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Week 16 NFL picks: Jets can cover vs. Pats; Giants in trouble

Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets can keep it

Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Jets can keep it close enough against the Patriots. Credit: EPA / LARRY W. SMITH

PATRIOTS (12-2) AT JETS (9-5), 1 p.m. Sunday

TV: Ch. 2; Radio: ESPN (98.7)

Patriots by 3; O/U: 46

Pats-Jets is one of the game’s best rivalries, and both teams have something to play for in this one. If the Patriots win, they clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Jets, who start the day on the outside looking in, need to win to increase their likelihood of earning a wild card. The Jets had a fourth-quarter lead at New England in Week 7 before the Pats pulled away. Tom Brady is 21-6 straight up against the Jets, but his last two trips to MetLife Stadium were close contests. The Pats won by a point last year, and the year before, the Jets won by three points. The Jets found a way to eke out a road win last week, and have played better at home. Ryan Fitzpatrick matches Brady, and the Jets’ ‘D’ makes enough big plays to keep this a field-goal game.

The pick: Jets


VIKINGS (9-5), 8:20 p.m. Sunday

TV: Ch. 4: Radio: WFAN (660, 101.9)

Vikings by 5.5; O/U: 45.5

Trying to pick games the last two weeks of the NFL season can be as difficult as announcing the winner of a Miss Universe pageant. When NBC flexed this matchup, it was hoping that the Giants still had a strong shot at winning the NFC East. They don’t. It was hoping that Odell Beckham Jr. and his one-handed catches — which the world first saw on Sunday Night Football — would be on display. They won’t. NBC now stands for No Beckham Catches. While the Giants’ season is all but done, the Vikings can clinch a playoff spot with a win. Also, if they beat the Giants and then win at Green Bay, they’ll be NFC North champs. The good Teddy Bridgewater shows up as the Vikings’ offense has success vs. the Giants’ ‘D’.

The pick: Vikings




TV: NFL, 8:25 p.m.

Raiders by 5; O/U: 47

Dear Santa,

Did you get my letter? The one about scheduling more interesting Thursday night games next season? Send me a tweet if you’re considering it.

Merry Christmas,

The Gridiron Guide

Here’s why I think the Raiders will have a merry old time and win going away: It could be their last game in Oakland, and as we saw last week, St. Louis and San Diego both dominated in their possible home finales.

The pick: Raiders



TV: NFL, 8:25 p.m.

Eagles by 3; O/U: 47.5

The NFC East winner can actually finish with an above-.500 record. How do you like that?! The Redskins can clinch the division with a win at Philly, and I think they will. Plus, it’s hard to pick a team whose fans once threw snowballs at Santa.

The pick: Redskins



AT RAVENS (4-10)

Steelers by 10; O/U: 47

If there’s one team the top seeds in the AFC don’t want to see in the playoffs, it’s the high-scoring Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant can put up points against anyone, as they showed last week against Denver’s usually dominant defense. Did you know that before the Steelers scored 34 points last week, Denver hadn’t allowed a 30-spot all season? This is a big spread for a road divisional game, but Pittsburgh needs to win to maintain its spot in the playoff race, and they’ll have no trouble covering this number.

The pick: Steelers

BROWNS (3-11)


Chiefs by 12.5; O/U: 42.5

Kansas City failed to cover two double-digit spreads at home, and even lost one of those games. But with the Steelers and Jets — fellow AFC playoff hopefuls — playing at the same time, the Chiefs should light up the scoreboard and coast to a ninth straight win.

The pick: Chiefs



Panthers by 7; O/U: 47.5

All I want for Christmas is to go 16-0 against the spread. That’s nearly impossible. What’s not is the Panthers going 16-0. I get the feeling that Ron Rivera and Cam Newton think “16” would be sweet. A win at Atlanta and a home win against the Bucs will complete the feat. Carolina just beat Atlanta, 38-0, two weeks ago, so I’m not going to overanalyze this one. Carolina can clinch the No. 1 seed with a win, and will play angry after Newton said the team was upset it let the Giants back into last week’s game. Carolina cruises to 15-0.

