Good Morning
Good Morning

NFL Week 16 picks: Seahawks top Chiefs, Chargers and Ravens play close one; Jets beat Packers; Browns lock of week

Chris Carson goes airborne during Seahawks' win over

Chris Carson goes airborne during Seahawks' win over the Panthers. The Seattle running game should have success against the Chiefs' defense Sunday night Credit: Getty Images North America/Grant Halverson

Motivation. It's the biggest driving force for picking games the final two weeks of the regular season. With so many teams fighting for a playoff spot and plenty of others out of it, a team's motivation (or lack of) will go a long way in determining who will win, and more importantly, who will cover.

Underdogs went 9-7 ATS last week and are 114-97-8 for the season.

My most confident picks ATS are the Browns, Seahawks, Jets and Cowboys. Avoid Steelers-Saints and Broncos-Raiders.

Remember, I pick every game but you don't have to.




TV: Ch. 4, 8:20 p.m.

Chiefs by 2.5; O/U: 54

Kansas City is in jeopardy of going from the No. 1 to No. 5 seed if it loses one more game and the Chargers finish 13-3. I think that's exactly what will happen, as the Chiefs' defense will again be the reason for a fourth close loss in prime time (43-40, 54-51, 29-28). KC allows the seventh-most rushing yards per game (126.9), and it won't be able to stop Chris Carson and Seattle's top-ranked ground attack (154.9 ypg). That'll set up the play-action pass for Russell Wilson and deep threat Tyler Lockett. Never bet against Seattle at home. Check out these stATS courtesy of OddsShark's Joe Osborne: The Seahawks have covered eight straight spreads as a home underdog and are 18-5 ATS in that spot since December 2008. In their last 34 night games, they're a lights-out 24-6-4 ATS. Sign me up.

The pick: Seahawks 



TV: NFL, 4:30 p.m.

Titans by 10; O/U: 37

Both teams have an outside shot at the final wild card in their respective conferences, so this should be closer than the spread implies. Yes, Tennessee is off of wins by 21 and 17 points, but don't forget it needed a huge comeback at home to beat the Jets just three weeks ago. Washington, which will have a little confidence after winning with its fourth QB, can keep it close enough in a low-scoring contest.

The pick: Redskins


TV: NFL, 8:20 p.m.

Chargers by 4.5; O/U: 44

One of these current AFC wild-card teams could go from a 5 or 6 seed to leading their division by week's end. L.A., off a thrilling 29-28 comeback win at Kansas City, is expecting key players back and should win as it eyes the top seed. The Chargers have won 10 of 11 but the last three wins were by 3, 5 and 1 point. The Ravens defense will keep this close  as it did in a 27-24 overtime loss at KC in Week 14. Baltimore is 4-1 with Lamar Jackson (566 rushing yards this season). The run-heavy Ravens will slow down  the game with long drives, earning a cover in a 23-20 type of game.

The pick: Ravens


PACKERS (5-8-1) AT JETS (4-10)

TV: Ch. 5, 1 p.m.

Packers by 3; O/U: 47

Green Bay's hopes at sneaking into the playoffs ended in Chicago. Now, will an 0-7 road team pack it in? This is likely Todd Bowles' final home game as Jets coach, and the players figure to go all-out to get him a win. Sam Darnold builds on last week's strong game and the defense delivers for Bowles.

The pick: Jets

GIANTS (5-9) AT COLTS (8-6)

TV: Ch. 2, 1 p.m.

Colts by 9.5; O/U: 47

With Big Blue officially out of it, it's hard to see them hanging with a Colts team eyeing the AFC's final wild-card spot. Indy has won seven of eight, and has some one-sided home wins: 37-5, 38-10 and last week's 23-0 effort over the Cowboys. 

The pick: Colts


TEXANS (10-4) AT EAGLES (7-7)

Eagles by 1; O/U: 46

Whoa, where has that Eagles team been all season? Fresh off a shocking win as huge road underdogs over the Rams, Nick Foles and Philly need to win out and get help for a wild-card spot. Houston is still playing for a first-round bye, so this will be close. The Jets had the Texans on the ropes, though, and I think the defending champs will do enough in their home finale not to get KO'd just yet. 

