NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 16, 2014

NFL Picks (Preseason 2014): 8-7-1 (-$20)
NFL Picks (Week 1, 2014): 8-8 (+$110)
NFL Picks (Week 2, 2014): 7-9 (-$1,150)
NFL Picks (Week 3, 2014): 6-9-1 (+$130)
NFL Picks (Week 4, 2014): 6-7 (+$640)
NFL Picks (Week 5, 2014): 9-4-2 (+$255)
NFL Picks (Week 6, 2014): 5-9-1 (-$1,230)
NFL Picks (Week 7, 2014): 10-4-1 (+$330)
NFL Picks (Week 8, 2014): 4-11 (+$320)
NFL Picks (Week 9, 2014): 9-4 (+$760)
NFL Picks (Week 10, 2014): 9-4 (-$90)
NFL Picks (Week 11, 2014): 8-6 (+$90)
NFL Picks (Week 12, 2014): 7-8 (+$100)
NFL Picks (Week 13, 2014): 5-11 (-$1,390)
NFL Picks (Week 14, 2014): 8-8 (-$130)
NFL Picks (Week 15, 2014): 6-9-1 (-$1,380)

NFL Picks (2014): 115-118-7 (-$2,655)
NFL Picks (2013): 144-131-8 (+$5,580)
NFL Picks (2012): 130-145-8 (-$5,760)
NFL Picks (2011): 137-133-12 (-$1,925)
NFL Picks (2010): 144-131-8 (+$6,080)
NFL Picks (2009): 151-124-9 (+$3,370)
NFL Picks (2008): 136-125-6 (+$4,330)
If you don’t quite understand the line, total or anything else, go to my Sports Betting FAQ.

Vegas betting action updated Dec. 22, 6:05 p.m. ET. Follow @walterfootball for updates.

Go to Week 16 NFL Picks – Late Games

Tennessee Titans (2-12) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)
Line: Jaguars by 4.5. Total: 39.

Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Jaguars -2.
Walt’s Calculated Line: Jaguars -4.
Thursday, Dec. 18, 8:25 ET
Comment on this game

The Game. Edge: Jaguars.

WEEK 15 RECAP: I apologize if you lost lots of money with my picks last week. I know how you feel because I took a similar hit to my sportsbook account. I wish I could say sorry for placing eight units on Johnny Manziel, but I feel like Johnny Arena Football should answer for that. My September NFL Pick of the Month was on Teddy Bridgewater, another rookie quarterback making his first start, so it’s not like I was being dumb for putting so much faith in an unknown commodity.

Rookie signal-callers starting for the first time actually have a good track record, believe it or not. Bridgewater covered. Derek Carr covered. Robert Griffin went into New Orleans and upset the Saints. Even E.J. Manuel and Geno Smith beat the spread in their initial starts! Andrew Luck failed, but was facing a tough Chicago defense on the road. Quarterbacks are generally more prepared for the NFL now, so they tend to have an advantage when there’s no film on them. The fact that Manziel was brutal in his opening game bodes terribly for his future. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he’s out of the league by 2016.

Of course, losing this pick wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t for the other 12.1 units I collectively lost on the Rams, Falcons and Chargers. I shouldn’t have wagered that much on St. Louis because every goofball was picking them, and the Cardinals felt disrespected as a consequence. That gave them a huge psychological edge. The Atlanta loss, I don’t get. The Steelers always suck as road favorites, especially when all of the money is on them. I guess they’re bound to cover in these situations once in a while. I’ll just toss that aside as a fluke result.

As for the Charger loss, I really need to stop betting against Peyton Manning when he’s a road favorite; he’s 44-27 ATS in those circumstances. Games that have a double-trend edge have been amazing this year (see the record below the comment board), so I have to start following that.

TENNESSEE OFFENSE: I’m not going to be spending too much effort writing about this game. With Zach Mettenberger and Jake Locker both out, Charlie Whitehurst will be starting against a defense that has improved markedly since the beginning of the season. The Jaguars are tied for fifth in the NFL in sacks (39), and their secondary has been performing better, so Whitehurst won’t have a very easy time moving the chains aerially.

