Week 16 is already here, which means there are only two weeks left in the regular season and this is the last week of non-divisional games. Week 17 will feature division rivalries, a change that was put in place in 2010 to prevent teams from sitting their starters in Week 17, due to having their playoff spot wrapped up. There have been five teams that have clinched a playoff berth, but nobody has clinched the Top-Seed and there are still seven spots up for grabs. The only team that may have everything wrapped up in Week 17 is Philadelphia, who could clinch the Top-Seed with a win over Oakland.
I had a nice rebound week, going (6-1) in my double-digit point picks and winning 11 of my 16 picks. The schedule has a nice mix of easy picks and tough games, so I should have a good chance to improve on my overall record. I also have some good eliminator picks left in the tank, so I should be good there as well.
Without further delay, here are my picks for Week 16. Each game I assign a number 1-16. The game I assign a 16 is the game that I most confident in the winner. The game I assign a one is the game that I am least confident in that week. At the end of the article, I will give you my recommendations for an eliminator pick and select a team to use this week. The next week I will give you the score that I compiled in the confidence picks. I will also keep a running tally of my record in both the eliminator pick and all of the games combined. I also will not pick the same team twice for the eliminator pick.
My record last week was (11-5) and I scored 105 points in the confidence numbers. I am (147-77) on the season and I am (10-5) with my eliminator picks. So far this season, I have picked the Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans, Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, Los Angeles Chargers, Tennessee Titans and New Orleans Saints as my eliminator pick. I do not pick games against the spread or project over and under totals.
Our site is not a gambling site and we do not pretend to be a gambling site. I have had people who need to pick scores of games for their confidence picks, which I am happy to do. If the confidence numbers or picks do not help you enough, leave your questions in the comment section and I will answer them to the best of my ability.
Top 5 Games
1) Los Angeles Rams (10-4) at Tennessee Titans (8-6) – The Rams are coming off a statement making win, a 42-7 thrashing of the Seattle Seahawks in Seattle. Sometimes a team has a hard time following up a big win like that, but I do not think that will happen to the Rams. They very well could lose in Tennessee, but they should not lay an egg there. The Rams beat the Arizona Cardinals 33-0 in London, came back to the New York Giants 51-17 and went home to play the Houston Texans and beat them 33-7. They have not had letdowns when they have had big wins in the past.
I like the Rams in this game. I am over the Titans at this point, I do not understand why veteran RB DeMarco Murray has 169 carries, despite averaging only 3.6 yards per rushing attempt and RB Derrick Henry has only 140 carries, despite averaging 4.8 yards per carry. They are not featuring their best back, QB Marcus Mariota has regressed this year, posting a QB rating of 79.7. I do not think they have the offensive firepower to keep up with the Rams explosive offense. That said, the Titans are (5-1) at home, so I would not put a ton of points on the Rams. Winner: LA Rams (6)
2) Buffalo Bills (8-6) at New England Patriots (11-3) – The Bills are in pretty good shape in this game. They cannot clinch a playoff spot with a win, but they cannot be eliminated with a loss. It still would be a good idea to win this game, because if they lose, they will probably need help in Week 17 and it is always best to control one’s destiny. The Bills have not qualified for the postseason since 1999, it is the longest active playoff drought in NFL.
I like the Patriots this week. QB Tom Brady is (27-3) against the Bills and one of those losses he sat the entire second half. The Patriots are also (105-19) at home with Brady as the starter. It does not seem likely that the Patriots will have a letdown after a 27-24 win in Pittsburgh. That win does not mean much if they lose this game and they already beat the Bills 23-3 in Buffalo. There is no reason the rematch should be any different in New England. Winner: New England (15)
3) Miami Dolphins (6-8) at Kansas City Chiefs (8-6) – There are basically only four good games this weekend and this is one that has playoff implications for both teams. The Chiefs have a simple task, they just need to win and they clinch the AFC West. The Dolphins do not have a simple task. Per the Washington Post, they will be eliminated with a loss or tie. They will also be eliminated with a Bills win/tie combined with a Ravens win/tie, or a Titans win/tie combined with a Ravens win/tie, or a Bills win/tie combined with a Titans win/tie.
