When you bet on the NFL, you should know all about the numbers. Numbers for stats, numbers for trends, numbers for betting lines, numbers for ‘totals’ – You should know it all. Here at Bang the Book, we are set to talk about the NFL betting lines for Week 16. Here are the most important numbers that you need to remember for the week!
0 – The number of road games which the Minnesota Vikings have won so far on the season. Granted, the Vikes do have that tie on the road against the Green Bay Packers, but to actually win the game against a competent team would seem like a massive stretch for them. They did have the Baltimore Ravens on the ropes at M&T Bank Stadium two weeks ago though, so the Cincinnati Bengals had better watch out. However, this is a week where we are going to be doing a lot of comparing and contrasting here in our “By the Numbers” segment, and we have the perfect stat to counter this one.
0 – The number of home games which the Cincinnati Bengals have lost so far on the season. Now you see why the Minnesota Vikings are in as much trouble as they appear to be? The Bengals not only are a perfect 6-0 SU at home this year, but they are a perfect 6-0 ATS as well. The schedule has been littered with very tough teams for sure, but the issue we have is whether these problems on the road of late are going to finally transfer back to the Queen City. If so, the Bengals are in a heck of a lot of trouble. Still, as one of the biggest favorites on the board in Week 16, there is no reason why Cincinnati shouldn’t move one step closer to the postseason.
2 – The number of games which the Dallas Cowboys have lost this year when they have scored at least 35 points. It’s also the number of games which the entire rest of the league has lost this year when scoring at least 35 points. Yes, there are 53 examples of non-Dallas teams scoring at least 35 points in a game, and in those games, those teams are 51-2. Leave it up to the Cowboys to figure out how to score 35 points in a game on two different occasions this year and lose. For everyone who is blaming QB Tony Romo for all of this, you need to look higher up the food chain in Dallas. If you score 35 in a game, that means your quarterback more than did his job. If you still lose that game, it’s on your coach and your defense.
3 – The number of touchdown passes which QB Peyton Manning needs to tie the all-time record for the most TD passes in a single season. The record is currently held by QB Tom Brady when his New England Patriots ran through the regular season undefeated, slaughtering teams left and right along the way. The Broncos haven’t been nearly that good, but Manning definitely has. The argument could be made that this is the best offense in NFL history, and it certainly could be made that this is the best passing attack in NFL history. How fitting is it though, that the Houston Texans are the foe this week for Manning and the Broncos? Houston passed on the idea of taking Manning two seasons ago to be its quarterback, and Houston is the team which was terrorized by Manning more than any other in his career. It seems like a given, especially with the Texans on a 12-game losing streak, that Manning will at least tie, and likely break the record for 50 TD passes in a season on Sunday.
3 – The number of minimum turnovers the Detroit Lions have committed over the course of the last five games. It’s just a brutal stat to look at if you’re Head Coach Jim Schwartz, and it’s a stat which has caused reporters to at least ask the question as to whether or not QB Matthew Stafford should be benched or not. Of course, Schwartz fired back with a resounding “No,” to those inquiries, but if things don’t go his way this week, he might not be the one making the decision soon. Nineteen turnovers in five games followed by not even making the playoffs in a season where QB Jay Cutler and QB Aaron Rodgers missed a combined at least 11 games is an offense worthy of being fired.
4 – The number of teams which have clinched playoff berths through Week 15. That’s an unusually small number to speak of at this point in the year, and there is only one division title which has been decided. If all of the chalk holds up this week, there will literally only be two divisions which have been decided mathematically through Week 16, and that’s setting this up to be one of the wildest ends of the regular season in NFL history. The Seattle Seahawks can become the second team to clinch their division title this week, joining the Indianapolis Colts. Others can, but if the favorites all hold, no others aside from Seattle will.
