NFL Betting: NFL Matchups for Week 16

Here at Bang the Book, we have all of the top matchups of the 2013 NFL betting campaign covered! Today, we’re taking a look at the best matchups for Week 16!

Cleveland Browns (4-10 SU, 6-8 ATS) @ New York Jets (6-8 SU, 7-6-1 ATS)
Spread: New York -2.5, Total: 41

MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ – Sunday, December 22nd, 1:00 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

The Browns and the Jets both have offenses which can really be putrid. Neither has a worthwhile quarterback and neither has a worthwhile running back, and that could make this one of the lowest scoring games of the entire season if it plays out that way. Both of these teams are now knocked out of the postseason picture, and this one is really more about pride and building than anything else. The opportunity to still finish at .500 is probably bit for Head Coach Rex Ryan, who, though he might ultimately be a dead duck to the Jets this year one way or the other, might end up landing another head coaching gig in the very near future if he can pull this lousy team out of the depths to finish .500. Cleveland still has to find a quarterback, and QB Jason Campbell, in spite of the fact that he has played so well at times this year, isn’t that answer.

Indianapolis Colts (9-5 SU, 8-6 ATS) @ Kansas City Chiefs (11-3 SU, 8-6 ATS)
Spread: Kansas City -7, Total: 44

Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO – Sunday, December 22nd, 1:00 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

There’s a really good chance that this is going to be the matchup in two weeks at Lucas Oil Field for the first round of the playoffs, as right now, the Colts and Chiefs would be the 4th and 5th seeds respectively in the AFC playoffs. KC has had a stroke of luck, as it is now level with the Broncos with two games to play. Denver has two road games left to deal with, albeit it road games against really bad teams, but the opportunity is there to slip up still. If the Broncos slip one more time, KC will be in the driver’s seat, not just for the top spot in the AFC, but the #1 overall seed in the playoffs as well. Indianapolis can take a good step in the right direction with a win on Sunday as well, especially if the Patriots happen to get bounced once again. A first round bye isn’t out of the question. Last season, Indy knocked off the Chiefs 20-13. It’s tough to believe, but these two teams had the last two #1 picks in the NFL Draft.

Minnesota Vikings (4-9-1 SU, 7-6 ATS) @ Cincinnati Bengals (9-5 SU, 8-5-1 ATS)
Spread: Cincinnati -7.5, Total: 48

Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OH – Sunday, December 22nd, 1:00 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

The perception of the Bengals changed quite a bit over the course of the last few days. Going into Sunday Night Football against the Steelers, they were headed towards the #2 seed in the AFC, and they held their own destiny for that spot. They still could end up #2 yet, but if they lose this game, they could really end up missing out on the playoffs. The fact that Cincinnati has already lost to both Miami and Baltimore, the two teams chasing it, is scary, and that Week 17 game could be for all the marbles in the AFC North next week against the Ravens. This also isn’t as easy of a game as it looked perhaps a few days ago either. The Vikings were able to not just beat the Eagles, but they slammed the NFC East leaders as well, and they did so without RB Adrian Peterson in the fold. “Purple Jesus” is back, and he and his mates would love to spoil the part and push the Bengals to the brink of elimination. The problem? Minnesota hasn’t won a road game this year. The bigger problem? Cincinnati hasn’t lost a home game either.

Denver Broncos (11-3 SU, 8-6 ATS) @ Houston Texans (2-12 SU, 3-11 ATS)
Spread: Denver -10.5, Total: 51.5

Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX – Sunday, December 22nd, 1:00 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

Last season, QB Matt Schaub and the Texans went on the road and beat up the Broncos early in the year, only to ultimately blow the chance at having a first round bye and the #1 seed in the AFC in the last few weeks of the season. Denver is sort of in the same spot now, as it blew its one-game cushion against the rest of the field in the AFC by losing to San Diego. A second loss though, and the Broncos could ultimately end up losing any home games in the playoffs, as the AFC West title would be Kansas City’s to lose. The Texans have already lost 12 games in a row, and a loss in this game would ensure them having the #1 pick in the NFL Draft. QB Peyton Manning needs four touchdown passes to break the all-time record for TDs in a season, a record currently held by his nemesis, QB Tom Brady.

