The NFL has a Christmas present for football fans on Saturday: Two games on the holiday, both involving probable playoff teams.
Here’s a quick look at all Week 16 NFL games, played Sunday unless noted.
San Francisco 49ers at Tennessee Titans, Thursday
The final Thursday night game of the season. Both teams would be in their respective conference playoffs as things stand. The Titans could clinch the AFC South in Week 16 with a win and a Colts loss on Saturday in Arizona. The Niners’ only route to the playoffs is probably via wild-card spot. Tennessee is hoping to get one star receiver back from injury in AJ Brown but probably won’t have their other one in Julio Jones.
Pick ATS: Tennessee
Cleveland Browns at Green Bay Packers, Saturday
How jumbled is the AFC North? If Cleveland had beaten the visiting Raiders in Monday’s rescheduled game, the Browns would be leading the division. They lost on a last-second kick and are now last in the division. They were without several players in protocols, including their top two QBs, leading receiver and head coach. Most should be back by Saturday. The only team yet to clinch a playoff spot in the entire league is Green Bay, which has won the NFC North but is still playing for the conference’s top seed.
Pick ATS: Green Bay
Indianapolis Colts at Arizona Cardinals, Saturday
Indianapolis got a hugely impressive home win over red-hot New England last Saturday, 27-17, despite Carson Wentz completing just 5-for-12 for 57 yards. The ground game behind Jonathan Taylor and defence were dominant. Not long ago, Arizona was top seed in the NFC but looked terrible in losing a second straight game Sunday at the awful Lions 30-12, and now might not even win the NFC West. QB Kyler Murray’s MVP chances have vanished.
Pick ATS: Indianapolis
Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons
The Lions won their second game of the season Sunday in upsetting Arizona and in doing to took themselves out of owning the No. 1 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. QB Jared Goff landed on the COVID list Monday so his status is up in the air for this one. Atlanta’s wild-card hopes likely ended with Sunday’s 31-13 loss at San Francisco.
Point spread: Falcons -4
Pick ATS: Atlanta
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
Kudos to Ravens coach John Harbaugh as he keeps going for two-point tries and victories in the final seconds of games even though it hasn’t worked. Baltimore lost its third in a row – by a combined four points – Sunday, 31-30 to Green Bay. Star QB Lamar Jackson was out injured and backup Tyler Huntley played great with two TD passes and two TD runs. Alas, his two-point pass try with under a minute left failed. Cincinnati snapped a two-game skid with a 15-10 win in Denver. Tyler Boyd caught a 56-yard TD pass from Joe Burrow with 30 seconds left. Baltimore played perhaps its worst game of the season and Cincinnati its best in Week 7 as the Bengals crushed the Ravens 41-17. Burrow threw for 416 yards and three scores as Cincinnati rolled up 520 yards offence.
Pick ATS: Cincinnati
Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota won in Chicago 17-9 on Monday night to hugely increase its wild-card chances. The offence looked inept, though, with 193 yards. The defence forced three turnovers. An even shorter week for the Rams as their Sunday game vs. Seattle was moved to Tuesday night because of LA COVID issues. A chunk of players was expected to be cleared, though.
Point spread: Rams -3
Pick ATS: Minnesota
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots
The Pats can wrap up the AFC East with a victory because they won in Buffalo 14-10 on a blustery, wintry night in Week 13 despite attempting just three passes. New England’s seven-game winning streak came to an end with a thud on Saturday, 27-17 in Indianapolis. Top Patriots running back Damien Harris missed it with a hamstring injury. Buffalo snapped a two-game slide with a 31-14 home win over Carolina. Josh Allen played through an injured foot and threw for three scores.
Pick ATS: New England
Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets
The first matchup between the top two picks in this year’s draft in Jacksonville QB Trevor Lawrence and Jets counterpart Zach Wilson (presuming they are healthy). Both have disappointed as rookies. Jacksonville is 0-1 under interim head coach Darrell Bevell following an embarrassing 30-16 home loss to Houston on Sunday. The Jags would now pick first in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Jets played pretty well in Miami on Sunday but couldn’t pull the upset.