The pick: Eagles

BUCS (5-9) AT COWBOYS (8-6)

Cowboys by 7.5; O/U: 48.5

Dallas has too much to play for not to take care of business against a Tampa Bay team that hasn't won on the road since Week 1. Ezekiel Elliott runs wild against a bad Bucs defense as the Cowboys roll to the NFC East title.

The pick: Cowboys

VIKINGS (7-6-1) AT LIONS (5-9)

Vikings by 6; O/U: 42.5

If Detroit embraces the spoiler role against a division rival, it wouldn't surprise me. Still, Minnesota is playoff-bound if it wins out. It will feed Dalvin Cook again and build off its best win of the season in which it recommitted to the running game (40 carries for 220 yards and three touchdowns). 

The pick: Vikings


Patriots by 13,5; O/U: 44.5

The last time the Pats lost two games in a row, they returned home in Week 4 and won by 31. Expect another big win for a team that is 6-0 at home (5-1 ATS) with an average margin of victory just under 14 points.

The pick: Patriots


Dolphins by 4; O/U: 38.5

One Florida team still has an outside shot at a wild card. The other Florida team has scored one offensive TD over the last three games. Take Miami, which is 6-1 at home and 5-1-1 ATS.

The pick: Dolphins


BENGALS (6-8) AT BROWNS (6-7-1)

Browns by 9.5; O/U: 44.5

The Browns have won four of five, including a 35-20 win at Cincinnati in which they led 28-0. Baker Mayfield (four TD passes in the first meeting) and his teammates didn't make it a secret that they wanted to beat former coach Hue Jackson, now on the Bengals' staff. They'll want the sweep in their backyard. Cleveland hasn't been this big a favorite since Dec. 30, 2007, according to OddsShark. But it's warranted, as the team has clicked since the coaching change. With a chance to get to .500 in their home finale, Baker and the Brownies cook up another big win.

The pick: Browns


Falcons by 3.5; O/U: 43.5

I was going to flip a coin for this matchup of unpredictable, underachieving NFC South teams. But with Cam Newton out for a Carolina team that has tailed off after a 6-2 start, the heads-up play is Atlanta. 

The pick: Falcons


STEELERS (8-5-1) AT SAINTS (12-2)

Saints by 5.5; O/U: 53

This matchup has a sneaky chance at being a Super Bowl preview. Pittsburgh saved its season with a win over New England, and with Baltimore playing Saturday night, the Steelers will know where they stand in the AFC North race. The Saints have been dominant at home with four straight big, easy covers. In their first game in New Orleans since Thanksgiving night, the Saints should clinch home field with a win. But I expect Pittsburgh to be in this game the whole way. 

The pick: Steelers

RAMS (11-3) AT CARDINALS (3-11)

Rams by 14; O/U: 44

After back-to-back humbling losses on SNF, the Rams catch a break by facing a team they've dominated since Sean McVay took over: 33-0, 32-16 and 34-0 wins. How's 34-10 sound?

The pick: Rams

BEARS (10-4) AT 49ERS (4-10)

Bears by 4; O/U: 42.5

Chicago (3-3 on the road) is off a high of clinching the NFC North for the first time since 2010, so a letdown against a non-rival 2,000 miles west would only be natural. Spoiler alert: Home underdog San Francisco has upset Denver and Seattle the last two weeks, and while it may not win, a cover is likely.

The pick: 49ers



TV: ESPN, 8:15 p.m.

Broncos by 3; O/U: 43

With Denver out of it and this possibly being Oakland's final game at the Coliseum, expect a spirited effort from the home team on Christmas Eve. 

The pick: Raiders


(best bets in bold)


96-120-8 overall, 8-7 best bets

Last week: 4-12

Redskins Ravens Jets Colts

Eagles Cowboys Vikings Patriots

Dolphins Browns Falcons Steelers

Rams 49ers Seahawks Raiders


100-116-8, 5-10

Last week: 9-7

Titans Chargers Packers Colts

Eagles Cowboys Vikings Patriots

Dolphins  Browns Falcons Steelers

Rams Bears Chiefs Raiders


109-107-8, 6-9

Last week: 6-10

Titans Chargers Jets Colts

Texans Cowboys Vikings Bills

Dolphins Browns Falcons Saints

Rams Bears Chiefs Broncos


113-103-8, 9-6

Last week: 10-6

Redskins Chargers Jets Giants

Eagles Cowboys Vikings Bills

Dolphins Browns Falcons Steelers

Cardinals Bears Chiefs Raiders

New York Sports