Tennessee won’t be running the ball well either; the Jaguars have limited their previous four opponents to 3.91 YPC, and it’s not like Shonn Greene and Bishop Sankey have been bursting for big gains. Sankey has been such a disappointment that Whisenhunt went back to Greene last week.

JACKSONVILLE OFFENSE: There’s some question about Blake Bortles’ availability. Bortles has not enjoyed a quality rookie campaign, but he’s still an upgrade over the incompetent Chad Henne, who, like Whitehurst, could struggle with the opposing pass rush. The Titans are in the middle of the pack in terms of getting to the quarterback, but Jacksonville’s offensive line is atrocious.

The Jaguars could have some success running the ball. The Titans have a bottom-10 ground defense; the last time they limited their opponent to fewer than 88 rushing yards, it was the middle of October (Week 6). The plodding Toby Gerhart doesn’t exactly keep defensive coordinators up at night, but he’s not terrible, so he should be able to take advantage of this matchup.

RECAP: I have no interest in betting this game. The Jaguars seem like the right side because the Titans aren’t competitive under Ken Whisenhunt, but how can you lay three points with one of the worst teams in the NFL?

I’ll be posting NFL Picks all day Wednesday. Follow me at @walterfootball for updates.

FINAL THOUGHTS: The sharps pushed this spread up, as there isn’t as much public money on this game as there would be in a normal nationally televised game. Unfortunately, there’s no value left with the Jaguars; not that I’d consider wagering on them anyway. I think you’d have to be insane to bet this game. The Jaguars will try harder than the Titans, but laying a field goal or more with them seems almost insane.

The Psychology. Edge: None.
No edge found.

The Vegas. Edge: Titans.
I can’t remember the last time this much money was wagered on the Jaguars.
  • Percentage of money on Jacksonville: 73% (34,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Titans.
  • History: Underdog has covered 5 of the last 6 meetings, excluding a push.
  • Jaguars are 5-13 ATS as home favorites since 2008.
  • Opening Line: Jaguars -3.
  • Opening Total: 40.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 16 NFL Pick: Jaguars 19, Titans 13
    Jaguars -4.5 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Under 39 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Jaguars 21, Titans 13

    Philadelphia Eagles (9-5) at Washington Redskins (3-11)
    Line: Eagles by 7. Total: 51.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Eagles -8.5.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Eagles -5.
    Saturday, Dec. 20, 4:30 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Eagles.

    WEEK 16 BETTING TRENDS: I’ve identified poisonous teams that I would never bet on to save me from some bad picks. Here’s the list:

    Poisonous Teams:

    I thought briefly about removing the Giants, but their previous two victories have come against poisonous teams, so I’m not sure if they’re in the clear.

    I have discussed point value in terms of the Las Vegas Hilton advance spread. That dynamic was 28-17 against the spread since Week 2 entering last weekend. Here’s how it fared in Week 15:

    Before Week 14 After Week 14 ATS Result
    Titans -3 Titans +3 Non-cover
    Falcons -1.5 Falcons +3 Non-cover
    Redskins +3.5 Redskins +7 Non-cover
    49ers +6.5 49ers +9 Non-cover
    Cardinals -2.5 Cardinals -4.5 Cover

    This was a rough week for this dynamic on the surface, but consider that the 49ers and Redskins were probably the right sides – and I say this as someone who won a unit on Seattle. Ed Hocchuli ruined the day for 49er bettors with such a bogus call, while Washington seemed in control of its game against the Giants that bogus call on Robert Griffin’s touchdown. I had no units on the Redskins, so there’s no bias there either. Sometimes, the right sides just don’t win.

    Value lines are now 29-21 ATS this season. Here are this week’s value lines (movements of two or more without serious injuries):

    Before Week 15 After Week 15
    Colts PK Colts +3
    Bears +4.5 Bears +7

    There are only two games for now, but one is big. Everyone is back on Dallas’ bandwagon, and because the Colts weren’t very impressive in their victory over the Texans, the Cowboys are now a three-point favorite after not even being favored before Sunday! If that’s not an overreaction, I don’t know what is. The Lions, meanwhile, have seen the line inflated in their direction, but that movement makes sense because the Bears are a dead team.

