There are several double-digit point spreads in Week 16, with Denver favored by 10.5 points over Houston, Seattle favored by the same amount over Arizona, San Diego holding a 10-point advantage over Oakland, and San Francisco is expected to blowout Atlanta by a minimum of 12.5 points.
In today’s NFL it’s possible for any of those underdogs to emerge victorious, especially Arizona, but the best upset pick of the week belongs to the New York Giants over the Detroit Lions.
Detroit is favored by nine points at home, but is coming off its most heartbreaking loss of the season, and has lost four of its last five after looking like a shoe-in to capture a division title for the first time in 20 years. The Lions lost after Baltimore kicker Justin Tucker converted a 61-yarder in the closing seconds of Monday night’s matchup, and is now looking up in the NFC North standings.
But it’s not like the Giants fared any better in Week 15, barely gaining 181 total offensive yards in a 23-0 shutout loss at home to No. 1 seed Seattle. Quarterback Eli Manning tossed five interceptions, continuing his downward spiral this season as one of the NFL’s worst rated passers.
What helps out the Giants against Detroit’s third ranked passing attack is a much lauded defense that picked up its play in the second half of the season. New York defensive backs Antrel Rolle and Prince Amukamara have combined for 22 passes defended, and Rolle is tied for first in the NFL with six interceptions.
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Both Rolle and Amukamara can blanket Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, and linebacker Jon Beason and defensive end Justin Tuck can wrangle running back Reggie Bush.
Also during Detroit’s fall from glory, quarterback Matthew Stafford has thrown 10 of his 17 interceptions on the year, and has twice completed less than 50 percent of his passes in the last five games.
Manning shouldn’t be chased around the pocket too often on Sunday either, with Detroit’s pass rush only responsible for 28 sacks, the third worst mark in the NFL.
The most likely outcome is a shootout in the first half, with both teams clamping down in the final two quarters in a game that should be decided by a touchdown or less.