Two weeks to go in the regular season and there are a number of pivotal games on the NFL Week 16 slate. Ravens-Chargers, Steelers-Saints and Chiefs-Seahawks are the first three that come to mind.
When it’s this late in the season, a lot comes into play. The killer trifecta is December weather, late season injuries and eliminated teams going with backup players.
The lines and betting odds typically reflect these factors – and then some.
So, what are the lines this week? What should the picks be against the spread? The odds?
Mary: These are cut really high in the hip. Look, I’m wearing something similar. See, you can’t see the line.
Clark: Can’t see the line, can you Russ?
Rusty Griswold: Nope.
[Clark stares at Rusty in shock]
No, not THOSE lines… THESE lines:
NFL Week 16 Lines
Redskins at Titans (-10) > Can Derrick Henry continue to mow down opposing D’s?
Ravens at Chargers (-4.5) > Easily one of the best games of the week
Buccaneers at Cowboys (-7) > How will Dallas follow last week’s goose egg?
Bills at Patriots (-12.5) > Josh Gordon out indefinitely, Bills running out of backs
Falcons at Panthers (+3.5) > Newton out for year. It’s Taylor’s time.
Jaguars at Dolphins (-4) > Which Jaguars D shows up? Can Ballage strike again?
Giants at Colts (-9.5) > Is Odell Beckham playing in this game? (Update, he’s not)
Texans at Eagles (-2) > Can Nick Foles pull off more magic for the Eagles?
Vikings at Lions (+5.5) > Are the Vikings going to be an offensive monster again?
Packers at Jets (+3) > Is Rodgers still going to be playing?
Bengals at Browns (-8.5) > head sewn to the carpet quote would be perfect
Rams at Cardinals (+14) > What is the status of Todd Gurley? Goff has struggled.
Bears at 49ers (+4) > Who will gett the carries in SF? Can Mullens handle CHI D?
Steelers at Saints (-5.5) > Saints not clicking offensively, but will home field help?
Chiefs at Seahawks (+2.5) > Who will be RB for KC and how is the health of Tyreek?
Broncos at Raiders (+2.5) > What an ugly MNF game this is
You Serious, Clark?
Oh, and if you didn’t already figure it out, this week’s theme is National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. This is one of my all-time favorite movies and one that is nostalgic to me. Back in 1989, when the movie came out, I saw it in the theater with my brother and sister. To my recollection, it was the only movie that the three of us – and just the three of us – saw together in the theater.
That, plus it’s one of a number of movies that I can quote verbatim.
Remember, this is a season-long contest against friend of The Wife Hates Sports, the SportsChump. He’s my version of Cousin Eddie. Only, our contest doesn’t give away a “one year membership to the Jelly of the Month Club“. Although, the Chump might say “that’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year”.
That it is Edward, err… Chump. That it is, indeed. Here are MY FIVE LOCKS for the week, with my NFL Week 16 WINNERS against the spread in RED.
KP’s Smelling-Smiling, Blouse-Browsing, Hooter-HOTTER (Yet NOT Nipply-Nippy) NFL Week 16 Ho-Ho-Ho Merry Christmas Picks
FIVE – Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions (+5.5)
The NFC North is a breeding ground for frustration this season, with the lone exception being the Chicago Bears. These two teams have combined to go 12-14-1 – quite an unexpected result. Fans and critics have a variety of contract complaints. Matt Patricia has his fair share of critics and Kirk Cousins (and all that guaranteed money in tow) is getting a lot of flack, too.
Frances: Talk about pissing your money away. I hope you kids see what a silly waste of resources this was.
Audrey: He worked really hard, Grandma.
Art: So do washing machines.
So, which “washing machine” is going to perform better? Well, the Vikings are fighting for a playoff spot and have more to play for. Also, the Minnesota offense saw quite a spike following its OC change. Is that a fluke and an outlier or the real deal? The Vikings defense leads the NFL in sacks and should wreak havoc on a banged up Matthew Stafford, too.
