December 21, 2012

NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 16

Here at Bang the Book, we have all of the top matchups of the 2012 NFL betting campaign covered! Today, we’re taking a look at the best matchups for Week 16!

Atlanta Falcons (12-2 SU, 8-5-1 ATS) @ Detroit Lions (4-10 SU, 4-9-1 ATS)
Spread: Atlanta -3.5, Total: 50.5

Ford Field, Detroit, MI – Saturday, December 22nd, 8:30 ET

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The Lions and the Falcons are separated by eight games in the standings, but just 6.5 points in the eyes of the oddsmakers on a neutral field. We find it quite interesting to think that QB Matt Ryan and the gang are laying such a short point spread against a team that has zip to play for and was blown out by a team that had looked like it had given up on the season last week. WR Calvin Johnson has a chance to break the record for the most yards in a single season for a receiver this week with a huge effort, but that’s about all that the Lions have to play for. Atlanta meanwhile, is playing for the No. 1 seed in the NFC, something that it will lock up if it can win either of its final two games of the regular season or get some help along the way.

Minnesota Vikings (8-6 SU, 6-7-1 ATS) @ Houston Texans (12-2 SU, 9-5 ATS)
Spread: Houston -9.5, Total: 45

Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX – Sunday, December 23rd, 1:00 ET

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The Texans have never beaten the Vikings in their history, going 0-2 SU and ATS in those games. If that changes this week though, it will go down as one of the more notable wins that the team has ever had. Houston needs just one victory to wrap up the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, and it is going to try to get the job done on Sunday against a game Minnesota squad. RB Adrian Peterson has 2,000 yards and the all-time single season rushing records within his sites, but his team is more importantly chasing a playoff bid. This is one of the few teams that can actually make the playoffs at 8-8 in the NFC, and it is also one of the few teams that controls its own destiny to get in. The problem? The Vikes play the most difficult schedule that football has left to offer with games against the Texans and the Packers.

Cincinnati Bengals (8-6 SU, 7-6-1 ATS) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7 SU, 5-8-1 ATS)
Spread: Pittsburgh -3.5, Total: 42.5

Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA – Sunday, December 23rd, 1:00 ET

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There are only three playoff spots that are left to be had in the AFC, and there are just five teams (realistically four teams) fighting for those spots. The Bengals can end all of the hoopla on Sunday if they can go on the road and upset the Steelers. Pittsburgh has the home field advantage and the experience on its side, but it lost a crucial game last week against the Cowboys, and now, it has to win its final two games of the regular season just to get into the playoffs. These two teams absolutely hate each other, and there is no love lost between the two. The Bengals have dropped five in a row both SU and ATS in this series dating back three seasons, and there would be no better nor a sweeter time for that to end for the perennial AFC North doormats than this weekend to wrap up a playoff bid and eliminate the Steelers at the same time.

Oakland Raiders (4-10 SU, 4-10 ATS) @ Carolina Panthers (5-9 SU, 7-7 ATS)
Spread: Carolina -9.5, Total: 46

Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC – Sunday, December 23rd, 1:00 ET

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The Raiders have the dead last rated defense in terms of scoring in the league, and it’s amazing that that mark still stands in spite of the fact that they shut out the Chiefs last week. They’re hoping to continue that momentum on the road against Carolina, but it is clear that Head Coach Ron Rivera has his team playing great ball at the moment with an eye on 2013. QB Cam Newton hasn’t thrown a pick in a month, and he is going to be looking forward to going against this Oakland defense in spite of its stout play last week. The two teams have shared the SU and ATS proceedings in this series all-time, with each team going 2-2 SU and ATS. Both teams have one win and one cover on the other’s field, and both teams have one massive blowout victory over the other and one relatively close win against the other.

Indianapolis Colts (9-5 SU, 9-5 ATS) @ Kansas City Chiefs (2-12 SU, 5-9 ATS)
Spread: Indianapolis -7, Total: 41.5

Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO – Sunday, December 23rd, 1:00 ET

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Without even getting all the way to Sunday, we are confident in saying that the Colts are going to be the squarest team on the board in Week 16. They’re on the road against a Kansas City team that has been absolutely hapless, has no quarterback, probably has a lame duck head coach, and is missing just about all of its best threats to make plays on both sides of the ball. Meanwhile, Indy is still fighting for a playoff bid, something that will be locked up with a victory in this game. The Colts also know that they have the good fortune of likely getting Head Coach Chuck Pagano back next week after his three-month fight with leukemia. That has to be a motivating factor for this club going forward, and it would be shocking to most to see QB Andrew Luck and the gang struggle in this one.

