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NFL Week 16 Betting Odds

NFL Week 16 Preview

First of all I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and many holiday blessings! This year’s Christmas Day NFL gift turned out to be pretty good as the red hot Chargers travel to the much improved Tennessee Titans.

My pick for game of the week is Baltimore at Pittsburgh.

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This should be a good match up as the Ravens are fighting to stay in the hunt for a wild card spot and the Steelers could be just the team to ruin it for them.

The Odds Gods have blessed all the home teams as the favorites for the week, except the Minnesota at Chicago match up. Lot’s of football this week, so lets get started.

Friday, December 25 7:30 pm San Diego Charges (11-3) @ Tennessee Titans (7-7)
Line: Tennessee -3 (Total 47)

The Titans have played well after starting the season 0-6. They have established a .500 record and possibly have a chance at a playoff spot should they win their final two games of the season. But first they will have to get past the Chargers, by far the hottest team in the NFL. Lead by Drew Brees and a passing attack that could be the best in the league coming down the stretch. Tennessee is a physical team and that may prove to be difficult for the Chargers, who have had trouble with physical teams like Baltimore and Pittsburgh. The Titans’ Chris Johnson is just 207 yards away from of becoming the sixth player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a single season, and has nine straight 100-yard rushing games. I like the Chargers in this one, but it will be close.

Sunday, December 27 1:00 pm – Buffalo Bills (5-9) @ Atlanta Falcons (7-7)
Line: Atlanta -9  (Total 41)

The Falcons have officially been eliminated from the playoffs last Saturday when Dallas knocked off previously unbeaten New Orleans. Atlanta took a step back this year after going 11-5 in 2008, when it made its first playoff appearance in four seasons. But with at least one or two more wins they will have chance at the first back-to-back winning seasons in the 44-year history of the franchise. For Buffalo there isn’t much left to play for besides individual accomplishments. Running back Fred Jackson needs 189 yards to reach 1,000 for the first time in his three-year career, while T.O. is two receptions shy of become the sixth player in history with 1,000.  Expect the Falcons to win this one.

Sunday, December 27 1:00 pm – Kansas City Chiefs (3-11) @ Cincinnati Bengals (9-5)
Line: Cincinnati –13 ½ (Total 40)

The Benglas will have a chance to clinch a playoff berth for the first time in four years against one of the NFL’s worst clubs this Sunday. Larry Johnson will face the team that released him earlier in the season and will be looking for the win that will seal Cincinnati’s run to the playoffs.  The Chiefs season is all but officallly over and the end cannot come soon enough for a team that has dealt with more than its share of injuries and let downs this season. Look for Cincy to get a big win here clinching the AFC North.

Sunday, December 27 1:00 pm – Oakland Raiders (5-9) @ Cleveland Browns (3-11)
Line: Cleveland -3 (Total 38)

The only thing the Browns have to look forward to is winning three straight for the first time in more than two years. The Browns have relied heavily on Josh Cribbs throughout the year and will continue to do so against the Raiders on Sunday.  This guy is truly spectacular. From returning kick offs and punts to Wildcat quarerback, pass rusher, or whatever, this guy is tops.  The Raiders will be looking to win their third consecutive road game for the first time since 2002. The Raiders are coming off a 20-19 win at Denver last Sunday. I am going against the odds here. Expect a close low scoring game with the Raiders edging out a win.

Sunday, December 27 1:00 pm – Seattle Seahawks (5-9) @ Green Bay Packers (9-5)
Line: Green Bay -14 (Total 41 ½)

The Packers are coming off a loss in their last game that exposed their injury-depleted secondary. With a win Sunday and a loss by either the Giants or Dallas, Green Bay will clinch an NFC wild-card spot. The Packers have missed the playoffs in three of the previous four seasons. The injury plagued Seahawks have struggled all season and Lambeau Field will not be kind to them. Aaron Rodgers will lead the Packers to a win.

