Week 16 NFL Picks: Redskins Look to Take Over NFC East
The Washington Redskins are barely a playoff team, but as we prepare to look to week 16 in the NFL, they’re atop the NFC East. For all of Kirk Cousins’ flaws, he’s come on strong as the Redskins’ leader and has them in position to put the clamps down on a division title.
The Redskins are a rather unlikely playoff threat at just 7-7, but a win this Saturday night over the Eagles would likely end Philly’s shot at the division (and the playoffs) and would put them one step closer to the division crown at 8-7. The Redskins could get even closer if another NFC East threat, the New York Giants, also loses this week.
Let’s see just how much closer we get to a resolution in the NFC East as we break down those games and all the others on the docket for week 16:
Chargers @ Raiders (-5.5)
The week 16 NFL action gets started on Thursday Night Football when the Chargers take on the Raiders in Oakland. The Raiders smoked the Bolts last time out before fending off a bit of a comeback, but this time Derek Carr and co. are at home. Oakland’s defense is improving and they have some dangerous pieces of offense, so it’d be a minor shock if they let up in a winnable game. San Diego has show some fight, though, so I think Philip Rivers and co. can keep it interesting enough to beat the spread.
Pick: Raiders 30, Chargers 27
Redskins @ Eagles (-3)
Another rare Saturday game sounds off this week and it’s another big divisional contest with Kirk Cousins and the ‘Skins heading to the City of Brotherly Love. Chip Kelly and his Eagles are on life support in this one, as they badly need a home win to keep pace with Washington. A win would put both NFC East foes at 7-8 on the year and would also split the season series, 1-1. The fire Cousins and co. have displayed is tough to bet against, but the Eagles are at home and have plenty of talent. I’ll take Philly, but a push with the spread.
Pick: Eagles 27, Redskins 24
49ers @ Lions (-9.5)
The Lions might not necessarily be almost 10 points better than the 49ers when you look at their records, but Detroit is definitely the better team. San Francisco has been falling apart lately and on the road against a good defense, I don’t think this one is even close. Look for a big game out of Matthew Stafford in a huge home win.
Pick: Lions 34, 49ers 16
(-10) Steelers @ Ravens
These Steelers and Ravens games are typically low scoring and/or tight and down to the wire, but injuries have left Baltimore a shell of their former self. They’ve remained fairly competitive, but they don’t have a quarterback and they still can’t stop the pass. Big Ben and co. should have their way in a big road win.
Pick: Steelers 37, Ravens 17
Cowboys @ Bills (-6)
Dallas has officially come off the rails and is out of playoff contention, while the Bills are also out of the playoff mix and are down star rusher, LeSean McCoy. Rex Ryan’s crew is prideful and competitive, though, so I think they beat an inferior opponent at home in an effort to close the season at .500.
Pick: Bills 27, Cowboys 10
Bears @ Buccaneers (-3)
Lovie Smith is at home and hosts his former team, while the Bucs aim to put an end to a two-game slide that has ended any chance at the playoffs. This is a winnable game for either side, but the Bears have lost three straight and have the inferior defense. I like Tampa’s odds at home.
Pick: Buccaneers 23, Bears 17
(-7) Panthers @ Falcons
Carolina is still in the hunt for a perfect season and it’s tough to envision the Falcons disrupting that considering the shutout loss the Panthers handed them just a couple of weeks ago. Atlanta is at home and technically isn’t out of the playoffs yet, but it’s hard to see them taking down a team that is leaps and bounds better than they are.
Pick: Panthers 30, Falcons 17
Colts @ Dolphins (-2.5)
Indianapolis has been drowning lately due to injuries and poor quarterback play, but they could still have a shot at their division title if they can win out. That includes winning in South Beach this weekend. Luckily the Dolphins are probably an even worse team, so Indy has a shot with a lot riding on this week’s contest.
Pick: Colts 17, Dolphins 16
(-3) Patriots @ Jets
New York had a decent chance of upsetting the Pats earlier this year, and that was in Foxboro. I don’t think the Jets win, but they’re at home and will absolutely be up for this game. That being said, New England’s defense has improved greatly over the second half of the year and the Patriots are going to be tough to stop offensively, as well.
Pick: Patriots 31, Jets 24
Texans @ Titans (-4.5)
Houston is in position to win the AFC South with a win this week and with Marcus Mariota done for the year, it’s odd that the Titans are favored to win this game. I expect the Titans to step up big time on defense and win by controlling the tempo of this one.
Pick: Texans 19, Titans 13
Browns @ Chiefs (-12.5)
Johnny Manziel has looked decent as Cleveland’s starting quarterback but for the second week in a row he’s facing an elite defense in a hostile road environment. I think he’s going to look better this week against a sometimes beatable Chiefs pass defense, but the Browns remain woefully over-matched.
Pick: Chiefs 34, Browns 17
Jaguars @ Saints (-3.5)
Drew Brees is either going to be severely limited (foot) or out this week. There is still a good chance this is a high-scoring shootout no matter what goes down at quarterback for the Saints, but due to Brees’ injury, it’s hard not to side with the rising Jags.
Pick: Jaguars 33, Saints 31
Packers @ Cardinals (-4.5)
Green Bay has really turned their season around with a nice three-game winning streak, but their offense has been incredibly inconsistent. Now they have to test it out on the road against a very good Cardinals team. I don’t know if the Packers are really on the same level as Arizona, and being in the desert makes this one much more difficult, even if they are.
Pick: Cardinals 27, Packers 17
Rams @ Seahawks (-13.5)
St. Louis edged out the Seahawks at home in the season opener, but Seattle has been getting better ever since. This one is in Seattle, too, and Russell Wilson is the hottest quarterback in the league right now. Nothing about the Rams is scary in this one, so the Seahawks could cover quite easily.
Pick: Seahawks 34, Rams 10
Giants @ Vikings (-5.5)
New York and Minnesota both badly need to win this huge SNF clash, as the Vikes still don’t have their ticket for the playoffs punched and the G-Men need to keep winning for a shot to win the NFC East. The Vikings have the clear edge at home, while Big Blue has to try to win this game with star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. serving a one-game ban.
Pick: Vikings 24, Giants 20
Bengals @ Broncos (-3.5)
This is another gigantic game for week 16, but it’s odd because the two guys who began the season under center for both teams – Andy Dalton and Peyton Manning – are sidelined with injuries. It’s Brock Osweiler vs. A.J. McCarron, which could turn this into a defensive battle. Basically the better defense and running game wins out here, and I’ll give the Broncos the mild edge since they’re at home.
Pick: Broncos 20, Bengals 17
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