"SoFi Stadium June 26, 2020" by Don Norris- is licensed under CC BY 2.0
NFL

NFL Week 16: Part 2

Week 16: Part 1 is live and can be found here. The last eight games for Week 16 are listed below in Part 2.

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Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

 

Rams at Vikings +3.5

The Rams are just chugging along at this point. Their defense appears to be a little less effective than it was a year ago, but they’re just so much better on offense this season with Matt Stafford. Winners of their last three, the Rams still don’t look like the team we thought they could be. However, three tough matchups to close the season should get them into playoff form.

The Vikings are nearing desperation mode. They’re currently in the final playoff spot, but there are four other teams within a single game (two of them the same record as the Vikings). The Vikings may be in a tough spot this week without the help of Dalvin Cook, but Alexander Mattison has proven to be a valuable stand-in. The concern this week is the secondary facing this prolific passing offense.

Friday’s cash report had the Vikings listed as 62% cash favorites. By Sunday, the Vikings were 82% of the cash, with the Rams -3.5 point favorites.

Rams 27 Vikings 24

 

Bills at Patriots -1

The Bills are not happy with how their snow storm game with the Patriots went down. The Patriots threw the ball just three times in a run-heavy game in Buffalo. The irony of a team like Buffalo is that they aren’t ideal for the kind of weather their city gets in the winter. Buffalo is a pass-heavy team who doesn’t run the ball well or stop the run well. Now, they’ll get better weather in this revenge opportunity.

The Patriots should have Damien Harris (hamstring), but will be without Rhamondre Stevenson (protocols) for the game. That means the run game, which was unstoppable against Buffalo the last time, will be severely hindered. With better weather and desperation setting-in for Buffalo, the Bills will be a much more challenging opponent the second time around.

The Bills were 51% cash favorites on Friday. By Sunday, the Patriots were cash favorites at 53% and outright favorites at -1.

Patriots 23 Bills 20

 

Lions +7 at Falcons

The Lions were great last week in their home upset over the Cardinals. I’d like to say the game was close, but it never really was. Every time it looked like the Cardinals would get into a rhythm, the Lions stopped them and subsequently went on long offensive drives. The Lions don’t have a lot to play for, but we’ve seen them give extraordinary effort in a vast majority of games this season already.

The Falcons are a weird team. They are fairly average as a team, overall. Last week, we thought they might be able to hang with the 49ers, but we turned out to be very wrong with that prediction. The 49ers played 49er football and the Falcons just could not capitalize near the goal line to stay in it. Now, the Falcons get the Lions, with an outside chance to make the playoffs.

Detroit were cash favorites on Friday at 72%. By Sunday, the line moved towards the Falcons at -7 and the cash moved the other way at 83% for Detroit.

Falcons 24 Lions 23

 

Bears at Seahawks -7

The Bears might be at rock bottom. Since Matt Nagy took over, this team went from promising to depressing. After whiffing on Mitch Trubisky, the Bears drafted Justin Fields this season, with the hopes of erasing the Mahomes and Watson regrets. Thus far, it appears Fields has been largely misused, as the Bears have struggled greatly on offense.

It appeared last week Matt Nagy was actually trying to get tossed from the game. This would’ve been his biggest accomplishment thus far and might have even earned him more time on his coaching tenure. As it stands now, I don’t see him surviving the offseason. In the words of Jim Morrison, “this is the end.”

The Seahawks’ last gasp was probably last week. Now, they’re 5-9 with three weeks left, trailing the final playoff spot by two full games. The Falcons, Panthers, WFT, Saints, Eagles, and Vikings are all ahead of them in the playoff standings.

Friday’s cash had the Seahawks as 97% cash favorites. By Sunday, the Seahawks had 95% of the cash at -7.

Seahawks 29 Bears 19

 

 Broncos at Raiders -.5

The Broncos are a solid team across the board, with the exception of the quarterback position. Though limited offensively, the Broncos defense often keeps them around in games, allowing the offense ample time to wear opposing teams down with their rushing attack. Though it has worked well for them, there have been a number of games where a negative game script ultimately dooms the Broncos.