    IMPROVING: I’m doing lots of self-evaluation this week. I’m looking through my spreadsheet and databases, trying to figure out what I’m doing right and wrong. I’m determined to get back on the winning track after these past several disastrous weeks. Hopefully doing this will produce a better result. I know it can’t get much worse, but I don’t want to have another losing week this year.

    PHILADELPHIA OFFENSE: Nick Foles has been ruled out already, meaning Mark Sanchez will have to start again. Philly fans, who once believed in Sanchez, are now moaning and groaning about his latest performances, and rightfully so. Sanchez has not played well in the slightest, but he’s just a backup quarterback, so expectations should’ve never been high to begin with.

    Having said that, Sanchez should be able to have one of his better games. Washington’s secondary is that bad. The Redskins blow tons of coverages every week, as they’ve been lit up for a 9.72 YPA in their previous four games – the worst such mark in the league during that span. Sanchez has a couple of talented receivers to throw to, so he should be able to rebound off two poor performances.

    LeSean McCoy, however, won’t have as much success. Despite the incompetence of their secondary, the Redskins shut down the run pretty effectively; they’re seventh in terms of YPC (3.69), and Week 8 was the last time they surrendered more than 100 yards on the ground. McCoy hasn’t been the same player this year, though he has improved ever since Evan Mathis returned to the lineup. He’ll be limited in this contest though.

    WASHINGTON OFFENSE: Both teams are missing quarterbacks they’d prefer to start, as Colt McCoy has been knocked out for the season; the glass in his body has shattered again, so he’s done. Jay Gruden will begrudgingly start Robert Griffin, who apparently needs to get out to a lead so he doesn’t have to read defenses. Gruden’s words; not mine.

    Gruden sucks as a coach, but he’s right about Griffin; the athletic quarterback just doesn’t prepare enough for the games because he’s too busy getting fed grapes by Daniel Snyder. Griffin did just have his best performance of the season, however, and it’s likely that Washington would’ve prevailed if that bogus fumble on the rushing touchdown hadn’t been enforced (the rule sucked; not the call). Griffin will be going against a putrid Philadelphia secondary this week, but I’m not sure if I like his chances as much. The Eagles put tons of pressure on the quarterback – they’re tied with the Bills for the league lead in sacks – and the Redskins have some major issues in pass protection, especially with Trent Williams banged up.

    Washington won’t be able to run the ball very well either. The Eagles are stout versus the rush, ranking fifth in terms of YPC (3.61), and Alfred Morris couldn’t even get going last week against the Giants, who have been much worse when it comes to stopping the run. Griffin’s scrambling ability will help, but I don’t see Morris having a good game.

    RECAP: This spread is too high. I don’t think it should be over -6. If you’re wondering how road favorites of 7.5-plus have fared following two or more consecutive losses, they’re just 3-6 ATS since 1991. That’s not nearly a great enough sample size to justify any sort of pick, but it’s an indication that Philadelphia should not be laying this many points.

    I’m still picking the Eagles, but I can’t stomach laying more than a touchdown with them. There’s been sharp action on the Redskins, as this spread has shifted from +8 to +7.5 with tons of money on Philadelphia, but Washington is too poisonous to wager on.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: This is a tough one. The Eagles are the much better team, and the Redskins are poisonous. However, there’s tons of public money on Philadelphia, and the sharps are taking the Redskins. This line has dropped to -7, so perhaps that’s the right number to take the Eagles. I wouldn’t bet on this game; it seems like a 50-50 contest at best (in terms of the spread).

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    The Eagles never play well before the Giants, but they need this game. No edge.