5 – The number of consecutive games which the Dallas Cowboys will be playing against a backup quarterback. The team had to go against QB Matt McGloin, who was legitimately a fourth option at quarterback on Thanksgiving Day, then it took on QB Josh McCown, QB Matt Flynn (another fourth option quarter), and now, it will have QB Kirk Cousins and QB Nick Foles to end the season. And yet, when you go back and look at what this defense has done over the course of the first three of these games, you’ll see 24, 45, and 37 points allowed. And you want to know why heads should be rolling in Big D…
5 – The number of times the Washington Redskins lost fumbles last week against the Atlanta Falcons. We aren’t so sure what the more remarkable part of that stat is. Is it the fact that the Redskins lost five fumbles? Or is it the fact that they lost five fumbles and were still a two-point conversion away from winning the game? Either way, the justification for Head Coach Mike Shanahan to put in QB Kirk Cousins and remove QB Robert Griffin III was because he didn’t want to get RG3 hurt. We know that the real answer is because he was tired of all of the inefficient throws and the turnovers. Maybe it’s a team problem and not a player problem…
7 – The number of games this season which QB Drew Brees has had a quarterback rating of at least 113. That sounds great for the New Orleans Saints, and you would figure that would mean he would have a 50/50 chance of having a 113+ QB rating this week against the Carolina Panthers, right? Not so fast. Six of those seven games which Brees has gone off have come indoors, and the Saints have historically had all sorts of problems playing on the road, and more specifically on grass. This is the test of all tests for the Saints, and they are going to either have to win this one on the road or face the consequences of having to play three road games just to get to the Super Bowl.
11 – The number of teams which control their own destiny to get into the playoffs going into Week 16. If you do the math and realize that there are only four playoff spots clinched, that means there are only eight spots left to fill, and there are 15 teams which can fill those spots. Amazingly, there are four divisions, the NFC East, NFC North, NFC South, and AFC North, which have two teams which control their own destinies to win their division titles. A lot of that will work itself out over the course of the next week, but there are going to be a lot of tense moments on the fields all across the country on Sunday and Monday. The teams who control their own destiny for a spot in the second season include the New England Patriots, Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals, and Baltimore Ravens in the AFC, and the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, and San Francisco 49ers in the NFC.
13 – The number of points which the San Francisco 49ers are favored by over the Atlanta Falcons this week. That makes San Fran the biggest favorite of the week by a healthy margin. It makes a lot of sense. The Niners will likely lock up a playoff bid with a win this week, and that’s crucial knowing that they have to go on the road to take on the Arizona Cardinals next week in what would otherwise probably turn into a “Winner goes to the playoffs, loser goes home” game. This is also the last game in the history of Candlestick Park barring a minor miracle which would give San Francisco a home playoff game in the NFC playoffs. Next season, the 49ers are moving to Santa Clara.
41 – The number representing the lowest ‘total’ of the weekend. The number to beat is in the game between the New York Jets and the Cleveland Browns. Both of these teams have some awfully suspect offenses, and both have amongst the best defenses for non-playoff teams in the league. The Jets especially, have a history of struggling offensively, and QB Geno Smith could be in for a long day against a very good Cleveland secondary. However, we have seen these games fly past the ‘total’ time and time again this year, and this might not be an exception, whether it be by hook or by crook.
49 – The number of sacks which the Buffalo Bills have had this season. That’s the highest number in the league. We always knew that this pass rush was going to be fierce, and DE Mario Williams and the gang haven’t disappointed. Williams has 12 sacks this season, and he joins DE Jerry Hughes (8.5 sacks), DT Kyle Williams (8.0 sacks), and DT Marcell Dareus (7.5) sacks to form arguably the best defensive line in football. That’s a notable stat every single week, but it becomes more notable when…
51 – The number of sacks which the Miami Dolphins have conceded this season. That’s also the highest number in the league. That’s the problem that the Fins have against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, and if they are going to end up losing control of their own destiny for the postseason, this is the reason why. Buffalo actually gave up more sacks than it got against the Fins the first time around, but if you go back and look at the tape from that game, QB Ryan Tannehill was the quarterback on the run more often than not.
56 – The number representing the highest ‘total’ of the weekend. The game we are talking about is the duel between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Chicago Bears. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. The Bears can’t stop anyone, and they have still allowed 20 or more points in every game which they have played this year. The Eagles weren’t able to stop the Minnesota Vikings last week on the road, and they still have one of the most efficient offenses in the league. Chicago has a horrid rushing defense, though that defense will get better if LB Lance Briggs comes back from his shoulder injury which has cost him the last month and a half.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.