Two more weeks before the playoffs folks, and I might as well go ahead and bolster my record in what looks like one of my best seasons ever. There are a lot of tough (tight) games heading into Week 16, a lot of teams playing for their playoff lives. If you love this game, you have to love that. This is how I have it breaking down in Week 16.
Indianapolis Colts (-6) @ Jacksonville Jaguars: The Colts aren’t good, but the Jaguars are worse. How the Colts managed to get to 10-4 and absolutely beyond me. This is a team that beat Cleveland 10-6, lost to Green Bay by 20, snuck past Houston by 6, San Diego by 3, and was tied at 21 with the Lions in the 4th quarter last week. I also don’t think the Colts are worthy of being a 6 point favorite on the road in a conference match-up. But, and there are buts, the Jaguars aren’t good enough to beat anybody twice in a season, and they already snaked the Colts in Indy in Week 3. One could argue that the Jaguars don’t have anything to play for, and I would say, you’re right! And they won’t. They won’t play for anything. Pride? That’s already out the window. The Colts win by a couple touchdowns, even on a weird Thursday night in Jacksonville, and even though 70% of the betting public are riding the Colts.
Baltimore Ravens (+4.5) @ Dallas Cowboys: I think the Ravens are tougher than the Cowboys. Defensively and offensively. The Ravens have had a great year while the Cowboys have struggled to meet expectations – but both teams sit at 9-5 with their playoff lives resting in the balance. And I think toughness wins out. The 4.5 points doesn’t hurt, that’s for sure, especially for a team that has just two losses by more than 4 points this season. This one should be a defensive battle, especially the way these two teams have been playing, but I don’t see Dallas running on Baltimore, and I see the will of the Ravens winning out in Dallas.
Cincinnati Bengals (+3.5) @ Cleveland Browns: I don’t think Ken Dorsey is worth a bet. Cedric Benson, of all people, is absolutely carrying this offense. The Browns are hurting and lost and their coach is done after the season. This game is gross. That’s all I’ve got.
New Orleans Saints @ Detroit Lions (+7.5): This is the Lions best chance. But how could the Saints lose to the 0-14 Lions? Because someone has to, right? Ugh. Get this, the Lions haven’t won a game at home all season long – crazy. Even worse, they’ve been terrible in Detroit, probably because their fans are hoping to see history and cheering accordingly. But the Lions respect their coach, and they are working their Ace’s off to get just one win. A Saints team that slips from concentration could be their hope. I doubt it, but this game will be close. I’m not sure which team will be playing with more pressure – the team that doesn’t want to lose to the winless team or the team that is winless. Either way, I’m intrigued. I’m not a Saints guy, and I’m leaving my money on the Lions to make this one close.
Miami Dolphins (-4) @ Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs have covered 6 of their last 8 games, including 4 road losses by a touchdown or less. They are playing good, but I don’t think they cover against Miami, even in an icy KC environment. Chad Pennington has been there before and the Dolphins need this one bad. I know KC is a tough place to play, but the Chiefs are 1-6 there and they’ve played poorly in 2 of their last 3 home games, losing all three of course. The Dolphins are 4-2 on the road, and while they haven’t whooped the bad teams this season (2pt win at home against Oakland, 2 point win at home against Seattle, 4 point win at St. Louis, 5 point win at home against San Francisco) they have won. There’s something to be said about that. What else? Well, this Chiefs team can’t stop the run, (unless they are playing the Chargers), and the Dolphins will do their best to test that fact. I see the Dolphins winning by a touchdown in a game that has more scoring than you’d think.
Arizona Cardinals (+9) @ New England Patriots: I don’t think the Patriots are nine points better than the Cardinals, but this is definitely an interesting match-up. The Patriots usually do well against teams that they can gang up on. I mean teams that do one thing well. That’s Arizona to a T. They play run defense alright and they pass the ball well. But they don’t have a solid secondary and they can’t run worth beans. Still, I like this game to be closer because of how terrible the Cardinals have played of late. They aren’t that bad, and it should right itself a little bit in New England this week.
