NFL Week 16 Betting Takeaways: Two Playoff Openings Remain
Ten of the 12 spots in the NFL Playoffs have been secured. Two teams control their own destinies for the final two.
The Tennessee Titans can clinch the final spot in the AFC with a win, but it won’t be easy as they play at AFC South champion Houston, whose motivation may be in question after locking up the AFC South title. The Pittsburgh Steelers get in with a win vs. the Baltimore Ravens — who have secured the No. 1 overall seed in the AFC and have nothing to play for — plus a Titans loss.
If the Titans and Steelers lose, that opens the door for the Oakland Raiders, who are at Denver. They’ll also need the Colts to beat the Jaguars to create a huge tiebreaker scenario.
In the NFC, it’s much simpler. The Eagles clinch the division with a win at the Giants in Week 17. Should they lose, Dallas can steal the spot with a home win over the Redskins.
Here’s a look back at Week 16 and a quick look ahead to Week 17:
Streaks Live On …
Saints March On
New Orleans was slow to get going at Tennessee but then scored 28 points over a 16-minute span for a 38-28 win. It’s the 11th win in a row for the Saints against AFC competition. It’s also the sixth-straight cover on the road.
The Over easily hit, the eighth Titans home game in a row the Over hit against an NFC foe.
Jared Cook had two TDs for New Orleans, the sixth time in seven Sunday games he’s reached the end zone. Titans WR A.J. Brown scored for the fourth time in five games, too.
The Bengals scored 16 points in the final 90 seconds of regulation to force OT, but the Dolphins kicked a FG at the end of OT for a wild 38-35 win. It’s the 11th road loss in a row against the AFC for Cincinnati.
Cincy also failed to cover for the fifth time in six games against teams with losing records, while the Over hit following a Dolphins’ loss for the fifth-straight game. Davante Parker also reached the end zone for the fifth time in the last six Miami home games.
The Broncos took care of business in a 27-17 home win over the Lions, the eighth loss in a row for the Lions and the ninth non-cover on a Sunday.
The Under moved to 8-1 in the last nine when Denver is favored.
… And Streaks End
Playoff-bound Seattle was manhandled by NFC West cellar-dweller Arizona in a 27-13 home loss. That snapped a number of pro-Seahawks trends. Tyler Lockett had scored a TD in six-straight daytime home games, Chris Carson had a TD in five straight December games when Seattle was favored and D.K. Metcalf had a TD in three of the last four day games. All were blanked Sunday.
Arizona had lost 12 in a row against teams with winning records, and the Over had hit in four straight between these teams. Both those runs ended hard.
“We have a job to do. We’re not finished yet.”#FlyEaglesFly— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) December 23, 2019
The Eagles took over control of the NFC East with their big 17-9 win over the Cowboys. Dallas had won eight NFC East games in a row before that defeat. The favorite had covered in seven of eight between these teams but Philly (+2.5) bucked that trend, too.
Ezekiel Elliott had scored a TD in five-straight games against NFC opponents and Zach Ertz had scored in four straight against the NFC, but neither reached the end zone.
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The Falcons took a quick 14-0 lead on the Jaguars and held on for a 24-12 victory at home. Atlanta had lost a stunning eight home games in a row as a favorite against AFC teams before Sunday. It had also failed to cover in 14 straight games against the AFC.
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Best Pick Of Week 16
Broncos (-7) over Lions
There goes Phillip Lindsay!— NFL (@NFL) December 22, 2019
27-yard TD for the @Broncos RB. @I_CU_Boy #BroncosCountry
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Momentum is important with younger teams, and the Broncos want to take some momentum into next year. They’re rallying around rookie QB Drew Lock and played like it on Sunday against a Lions team that led 10-0 thanks to a punt return for a TD. Detroit didn’t do much else, however, and the Broncos improved to 6-2 ATS in their last eight games.
Worst Pick Of Week 16
Seahawks (-9.5) over Cardinals
The Seahawks have 11 wins, but only one of them was by a TD or more. That one was against the Cardinals in Arizona. Seattle needed a big win to take some confidence into the postseason, but instead they were thoroughly outplayed on both side of the ball against the NFC West bottom-feeder. Injuries to several key players, including a season-ender to Carson, didn’t help.
A Quick Look Ahead
Lines change throughout the week. Here are three to consider for Week 17 before they move:
Bills (-1) vs. Jets
The upstart Bills want to hit the playoffs on a high note and gain confidence. The Jets have had bouts of impressive play, including in Week 16 against the Steelers. But they’re 1-6 on the road and the Bills have covered or pushed the spread in every game against losing teams this season.
Texans (+5.5) vs. Titans
This game means a lot more for Tennessee than it does Houston, but the Texans want to hit the playoffs running, too, and they thoroughly outplayed the Titans just two weeks ago in Nashville. The home team has covered six of the last seven meetings and Tennessee hasn’t covered in Houston since 2013. This is a lot of points for a division champion at home. This line could move in either direction depending on how Houston handles its lineup.
Chiefs (-7.5) vs. Chargers
The Chiefs have won five in a row and all have been by a TD or more, including a seven-point win at the Chargers to begin the run. Their defense has been straight-up dominant and their last two wins were by 20 and 23 points. At kickoff, a first-round bye will be on the table with a win and Patriots loss. The Chargers are really ending the season in a rough patch, there are injuries to deal with and Philip Rivers may not play much or at all.
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About the Author
NFL writer and expert Adam Thompson joined Bookies.com in 2019 after a successful run as senior handicapper for SportsLine and CBSSports.com. He has consistently produced profitable seasons in NFL and college football and established himself as an elite MLB expert in 2018, hitting 61 percent of his money line picks for a profit of $4,062 to $100 players, ending the season on a 22-4 run including 100 percent on World Series games. Previously the award-winning sports editor of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, Adam spent nearly 20 years covering the NFL, MLB and college football. Now he shares the insight he gained at Bookies.com through well-reasoned picks and thought-provoking articles and on Twitter at @_Adam_Thompson_.