Sunday of Week 16 has the risk of being somewhat anti-climactic after what should be an exciting Saturday. There are a couple of playoff defining games on this slate, with the biggest being the Dallas Cowboys travelling to the Philadelphia Eagles. However, to some extent, this slate is going to be more about players trying to stake a claim for opportunities next season, and coaches fighting for their careers than it will be about playoffs.
Here are this week’s NFL Picks:
Bet of the Week:
Carolina Panthers @ Indianapolis Colts | 1:00 pm EST
2u – Carolina Panthers +6.5 @ -108
- The Carolina Panthers have scored more than 20 points in all of their last four games
- The Indianapolis Colts have scored less than 20 points in three of their last four games
Picking a team that is in free-fall that could turn to a rookie quarterback this week is risky. However, after watching the Colts offense on Monday Night Football I could not go anywhere else here. The Colts offense is a disaster right now, with the inability to make big plays, and struggles to be effective on the ground as well. One thing you can say for the Panthers is that they tend to fight hard. They never gave up last week against the Seahawks, and I am expecting similar levels of effort this week. Ultimately, this just comes down to me not being able to see the Colts score enough points to cover a spread which is as wide as a touchdown in some places.
Detroit Lions @ Denver Broncos | 4:05 pm EST
2u – Denver Broncos -6.5 @ -113
- Per Statschecker, the Denver Broncos are 4-1 ATS at home this season
- The Detroit Lions have lost their last seven and 10 of their last 11
The Broncos were disappointing last week, but in the snow against a team with the pace of the Chiefs was always going to be tough. However, things get much simpler this week. The Lions have lost six of their last nine by at least seven points and have averaged just 15 points per game the last four weeks. The Broncos defense should be more than capable of shutting this offense down, while Drew Lock should also have a chance to get back the heroics we saw in Houston against a Lions defense which is extremely poor.
Dallas Cowboys @ Philadelphia Eagles | 4:25 pm EST
2u – Dallas Cowboys -2 @ -105
- Per Statschecker, the Philadelphia Eagles are 5-9 ATS this season
- The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Eagles 37-10 in Dallas earlier this season
This is simple for me. The Cowboys are the most talented of these two teams right now. A lot of that comes down to the health of the Eagles skill position players, but realistically the Cowboys are just better across the board, at least on the field. The Eagles made a mess of defeating the Washington Redskins last week, while the Cowboys man handled the Los Angeles Rams. As long as the weather stays mild in Philadelphia I can see the Cowboys throwing the ball all over the Eagles secondary in this one.
Jacksonville Jaguars @ Atlanta Falcons | 1:00 pm EST
1u – Jacksonville Jaguars +7 @ +100
- The Atlanta Falcons have won just three games this season by more than seven points
- The Jaguars bounced back with a 20-16 victory over the Raiders last week
Now this call is largely about gut feel. Last week was described as the Atlanta Falcons Super Bowl. A game in San Francisco, against an 11-2 team, coached by their former offensive coordinator was always going to be a huge game for this team. However, motivation is a major concern for me here. In non-divisional games this season, the Falcons are 2-7 this season, including losses to all the other three AFC South teams. After a huge match last week, this game absolutely screams let-down game for the Falcons. Meanwhile, Gardner Minshew has all the motivation in the world right now, the chance to earn a starting spot for the 2020 season. It will not be pretty, and the Falcons may well win, but I just cannot see them having the motivation to go big in this one.
By Ben Rolfe