Tennessee Titans (5-9 SU, 6-7-1 ATS) @ Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10 SU, 5-9 ATS)
Spread: Jacksonville -5.5, Total: 44

EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL – Sunday, December 22nd, 1:00 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

The season really turned on a dime for the Jaguars and the Titans this year when they met six weeks ago. Jacksonville won its first game, going on the road and beating the Titans, and it has won three more times since that point. Tennessee was beaten as double-digit favorites, and that started the decline of a 1-5 slump both SU and ATS. There really isn’t much for either of these teams left to play for, though the winner is going to end up in second place in the AFC South. That could be horrid news going forward next year for scheduling purposes, but we don’t think that either of these teams, especially the Titans, are overly concerned. Tennessee knows that it needs to look good in these last two games to give Head Coach Mike Munchak any chance of saving his job for the 2014 season, a prospect which looks as grim as could be at the moment.

Miami Dolphins (8-6 SU, 9-5 ATS) @ Buffalo Bills (5-9 SU, 7-7 ATS)
Spread: Miami -2.5, Total: 43

Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, NY – Sunday, December 22nd, 1:00 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

The Dolphins actually control their own destiny to get into the playoffs, and the last thing they want to do is trip up here in Buffalo, as that would probably signal the end of their season. It isn’t all that often that we worry about the cold weather team in a cold weather game, but this is really the first time in which QB EJ Manuel has ever played a game in conditions like this. He played in a nasty, cold wind against the Steelers and looked pathetic, and we are really afraid that he might end up doing the same thing again in this one. Remember though, the Fins have the worst offensive line in the game in terms of giving up sacks, and that’s incredibly notable in this game, knowing that the Bills have more sacks than any other team in the league. The Bills went on the road and beat the Fins when these teams met back in October, and that was with QB Thad Lewis under center.

New Orleans Saints (10-4 SU, 7-6-1 ATS) @ Carolina Panthers (10-4 SU, 8-5-1 ATS)
Spread: Carolina -3, Total: 47

Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC – Sunday, December 22nd, 1:00 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

Essentially, this game is for all the marbles in the NFC South and the #2 seed in the playoffs in the NFC. The Saints would wrap all of that up with a win on the road, a concept which almost seems foreign to them after getting whipped on the road last week in St. Louis. Carolina would still need to win in Week 17 or get the Saints to lose in Week 17 to clinch the division crown. The big issue for the losing team in this one is that the Cardinals are only a game back and the 49ers are tied with whichever one drops this game, and there is a chance that the loser could end up missing the playoffs. Head Coach Ron Rivera essentially called out the Saints at the end of their bad loss in the Bayou two weeks ago, more or less stating that this was a team which couldn’t play on natural grass. The Panthers haven’t lost an outdoor game since Week 2, and they have only been beaten on grass one this year, way back in Week 1 against Seattle.

Dallas Cowboys (7-7 SU, 8-6 ATS) @ Washington Redskins (3-11 SU, 4-10 ATS)
Spread: Dallas -2.5, Total: 54

FedEx Field, Landover, MD – Sunday, December 22nd, 1:00 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

Talk about the blind leading the blind! The Cowboys are coming off of a game which they collapsed in last week against the Packers, and they have a horrid history of competing in games like these on the road with so much on the line. Dallas needs a win or a Philly loss this week to force next week’s game against the Eagles to essentially be the NFC East championship game. Washington has literally squat to play for. Literally. The team has already given up on the season, though we must admit that QB Kirk Cousins, in spite of his three turnovers, looked better under center than QB Robert Griffin III did at most times this season. These two teams hate each other, and that might add to the level of intrigue just a bit, but after watching Dallas blow out Washington 31-16 earlier this season, it’s a wonder whether the Skins are even going to show up for this one.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10 SU, 6-8 ATS) @ St. Louis Rams (6-8 SU, 6-8 ATS)
Spread: St. Louis -5.5, Total: 43

Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MO – Sunday, December 22nd, 1:00 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

The Rams celebrated a huge win last week over the Saints, which really shows that they have the ability to beat some of the best teams in the league. They have pulled off a lot of upsets this season, but games like these are the ones which they seem to have some issues with. Tampa Bay has a lot better team than 4-10 suggests, and it needs to finish out the second half of the season on a good note to give Head Coach Greg Schiano the chance to keep his job. These two teams played last year almost to the date, but since that point, both quarterbacks, both running backs, and likely a total of around 30 starters have changed from these two teams. The Rams, for what it’s worth, have covered each of the last two against Tampa Bay, but both games were down at Raymond James Stadium.

Arizona Cardinals (9-5 SU, 10-4 ATS) @ Seattle Seahawks (12-2 SU, 10-4 ATS)
Spread: Seattle -10.5, Total: 43

CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA – Sunday, December 22nd, 4:05 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

Is there ever a point that the Seahawks are going to end up losing a game at home? It sure doesn’t look like it, but we know that Arizona can give them a run for their money. Back before anyone realized that these Cards were really that good, Seattle posted a 34-22 win in the desert, and it was a game where the home side really struggled to run the ball, posting just 30 yards on the ground. In fact, the Cardinals only have 30, 43, and 43 yards in their last three games in terms of rushing against the Seahawks. However, there is a heck of a lot on the line here. The Cards control their own destiny to get into the playoffs. A loss in this one though, not only removes that ability, but it very well could knock them out of the second season as well. A loss and a Carolina win over New Orleans, and in spite of the fact that it is 9-6 going into Week 17, Arizona would be eliminated. Seattle needs one more triumph to win the NFC West and the #1 seed in the playoffs.

New York Giants (5-9 SU, 5-9 ATS) @ Detroit Lions (7-7 SU, 6-8 ATS)
Spread: Detroit -8.5, Total: 49

Ford Field, Detroit, MI – Sunday, December 22nd, 4:05 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

Are the Lions really capable of covering double digits against anyone at this point? They surely only looked like it for one game over the course of the last several weeks. The truth of the matter is that they were probably a better team than Baltimore on Monday night, but they had opportunities to finish that game off and couldn’t do it. Now, with at least three turnovers in five straight games, the men from Motown know they need two wins and some help to get into the playoffs, whereas they had controlled their own destiny for essentially the rest of the regular season. New York was shut out for the second time this season last week, and it’s a wonder whether this team has any fight left in it or not. We’ll obviously find out on Sunday.

Oakland Raiders (4-10 SU, 7-6-1 ATS) @ San Diego Chargers (7-7 SU, 8-5-1 ATS)
Spread: San Diego -10, Total: 50.5

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA – Sunday, December 22nd, 4:25 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

The Chargers are probably the one team that everyone wants to keep out of the AFC playoffs. They need two wins, and they need a lot of help if they are going to get into the dance though, as the Dolphins, Ravens, and Bengals all beat them earlier this year. That means two wins and two losses by either Miami or Baltimore is the only way to get into the show. That said, this is a dangerous team, as QB Philip Rivers is on point, and the Bolts are coming off of arguably the biggest upset in the NFL this year when they beat the Broncos on national TV at Mile High. Oakland’s defense has become a complete and utter sieve at this point, allowing 93 points in its last two games to the Chiefs and the Jets. Yuck. The Raiders have given San Diego troubles though, and that was demonstrated earlier this year in that weird 11:30 game thanks to the A’s being in the playoffs. That upset gave the Raiders their seventh cover in their last nine games in this series.