“The little lights… they aren’t twinkling” – not in Detroit, at least. Vikings cover on the road.
FOUR – Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers (+4)
Do you hear that?
Aunt Bethany: What’s that sound? You hear it? It’s a funny squeaky sound.
Uncle Lewis: You couldn’t hear a dump truck driving through a nitroglycerin plant.
It’s the sound of Chicago cheering on a Bears division title – its first since 2010. Don’t stop there, as the Bears still have a shot at a first round bye. With that motivation and a lethal defense, this is a good luck message to San Francisco.
Many don’t realize the Bears have an NFL-high 26 interceptions, six more than any other team. Of course, we all know Khalil Mack. He’s all over the field and anchors a defense that has 45 sacks.
Clark: Burn some dust here. Eat my rubber.
Rusty Griswold: Dad, I think you mean burn rubber and eat my dust.
Clark: Whatever, Russ. Whatever.
What’s that sound? It’s Nick Mullens and Kyle Shanahan sighing in frustration. Perhaps eating some dust, too. Give me the Bears to cover on the road.
THREE – Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (+3.5)
The Panthers have lost six straight. It’s now a lost season. Cam Newton is likely out for the year. A once promising start has completely vanished.
Clark: [Clark and Eddie carrying the chair outside after the cat was electrocuted] You smell something?
Eddie: Fried pussycat.
Taylor Heinicke takes over for the injured Newton. What will be interesting is how much Cam was hurting the team. Still, this is Heinicke’s first start and there are bound to be lumps taken.
The Falcons (22nd against the pass, 25th against the run) can be scored on. Offensively, Julio Jones is a game-time decision. The Panthers also showed a lot of heart defensively last week and also play quite well in front of its home crowd. So, otherwise, I’d consider ranking this game higher on my list.
Still, my gut says Julio plays and Heinicke will make too many mistakes against the Atlanta defense. Give me the Falcons to cover on the road.
TWO – Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals (+14)
This is an interesting one. Jared Goff has struggled as of late and Todd Gurley is injured and a game-time decision. The Cardinals, meanwhile, are closing in on the first pick in next year’s NFL Draft. What are we looking at? A lot of crappy play and a lot of open-ended questions.
Ellen: What are you looking at?
Clark: Oh, the silent majesty of a winter’s morn… the clean, cool chill of the holiday air… an asshole in his bathrobe, emptying a chemical toilet into my sewer…
[Eddie, in the driveway, is draining the RV’s toilet]
Eddie: Shitter was full.
Clark: Ah, yeah. You checked our shitters, honey?
Ellen: Clark, please. He doesn’t know any better.
Clark: He oughta know it’s illegal. That’s a storm sewer. If it fills with gas, I pity the person who lights a match within ten yards of it.
This broadcast might also be illegal, where no one should light a match within ten yards of it. This could either be a blowout or just an ugly, sloppy game. It depends on which Jared Goff shows up and if Gurley is hampered or out. No Gurley puts more pressure on Goff. Goff is facing an Arizona defense that is fifth against the pass.
The 14-point line scares me and that’s why I’m taking the Cardinals and the points at home.
Warning: Video contains language
ONE – Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns (-8.5)
Guys, no need to wipe your eyes or clean your glasses. That’s no typo.
The Cleveland Browns are in fact favored by 8 1/2 points.
Clark: Oh, Eddie… If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am now.
What a difference a year makes. The Browns have already trounced the Bengals once this season, but that’s tough to do twice. Then again, Cincinnati is without its two top receivers and has been without its starting QB for weeks. The defense is a mess and could be on the field longer, because the offense can’t move the ball. Still, I expect a heavy dose of Joe Mixon against a Cleveland run defense that is 24th against the run and has allowed 18 TD’s on the ground.
The Bengals managed a close game against a much better Chargers team a few weeks back. My gut says Cincinnati keeps this one close, as well. Give me the Bengals and the points. Oh, and refill my eggnog, please – thanks.
2018 NFL Season to Date (ATS)
Happy Holidays from The Wife Hates Sports!
Movie Credits: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation