While many of you are stuck in parking lots doing last minute holiday shopping, munching on fruit cake, sipping egg nog or packing on Christmas pounds, yours truly was busy posting a 13-3 record against the spread last week.

Sorry, but thirteen victories deserves a brief stint of bragging, especially after the SportsChump has been all over my case for a six-week stretch that has seen him escape from the cellar and gain ground on the field.

The WIFE has also given first place back to where it belongs.

With two weeks to go, the match-ups are getting more interesting, with winter weather coming into play, backups on the field and playoff spots looking to be clinched. 

It’s a very exciting time… and a slightly challenging time, when picking spreads.

As for last week, well… here are the lovely numbers:

Week 15 Results:

KP (TWHS) – 13-3

Coin Flip – 12-4

Special Guest (Bill Freitas) – 9-7

Sports Chump – 8-8

The WIFE (that HATES sports) – 8-8

Over in the Pick Your Knows department, order has been restored:

2014 NFL Season Standings (Against the Spread)

Knows Picker

Record (ATS)

GB

KP (TWHS)

120-104

The WIFE

117-107

3

Coin Flip

114-110

6

Sports Chump

107-112-5

10.5

Special Guests

109-114-1

10.5

  • A push is counted as a tie in the standings
  • Slight variation in spreads due to time and site used for picks
Peyton Manning celebrates a Denver Broncos touchdown

Will Peyton Manning celebrate against the Bengals on Monday night?

It’s once again time to “Pick Your Knows – the only time it’s not a disgusting habit – and here are Week 16’s scheduled games (with spreads as they appeared through CBS Sports on 12/17/14).

KP’s “Pick Your Knows”: 2014 NFL Week 16 Picks

KP’s Week 15 Recap (Season Total):

Against the Spread: 13-3 (120-104, 54%)

Straight Up: 13-3 (149-75, 67%)

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars (-3.5)

Week 16 opens up with one of the uglier games of the week, featuring two teams that are in the mix for the first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.  The Titans have been hit hard by the injury bug, especially at the quarterback position, and now will see Charlie Whitehurst starting under center.  Jacksonville, meanwhile, continues to play hard, despite its 2-12 record.  Blake Bortles is questionable with a foot injury, but it appears that he will start.  Tennessee’s last win was against these Jaguars on October 12th, but this is a road game, and a Titans team that has lost three of its last four games by 19 points or more.  Stats aside, I look to a home team that has been sticking with tougher opponents in recent weeks.  Jags cover, but barely, and in an ugly game.  If you’re watching, keep the beer fridge stocked. 

Against the Spread: Jacksonville Jaguars

Straight Up: Jacksonville Jaguars

Update: Jags win 21-13; Titans gain edge in the NFL Draft department

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins (+8.5)

Robert Griffin III is starting again… just don’t ask Jay Gruden about it.  Meanwhile, the Eagles are in a somewhat surprising must-win situation now that the Cowboys have a one-game edge in the division.  While RGIII was somewhat effective last week against the Giants, statistical analysis would say that we should expect more of the RGIII-and-out version to come back to the forefront.  Washington has allowed 53 sacks (2nd most in the NFL), and may have a tough time handling a Philadelphia pass rush that has the second most sacks (47).  Throw in that high-octane aerial attack, led by Mark Sanchez, who while mistake prone, should have success against a Redskins pass defense that has just five interceptions (and has given up 31 TD’s).  Placed in a must-win situation, don’t expect Chip Kelly and the Eagles to fall flat.  In fact, look for a double-digit win.  Eagles cover on the road.

Against the Spread: Philadelphia Eagles

Straight Up: Philadelphia Eagles

San Diego Chargers at San Francisco 49ers (-2.5)

In the simplest of terms, this game means more to San Diego, a team still in the playoff chase, and in need of a win.  San Francisco has been eliminated and is instead buried in Jim Harbaugh rumors that are caked in maize and blue.  On top of that, the 49ers are dealing with numerous injuries at the running back position, with Carlos Hyde ruled out and Frank Gore questionable due to a concussion.  On the other side, San Diego will be without Keenan Allen (collarbone/ankle), but Philip Rivers is expected to play.  For the distractions alone – and the fact that the Niners are likely hungover from the excessive parties thrown regarding Harbaugh’s potential departure – I like the Chargers. 

Against the Spread: San Diego Chargers

Straight Up: San Diego Chargers

New England Patriots at New York Jets (+10.5)

Rex Ryan loves to face the Patriots and in the last meeting, the Jets nearly pulled off the upset.  The Pats are just 4-3 on the road this season, and a few trends jump out, like New England’s 12-2 record ATS in recent games versus division opponents, plus its 6-11-1 record ATS over its last 18 road games.  Each stat seems to contradict the other.  The facts are clear: The Patriots are playing for the top seed, while the Jets are playing for the top pick.  But New York clearly doesn’t care about the top pick, after knocking off the Titans last week.  That and four of the last five games in this rivalry have been decided by three points or less.  Plain and simple, Rex Ryan won’t go quietly, even if he even goes at all (for the record, I believe he finally will).  This would be Rex’s last home game.  Jets keep this game at ten points or less.

Against the Spread: New York Jets

Straight Up: New England Patriots

Minnesota Vikings at Miami Dolphins (-6.5)

The Vikings have given a few great teams a run in recent weeks, while the Dolphins have really struggled defensively.  Joe Philbin’s job is on the line in Miami, as is the team’s faint – and likely dashed – playoff hopes.  But the Dolphins are fourth in the NFL against the pass, and could shutdown a Minnesota offense that is 27th in passing offense, with more interceptions than touchdowns thrown.  Despite the calls for Philbin’s job, I look at a Miami team that played well against both Green Bay and Denver at home.  Dolphins cover and guarantee a non-losing season.

Against the Spread: Miami Dolphins

Straight Up: Miami Dolphins

Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (+4.5)

Marc Trestman benched Jay Cutler and will start Jimmy Clausen, yes, that Jimmy Clausen.  Trestman also stated that the team needs a “spark”, which is why he made the move.  That comment should have come with its own laugh track.  On the other side, everyone saw what Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford did against the Bears on Thanksgiving, and we should expect more of that against Chicago’s defense that is ranked 31st in the NFL.  With Brandon Marshall out and Jay Cutler benched, Matt Forte is the team’s biggest remaining weapon (sorry, Alshon Jeffery).  Look for Detroit to stack the box and shut Forte down with its top-ranked run defense (63.8 ypg).  That leaves Jimmy Clausen to save the day, and well… c’mon… Lions cover easily.

Against the Spread: Detroit Lions

Straight Up: Detroit Lions

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-6.5)

The Saints are suddenly beatable at home, while the Falcons still have playoff aspirations and a solid offense that should get Julio Jones back this week.  That should lead to the shootout that was expected between the Bears and Saints last Monday night.  Atlanta’s 32nd ranked pass defense is similar to that of the Bears (31st), but as I said, the Falcons have more to play for.  The Saints, led by an efficient Drew Brees, get back into the win column at home, but take Atlanta and the points.

Against the Spread: Atlanta Falcons

Straight Up: New Orleans Saints

Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans (+4.5)

The Texans brought back Case Keenum, due to its depleted depth chart at the quarterback position, and he will get the start against Baltimore.  With Keenum rusty, Houston will likely look to its fourth-ranked rushing offense.  Baltimore is third against the run (84.3 ypg) and has the third most sacks in the NFL (45).  This could get out of hand quickly, assuming the Ravens will be able to force a plethora of pressure, along with numerous Keenum mistakes.  Baltimore covers.

Against the Spread: Baltimore Ravens

Straight Up: Baltimore Ravens

Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+10.5)

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will be ready to bounce back from an ugly loss to the Bills last week.  Tampa Bay’s pass defense has allowed opposing quarterbacks to post a 99.1 QB rating, as opposed to Buffalo’s defense, which has held QB’s to a 73.9 rating.  The Bucs will likely be forced to pass on a Green Bay defense that has 17 interceptions.  For those Fantasy owners that survived with Rodgers after last week, you should be happier with this week’s results.  Green Bay covers.

Against the Spread: Green Bay Packers

Straight Up: Green Bay Packers

Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5)

This is the most intriguing game of the week, considering the playoff implications.  Pittsburgh has a one-game edge and is currently the #5 seed in the AFC, while the Chiefs sit one game back and on the outside-looking in as the #7 seed.  The Steelers continue to be a Jekyll and Hyde team, faltering to cupcake teams, while knocking out contenders.  Pittsburgh is vulnerable on defense, especially against the pass (25th in yards, with 28 TD’s allowed, too).  But Kansas City is a running team, and I look for this to be a bruising battle that’s decided by a late field goal.  Take K.C. and the points.