The Raiders come into this week ready to make a final push for a playoff spot. After beating the heavily shorthanded Browns last week, the Raiders hope to keep things going this week against their bitter rival. Unfortunately, the Raiders are particularly bad at stopping the run, which just so happens to be the strength of this Broncos offense. With Drew Lock starting this week, the Raiders need to force him to throw.

This game is so dependent on game script for the Broncos. If the Broncos can keep the game a one-score game for the majority of the game, they can continue to pound the rock and force the Raiders into their hands. If the Raiders play from ahead, the Broncos don’t stand a great chance to rally. I like for the Broncos to bleed this out and win the battle in the trenches on both sides.

By Sunday, the Raiders got a surprising 80% of the cash. It smells funny, but we have to go with the cash model here.

Raiders 17 Broncos 16

 

Steelers at Chiefs -10.5

The Chiefs will get Tyreek Hill back this week after an early-week positive test. However, they will not get Travis Kelce back for the game. With injuries and positive tests piling-up, the Chiefs will be shorthanded in this game. However, their losses aren’t critical, outside of Kelce. Even with Kelce out, the Chiefs still have the Mahomes to Hill connection, to pair with a healthy backfield.

The Steelers are on the brink of elimination. After clawing back in their pillow fight against the Titans (thanks to great defense), the Steelers are on the edge of the playoff race, with both the Ravens and Browns struggling to stay above water. If the Steelers can keep it close in this game, they can use their balanced offense to keep the Chiefs honest defensively.

The matchup isn’t great, but a win here for the Steelers and their odds jump greatly. There should be a lot of concern with not only the spread, but how well the Chiefs have been playing on their winning streak. Prior to the Chargers game, the Chiefs defense had only allowed 10.8 PPG. The Steelers have a tough task on their hands today.

The Friday cash was in favor of the Chiefs at 56%. By Sunday morning, the Chiefs were 61% of the cash, with the line moving another point their direction.

Chiefs 28 Steelers 16

 

WFT at Cowboys -9.5

The WFT struggled mightily in their game against the Cowboys just two weeks ago. After starting slow, the WFT rallied and nearly completed the comeback. This time around, the conditions are ripe for the Cowboys, playing at home. Even with Heinecke back, the task of finding holes in this tough Cowboys defense is daunting. The WFT has to find answers on offense early if they want to have a shot.

The Cowboys are rated as the 5th overall team in the NFL (via PFF) and top 11 both offensively and defensively. The issues for them lately have been offensive consistency. For a good portion of the season now, the Cowboys have looked like a completely different offense on a quarter to quarter basis. With a WFT rematch today, the Cowboys need to get back to their balanced offense.

Friday’s cash report had the Cowboys as 68% cash favorites. By Sunday, a wave of bets on the WFT pushed the line down a full point to -9.5. After that, the Cowboys got more action, pushing the cash numbers way up to 91%.

Cowboys 30 WFT 20

 

Dolphins -3 at Saints

The Dolphins are finally facing a challenging defense this week. After two full months of cupcake defenses, the Dolphins face the Saints, who PFF rank as the 2nd best defense in the NFL. Though the Dolphins look to be playoff contenders in the AFC, it’s worth noting they have had the easiest SOS this season (32nd). Alas, a victory today, and the Dolphins need (realistically) one more to lock-in a playoff spot.

After shutting out the defending champs last week, the Saints are looking for an encore performance to push them into the postseason. This game is critical for both these teams, but the path ahead looks much better for New Orleans. The Saints get the Falcons and Panthers to end the season, so this game probably isn’t a must-win, but it’s still shaping-up to be a defensive battle.

Ian Book will start for the Saints today, in-place of all the injured and covid-positive players on the depth chart. Book appeared to be a relatively competent QB in college, but he’s been under lock and key to this point in the season. Sean Payton doesn’t like to risk it, when it comes to the QB position, but he’s out of other options this week.

Friday’s cash line had the Saints as 65% favorites. Sunday had the Dolphins at 72%, while Monday at 5pm EST had the Dolphins at 67%.

Dolphins 23 Saints 17

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