Don’t Trust Andy Dalton, and Other Original Advice: NFL Week 16 PicksPosted: December 19, 2014
We are not gamblers. That doesn’t mean we can’t pretend. Some of these choices have actual thought put into them. More of these choices were made with gut, intuition, and a little thing called grit.
Employ these recommendations at your own peril. Gambling is ungentlemanly.
[Home team in caps. Lines, team rankings, and standings as of 12/18/14 (before the Thursday night game). All lines per VegasInsider.com consensus.]
Philadelphia (-7.5) at WASHINGTON
Philadelphia: 9-5, 2nd NFC East, #5 total offense, #4 scoring offense, T-#26 total defense, #22 scoring defense
Washington: 3-11, 4th NFC East, #12 total offense, #26 scoring offense, #10 total defense, #28 scoring defense
Derek: Pro football on Saturday! That pleases me.
While the Eagles are on a bit of a downturn, I can’t bring myself to pick the Redskins. The Eagles need this to stay in the playoff hunt, and the Redskins seem to be dealing with five stories that have nothing to do with football at any given time. I’m going with the Eagles.
Will: I’m picking quick and dirty this week. Minimal analysis, maximum heart. Philly has lost two straight, as though they’re just now realizing that Mark Sanchez is at quarterback. Everything has gone to hell for Washington, which means they have nothing to lose. I’m backing Dan Snyder’s franchise.
SAN FRANCISCO (-1) vs. San Diego
San Francisco: 7-7, 3rd NFC West, #27 total offense, #28 scoring offense, #3 total defense, #9 scoring defense
San Diego: 8-6, T-2nd AFC West, #21 total offense, #17 scoring offense, #9 total defense, #11 scoring defense
Derek: The 49ers have been in a funk, and they don’t really seem to have any incentive to keep playing hard. They certainly won’t be playing as hard as team that’s still in the playoff hunt. I’ll take San Diego.
Will: Right, like the Niners are suddenly going to ball out in the name of Jim Harbaugh’s honor? He’s no gentleman. Chargers.
CAROLINA (-3.5) vs. Cleveland
Carolina: 5-8-1, 2nd NFC South, #13 total offense, #21 scoring offense, #16 total defense, #23 scoring defense
Cleveland: 7-7, 4th AFC North, #20 total offense, #25 scoring offense, #21 total defense, #14 scoring defense
Will: Johnny. Johnny? Johnny!
Derek: Boy, Johnny swung this line quite a bit, didn’t he? A team in the NFC South is favored against a team that’s not in the running for the number one pick, eh? I’m not buying it. Sign me up for another week of the Cleveland Browns Experience.
MIAMI (-6.5) vs. Minnesota
Miami: 7-7, 3rd AFC East, #19 total offense, #12 scoring offense, #7 total defense, #15 scoring defense
Minnesota: 6-8, 3rd NFC North, #28 total offense, #24 scoring offense, T-#11 total defense, T-#12 scoring defense
Will: It’s December in Minnesota. Dolphins do not fare well in snow. Go Vikes!
Derek: Agreed. The Vikings are putting up much more of a fight than I anticipated. I’ll take those 6.5 points with a smile.
Baltimore (-5) at HOUSTON
Baltimore: 9-5, T-2nd AFC North, #10 total offense, #8 scoring offense, #13 total defense, #6 scoring defense
Houston: 7-7, 2nd AFC South, #15 total offense, #13 scoring offense, #24 total defense, #7 scoring defense
Derek: Case Keenum is starting for the Texans, and the Ravens are only favored by five? Well I’ll be. Ravens it is.
Will: It feels like the Texans are going to get slaughtered in this one. J.J. Watt may slaughter my entire family for writing that. Yet, I pick the Ravens.
Detroit (-8.5) at CHICAGO
Detroit: 10-4, T-1st NFC North, #17 total offense, #23 scoring offense, #2 total defense, #1 scoring defense
Chicago: 5-9, 4th NFC North, #18 total offense, #19 scoring offense, #30 total defense, #32 scoring defense
Will: lol Jimmy Clausen. Lions romp.
Derek: Hey now, I might start him in FanDuel. But yeah, that’s because of garbage time. The Bears are crumbling. I side with Detroit.
NEW ORLEANS (-6) vs. Atlanta
New Orleans: 6-8, 1st NFC South, #2 total offense, #9 scoring offense, #31 total defense, #29 scoring defense
Atlanta: 5-9, 3rd NFC South, #7 total offense, #10 scoring offense, #32 total defense, #27 scoring defense
Derek: I hate picking Saints games. I usually pick them at home, so I’m going with the opposite this time. The Falcons prevail.
Will: No team in the NFC South can beat any football team by a touchdown, and that’s a fact. Dirty Birds.
