As the NFL enters its second-to-last week of the 2013 season, more than half of the league is still in playoff contention. In Week 16, six games feature two teams that are looking to clinch a postseason berth or win their division.
According to the betting lines at most Las Vegas casinos, four teams are favored by double-digits. Below are picks against the spread for every game in Week 16.
Miami Dolphins (-3) at Buffalo Bills
Both EJ Manuel and Stevie Johnson have been ruled out for the Bills. Buffalo is 1-3 in games that the rookie quarterback hasn’t played. They are out of the playoff race, while the Dolphins are looking to claim a wild card spot, or possibly the division title. Miami should be in line to win their fourth in a row.
Prediction ATS: Miami
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New Orleans Saints (+3) at Carolina Panthers
The Saints blew out the Panthers two weeks ago in New Orleans, but Carolina could be set to get their revenge at home. New Orleans is 1-6 against the spread on the road, including losses to the likes of the Rams and Jets. Cam Newton threw for just 160 yards in the first matchup with the Panthers’ division rivals, and he should have a much better performance on Sunday.
Prediction ATS: Carolina
Dallas Cowboys (-3) at Washington Redskins
Dallas has been burned by an awful secondary in recent games, but their offense remains one of the best in the league. Tony Romo received a lot of criticism for two late interceptions last week, but he's still putting up big numbers. He and the Cowboys should have a big day against the team that’s allowed more points than any other team.
Prediction ATS: Dallas
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+5.5) at St. Louis Rams
Neither team has shown much consistency of late. In the past month, St. Louis has wins over the Bears and Saints, in addition to two double-digit losses. The Buccaneers have lost by three scores in two of their last three games, following a three-game winning streak. Considering both teams are fairly evenly matched, and the Rams aren’t dominant at home, it might be smart to take the points.
Prediction ATS: Tampa Bay
Chicago Bears (+3) at Philadelphia Eagles
The Bears have the worst rushing defense in the league. They’ve allowed teams like the Rams and Cowboys, who have a poor running attack, to have big games on the ground. In 2013, LeSean McCoy has been the best running back in football. He’s had some big games this year, but his Week 16 performance could dwarf them all.
Prediction ATS: Philadelphia
Cleveland Browns (+2.5) at New York Jets
This could very well be the worst game on the schedule. The Browns have just one win since Week Five, and Geno Smith has the worst quarterback rating in the NFL. Cleveland is getting points, and their last three losses have come by one score, so they might be the best bet.
Prediction ATS: Cleveland
Indianapolis Colts (+6.5) at Kansas City Chiefs
The Colts don’t have much to play for, with just the No.3 or No.4 seed realistically at stake. The Chiefs, though, still have a shot to clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. When Indianapolis loses, it tends to be by a lot, so the 6.5-point spread might not be very difficult for Kansas City to cover.
Prediction ATS: Kansas City
Minnesota Vikings (+7) at Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals are undefeated at home, and all but one of those victories have come by at least seven points. The Vikings are winless on the road. This game shouldn’t be close.
Prediction ATS: Cincinnati
Denver Broncos (-10.5) at Houston Texans
This is, possibly, a matchup between the best (Broncos) and worst (Texans) team in the NFL. Double-digit road favorites, though, do not cover the point spread very often. Denver has only one road victory of more than eight points, and they could be without Wes Welker for a second straight game because of a concussion. Seven of Houston’s last eight losses have come by one score, so they might be able to keep it close for a while.
Prediction ATS: Houston
Tennessee Titans (-5.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars have gotten very little respect because of their eight-game losing streak to start the season. That’s helped them cover five of the last six point spreads. Now, they’re almost getting a touchdown against a team that they already beat on the road. The Titans have lost all but one game since Week Nine, and they could be defeated outright in this one.
Prediction ATS: Jacksonville
Arizona Cardinals (+10.5) at Seattle Seahawks
It’s hard to pick against a team that’s won six out of seven and is getting more than 10 points. However, the Seahawks have shown they can make anybody look less than ordinary at home. Away from Seattle, the Seahawks were able to beat the Cardinals by 12. Arizona has a great run defense, but Russell Wilson threw for three touchdowns when the teams met in Week Seven. Carson Palmer has thrown at least two interceptions in six games, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see that happen against the NFL’s top pass defense.
Prediction ATS: Seattle
New York Giants (+9) at Detroit Lions
The Lions have disappointed by losing four of their last five games, but the Giants have been underachieving all season. Turnovers have been Detroit’s downfall. Fortunately for them, they’re facing Eli Manning, who leads the league with 25 interceptions. Considering New York is banged up on the offensive line, and Victor Cruz could be done for the season, the Lions shouldn’t have much trouble in this one.
Prediction ATS: Detroit
Oakland Raiders (+10) at San Diego Chargers
The Chargers may finally be on the right track. In the past month, they have road wins against the Chiefs and Broncos, and they took care of business at home when they beat the Giants by 23 points. Oakland’s defense has been awful of late, allowing just under 40 points per game in the last three weeks. The Raiders beat the Chargers earlier in the season, but they are both different teams at this point.
Prediction ATS: San Diego
New England Patriots (+2.5) at Baltimore Ravens
The Patriots might end up representing the AFC in the Super Bowl, but they are very vulnerable on the road. All of their losses have come away from home, and they are one of only two teams that have covered just one point spread on the road. Add that to the fact that the Ravens have just one loss at home, and it’s easy to see why the No.2 seed in the conference is the underdog.
Prediction ATS: Baltimore
Atlanta Falcons (+12) at San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers continue to dominate against losing teams. Last week, they beat the Buccaneers by 19 points, making them 7-0 against teams that are currently under .500. Each of those wins have come by double-digits, and Monday night should be no different.
Prediction ATS: San Francisco
Pittsburgh Steelers (N/A) at Green Bay Packers