Pick ATS: New York
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
The Giants beat the Eagles 13-7 in Week 12 as Philly QB Jalen Hurts threw for just 129 yards with three interceptions. Hurts was set to return from injury for Tuesday night’s rescheduled game against Washington as the WFT was dealing with major COVID issues. New York lost its third in a row Sunday, 21-6 vs. Dallas, and has decided to shut down injured starting QB Daniel Jones for the season.
Point spread: Eagles -10
Pick ATS: New York
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers
Believe it or not, these division rivals haven’t played yet this season – they will again in Week 18. The Bucs were shockingly shut out by the Saints on Sunday 9-0 to see a four-game winning streak snapped. That ended Tom Brady‘s streak of 255 consecutive starts (including playoff games) without being shut out. The Bucs still are on the verge of clinching the NFC South. They did lose Pro Bowl receiver Chris Godwin to a season-ending injury. Carolina is imploding on a four-game losing streak and it’s not clear whether Cam Newton, PJ Walker or maybe even Sam Darnold will start at QB this week.
Pick ATS: Carolina
Los Angeles Chargers at Houston Texans
The Chargers had the Kansas City Chiefs beat last Thursday and then didn’t losing 34-28 in overtime to essentially hand the AFC West title to Kansas City. Star Bolts pass-rusher Joey Bosa and Pro Bowl running back Austin Ekeler were placed on the COVID list Monday. Bosa is out this week because he’s not vaccinated. Ekeler might be able to play. Houston ended a three-game losing streak with a 30-16 win in Jacksonville. Davis Mills, not Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence, was the best rookie QB on the field in completing 19 of 30 for 209 yards and two scores.
Pick ATS: Houston
Chicago Bears at Seattle Seahawks
Chicago lost 17-9 at home to Minnesota on Monday night – a tough beat if you had Bears at +7 as they scored a TD on the final play, but nowadays the PAT isn’t attempted if it’s meaningless. Chicago was the better team for most of that game but kept shooting itself in the foot with mistakes. Several players, including the entire secondary, were out on the COVID list. Seattle’s game Sunday at the Rams was moved to Tuesday because of COVID issues on the Rams … and now the Seahawks are having some as well.
Point spread: Seahawks -7
Pick ATS: Seattle (alternate line of -6.5)
Pittsburgh Steelers at Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City could clinch another AFC West title this week after a wild 34-28 OT win at the Chargers last Thursday, KC’s seventh straight victory. Patrick Mahomes threw for 410 yards and three scores, and tight end Travis Kelce had 10 catches for 191 yards and two scores, including the tying score late in regulation and the winner in OT. Pittsburgh beat visiting Tennessee 19-13 on Sunday. The offence did nothing but the defence forced four turnovers.
Pick ATS: Pittsburgh (alternate line of +10)
Denver Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders beat the Broncos 34-24 in Week 6. That was Las Vegas’ first game after the Jon Gruden firing/resignation. Derek Carr threw for 341 yards and two scores. The Raiders kept their wild-card hopes alive with a 16-14 win in Cleveland on Monday in a rescheduled game. Daniel Carlson hit a 48-yard field goal as time expired. Denver lost 15-10 at home to Cincinnati with starting QB Teddy Bridgewater leaving injured. It thus likely will be backup Drew Lock in this one.
Point spread: Raiders -1
Pick ATS: Las Vegas
Washington Football Team at Dallas Cowboys
Sunday night game. Short week for Washington as COVID issues forced its Week 15 game vs. Philadelphia to be played on Tuesday with several players on the reserve list, including the team’s top two QBs. Dallas won its third in a row Sunday, 21-6, at the Giants, as the defence continued to shine and the offence struggle. Dallas essentially won the NFC East in Week 14 with a 27-20 win at the WFT. The Cowboys’ defence dominated in forcing four turnovers and scoring a touchdown.
Point spread: Cowboys -10.5
Pick ATS: Washington
Miami Dolphins at New Orleans Saints, Monday
Matchup of wild-card hopefuls. The Saints stunned the Bucs 9-0 in Tampa on Sunday to win their second in a row in the lowest-scoring game of the season. Head coach Sean Payton was out in the COVID protocols and New Orleans’ two starting offensive tackles were out injured. Miami won its sixth in a row, 31-24 over the Jets. Because the Fins were so thin at running back due to COVID issues, Duke Johnson stepped up and rushed for 107 yards and two scores. He had played in just one other game this year.
Pick ATS: Miami (alternate line of +3.5)