I don’t think we need to worry about all those scenarios involving the Ravens, Titans and Bills. The Dolphins are just (2-5) on the road and they have lost four straight games on the road. QB Jay Cutler will likely have bad turnovers against the Chiefs D. Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt is running the ball better and the Chiefs offense should score enough points to beat one of the worst offenses in the NFL. Winner: Kansas City (7)
4) Atlanta Falcons (8-6) at New Orleans Saints (10-4) – The last time these teams played, it was on a Thursday Night, Saints RB Mark Ingram was trying to play with a bad toe and Saints RB Alvin Kamara suffered a concussion on the first drive of the game. The result was a neutered Saints offense, they ran for only 50 yards and they still had a 17-10 lead in the game, before bowing out with a 20-17 defeat. The Falcons won, despite three interceptions by QB Matt Ryan.
I like the Saints in this game. The Saints will have two healthy running backs that they did not have in the last time and I expect QB Drew Brees to play better with a full weeks rest and a healthy running game. I also do not like how the Falcons are playing. Even against a horrible Tampa Bay team, they only won 24-21. I do not think their offense is playing well enough to win in New Orleans. Winner: New Orleans (5)
5) Seattle Seahawks (8-6) at Dallas Cowboys (8-6) – This game may not mean much if Carolina beat Tampa Bay and Atlanta beats New Orleans. It is possible that both teams will be eliminated by the time they take the field. However, if Carolina or Atlanta slips, this game becomes a defacto playoff game, because the winner of the game will still be alive in the playoff race and the loser will be eliminated.
I like the Cowboys in this game. They are at home, they have won three straight games and they have RB Ezekiel Elliott coming back from suspension this week. The Seahawks lost 42-7 at home to the LA Rams and gave up 244 yards rushing to the Rams. The Cowboys running game should dominate this game and the Cowboys should win the game. Winner: Dallas (3)
6) Indianapolis Colts (3-11) at Baltimore Ravens (8-6) – I do not give the Colts much chance to win in Baltimore. The Colts only victories are against Cleveland, San Francisco and Houston and those teams have gone a combined (8-34) this season. They also won those games by three points, three points and six points. Their offense is going to struggle to move the ball on the Ravens D. The Ravens offense has also been better as of late; QB Joe Flacco should have no problem moving the ball on the Colts D. Winner: Baltimore (16)
7) Minnesota Vikings (11-3) at Green Bay Packers (7-7) – The Green Bay Packers made the smart move of putting QB Aaron Rodgers on IR, because it makes no sense to continue to play him with their postseason hopes ending when the Atlanta Falcons won on Monday Night. I do not think the Packers have much of a chance without Rodgers against one of the best defenses in the NFL. The Vikings should win this game easily. Winner: Minnesota (13)
8) Cleveland Browns (0-14) at Chicago Bears (4-10) – Unless the Browns win this game, they are likely to become the second (0-16) team in NFL history. The Pittsburgh Steelers will not be able to clinch home field advantage this week, even if the New England Patriots lose. That means the Steelers will likely play their starters at home in Week 17. I like the Bears in this game. The Browns have not won a road game since they won at Baltimore in Week 5 of the 2015 season. That means they have lost 19 consecutive games on the road dating back to 2015. They have also lost 13 of those 19 games by double digits. The Bears are not great, but their defense should carry the day on Sunday. Winner: Chicago (8)
9) Detroit Lions (8-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-9) – Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis is not going to return in 2018 and the Bengals players look like they have moved on to next season. The Lions are still in the playoff race, I expect the Lions to dominate the Bengals at home. Look for Lions QB Matthew Stafford to have a big game against a defense that has better things to do than play games the rest of this season. Winner: Detroit (10)
10) Los Angeles Chargers (7-7) at New York Jets (5-9) – The Chargers had a great chance to make the playoffs last week, but they played one of their worst games of the season and lost 30-13 at Kansas City. They now need a lot of help to make the playoffs. I could see them having a letdown this week, but the Jets do not have enough offense to win this game with QB Bryce Petty under center. Chargers QB Philip Rivers should have a big game against a bad Jets D. Winner: Los Angeles Chargers (9)