Against the Spread: Kansas City Chiefs

Straight Up: Pittsburgh Steelers

Cleveland Browns at Carolina Panthers (-4.5)

The Panthers expect Cam Newton to be back under center, and on the other side of the field, yes, it’s Johnny Football.  The same Johnny Manziel that threw for 80 yards, with two interceptions and a 27.3 QB rating against the Bengals last week.  Should we go any further with this analysis?  In a word, no.  Panthers cover at home, and remain in the “Toilet Bowl Division” chase.

Against the Spread: Carolina Panthers

Straight Up: Carolina Panthers

New York Giants at St. Louis Rams (-5.5)

The Rams get a few extra days rest after playing a Thursday night game in Week 15.  The biggest matchup should be the St. Louis pass defense versus Odell Beckham Jr., who has been borderline unstoppable.  The Rams are 10th in the NFL against the pass, and have allowed just 15 TD’s through the air.  The Giants, meanwhile, are 4th in the NFL in sacks, but have allowed 11 plays of 40 yards or more.  The Rams have jumped to 10th in sacks and should get pressure on Eli Manning.  This could be a sloppy, low-scoring game, considering each team’s solid pass rush.  I expect a few big plays from Beckham, but see the Rams outlasting the Giants at home.  Take New York and the points.

Against the Spread: New York Giants

Straight Up: St. Louis Rams

Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys (-2.5)

Two injuries are key to this game.  DeMarco Murray’s status (ring finger surgery on his left hand) is the biggest key, and Jerry Jones has stated that he expects Murray to play.  For Indianapolis, T.Y. Hilton is questionable with a hamstring injury, and has missed three straight practices.  The Cowboys own the edge in the NFC East, but the Eagles finish the season with the lowly Redskins and Giants.  Translation: This is a big game for Dallas.  The Colts, meanwhile, have clinched the AFC South division, but remain within reach of a first-round bye, if the Patriots or Broncos falter.  Both teams are loaded on offense, but it still comes back to Hilton and Murray.  Each offense would be severely altered if its star were to sit.  Hilton seems more doubtful at this point, which leaves me to pick Dallas.  But here’s how I see it: If both play, go with Indy.  If only Hilton, go Indy.  If only Murray, go Dallas.  Get it?  Got it?  Good.

Against the Spread: Dallas Cowboys

Straight Up: Dallas Cowboys

Buffalo Bills at Oakland Raiders (+6.5)

With the Bills, it’s smart to look at a solid defense that leads the NFL in sacks, with 49.  Oakland has played better football of late, and only allowed 24 sacks this season.  Still, it should be noted what the Bills did to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers last week.  Sure, the Bills are traveling to the West Coast, but it should see C.J. Spiller returning to the field, which is surely to provide a spark to the Bills’ offense.  All in all, Buffalo’s defense should provide too many headaches for Derek Carr and the Raiders.  That and the Bills are still in the playoff hunt.  Buffalo covers on the road.

Against the Spread: Buffalo Bills

Straight Up: Buffalo Bills

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (+8.5)

It’s the same ol’ song and dance with the Cardinals.  Another game, another major injury, and another backup that needs to step up.  This is why Bruce Arians deserves to be the NFL Coach of the Year, hands down.  This week, it’s Ryan Lindley taking over at quarterback, and while at home, he’s facing a potent Seattle defense that is playing its best football of the season.  The Cards are playing on a few days extra rest, and always seem to find a way.  Because of that, I’ll probably regret this, but Seattle has been suffocating on defense, and can we really expect Lindley to lead Arizona to a win over the Super Bowl champs?  Seattle covers on the road.

Against the Spread:  Seattle Seahawks

Straight Up: Seattle Seahawks

Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals (+3.5)

How is Peyton Manning feeling this week?  That’s the biggest question.  That, and will Denver be focusing on its running game, led by C.J. Anderson again.  The Bengals continue to fend off Baltimore and Pittsburgh for the division lead, and are coming off a blowout win over the Browns.  But THAT was Johnny Manziel and THIS is Peyton Manning.  The Bengals also have just 18 sacks on the season, meaning that Manning will likely have plenty of time in the pocket.  The Bengals gave up 40 or more points to both the Steelers and Patriots this season, and while Denver likely will not hit that mark if it continues to focus on the run, that doesn’t mean the Broncos won’t cover.  In fact, they will.    

