NFL Week 16 Gridiron Guide: Take the Jets, Lions and Saints
BROWNS (4-10) at JETS (6-8), 1 p.m.
Jets by 2 1/2; O/U: 40 1/2
TV: Ch. 2; Radio: ESPN (98.7)
For the third straight season, the Jets find themselves out of the playoffs. A loss last week vs. Carolina coupled with Baltimore beating Detroit on Monday has Rex's boys on the outside looking in at the postseason yet again. I wasn't too keen on backing Gang Green here. But after all the whispers about Ryan's future, I think the Jets will play for their beloved coach's job. Neither team has been a good play of late: The Jets are 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games overall, while the Brownies are 1-4. The Jets are also 5-2 ATS in their last seven home games.
The pick: Jets
GIANTS (5-9) at LIONS (7-7), 4:05 p.m.
Lions by 9; O/U: 49
TV: Ch. 5; Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)
I wonder how Tom Coughlin is doing these days. Last Sunday, his offense basically quit on him. Then Lawrence Taylor said it's time for him to go. It almost reminds me of what happened in Philly last season with Andy Reid. After a long run with one coach, you wonder if they start to tune him out like the teacher's voice on the Peanuts cartoon (wah-wah-wah). Meanwhile, the Lions look as if they'll continue the "Curse of Bobby Layne" (Google it, kids!). But they need a win -- and help -- to make the playoffs. Plus, the Giants are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 road games.
The pick: Lions
1 P.M. GAMES
SAINTS (10-4) at PANTHERS (10-4)
Panthers by 3; O/U: 46 1/2
The NFC game of the week. Winner has inside track on No. 2 seed. I've gone back and forth on this one a few times. The Panthers have been a solid bet all season (8-5-1 against the spread) and have a lot to play for, especially after a 31-13 loss at the Saints in Week 14. Plus, they're 5-0-1 ATS in last six home games. However, I'm going to fade those trends, and hitch my wagon to Drew Brees and the Saints, who are 3-8 ATS in last 11 vs. Carolina. Call it a hunch.
The pick: Saints
DOLPHINS (8-6) at BILLS (5-9)
Dolphins by 3; O/U: 43
Miami's Joe Philbin could be a Coach of the Year candidate, especially if his Fins find a way into the AFC playoffs. I know the Dolphins could very well have a letdown after a big win last week vs. the Patriots. But the favorite has covered four of the last five meetings between these two.
The pick: Dolphins
COLTS (9-5) at CHIEFS (11-3)
Chiefs by 6 1/2; O/U: 44
This could be a matchup we see again in the first weekend of the playoffs. The Chiefs still have some hope for the AFC's top seed. Jamaal Charles and KC have pounded two lightweights the last two weeks in Oakland and Washington by a combined score of 101-41. The Chiefs haven't covered their last four home games, and are 1-5 ATS vs. winning teams. However, I think the Chiefs come up with a big effort against the Colts, who usually find a way to dig themselves into big road holes. That formula will spell disaster in January.
The pick: Chiefs
COWBOYS (7-7) at REDSKINS (3-11)
Cowboys by 2 1/2; O/U: 53 1/2
I just feel like the NFC Least HAS to come down to a Week 17 winner-take-all meeting between Dallas and Philly. The only group that struggles more than the Cowboys in D.C. is Congress:
Dallas is 1-6 ATS in last seven meetings vs. Washington, and 2-6 ATS in last eight games in Washington. Still, they'll find a way.
The pick: Cowboys
VIKINGS (4-9-1) at BENGALS (9-5)
Bengals by 7 1/2; O/U: 48
Cincinnati, 6-0 ATS at home, will bounce back from last week's Steelers loss.
The pick: Bengals
BRONCOS (11-3) at TEXANS (2-12)
Broncos by 10 1/2; O/U: 52 1/2
Unfortunately for Houston, Denver will have had 10 days to think about that loss to San Diego. Will Houston go 0-14 after 2-0 start?