    The Vegas. Edge: Redskins.
    No surprise where the public is going with this.
  • Percentage of money on Philadelphia: 83% (42,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Redskins.
  • History: Eagles have won 6 of the last 8 meetings.
  • Eagles are 0-8 ATS before playing the Giants since December 2010.
  • Opening Line: Redskins -8.
  • Opening Total: 50.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 16 NFL Pick: Eagles 27, Redskins 17
    Eagles -7 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Under 51 (0 Units) — Push; $0
    Redskins 27, Eagles 24

    San Diego Chargers (8-6) at San Francisco 49ers (7-7)
    Line: 49ers by 1. Total: 40.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : 49ers -2.5.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Pick.
    Saturday, Dec. 20, 8:25 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Chargers.

    VEGAS UPDATE: Vegas had been on a roll since its blood bath in Week 10, but it finally lost last weekend. Only one highly bet team (Packers) failed to cover. The house took four big losses with the Broncos, Patriots, Giants and Saints all covering. I’m surprised some shady mobster didn’t call into the Redskins-Giants game and request for that Robert Griffin touchdown to stand. And where was this mobster during Philip Rivers’ attempted back-door drives? Kyle Orton scored two meaningless touchdowns – along with a fourth-and-16 conversion – yet Rivers couldn’t even get one against the same defense? Really?

    Once again, follow @walterfootball for updates.

    SAN FRANCISCO OFFENSE: The 49ers are done. They tried hard last week because they were battling their arch rival, but Jim Harbaugh has otherwise checked out. I can’t really blame him though considering the circumstances. His front office has undermined him at every step dating back to late February, while Colin Kaepernick has regressed terribly.

    I don’t see Kaepernick doing much in this contest, especially without the prospect of a running game. Both Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde were knocked out of Sunday’s game with various injuries. Both players are operating on short rest, so if they sit, someone named Alfonso Smith will start for the 49ers. The Chargers have the No. 10 run defense (3.87 YPC), so I don’t see why they’d have much of an issue containing him.

    Kaepernick has struggled immensely as a passer this season, and his issues will continue. He’ll have a slightly easier time now that he doesn’t have to battle the Legion of Boom, but the Chargers have a couple of talented players in their secondary in Brandon Flowers and Eric Weddle. Flowers will be able to take away one of Kaepernick’s receivers, so the bust quarterback will only be able to throw to one wideout. Vernon Davis won’t be an option because he hasn’t tried all year.

    SAN DIEGO OFFENSE: The 49ers have injury concerns on this side of the ball as well. We all know by now that they’ve been missing Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, and the like, but now they’ll be without Chris Borland, who has been fantastic as a replacement for Bowman. San Francisco had major problems stopping the run once Borland left the game at Seattle. It was no coincidence that Marshawn Lynch went off in the second half of last week’s game, as Borland’s absence was huge.

    The Chargers should be able to run pretty effectively with Bortland missing once again. It doesn’t appear as though Ryan Mathews will be back in the lineup, but Branden Oliver should have a decent outing, especially considering that the 49ers could be worn out from playing such a physical game last week.

    Having a strong rushing attack will make life much easier for Philip Rivers, whose offensive line has let him down recently. Rivers barely had enough time to throw last week, as the Broncos’ front overwhelmed him with pressure. He’ll need to be in short-yardage situations to lead consistent drives, as the 49ers managed to sack the mobile Russell Wilson five times this past Sunday. That could be problematic, given that Rivers won’t have Keenan Allen at his disposal.

    RECAP: The Chargers aren’t in a particularly good spot following two tough losses at home, but they’ve proven to be resilient before, even on the road. Recall that they beat the Ravens in Baltimore a few weeks ago. I like them for a unit, as it might be possible that the 49ers completely check out. They were eliminated from the playoffs following a tough loss at Seattle, and Harbaugh won’t be back next year, so I don’t see where their motivation will come from.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m dropping my unit in the wake of the news that Philip Rivers is nursing a back injury. Maybe he’s gotten over it, but there’s no telling whether that’s the case. If he’s still ailing, the Chargers could have a tough time winning this game. I still like them to cover, but I’m not confident in it.

    The Psychology. Edge: Chargers.
    It’s hard to see the 49ers getting up for this. Both teams are coming off emotional losses, but San Francisco’s playoff hopes are done. Jim Harbaugh could check out.

