After a very “routine” first few months of the NFL season, we’ve now been treated to nearly full-blown chaos. Nobody knows who the final few playoff teams in either conference will be. In fact, 19 teams are still in contention for a playoff spot. Of those 19 teams, it wouldn’t be a bit shocking for all but the 6-8 Panthers and 7-7 Redskins to make the playoffs. The once 8-0 and undefeated Rams have lost three of their last six. The Saints can’t score anymore. The Chiefs might not be the best team in their division. And the Patriots have lost two straight December games.
It doesn’t get much better than crunch time in the NFL. When it’s do or die in the National Football League, funky things happen. And boy, do we have some intriguing Week 16 lines on some interesting games.
The Browns are favored to win by a whole touchdown (Blame Hue Jackson, please). The 10-4 Bears are only -4 at the 4-10 49ers. And who would have ever guessed before the season that with Aaron Rodgers playing in the game the Packers at Jets would be an even spread in Week 16?
Believe it or not, this is what Week 16 presents us with. So buckle up, and enjoy the ride! Here are your best bets for week 16.
Baltimore @ LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (-4.5): Saturday – 8:20 PM ET – NFLN
Los Angeles is rolling, and while Keenan Allen isn’t a lock to play, Melvin Gordon is. The offense didn’t miss a beat without Allen Thursday night. Mike Williams stepped up in a huge way. Coming off of the last “mini-bye” of the 2018 season, the Chargers should be rested and ready to roll at home. On the other hand, Baltimore will be playing on short rest and traveling out west. The matchup doesn’t exactly present itself well, either. L.A. is ninth in the league in rushing yards allowed. Lamar Jackson hasn’t shown he can throw the ball with any success, and he might be forced to do so in Week 16. The Chargers should continue their torrid success here, and it might not even be close.
HOUSTON (+1) @ Philadelphia: Sunday – 1 PM ET – CBS
The Texans struggled at times the last two weeks against the Colts and Jets, but they turned it on in Week 15 when it mattered. If you haven’t noticed, the Texans can be a bit of a streaky team. Yes, the Texans have never beaten the Eagles in their history (0-4), but times are a-changin’ in the NFL. The Eagles defensive success in Week 15 seemed much more based off of the fact that Jared Goff was brutal and Todd Gurley was banged up rather than that their own defense improved. The Eagles are just 5-9 against the spread on the season, and Nick Foles can only work so much magic. The Texans will take care of business in this one and retain the two seed in the AFC over the Patriots.
ATLANTA (+4) @ Carolina: Sunday – 1 PM ET – CBS
This pick is a bit contingent. It wouldn’t come as a shock if Cam Newton is shut down for the rest of the season with his ailing shoulder. It’s flying a bit under the radar by NFL standards, however. Getting Atlanta and four points right now would be a steal if, in fact, Cam does sit. In a worst case scenario, you’ll end up with an Atlanta team that looked awfully good on Sunday in an absolute drubbing of Arizona. Furthermore, Cam can hardly throw. He didn’t attempt one pass of more than 20 yards down the field in Week 16. Regardless, this seems like a good opportunity here for Atlanta to hang within four points.
CHICAGO (-4) @ San Francisco: Sunday – 4:05 PM ET – FOX
This one seems pretty simple. The 49ers are going to be great under Kyle Shanahan when they are fully healthy. Talk to anyone around the NFL and they’ll agree. The things they’ve been doing have allowed them to upset Denver and Seattle in back-to-back weeks. While Denver and Seattle both have sound defenses, neither one of them compare to Chicago. If Chicago’s offense and Seattle’s defense even just cancel out, it comes down to Nick Mullens vs. Chicago’s defense. Defense is traveling in the NFL right now, so give me that ferocious Chicago D any day of the week.
Pittsburgh @ NEW ORLEANS (-6): Sunday – 4:25 PM ET – CBS
New Orleans wiggled their way to wins in their last two games, even though it was ugly. Like good teams do, the Saints relied on the defense and running game to get them through their offensive woes. This just feels like a get-right game for their offense. The Steelers are coming in off of a rare, huge win against the Patriots and are in prime position for a letdown. As just about everyone knows, the Saints are hard to beat at home. The Saints are 10-3 against the spread on the season. Not to mention, New Orleans is 3-0 record wise against the AFC North already this year. Look for Drew Brees and company to roll in this one.
Alex Altmix is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Alex, check out his archive.