San Diego Chargers (5-9 SU, 6-8 ATS) @ New York Jets (6-8 SU, 7-7 ATS)
Spread: New York -2.5, Total: 39

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ – Sunday, December 23rd, 1:00 ET

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These two teams are absolutely the clubs that are going to undergo the biggest changes over the course of the next few months. The Chargers are going to be getting rid of their coach, their GM, and potentially their quarterback unless QB Philip Rivers wins over whomever the next regime happens to be with his play over the course of the last two weeks of the year. The Jets are surely going to can their coach, their GM, and not just one, but two of their quarterbacks, probably along with most of their high priced players to boot. QB Greg McElroy is going to get his first start of his career, in front of both QB Mark Sanchez and QB Tim Tebow, who were supposed to battle it out with one another this season to be the leader of what should have been a dynamic club. Oh, this game? It means absolutely nothing to either team, save for which one is going to draft higher in the NFL Draft.

Tennessee Titans (5-9 SU, 5-9 ATS) @ Green Bay Packers (10-4 SU, 8-6 ATS)
Spread: Green Bay -12.5, Total: 46

Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI – Sunday, December 23rd, 1:00 ET

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The Packers and the Titans are on clearly different playing fields at the moment. Tennessee really hasn’t beaten a great team all year long, and it is just playing out the string and trying to keep together the club for 2013. Green Bay meanwhile, has won the NFC North, but it still has its sights set on a first round bye in the playoffs. It seems like a tossup right now for that to happen, as the Pack need a combination of three wins and San Francisco losses, or a combination of four wins and Atlanta losses over the course of the last two weeks of the season to get that elusive bye week. WR James Jones is coming off of a three-touchdown performance last week, and he now actually leads the NFL in receiving scores in spite of the fact that he is probably the fourth, and maybe even the fifth best option that QB Aaron Rodgers has to throw the ball to.

Washington Redskins (8-6 SU, 9-5 ATS) @ Philadelphia Eagles (4-10 SU, 4-10 ATS)
Spread: Washington -5.5, Total: 45.5

Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA – Sunday, December 23rd, 1:00 ET

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The Redskins haven’t lost a game since Head Coach Mike Shanahan declared that the season was said and done with, which is amazing work for a team that has been through as many injuries as this one has been. The team is now two wins away from the NFC East title, and with some help, this game might not actually end up meaning all that much. Regardless, next week’s game against Dallas is going to have to be won, though the team can still get into the playoffs at 9-7 as well. Philly’s season is long since over with, and this is almost certainly the last home game for Head Coach Andy Reid in the City of Brotherly Love. The favored team has covered four in a row in this series dating back two seasons.

New England Patriots (10-4 SU, 8-5-1 ATS) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12 SU, 6-8 ATS)
Spread: New England -14.5, Total: 50

EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL – Sunday, December 23rd, 1:00 ET

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The Patriots have eight more wins than the Jaguars do, and they are averaging over double the number of points per game that the hosts of this game are averaging. It’s a great spot for New England to get some revenge after last week’s loss at home against the 49ers. That being said, it might be too little, too late to get a first round bye. The Pats are a game back of the Broncos and two back of the Texans, and in spite of the fact that it seems to be a de facto slam dunk for New England to finish up at 12-4, the best that this team has its own control over is the No. 3 seed in the playoffs. The Jags don’t even have control of their own fate for the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft this year, as they are likely to end up with the second pick unless by some major miracle, the Chiefs win one more game at the end of the campaign.

St. Louis Rams (6-7-1 SU, 9-5 ATS) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8 SU, 8-5-1 ATS)
Spread: Tampa Bay -3, Total: 44.5

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, FL – Sunday, December 23rd, 1:00 ET

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You can tell just how much the Rams and the Bucs have overachieved this year just by looking at their ATS records. Sure, both teams put up some real stinkers over the course of the year, including last week when they were whipped by the Vikings and the Saints respectively to essentially end their seasons, but they are both still great clubs that are going to be contenders next year if they keep this level of growth up. QB Sam Bradford and QB Josh Freeman are both being evaluated though, as they are both under the gun and could be replaced if better options come up next year. The Buccaneers have dominated this series over the years, going 6-1-1 ATS in the last eight clashes of these two teams.

New Orleans Saints (6-8 SU, 7-7 ATS) @ Dallas Cowboys (8-6 SU, 6-8 ATS)
Spread: Dallas -1, Total: 51.5

Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX – Sunday, December 23rd, 1:00 ET

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This is do or die game in almost every sense of the word for both of these teams. The Saints do technically have some life, but they know that they need a miracle of epic proportions to get into the second season. Dallas though, has to win this game or get a lot of help to realistically still have a chance to get into the playoffs. Win both of the last two games, and the Boys will win the NFC East. Lose either one though, and thanks to a lot of bad tiebreaker scenarios, they’ll be left home. QB Tony Romo and QB Drew Brees have both already thrown for 4,000+ yards this year, and both have a chance to get to 5,000 with two big games down the stretch. The road team has won four in a row in this series, including New Orleans winning here in Big D three times, all of which have come in November or December.