    The Vegas. Edge: 49ers.
    The Chargers are a public dog.
  • Percentage of money on San Diego: 68% (25,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: .
  • Philip Rivers is 29-20 ATS as a starter after Nov. 30 (12-7 ATS as an underdog).
  • Favorites after playing the Seahawks are 7-23 ATS.
  • 49ers are 37-19 ATS as favorites in night games since 1989.
  • Opening Line: 49ers -2.5.
  • Opening Total: 41.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 16 NFL Pick: Chargers 24, 49ers 20
    Chargers +1 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Over 40.5 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Chargers 38, 49ers 35

    Minnesota Vikings (6-8) at Miami Dolphins (7-7)
    Line: Dolphins by 6. Total: 42.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Dolphins -7.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Dolphins -4.
    Sunday, Dec. 21, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Vikings.

    HATE MAIL: Another week, another stack of hate mails. These are from the comment boards below:

    After following you for 4 years, I officially lost all faith in your picks.

    I’ve officially lost all faith in myself after the past 4 weeks. What took you so long?

    stop fallowing loser capper like walterass

    Yeah screw that Walterass guy and his stupid Web site,!!!

    Walt the Bengals hater. Love how the December pick of the month worked out for you. Lol…Manziel blows! 8 units? ha ha

    By “Bengals hater,” do you mean “guy who points out the Bengals won’t go far in the playoffs because Andy Dalton sucks?”

    who roots against two young girls competing for a scholarship? And then actually takes the time to write about it. You’re a classy dude, go Browns!

    Who the hell doesn’t root against “two young girls” competing for a scholarship?

    rough day for the Football family…Johnny and Walter blow!

    Each other!

    The Browns were playing terribly, and down 10, before Johnny even had a chance to suck. You are just an idiot on every level. I come here every week to warn you not to bet for/against the Bengals or Saints because you can’t accurately judge the teams, so of course you bet your biggest wager of the month against the Bengals. Straight moron.

    You’re right. I see the error in my ways. The Bengals are going to the Super Bowl because Andy Dalton is the best QB evar.

    you are the worst capper Ever, what a Douche you are, thanks for the blow out loser PLAY OF THE MONTH! LMFAO!

    No problem! I strive to be the ultimate douche!

    Hope u have a rich uncle or you’ll be scoping out the truck stops looking for clients to service to pay for your loses. I hope your weenie sucking abilities are better than your handicapping skills or you’re beat. I have a feeling you’ll do just fine though. Nice picks this week, culminated with your ‘pick of the month’. Take a rookie QB making his 1st start, with a 1st year head coach, with a garbage team on a losing streak, vs. a 1st place team=genius. I look forward to every Wednesday when you post your fade material.

    Browns are a “garbage” team. The same “garbage” team that clobbered your Bengals about a month ago? Such selective memory, very impressive!

    Congrats on only dropping -15 units on the week vs -20 if Dallas had S H I T the bed like all your other trash picks! There is your silver lining scrub. Why not add a few more annoying advertising banners that none of us ever click on unless by mistake in order to raise funds to pay off your Bovada losses. That book must give you your own private line to call in on! Lmao!

    Hmm that’s a good idea. Think five more banners will be enough to offset the losses? Maybe six? Or seven?

    hey walt, good analysis saying the cowboys are strong against tight ends! pretty sure brent celek was second in receiving last week when they played the eagles. also pretty sure espn has colts TE’s having the 31st easiest matchup this week. also pretty sure you’ve previously stated the cowboys suck against TEs. Give Derek his flask back ya thick headed koont!

    You on crack, son? The Cowboys have given up 10 TDs to tight ends this year.

    Hello Walter, I am very much offended by your poor NFL pick selection, particularly your pick of the month. I lost $200 with Cleveland. As punishment for your terrible selection, I intend on coming to your house and I am going to break your window and then I am going to come inside and I will find you inside your house and I will pull down my pants and I am going to slap you across the face with my penis and I am going to fart on your face and I am going to poop in your mouth and I am going to steal all of your Cheetos, Lemon-flavored Jolly Ranchers, and breakfast cereals, and then I am going to say “Screw you Walter, your picks suck” and then I will leave.