The pick: Panthers

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

Bucs by 3; O/U: 46

Two teams that flirted with making a run at a wild card and now have nothing to play for but pride. I’ll take the points.

The pick: Bears

49ERS (4-10) AT LIONS (5-9)

Lions by 9; O/U: 43

These teams have a combined better record overall (9-19) than I have in their games ATS (8-19-1). Five-win teams shouldn’t be favored by this many points.

The pick: 49ers

TEXANS (7-7)

AT TITANS (3-11)

Line and O/U: OFF (Texans QB)

Houston’s season looked like it was over at 1-4. Now it has a shot to host a playoff game. Only in the NFL. I can’t see the Texans slipping up here.

The pick: Texans

COLTS (6-8)


Dolphins by 1; O/U: 44

File this under the “things you didn’t need to know but I’m gonna tell you anyway” department: I usually write my column on my laptop, but this week I wrote most of it on my phone at the laundromat. Speaking of folding, these teams have had rough seasons, and are likely to clean house and hire new coaches. Indy has lost three in a row by a total of 112-36. Still, it can beat Miami.

The pick: Colts

COWBOYS (4-10)

AT BILLS (6-8)

Bills by 6; O/U: 42.5

Ah, Dallas vs. Buffalo. Brings me back to my early football-watching days and the Super Bowls. Buffalo has faded fast, but it can cover vs. Kellen Moore & Co.

The pick: Bills



TV: Ch. 5, 4:25 p.m.

Cardinals by 4; O/U: 49.5

The Pack has gotten back on track, but I don’t know if they’re all the way back to that 6-0 version. Green Bay lost on the road against fellow upper-echelon teams Carolina and Denver, and I think it will struggle against Arizona, arguably the NFL’s most complete team.

The pick: Cardinals

RAMS (6-8) AT SEAHAWKS (9-5)

Seahawks by 13; O/U: 40.5

Seattle is too hot right now to pick against. It gets revenge for a Week 1 loss at St. Louis.

The pick: Seahawks


Saints by 3.5; O/U: OFF (Saints QB)

If the Titans scored 34 points at New Orleans, there’s no reason to think the Jags’ high-scoring offense can’t do it, too. First to 30 wins.

The pick: Jaguars



BENGALS (11-4) AT BRONCOS (10-5)

TV: ESPN, 8:30 p.m.

Broncos by 3.5; O/U: 40.5

In one of the best games of the week, teams vying for a first-round bye face off in prime time. Denver has fared well in these spots, and its defense should bounce back from its worst game. Assuming the Chiefs win on Sunday, this is a must-win for the Broncos.

The pick: Broncos

Staff picks and standings

(All picks against the spread, best bets in bold)

Joe Manniello

106-113-5 Overall, 9-5-1 Best Bets

Last week: 8-8

Jets Vikings Raiders Redskins

Steelers Chiefs Panthers Bears

49ers Texans Colts Bills

Cardinals Seahawks Jaguars Broncos

Bob Glauber

112-107-5 Overall, 6-9 Best Bets

Last week: 8-8

Patriots Vikings Raiders Eagles

Steelers Chiefs Panthers Bucs

Lions Texans Colts Bills

Packers Seahawks Jaguars Broncos

Tom Rock

117-102-5 Overall, 8-6-1 Best Bets

Last week: 11-5

Jets Vikings Raiders Eagles

Steelers Chiefs Panthers Bears

Lions Texans Colts Cowboys

Cardinals Rams Saints Bengals

Kimberley A. Martin

107-112-5 Overall, 7-8 Best Bets

Last week: 11-5

Jets Vikings Raiders Redskins

Ravens Browns Panthers Bucs

Lions Texans Dolphins Cowboys

Packers Seahawks Jaguars Bengals

New York Sports