It’s hard to believe that it’s already the penultimate week of the 2020 NFL regular season.
There is no Thursday game because of Christmas Eve but there is one on Christmas Friday and three Saturday. Here’s a quick look at all the Week 16 matchups with Sports Interaction’s NFL odds. Games Sunday unless noted.
Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints, Friday
The Vikings have been playoff tormentors of the Saints in recent years, including a 26-20 overtime upset in New Orleans last January on a controversial walk-off touchdown pass. Both teams lost at home Sunday. The Vikings’ playoff hopes are about nil because of their defeat, while the Saints try again here to clinch the NFC South. Superstar wideout Michael Thomas is done for the rest of the regular season, though.
Pick ATS: New Orleans (alternate line of -6.5)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions, Saturday
Tampa Bay will clinch a playoff spot with a victory and is hopeful to have leading rusher Ronald Jones back after he missed Sunday’s big come-from-behind win over Atlanta. Detroit is playing out the string and is in the process of cleaning house. Will banged-up starting QB Matthew Stafford play this week?
Pick ATS: Detroit
San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals, Saturday
Arizona goes for the season sweep as it beat San Francisco 24-20 in Week 1. Kyler Murray passed for a score and ran for one. The defending NFC champion 49ers were eliminated from playoff contention with Sunday’s loss in Dallas. Arizona kept its hold on the NFC’s final Wild-Card spot with Sunday’s win over Philadelphia.
Pick ATS: Arizona (alternate line of -3)
Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders, Saturday
The Raiders are on extra rest after losing a 30-27 overtime heartbreaker last Thursday to the Chargers that all but killed Vegas’ playoff chances. Starting QB Derek Carr left in the first quarter with a groin injury, and there’s very little chance he plays here. It should be former Heisman winner Marcus Mariota … and an all-Hawaiian QB matchup vs. Miami rookie Tua Tagovailoa. The Fins are on the verge of clinching a playoff spot.
Pick ATS: Miami
Atlanta Falcons at Kansas City Chiefs
Kansas City could wrap up the top seed in the AFC with a victory here and depending on what Pittsburgh did Monday night to close Week 15 in Cincinnati and then on Sunday. This will be the first-ever NFL meeting between two former league MVPs in the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes (likely to win a second MVP this season) and Falcons QB Matt Ryan.
Pick ATS: Atlanta
Cleveland Browns at New York Jets
Cleveland could clinch a playoff spot this week. The Jets absolutely lost by shocking the Rams on Sunday as 17-point road underdogs because it took New York out of the pole position for the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and the chance to take Trevor Lawrence. Jets fans are absolutely cataclysmic over that victory and the New York tabloids had some fun with it.
Pick ATS: New York
Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers
Could be an AFC playoff preview. Pittsburgh is on a short week after visiting Cincinnati on Monday and still in the running for the AFC’s top seed but not likely to catch Kansas City. The Colts are tied for the AFC South lead with the Titans but would lose a tiebreaker as things stand. Indy and Pittsburgh are two of the top defences in the NFL.
Pick ATS: Pittsburgh
Carolina Panthers at Washington Football Team
This surely will be personal for Washington coach Ron Rivera as he was fired by the Panthers last season and was the best coach in franchise history. Despite a home loss Sunday to Seattle, Washington still controls its destiny to win the NFC East and could clinch it this week. Carolina is playing out the string and fired general manager Marty Hurney on Monday.
Pick ATS: Washington
Chicago Bears at Jacksonville Jaguars
All of a sudden, the Bears are playing fantastic football on offence, to the point that the team could bring back QB Mitchell Trubisky in 2021 when that was not even a consideration a month ago. He’s 5-2 as the team’s starter this year and Chicago is still in the Wild-Card hunt. Jacksonville was the biggest winner of the Jets’ victory as the Jags will now pick first in the 2021 NFL Draft by losing out.
Pick ATS: Chicago (alternate line of -6.5)
New York Giants at Baltimore Ravens
New York was without injured starting QB Daniel Jones on Sunday night and did nothing offensively in a 20-6 home loss to Cleveland. The Giants became the first team with two first-half turnovers on downs in the red zone in the first half of a game since 2006. It’s too early to know if Jones will play this week. The Ravens are peaking at the right time, winning three in a row and averaging 40.3 points in that stretch yet still not in the playoff field. Lamar Jackson has started to resemble his 2019 MVP self.
Point spread: Ravens -9.5
Pick ATS: Baltimore
Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans
Short week for Cincinnati as it hosted Pittsburgh on Monday night with second-string QB Brandon Allen out injured. Second-year Ryan Finley got the start. Houston lost its third in a row Sunday, 27-20 at Indianapolis. It was the second time vs. the Colts this year that Houston fumbled near the Indy goal line in the final seconds with a chance to tie/win.
Pick ATS: Houston
Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers
Denver won a wild 31-30 game against the Chargers in Week 8. Drew Lock hit KJ Hamler on a one-year TD pass with no time left and Brandon McManus hit the PAT. Denver was routed at home this past Saturday by Buffalo, 48-19. The Chargers won a wild game in Las Vegas last Thursday, 30-27 in overtime. Justin Herbert wrapped up NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honours in throwing for 314 yards and two scores and rushing for the winning TD.
Pick ATS: Los Angeles (alternate line of -2.5)
Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
Philadelphia beat Dallas 23-9 in Week 8. Seventh-round rookie Ben DiNucci was the Cowboys’ starting QB in that one, hasn’t seen the field since and probably never does again. Dallas kept its slim NFC East hopes alive with a second straight win Sunday, 41-33 over San Francisco. Pro Bowl running back Ezekiel Elliott was out for the Cowboys but it’s not a serious injury. Jalen Hurts has started the past two under centre for Philadelphia, which is 1-1 in those two after losing 33-26 at Arizona on Sunday. Hurts was great, throwing for three scores and rushing for one. It’s his job now.
Pick ATS: Philadelphia
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks
The most important game of the day arguably with potentially the NFC West title at stake. Seattle is in the playoffs and would clinch the division with a victory. The Rams perhaps were caught looking ahead to this game Sunday as they were shocked as 17-point home favourites vs. the winless Jets. L.A. can still win the West, though, by winning out because it was a 23-17 winner over Seattle in Week 10. Russell Wilson had three turnovers.
Pick ATS: Seattle
Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers
This is the last pre-scheduled Sunday night game of the year. There will be one Week 17, but the NFL doesn’t decide that until after Week 17 to get the marquee matchup in primetime. Green Bay continues to control its destiny for the NFC’s top seed and could get it this week with a win and some help. The Titans are tied for the AFC South lead with Jacksonville but haven’t clinched a playoff spot. Derrick Henry could all but salt away a second straight rushing title with another 100-yard game this week.
Pick ATS: Green Bay (alternate line of -3)
Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots, Monday
Last Monday game of the season. So rare to have the Patriots playing a meaningless game this late in any season, and they will finish with a losing record for the first time since 2000. Buffalo has clinched the AFC East but is playing for playoff seeding. The Bills go for the season sweep thanks to a 24-21 home win over New England in Week 8. Tyler Bass hit the winning field goal with about four minutes left.
Pick ATS: Buffalo (alternate line of -6.5)