Sunday, December 27 1:00 pm – Baltimore Ravens (8-6) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7)
Line: Pittsburgh -3  (Total 42)

This is my pick for game of the week. A trip to the Super Bowl was on the line the last time the Baltimore Ravens visited the Pittsburgh Steelers, and this time is just as significant, with both teams trying to make the playoffs. The Ravens can still catch AFC North-leading Cincinnati, but they can also make the playoffs with a win this week, coupled with losses by Jacksonville and the New York Jets. The Steelers would love nothing more for Christmas than to derail Baltimore’s playoff run and will try to take advantage of Baltimore’s beat-up secondary. Pittsburgh is still in playoff contention after last weeks 37-36 win over Green Bay. Ben Roethlisberger has led the Steelers to victory in their last four games against the Ravens with eight touchdowns. This includes a 23-14 victory in last season’s AFC championship game. I like Pittsburgh in this one with home field advantage.

Sunday, December 27 1:00 pm – Houston Texans (7-7) @ Miami Dolphins (7-7)
Line: Miami -3 (Total 42)

There are six AFC teams at 7-7; Houston and Miami are two of these teams. Both clubs will be looking just to notch a win, as there could be countless playoff scenarios that will play out over the final two weeks. The Texans running game has all but totally dissapperared, so I would expect them to attack Miami’s inexperienced secondary as much as possible. The Fins will try and pound this one out on the ground as Ricky Williams looks for his fifth 100-yard rushing game in the last seven weeks after running for 80 and a TD against Tennessee last week. Houston won 21-20 on Sept. 7, 2003, in its only game in Miami. Expect Miami to pull of a narrow margin victory in the one.

Sunday, December 27 1:00 pm – Carolina Panthers (6-8) @ New York Giants (8-6)
Line: New York -7 (Total 42 ½)

New York’s playoff hopes are still alive and a win against the Panthers in their last regular-season appearance at Giants Stadium just may seal the deal. The Giants are looking to win its third straight over Carolina. The Panthers are fresh off a big win over the Vikings and the Giants’ seventh-ranked defense will have to find an answer for Matt Moore who had career highs with 299 passing yards and three TDs against in the win.  Eli Manning is generally very good in big games like this, particularly at home. Manning is also 2-0 in the regular season versus Carolina, throwing for six scores and no interceptions in the last two games. I expect a win from the Giants in this one.

Sunday, December 27 1:00 pm – Jacksonville Jaguars (7-7) @ New England Patriots (9-5)
Line: New England –7 ½ (Total 43)

The Patriots look to clinch the AFC East title and complete a perfect home slate Sunday when they host the Jaguars.  The Jags cannot afford a third straight loss, as it will extinguish any playoffs hopes this season. Jacksonville will need to hand the ball to the NFL’s third-leading rusher in Maurice Jones-Drew taking advantgage of a beat up New England’s defensive line. The Patriots Tom Brady will look to expose Jacksonville’s porous pass defense as he hooks up with Randy Moss for a couple of scores in this one. Pats win this one at home and return to the postseason after missing out last year.

Sunday, December 27 1:00 pm – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-12) @ New Orleans Saints (13-1)
Line: New Orleans –14 (Total 49)

The Saints unbeaten streak was snapped with a loss to the Cowboys last week but now they need to regroup and secure the NFC’s No. 1 seed with a win over the rudderless Buccaneers this Sunday. The Saints need to rest up some injuries in preperation for the postseason and get a few bodies back on defense, primarily Jabari Greer and Sedrick Ellis. Tampa Bay will be playing for a first-overall pick. New Orleans beat the Buccaneers 38-7 on Nov. 22, holding them to 219 yards while forcing three interceptions and a fumble. Look for more of the same.

Sunday, December 27 4:05 pm –St. Louis Rams (1-13) @ Arizona Cardinals (9-5)
Line: Arizona -14 (Total 43 ½)

The Cardinals have already been crowned the NFC West division champions for the second consecutive season with a win over Detroit last week. The woeful Rams will have a difficult time finding a way to slow Kurt Warner and the Arizona passing attack. Look for a pedestrian Arizona win as the Cards play most of their second string in the second half.