The pick: Broncos
BUCS (4-10) at RAMS (6-8)
Rams by 5 1/2; O/U: 43
The Bucs are 5-2 ATS in their last seven. Take the points.
The pick: Bucs
TITANS (5-9) at JAGUARS (4-10)
Titans by 5; O/U: 44
In last six games, Titans are 1-5 ATS and Jags are 4-2.
The pick: Jaguars
4 P.M. GAMES AND LATER
CARDINALS (9-5) at SEAHAWKS (12-2), 4:05 p.m.
Seahawks by 10 1/2; O/U: 43 1/2
I know Arizona has been a pleasant surprise this season, and 10 1/2 is a big number, but we're talking about Seattle at home. The Cardinals are 2-6-1 in their last nine road games vs. teams with winning home records. Plus, Seattle is 37-16 in its last 53 home games. Fear the 12th Man!
The pick: Seahawks
PATRIOTS (10-4) at RAVENS (8-6), 4:25 p.m.
Ravens by 2 1/2; O/U: 45
TV: Ch. 2
A rematch of last season's AFC Championship Game won by Baltimore. I'm constantly amazed at how teams' fortunes change from week to week. The Ravens were nearly out of it, but have won five of their last six games. New England has dropped five straight road covers. But I'll follow this trend: The Patriots are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games as underdogs dating to 2010.
The pick: Patriots
STEELERS (6-8) at PACKERS (7-6-1), 4:25 p.m.
OFF; O/U: OFF (Green Bay QB questionable)
I've seen this line in some spots with the Packers as a seven-point favorite. Even if Aaron Rodgers returns, I believe the Steelers keep this close enough.
The pick: Steelers
RAIDERS (4-10) at CHARGERS (7-7), 4:25 p.m.
Chargers by 10; O/U: 50 1/2
San Diego still has an outside shot at a wild-card spot. With the release of "Anchorman 2," maybe the Bolts could get a boost if Ron Burgundy calls the game. Stay classy, San Diego.
The pick: Chargers
BEARS (8-6) at EAGLES (8-6), 8:30 p.m.
Eagles by 3; O/U: 56
TV: Ch. 4 Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)
I got hate mail this week from . . . my own family and friends. Just kidding. Last week was one of the few times I've picked the Eagles (5-20-1 ATS last 26 home games) to cover this season and they lay a major egg at Minnesota. Nick Foles and Jay Cutler could make this a high-scoring game.
The pick: Bears
FALCONS (4-10) at 49ERS (10-4), 8:40 p.m.
49ers by 13; O/U: 45 1/2
TV: ESPN; Radio: WFAN (joined in progress)
If Arizona loses on Sunday, 49ers clinch playoff spot. Still, they'll be pumped up for the regular-season finale at Candlestick Park. Atlanta is 2-2 ATS in last four and has been competitive lately, but I think San Fran wins big. Farewell, "Windlestick."
The pick: 49ers
STAFF PICKS (best bets in caps)
JOHN BOELL: 100-117-7, 4-11 best bets; Last week: 7-9
Jets Lions Saints DOLPHINS Chiefs Cowboys Bengals Broncos Bucs Jaguars Seahawks Patriots Steelers Chargers Bears 49ers
BOB GLAUBER: 115-102-7, 7-6-2; Last week: 8-8
Jets Lions Saints Bills Chiefs Cowboys Bengals Broncos Rams Jaguars Seahawks Ravens Packers Chargers Eagles 49ERS
KIMBERLEY A. MARTIN: 113-104-7, 4-11; Last week: 8-8
Jets Lions Saints Dolphins Chiefs Cowboys Bengals Broncos Rams Titans SEAHAWKS Patriots Packers Chargers Eagles 49ers
TOM ROCK: 103-114-7, 7-8; Last week: 6-10
Jets Lions Panthers Dolphins CHIEFS Cowboys Bengals Broncos Rams Jaguars Cardinals Ravens Packers Raiders Bears 49ers