Green Bay (-11.5) at TAMPA BAY
Green Bay: 10-4, T-1st NFC North, #6 total offense, #2 scoring offense, #23 total defense, #18 scoring defense
Tampa Bay: 2-12, 4th NFC South, #30 total offense, #27 scoring offense, #25 total defense, #26 scoring defense
Derek: I would have been tempted to take the Bucs if the Packers had won last week. Not anymore. After losing last week, the Packers are not going to be happy. I predict a dominant showing by the Packers.
Will: I love a good battle of the bays. The Packers are 2-5 against the spread on the road. Let’s go Bucs.
PITTSBURGH (-3) vs. Kansas City
Pittsburgh: 9-5, T-2nd AFC North, #1 total offense, #6 scoring offense, #19 total defense, T-#20 scoring defense
Kansas City: 8-6, T-2nd AFC West, #22 total offense, #14 scoring offense, #8 total defense, T-#4 scoring defense
Derek: You beat the Steelers by passing, and the Chiefs can’t pass. You can run on the Chiefs, and the Steelers have Le’Veon Bell. Sounds like a recipe for a Steelers victory.
Will: Barbecue > the word “yinz”. Really, I just hate Pittsburgh. Chiefs win.
New England (-10.5) at NEW YORK JETS
New England: 11-3, 1st AFC East, #8 total offense, #1 scoring offense, #17 total defense, #18 scoring defense
New York: 3-11, 4th AFC East, #25 total offense, #29 scoring offense, #6 total defense, #24 scoring defense
Derek: Yeah … I can’t think of a single reason to pick the Jets. So I’m not going to.
Will: A half-decent team would struggle to stay within two touchdowns of the Pats. The Jets are much worse than half-decent. Pats roll.
ST. LOUIS (-6.5) vs. New York Giants
St. Louis: 6-8, 4th NFC West, #26 total offense, #20 scoring offense, T-#11 total defense, T-#12 scoring defense
New York: 5-9, 3rd NFC East, #14 total offense, #15 scoring offense, #26 total defense, T-#20 scoring defense
Derek: The Rams screwed up my opinion of them by losing to Arizona. That was puzzling. Now I don’t know what to think. In that case, I’ll take the points!
Will: I know the Giants have been crap this year, but they’re only a game worse than the Rams, and they have Odell Beckham. What am I missing? G-Men cover.
Buffalo (-6.5) at OAKLAND
Buffalo: 8-6, 2nd AFC East, #23 total offense, #18 scoring offense, #5 total defense, T-#4 scoring defense
Oakland: 2-12, 4th AFC West, #32 total offense, #32 scoring offense, #18 total defense, #30 scoring defense
Derek: The Raiders could get up for the Chiefs, and they could get up for the Niners. Not sure how they get up for the Bills. I think we’ll see the terrible Raiders in this one as Buffalo covers.
Will: The Bills are legit. The Raiders are a puke salad. Let’s go Buffalo.
DALLAS (-3) vs. Indianapolis
Dallas: 10-4, 1st NFC East, #9 total offense, #7 scoring offense, #22 total defense, #19 scoring defense
Indianapolis: 10-4, 1st AFC South, #3 total offense, #3 scoring offense, #15 total defense, #17 scoring defense
Derek: Very curious to see how this one plays out. This could be the game that finally gets me to believe in the Cowboys. I might take Indianapolis at home, but they’re not, and Dallas is on a roll somehow. I think it continues.
Will: Nice game. I feel like Andrew Luck ain’t as good as we want him to be, at least not yet. Against all better December judgment, I pick Dallas.
Seattle (-8) at ARIZONA
Seattle: 10-4, 2nd NFC West, #11 total offense, #11 scoring offense, #1 total defense, #2 scoring defense
Arizona: 11-3, 1st NFC West, #24 total offense, #22 scoring offense, #14 total defense, #3 scoring defense
Derek: If you support the Arizona Cardinals, you are tying your reputation to the success of Ryan Lindley. The same Ryan Lindley who relieved John Skelton in garbage time of a 58-0 loss to the Seahawks two years ago. The Ryan Lindley who was unemployed for most of the season and is only employed now because he knows the Cardinals’ playbook. You are trusting Ryan Lindley against a red-hot Seahawks defense that held Stanton’s predecessor to three points just a few weeks ago. If you’re okay with that, that’s your business. I’m not. The Seahawks may score less than 20, but that should be enough to cover.
Will: All due respect to your beloved Seahawks, giving eight points on the road?? This one’s for the birds — the Cardinals, that is.
Denver (-3) at CINCINNATI
Denver: 11-3, 1st AFC West, #4 total offense, #5 scoring offense, #4 total defense, #16 scoring defense
Cincinnati: 9-4-1, 1st AFC North, #13 total offense, #16 scoring offense, #20 total defense, #10 scoring defense
Will: Andy Dalton, at night, on national television. Broncos buck ’em.
Derek: Not just Andy Dalton, but Andy Dalton against Peyton Manning, at night, on national television. I’ll take the Broncos as well.