Sunday, December 27 4:05 pm – Detroit Lions (2-12) @ San Francisco 49ers (6-8)
Line: San Francisco -12  (Total 41)

The 49ers still have an opportunity to finish with their best record in seven seasons. Needing to win their final two games to do so, the 49ers will try to get the first of those victories Sunday against the visiting Detroit Lions. The Lions haven’t won on the road in over two years, a streak that began Nov. 11, 2007.  The 49ers have played well at Candlestick. The Lions lost at San Francisco 31-13 last season , a game that saw running back Frank Gore rush for 130 yards and a touchdown as San Francisco’s defense held the Lions to 240 total yards in the third of their 16 losses in 2008. Gore alone should be enough to win this one for the 49ers.

Sunday, December 27 4:15 pm – Denver Broncos (8-6) @ Philadelphia Eagles (10-4)
Line: Philadelphia -7 (Total 41 ½)

Brian Dawkins will make his return to Philadelphia on Sunday after the Eagles opted not to bring back the seven-time Pro Bowl safety after last season. Dawkins and company will look to dismantle the Eagles offense and walk away with a much needed win. The Eagles’ will look to counter with a defense that ranks 11th overall with 23 interceptions– tied for the third-most in the league. Denver QB Kyle Orton will need to make precision passes as the Philly defense has forced 36 turnovers. Denver has lost two straight, including last Sunday’s surprising 20-19 home defeat to Oakland. Expect the Eagles to win this one by a touchdown.

Sunday, December 27 4:15 pm – New York Jets (7-7) @ Indianapolis Colts (14-0)
Line: Indianapolis -6 (Total 40 ½)

The leagues only remaining undefeated team — the Colts, will look for their 24th straight regular-season victory against the best pass defense in the league. The Jets also have the league’s top-rated rushing offense, which should give them an advantage against a Colts rush defense ranked 16th. The former AFC East rivals have met just twice since the Colts joined the South in 2002. Indianapolis has won both of those meetings, taking a 31-28 victory in the last one in 2006. Peyton Manning will make his 206th straight start for the Colts, who have already clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Manning is 7-4 with 13 TDs and 13 INTs in 11 career games against the Jets, including one playoff game. Look for the Colts to come out ahead in this one to keep their streak alive.

Sunday, December 27 8:20 pm – Dallas Cowboys (9-5) @ Washington Redskins (4-10)
Line: Washington –6 ½ (Total 42)

The Cowboys need a win if they want to stay in the mix for the NFC East title. The Redskins need 75 plain brown paper bags to put over their heads after an embarrassing 45-12 loss to the Giants on Monday night.  Dallas is coming off a huge win as they handed the unbeaten Saints their first loss of the season at New Orleans in Week 15. The Dallas defense held  the Saints to its lowest point total of the season in the win. Washington is dreadful, and their playoff hopes have been doused. However, this is still one of the NFL’ biggest rivalry games. The Redskins beat Dallas 7-6 at Cowboys Stadium back on Nov. 22, but this one goes to the Cowboys on the road.

Monday, December 28 8:30 pm – Minnesota Vikings (11-3) @ Chicago Bears (5-9)
Line: Minnesota -7  (Total 42)

Brett Favre and the Vikings will try to bounce back from their second loss in three games with a win over the struggling Bears on Monday night. A win will clinch a postseason bye for the division champs. The Vikings lost 26-7 at Carolina last week in a game that was surrounded with plenty of sideline controversy between Favre and coach Brad Childress that ensued after Childress attempted to pull the veteran quarterback in the third quarter. It has been reported the two talked twice during the week to clear the air about the dispute. The Bears gave up four touchdowns through the air in last week’s 31-7 pounding in Baltimore, its eighth defeat in 10 games. Jay Cutler threw three more interceptions last week to increase his NFL-worst total to 25. Expect the Vikings to notch a win to keep them in the hunt for a first-round bye.

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Matt Martz is a sports writer for the Bakersfield Californian located in Central California. Blessed is the gambler who expects nothing, for ye shall not be disappointed.

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