guy.
That being said, I don’t think this Monday actually counts as a Monday because it’s a holiday (Christmas Eve Eve counts as a holiday to me), and as we all know, holiday Mondays are more like weekend days, which I have to think is going to work out to Cousins’ advantage. Another thing that is going to work out to Cousins’ advantage is that the Packers defense has been horrible at stopping the run this year, and no team uses the run to help them more than the Vikings. For one, the Vikings are actually good at running the ball — they rank fourth in the NFL with an average of 135.9 yards per game — but if the Packers do shut that down for some reason, Cousins has proven that he can put up big numbers in clutch situations this season, which is something I never thought I would write about him.
Basically, Santa isn’t going to be the only one who delivers on Christmas Eve Eve, so is Kirk Cousins (Yes, I’ve been waiting all year to write that, and yes, Santa will be in the air when this game kicks off because it will be Christmas Eve in Australia).
The pick: Vikings 23-20 over Packers
Lock of the Week
Baltimore (12-2) at Cleveland (6-8)
1 p.m. ET (CBS)Point spread: Ravens -10
Things have gotten so bad in Cleveland that players on the team have literally decided they’d rather play for any other team besides the Browns. I mean, you know you’ve reached rock bottom as a franchise when players are trying to leave your team to go play for THE CARDINALS, which is apparently what happened Sunday.
If you’re scoring at home, this now means that Odell Beckham, Jarvis Landry and “multiple” other players no longer want to play for the Browns. I’d say that this isn’t a big deal and that Freddie Kitchens will fix everything this week, but now I’m starting to think that he might actually be part of the problem.
If you ask your girlfriend whether or not she stills believes in your relationship and she no comments you, there is a 700 percent chance your relationship will soon be ending. The Browns’ season has turned into a bigger disaster than the Griswold family Christmas, and unlike the Griswolds, the Browns will not be getting a happy ending.
The last time these two teams played back in September, the Browns pulled off the most confounding victory by any team this season when they beat the Ravens 40-25. In that game, the Ravens turned the ball over three times and they gave up 530 yards of offense to a Browns team that has mostly been offensively inept since then. The Ravens were clearly humiliated by the loss, because in the 10 games since then, they’ve gone 10-0 and destroyed everyone, and now they’re going to be out for revenge. Not to mention, the Ravens actually have something big to play for on Sunday: If they beat the Browns, they clinch the top playoff seed in the AFC, which will allow them to rest their starters in Week 17. On the other hand, the Browns have nothing to play for, their coach is on the hot seat and half the roster wants to leave the team.
I would predict the Ravens by 1,400, but that doesn’t seem plausible, so I’ll say 14.
The pick: Ravens 38-24 over Browns 14-2 straight up, 6-9-1 against the spread
NFL Week 16 picks: All the rest
Texans 34-31 over Buccaneers49ers 30-20 over RamsFalcons 27-20 over JaguarsPanthersDolphinsJetsGiantsBroncos 24-17 over LionsChargers 30-23 over RaidersSeahawks 30-27 over CardinalsChiefs 27-17 over Bears
Best pick: Last week, I introduced,” and although it sounded like a horrible idea at the time, it paid off handsomely during my trip to Las Vegas. The two locks were taking the Ravens to win by 15 or more against the Jets and taking the Patriots to win by 10 or more against the Bengals. Not only did I bet on both teams and win, but I also got to celebrate by eating at a crab leg buffet, and as everyone who’s been to Vegas knows, there’s no celebration better than a eating crab legs at a buffet. Although I hit on both of those bets, my drunken Vegas parlay fell apart thanks to the 49ers. For me to win the parlay, all the 49ers had to do on Sunday was beat the Falcons. THEY DIDN’T EVEN HAVE TO COVER THE SPREAD. ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS WIN BY ONE POINT. With five seconds left, I was sitting on a ticket that would have paid out more than $350, but then this happened.
The irony is that it took me drinking $350 worth of tequila to get over the loss. Never gamble, kids.
Worst pick: My worst pick in Week 15 wasn’t an actual game, it was my decision to leave Kenyan Drake on the bench in fantasy. After going 11-2 during the regular season, I got a bye into the semifinals, which took place this week. This league is one I do with my family, and I like winning, because it means I can talk 24 straight hours of fantasy smack when I go home for Christmas, but that won’t be happening this year, because my brother’s trash team — that shouldn’t have even made it to the playoffs — beat me. His team was 6-7. How do teams with losing records get in the playoffs? What is this, the NFC East?
For the semifinal game, one of my running backs was Josh Jacobs, and due to the fact that he was dealing with an injury heading into Week 15, I thought about benching him for Drake, but then I went to Vegas, drank a lot of tequila and forgot to give my lineup a once-over on Sunday morning, which means I left Jacobs in, and of course, Drake went off for four touchdowns.
As everyone knows, there is literally only one rule to fantasy football: Always start any player who’s going up against the Browns. I broke that rule and I deserved to lose. I also lost as the top seed in our work league here at CBS Sports. I hate fantasy.
Finally, if you guys have ever wondered if I actually know what I’m doing with these picks, here’s what my best and worst individual team picks look like heading into Week 16 (All records listed are straight-up).
Teams I’m 12-2 picking this year: Patriots, Dolphins, Bills, Ravens, Lions (11-2-1)
Teams I’m 10-3 picking this year: Redskins, Vikings, Packers
Team I’m 5-9 picking this year, which is my worst record picking any team: 49ers, Texans
Every other team is somewhere in-between.
Straight up in Week 15: 10-6SU overall: 144-79-1 (Tied for 12th overall among all media members on Pickwatch)
Against the spread in Week 15: 6-9-1ATS overall: 107-112-5 (Not tied for 12th overall)
You can find John Breech on Facebook or Twitter and if he’s not doing one of those things, he will probably be petitioning to fantasy football lawmakers to change the rules so that teams with losing records can no longer make the playoffs.
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