Buffalo Bills (5-9 SU, 6-8 ATS) @ Miami Dolphins (6-8 SU, 6-7-1 ATS)
Spread: Miami -4, Total: 41.5

Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL – Sunday, December 23rd, 1:00 ET

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Buffalo and Miami really dislike each other, but that’s about the only intrigue for this AFC East encounter in Week 16. Sure, the Dolphins could still get into the playoffs, but their chances of even staying alive this week are relatively slim, even with a win. These two teams played a 19-14 game in favor of the Bills the first time around, but the two teams combined for 14 points via special teams and had less than 500 yards of total offense between them. The Fins have covered six of the last nine in this series, while the ‘under’ has gone 5-3-1 in the last nine games as well. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and QB Ryan Tannehill are two of the more underwhelming quarterbacks in the league this year, and Fitzpatrick is clearly under the gun and playing for his job at this point.

Cleveland Browns (5-9 SU, 8-5-1 ATS) @ Denver Broncos (11-3 SU, 9-5 ATS)
Spread: Denver -13.5, Total: 44.5

Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, CO – Sunday, December 23rd, 4:05 ET

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The Browns and the Broncos have a history with each other, but that history dates back decades. Since the new incarnation of the Cleveland franchise, there hasn’t been much to rant and rave about as there was back in the day when names like Elway, Kosar, and Bynum were involved in this rivalry. This year though, the Browns can spoil the fun for the Broncos, who have become the Super Bowl favorites at this point. Getting the No. 1 seed in the AFC is still possible, but it is just about out of the question, knowing that it would take two wins and two Houston losses to happen. Instead, the likelihood is there to be No. 2, and that will happen with any combination of two wins and two New England losses. QB Peyton Manning and the gang have won nine games in a row coming into Sunday.

Chicago Bears (8-6 SU, 6-7-1 ATS) @ Arizona Cardinals (5-9 SU, 6-7-1 ATS)
Spread: Chicago -5, Total: 36.5

University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ – Sunday, December 23rd, 4:25 ET

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The last time that the Bears paid a visit to the desert, Head Coach Dennis Green was going off in his infamous “They are who we thought they were” rant. Of course, if the Bears are who we all think they have become over the course of the last few weeks, they might lose this game in spite of the fact that the Cardinals have been one of the more embarrassing teams since Week 4 that the NFL has had to offer. Arizona did win and win comfortably last week at home against the Lions though, and that has to give a sense of doubt to a Chicago team that has gone from 8-3 and surely going to make the playoffs to 8-6 and almost certainly on the outside looking in. One more loss, and the Bears very well could be done with, and two more losses, and they are definitely finished.

New York Giants (8-6 SU, 6-8 ATS) @ Baltimore Ravens (9-5 SU, 5-8-1 ATS)
Spread: New York -1, Total: 47

M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD – Sunday, December 23rd, 4:25 ET

Click Here For Handicapping Match-up Details

It’s tough to imagine how the Giants are favored in this game this week. They have clearly punted away their opportunity to guarantee themselves a playoff bid, and they are now on the wrong side of the postseason for the first time in quite some time. There have just been too many missed opportunities to get the job done, and now, the team is paying for it. That being said, the G-Men always seem to play their best when their backs are against the wall, and their backs definitely are there at this point. Baltimore is up against it as well, as it is sliding with three straight losses. A loss in this one, and its playoff situation might become murky at best in Week 17 if the Steelers beat the Bengals in Week 16. The AFC North can still be won with just one more win at some point down the stretch, and even the No. 3 seed could still be had as well, but that would take getting a combination of three wins and New England losses when the Pats have arguably the easiest schedule left for all of the contenders in football.

San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1 SU, 9-5 ATS) @ Seattle Seahawks (9-5 SU, 10-4 ATS)
Spread: Pick ‘Em, Total: 39

CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA – Sunday, December 23rd, 8:20 ET

Click Here For Handicapping Match-up Details

Without a Monday Night Football game, this is the last clash of the bunch this week, as the Seahawks and the 49ers were flexed in by NBC. This is a game that probably lost a bit of its intrigue when the Niners beat the Patriots last week, as the NFC West chase is probably just about over with. San Fran will put the division away with a win, while Seattle will at least bring it to Week 17 with a victory. The Seahawks need to win out and the 49ers need to lose out to flip the division winner. San Fran, most notably though, is playing for its first round bye in the playoffs. Lose this one, and Green Bay is likely to hop over the Niners, forcing San Francisco to not just have to play in the first week of the playoffs, but then have to visit Lambeau Field instead of hosting at Candlestick Park. The Seahawks are in with a win, but depending upon what else happens over the course of the day, they might be in the second season regardless of what happens in this game.

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Andrew Ryan

Andrew Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.

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