As usual, there isn’t much time to digest what happened in Week 15 before starting to think about our NFL Week 16 picks in 2023. The playoff race might be even more congested this week than it was a week ago. That means most games will have serious playoff implications as we think about our predictions for Week 16.
NFL Week 16 Picks
This is another crazy week for the NFL with one game on Thursday, two on Saturday, and three on Monday, which happens to be Christmas Day. There are seven games between two teams that are .500 or better, including a showdown between two 11-win teams. There was a lot to think about, but here are our NFL Week 16 picks in 2023.
Bengals vs Steelers
Stick a fork in the Steelers because they’re done. Normally, it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to back Mike Tomlin’s team as a home underdog. But the Steelers have looked dreadful offensively with Mitch Trubisky at quarterback, and starting Mason Rudolph isn’t likely to help much.
Even with T.J. Watt following in his brother’s footsteps as one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history, the Pittsburgh defense isn’t enough. If Gardner Minshew could run circles around the Steelers last week, Jake Browning should be able to do the same with Cincy’s receivers.
Pick: Bengals -2.5
Lions vs Vikings
The Lions certainly made a statement last week with a convincing home win over the Broncos. However, they’ve still been inconsistent lately and have a somewhat unreliable defense. The Lions are also road favorites at U.S. Bank Stadium, a venue where they’ve lost five in a row.
Despite a gut-wrenching overtime loss last week, Nick Mullens played well and got the Minnesota offense back on track. Justin Jefferson is healthy again, Jordan Addison is producing, and the Minnesota defense isn’t too shabby, so things are trending in the right direction for the Vikings. Keep in mind that despite losing three of their last four games, those three losses have come by a combined six points. With that in mind, we’re happy to take Minnesota and the points.
Pick: Vikings +3
Cardinals vs Bears
While this game doesn’t figure into the playoff race, the line is too suspicious to ignore. Exactly what have the Bears done to be favored by more than a field goal against anybody?
Other than catching the Lions on a bad day a couple of weeks ago, there is no reason for the Bears to be favored by this many points, even against Arizona. Since Kyler Murray returned, the Cardinals are 2-3 straight up and 3-2 against the spread. They also put up a good fight and scored 29 points against one of the best defenses in the NFL last week. Keep in mind that the Bears have been held to 17 points or less in five of their last seven games. Chicago doesn’t score enough points to comfortably cover more than a field goal against Murray and the Cardinals.
Pick: Cardinals +4.5
Raiders vs Chiefs
After scoring 63 points last week, the Raiders are going to come back down to earth in a big way. This is still a team that’s relying on rookie Aidan O’Connell at quarterback and is just two weeks removed from a 3-0 loss to the Vikings. They also suffered a 31-17 loss to the Chiefs at home a few weeks ago.
This week, the Raiders go to Arrowhead Stadium, where they’ve lost six in a row, including the last three by at least 14 points. Granted, the Chiefs haven’t been all that reliable this year and have still lost three of their last five games. But they know this is crunch time and won’t need any extra motivation to pour it on against the Raiders. Plus, Kansas City is 3-0-1 against the spread this year when favored by nine points or more, so covering double digits in this game isn’t asking too much of Patrick Mahomes and company.
Pick: Chiefs -10
#NFL #Week #picks #Predictions #Week