NFL Week 16 Picks: Playoff Picture Remains Muddled in both AFC and NFC with Just Two Weeks Remaining

It's been a number of weeks since I've had the time to make picks for the upcoming NFL week. I believe I fared poorly in fact last time, but nonetheless am clinging to a winning percentage of above .500 against the spread for the season. So, with two weeks left to play and multiple division and wild card races still in the balance, let's take a crack at this week's odd schedule, which of course started Thursday night with the Indianapolis Colts' last-second win over the Houston Texans.

Cleveland (-115) at Baltimore (-13)
  • Something tells me Baltimore will be focused and on point following their blowout loss at San Diego last Sunday night. But with the Ravens' inability to stretch the field vertically with the passing game (outside of pass interference calls, of course), defenses are able to key in on Ray Rice more exhaustively, both in the running game and in the flat and screen game that Flacco relies on so heavily. Too high a spread in my estimation for a team that's missing their top wide receiving playmaker in Anquan Boldin. Pick: Cleveland
Denver Broncos (-3) at Buffalo Bills (-115)
  • The Tim Tebow parade has been quite fun and interesting to watch, but my sense is the Broncos come crashing down to earth here this next two weeks. That might not be the best guess considering how pathetically Buffalo has played since their solid start to the season. I'd take Buffalo to win this one outright and put Denver in a tough spot heading into their Week 17 matchup with Kansas City. Pick: Buffalo
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-8)
  • Jeez, I absolutely detest the thought of taking this Panthers team by more than a touchdown, but the Buccaneers have clearly packed it in and given up on their head coach Raheem Morris. Their pathetic showing against Dallas two Thursdays ago was disgraceful. Pick: Carolina
Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals (-5)

(Find all Week 16 lines and other pertinent information at Top Bet's safe, secure online sportsbook).

  • Cincinnati got a much needed win last week, as well as the help it needed with other AFC wild card contenders losing. But don't be too impressed by their 20-13 road win over a Kellon Clemons led Rams team. A much tougher test awaits Saturday in the form of the surging Cardinals. If this one were being played in Glendale, I'd take Arizona in a heartbeat, but they're not nearly as consistent away from home. So, Cincinnati has a great shot at winning, but I still don't think we're looking at more than a 3 or 4 point margin in either team's favor. Pick: Arizona
Oakland Raiders (+3) at Kansas City Chiefs (+100)
  • All the Chiefs have to do is win their final two games, hope Denver loses its final two, and have San Diego split in order to make the most improbable postseason push in a long time, if not ever. Won't happen most likely, though I do think they can do their part and win this weekend against a Raiders team that's totally lost its way this past month. Pick: Kansas City
Miami Dolphins (+10) at New England Patriots (+100)
  • Tough line. The Pats are awfully beat up, but they've survived just fine up to this point with a shoddy defense. It's not like Miami has the offensive artillery to really expose Bill Belichick's flawed defense. I wouldn't be surprised to see a push here, but I'd lean on the side of New England if I had to. Pick: New England
New York Giants (+3) at New York Jets (+105)
  • The Jets did not match up well at all against the Eagles, and the blowout loss was indicative of that. I think they'll fare much better this week against a desperate Giants team that once again put themselves in a ridiculously precarious position with a puzzling loss in the immediate wake of a huge win. It's do-or-die for the Giants, and though the Jets can feasibly survive a loss out of conference this weekend, Rex Ryan will surely have his team preparing as if their playoffs start this weekend. Pick: New York Jets
St. Louis Rams (+13) at Pittsburgh Steelers (-105)
  • Who knows? Seems like the Rams might be a safe bet with Charlie Batch starting in place of the injured Ben Roethlisberger, no? Maybe not. Perhaps keeping things simple and minimizing the likelihood of turnovers will be all that's needed for Pittsburgh to suffocate St. Louis for a two-touchdown or more victory. Pick: St. Louis
Jacksonville Jaguars (+7.5) at Tennessee Titans (-105)
  • Jacksonville could not have played any worse or less inspired than they did in their Thursday night loss to the Falcons in Week 14. I have never seen a more wretched display of heart and execution all wrapped into one performance as what the Jaguars turned in a little over a week ago. Sure they'll play better this time, but with the Titans coming off a stinker yet still in the mix in the wild card, it's Tennessee who will put their recent fiasco in the rear view mirror. Pick: Tennessee
Minnesota Vikings (+7) at Washington Redskins (-115)
  • Redskins laying seven? No thanks. Nice win last weekend, but Minnesota has, for the most part, hung tough in the majority of their 12 losses. Washington feels a little too good about last week and keeps things more interesting than they should. Christian Ponder has been terrible on the road though, so who knows what unfolds at FedEx Field when these two mediocre squads square off. Pick: Minnesota
San Diego Chargers (+3) at Detroit Lions (+110)
  • Love the Chargers again this week. Was not at all surprised they thrashed Baltimore last Sunday night. A tough road test against a Lions team that's regained its mojo thanks to two close wins the past two weeks. Still, San Diego has it humming right now and I don't see Detroit being able to get away with an inconsistent 60 minutes against them like they've been able to do in wins over Minnesota and Oakland this month. Pick: San Diego
Philadelphia Eagles (+3) at Dallas Cowboys (-105)
  • Great game for fans, particularly those outside of the Eagles and Giants fan tribes who will undoubtedly be on pins and needles hoping their team takes care of business against a rival with so much at stake. Both are coming off impressive Week 15 outings, so it's definitely hard to give one team the edge in terms of momentum. I do think that if the Cowboys don't commit to running the football, they'll play right into Philly's hands and lose. Something tells me they'll do just that. Pick: Philadelphia
San Francisco 49ers (-1.5) at Seattle Seahawks
  • Well, I'll admit I underestimated SF a bit, but the final score on Monday night still doesn't reflect any sort of foundational disparity between the 49ers and the Steelers. Just about everything broke their way, while nothing seemed to work in Pittsburgh's favor. Moving on though. San Francisco has a tough test in Week 16, a road trip to divisional foe, Seattle, who's won five of their previous six games. Marshawn Lynch will have a tough time toting the rock for the second week in a row, but if Tavaris Jackson can continue protecting the football well, I think they'll be able to make a play or two on defense or special teams to win. Pick: Seattle
Atlanta Falcons (+7) at New Orleans Saints (-115)
  • That's a big line considering how often these two teams play close games. I believe at least the previous four meetings have been decided by a field goal or less, two in overtime. So, despite how well New Orleans is clicking at this critical time of the season, I don't think I'd take a position on them covering seven against a Falcons team that's also finding its rhythm down the stretch. Pick: Atlanta
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