Pittsburgh Steelers (6-8 SU, 7-7 ATS) @ Green Bay Packers (7-6-1 SU, 6-8 ATS)
Spread: Off, Total: Off

Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI – Sunday, December 22nd, 4:25 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

The Packers pulled off the great escape from Dallas last week, as they managed to win from trailing by 23 points on the road. The win put them in a position where they control their own destiny to win the NFC North, something that seemed unimaginable, knowing that QB Aaron Rodgers has missed almost half the season with a broken collarbone. Rodgers’ status is still up in the air for this one, which is why no one has put out a betting line yet. Pittsburgh still has the dimmest of playoff hopes, but in all likelihood, by the time this one kicks off, it will already be eliminated from the second season. This is the first time these two teams have met since the Super Bowl three seasons ago, a game when Rodgers absolutely carved up this Pittsburgh defense to claim the Lombardi Trophy.

New England Patriots (10-4 SU, 6-8 ATS) @ Baltimore Ravens (8-6 SU, 7-7 ATS)
Spread: Baltimore -2.5, Total: 45

M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD – Sunday, December 22nd, 4:25 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

You probably don’t really think about it, but the Patriots haven’t clinched a playoff berth yet, and they might have to get the job done on their own to be able to do that this week. Miami is just two back with two to play and holds the tiebreaker in the AFC East, and wins by both the Fins and the Bengals really could put the Pats in some flux. This is the exact same type of game which was lost last week, and New England knows that it can’t make the same mistake twice. The Ravens, who did beat these Patriots last year in the AFC Championship Game up in Foxboro, are still clinging to their hopes of an AFC North title once again, something which they can lock up if they win their last two games. It’s going to be tough to do so, and in all likelihood, losing this game will at least eliminate them from the division title race, but this is a team which is starting to look touched. The Ravens have won their last two games in miracle fashion.

Chicago Bears (8-6 SU, 4-9-1 ATS) @ Philadelphia Eagles (8-6 SU, 7-6-1 ATS)
Spread: Philadelphia -3, Total: 56

Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA – Sunday, December 22nd, 8:30 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

The line will be interesting to watch in this game if the Cowboys beat the Redskins earlier in the day. There’s enough time for news to break regarding players not playing in this one, because the truth of the matter is that the Eagles literally have very little to play for in this game if Dallas wins. Why? Because next week’s game against the Cowboys at that point would be for the NFC East title regardless of what happens here on Sunday Night Football. However, winning this one ensures that the NFC East winners will be the #3 seed in the playoffs, while losing it would likely ensure that the division winners would be the #4 seed, which might make a big difference in the end. The Bears have control of their own destiny once again, as two wins, and they’ll be the NFC North title holders. The problem they have? The Bears haven’t been able to stop the run against anyone, and now, they have the most dynamic rushing team in the league in their way.

Atlanta Falcons (4-10 SU, 5-9 ATS) @ San Francisco 49ers (10-4 SU, 10-4 ATS)
Spread: San Francisco -13, Total: 45

Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA – Monday, December 23rd, 8:40 ET

Handicapping Match-up Details Pick & Preview

It’s the last ever game to be played at Candlestick Park barring a miracle, and it should be an emotional one for the 49ers. Depending upon what else happens around the league on Sunday, this could be a game which clinches them a playoff berth. However, a loss, and next week’s game against the Cardinals likely becomes an elimination game for those two clubs. Atlanta has nothing left to play for, as it now knows that, barring a miracle, it won’t have the #1 pick in the NFL Draft after it beat Washington last week at home. Here’s our question. Was that game against the Redskins a testament to the fact that the Falcons have indeed been playing better football these last few weeks? Or does it suggest that they really should be playing better than they are? Needing to stop a two-point conversion play to win a game against one of the lowliest teams in the league isn’t exactly something to be proud about.

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Adam Markowitz

Adam Markowitz

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.

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