Against the Spread: Denver Broncos

Straight Up: Denver Broncos

…..

THE WIFE

She HATES sports, but will pick teams in hopes of leading to your embarrassment.  No blurb, just her selection.  Heck, we’re lucky to get that much.

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars (-3.5) – Jaguars

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins (+8.5) – Eagles

San Diego Chargers at San Francisco 49ers (-2.5) – Chargers

New England Patriots at New York Jets (+10.5) – Patriots

Minnesota Vikings at Miami Dolphins (-6.5) – Dolphins

Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (+4.5) – Bears

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-6.5) – Saints

Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans (+4.5) – Ravens

Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+10.5) – Packers

Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) – Chiefs

Cleveland Browns at Carolina Panthers (-4.5) – Panthers

New York Giants at St. Louis Rams (-5.5) – Giants

Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys (-2.5) – Colts

Buffalo Bills at Oakland Raiders (+6.5) – Bills

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (+8.5) – Seahawks

Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals (+3.5) – Broncos

…..

COIN FLIP

This quarter refuses to be referred to as “Chump change”… see what I did there?  Oh, and by the way, HEADS equals the HOME team, and TAILS is a vote for the AWAY team.

Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars (-3.5) – Titans

Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins (+8.5) – Redskins

San Diego Chargers at San Francisco 49ers (-2.5) – 49ers

New England Patriots at New York Jets (+10.5) – Patriots

Minnesota Vikings at Miami Dolphins (-6.5) – Vikings

Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (+4.5) – Lions

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-6.5) – Falcons

Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans (+4.5) – Texans

Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+10.5) – Packers

Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3.5) – Chiefs

Cleveland Browns at Carolina Panthers (-4.5) – Browns

New York Giants at St. Louis Rams (-5.5) – Giants

Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys (-2.5) – Colts

Buffalo Bills at Oakland Raiders (+6.5) – Bills

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (+8.5) – Cardinals

Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals (+3.5) – Broncos

…..

SPORTSCHUMP’S Picks

My long-time friend has enjoyed a decent second half, but the deficit he’s facing may be too much.  Here’s a few of the Chump’s Week 16 selections, and you best go see the rest at his site.

KANSAS CITY +3 at PITTSBURGH

Great game here.  The Steelers have been playing pretty well lately.  If the season ended today, the Chiefs would be out and the Steelers would be in.  Pittsburgh is lucky to be having this game at home.  I’m not sure they could win this one at Arrowhead.  As much as I’ve discounted the Curtain this season, often times with good reason, I’m going with the Steelers here to cover the number and nestle comfortably into playoff position.

CLEVELAND at CAROLINA -3

Johnny Manziel is still starting.  I’m taking the Panthers.  Next question.

BALTIMORE -5.5 at HOUSTON

You can throw Houston into that list of dysfunctional teams.  This team was competitive two seasons ago.  This year and last, they can’t seem to find an answer that doesn’t involve losing football games.  They’re 7-7 and don’t have too much to play for.  The Ravens do.  They’re desperately holding on to that last playoff spot in the AFC.  I’m leery about laying the points here but I do think Baltimore is the better team.  I’ll take them to cover.

NY GIANTS +5 at ST. LOUIS

You can’t talk league dysfunction without mentioning the New York Giants.  Man, are they bad.  They’re so bad that at they’re not even as good as their 5-9 record.  And the latest news to surface from the Apple is that Tom Coughlin will return for another season.  Why would he bother?  I’m taking the Rams.

…..

Special Guest: The Ice Cream Man

A friend of the SportsChump, and I’m not sure I want to know the story behind his name.  Either way, here’s a sampling of his picks… two scoops, if you will.

Bills minus five-and-a-half – Buffalo is riding high after beating the Pack Attack.  They’ll beat down the Raiders in their own house.

Indy plus three – Colts will win because the Cowboys will be extremely flat after their huge win in Philly.

Cards plus seven-and-a-half – Arizona will cover with the return of the Honey Badger and the No Fly Zone.

Vikes plus six-and-a-half – Minnesota will have a defensive battle with Miami and Bridgewater will make enough plays to keep it close.

Packers minus ten – Green Bay will smoke the Bucs probably by twenty plus.