11) Denver Broncos (5-9) at Washington (6-8) – The Broncos have the best yardage defense in the NFL, but they will not be in the playoffs due to an awful offense. Washington has an offensive line that has allowed 38 sacks and helps their running backs average only 3.7 yards per carry. My only concern is that Denver is just (1-6) on the road and their only win was at Indianapolis. I am going to go with Washington. Their defense played very well against Arizona last week and even though Washington will struggle to move the ball, I think Washington can force the Denver offense into enough mistakes to win the game. I have no confidence in the pick though; both teams are very flawed and inconsistent. Winner: Washington (1)
12) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10) at Carolina Panthers (10-4) – The Buccaneers keep fighting and they keep losing. Tampa Bay has lost their last three games by six points in overtime, three points and three points. I think Panthers QB Cam Newton carves up this defense and the Panthers win the game. Winner: Carolina (14)
13) Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4) at San Francisco 49ers (4-10) – The 49ers have won three games in a row with QB Jimmy Garoppolo, but he has not played a pass defense like the Jacksonville Jaguars. I think that defense finally puts an end to a win streak that was against Chicago, Houston and Tennessee. The Jaguars defense will cause a lot of problems for the 49ers offensive line, who will not be able to protect Garoppolo consistently enough for him to have a huge impact on the game. Winner: Jacksonville (11)
14) New York Giants (2-12) at Arizona Cardinals (6-8) – The Cardinals finally realized that QB Blaine Gabbert was worthless and they will go back to QB Drew Stanton. That should result in a win, the Giants are just outmanned and I do not think they will be able to sustain much success on offense on the road against this Cardinals D. Winner: Arizona (2)
15) Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3) at Houston Texans (4-10) – The Steelers should bounce back from their heartbreaking loss against New England and win this game. However, keep this statistic in mind, provided by Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In the Steelers past 20 games on the road against teams with losing records, they are just 7-13. They are just 11-7 under Mike Tomlin in games which they were favored by at least a touchdown on the road. They are on the road this week; they are a 9.5-point favorite on the road. This game will probably be close and they will probably need a comeback in the fourth quarter. Do not use this game as an eliminator pick and do not put high points on the game. The Steelers are notorious for playing down to their competition and their passing game may struggle without WR Antonio Brown. Winner: Pittsburgh (4)
16) Oakland Raiders (6-8) at Philadelphia Eagles (12-2) – Eagles QB Nick Foles helped the Eagles rally from a 20-7 deficit to win 34-29. They did not do that with a strong defense or strong running game, their backup quarterback had four touchdown passes and led the rally. Foles looked like his 2013 self and if he plays like that in this game, the Eagles will win by double-digit points against a Raiders team that is looking to end of their most disappointing seasons in recent memory. They have had worse seasons where they lost more games, but this team was expected to compete for the AFC West, not go (6-10). I like the Eagles this week. Winner: Philadelphia (12)
Eliminator Pick: There are lots of good eliminator picks this week. I think the slam-dunk pick, if there is such a thing, is the Baltimore Ravens hosting the Indianapolis Colts. I cannot see the Colts generating enough offense to win that game at a place where QB Joe Flacco is (57-18) in his career. The Ravens are probably the safest pick this week.
The New England Patriots are a good bet to beat the Buffalo Bills at home, Brady is (27-3) in his career against Buffalo. The Carolina Panthers should beat a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that continues to struggle to win close games. The Minnesota Vikings should destroy Green Bay without QB Aaron Rodgers. The Philadelphia Eagles should beat the Oakland Raiders soundly at home.
I think the thing you are going to want to do is keep it simple. There are only two weeks left, so you do not have to save anybody at this point. I have used Baltimore, New England and Philadelphia, so I cannot use them this week. It comes down to Minnesota on the road or Carolina at home.
What scares me about saving the Minnesota Vikings is they may not be able to catch Philadelphia next week, but they may not be able to be caught by New Orleans and Carolina, so it is possible they will not have to play their starters against Chicago to secure a bye week in the playoffs. On the flip side, Carolina is going to need to play their starters next week and they need this game to stay in the division race, so the chances of them having a let down this week are not strong.
I also have to think about who I will use in Week 17. Carolina will not be a viable option against the Atlanta Falcons, Minnesota will be a great option against the Chicago Bears and if they rest all their starters, Detroit hosting Green Bay without Rodgers would be a good fallback team. Therefore, I am going to go with Carolina hosting Tampa Bay as my Eliminator Pick for Week 16. Eliminator Pick: Carolina Panthers