San Francisco 49ers (-4.5) @ St. Louis Rams: Again, I’m liking the Niners over the Rams. I’ve liked the Niners since Samari Mike took over, and I still do. They play tough and run the ball. The Rams play soft and can’t stop the run. The 49ers are favorites in St. Louis, and that’s weird, but I have to take them here. A 7 point win by the Niners looks right on.
Pittsburgh Steelers (pk) @ Tennessee Titans: The Titans are hurting right now, and the Steelers are as tough a defense as the Titans will face. Both teams should be spitting blood after this game, but that’s a good thing for a Steelers group that is accustomed to winning ugly.
San Diego Chargers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3): This is easy for me. Tampa has struggled stopping the run lately, but only on the road. It’s always weird to think about, because for me it shouldn’t matter, but the Bucs play much better defense at home. I don’t think the Chargers have much of a chance in this one, maybe next year.
Buffalo Bills (+7.5) @ Denver Broncos: Mainly because the Broncos don’t deserve to be heavily favored ever, especially against a team that can run the ball with some toughness and consistency. As always, this game scares me, but that’s because the Broncos are playing in it and Splinter is coaching them. The Bills don’t have much to play for, except maybe to play spoiler, but the Broncos win and they don’t have to worry about the Chargers next week. That would be huge for them. I don’t know if that will make them play better or worse. Hmm… I’m taking more than a touchdown against the Broncos, and I feel good about doing so.
Houston Texans (-7) @ Oakland Raiders: Oakland’s leftover Lane Kiffin staff members left for Tennessee this week. Haha. I don’t know about the Texans flying to California and playing on the West Coast as a 7 point favorite, but I do know that I’d love to see Al Davis’s dying hopes and dreams seep from his high chair/phone book seat/owner’s box as the 7-7 come in and obliterate his infamous Raiders. (Warning, this may be a pick based solely on hatred and cruelty – Houston is a terrible road team – but come on, this is too good to pass up, right?)
New York Jets (-4.5) @ Seattle Seahawks: Like the Patriots last week, I think the Jets fix their west coast problems with one single trip. Sure, the Jets have really stunk it up on the west coast, but too much focus has to be on this game, and I don’t see them struggling against the Hawks. The Jets as a road favorite haven’t been a good bet this season, but that changes here.
Atlanta Falcons (+3.5) @ Minnesota Vikings: This is a very tough match-up for the Vikings. I know the Falcons aren’t the best road team in the league, but they are solid, and they match up well against teams that aren’t much of a threat through the air. Chalk the Vikings up as one of those teams. The Vikings defense is hurting a little bit, and I think that opens things up a little bit for Micheal Turner and the Falcons. Atlanta has played too well to let everything go with a poor performance here. A little more than a field goal sounds good to me.
Philadelphia Eagles (-4.5) @ Washington Redskins: The Redskins have really struggled down the stretch, but they can definitely give the Eagles some troubles. That being said, I don’t see Washington sweeping Philly this season. Not the way they’ve been playing lately, in both cases. Washington seems a little down on their luck, and while they are still playing well defensively, maybe better than earlier in the year, their offense is just too stagnant to outscore the Eagles. It
Carolina Panthers @ New York Giants (-3): This could be a great game. Or the Panthers could be way outclassed. Or the Giants could continue their fall from grace, an example of their self inflicted wounds possibly? Hmmm. I like the Giants. I know the Panthers rushing attack is fierce. There is no doubt in my mind that DeAngelo and Jon Stewart are studs and they will both be a force in this league. However, they haven’t seen a defense quite like the Giants, and after beating the piss out of the Broncos, I’m not sure if they’re ready for that next level. I still think the Giants are legit. I’ll follow them by a field goal at home.
Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears (-4): The Packers haven’t swept a season series with the Bears in some time. The Bears have beaten the Packers in 4 of the last 6 match-ups. But those things don’t mean all that much. The Bears are great at home, winning 5 games and losing to only Tennessee and Tampa Bay (both by a touchdown or less). Chicago got annhilated by Aaron Rodgers and the Packers last time out, I see a redemption song being sung ala Bob Marley back in the day. Except this will be in extremely cold weather and without the aid of medical Marijuana.