    Are you ready to quit yet? Stop with the website giving out terrible picks? a friend of mine reviews your picks and bets against them every week and he is having an amazing year lol. You might as well flip a coin because your picks are that bad. Your writeups have always been a bunch of bs rambling on making no sense at all.

    You’re right, a coin would be way more accurate. My condolences to your friend though, since he lost way more money betting against me last year. At least he’s making a comeback, lol.

    My kids found your mock draft so repulsive that they vomited all over themselves. How would you like to clean up vomit? Can you please apologize to my kids, Screw, and you? Suck on a fat chode, walter rippinplezizinski.

    I eat vomit all the time, so would you ship it to me in a box? I need some lunch for Monday. But what is this about you wanting me to screw your kids? I went to Penn State, but I’m no Sandusky, bub.

    Here’s an actual e-mail I received:

    And another from someone asking me to shut down my site:

    And a third, which is much simpler, so I provided a simpler answer:

    And here’s something everyone should be doing:

    MINNESOTA OFFENSE: The Dolphins were great defensively in the early stages of the season. Unfortunately for them, their playoff chances and Joe Philbin’s job security, numerous injuries have struck. They were already having issues at corner when Louis Delmas went down. Jared Odrick got banged up, and then two linebackers missed Sunday’s game. As a result, the Patriots basically did whatever they wanted to Miami.

    Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings should be able to have success moving the chains. There’s some concern about Bridgewater’s pass protection, given how poor the offensive line has been this season, but Bridgewater, outside of the two horrible interceptions that allowed the Lions to creep back into the game, was pretty solid last week against an even-stronger Detroit stop unit, going 31-of-41 for 315 yards and a touchdown in addition to the picks. He also looked good against the Jets the week before. He has some real weapons to throw to with Charles Johnson emerging and Kyle Rudolph getting healthy.

    It would be nice if Bridgewater had a strong, consistent running game to lean on, but Matt Asiata could have some success this week. The Dolphins used to own a top-five ground defense, but the injuries have dropped them all the way to 22nd; they’re giving up 5.28 YPC to their previous four opponents.

    MIAMI OFFENSE: In addition to Bridgewater’s solid quarterbacking, the reason the Vikings were able to keep last week’s game against the Lions close was because of their ferocious pass rush, which is ninth in the NFL in sacks. They didn’t bring down Matthew Stafford a single time, but they swarmed his backfield and made him rush his passes, causing the Lions to go three-and-out on numerous occasions.

    The Vikings figure to have similar success against a Miami offensive line that has gotten worse in the wake of Branden Albert’s injury. The Dolphins have permitted 10 sacks the previous two weeks, so Everson Griffen and company will put heavy heat on Ryan Tannehill, who will also have to hurry his throws into a stout secondary that handled Calvin Johnson as well as any team could.

    The one area in which the Dolphins could have success on this side of the ball is the running game. The Vikings limited the Lions on the ground, but prior to that contest, they had given up an average of 111.8 rushing yards per game to their previous five opponents. Lamar Miller could have a huge performance if given the opportunity, but the problem is that the Dolphins have inexplicably refrained from feeding him the ball very much lately.

    RECAP: The Vikings are my top pick this week. This is a tremendous spot for them, as they’re in their second-consecutive road game as an underdog, which is typically a great covering situation. They’re also battling a Miami team that could be completely sapped following that New England loss. The defeat eliminated them from the playoffs, and now there’s speculation that Joe Philbin won’t be back. Where will the motivation come from? Conversely, the Vikings have been playing very hard for Mike Zimmer, and they’ve been a covering machine, beating the spread in all but one game since Week 7.

    Additionally, this spread is WAY too large. These teams are about even, and as we saw when the Dolphins took on the Ravens, they don’t have a very good homefield advantage. They’re also poor when favored (see trends below).

    The Vikings are a good team, as they’ve played the Packers and Lions closely. Miami is not on par with those two teams; not anymore, anyway, given all of its injuries.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m locking this in at +6. The sharps have jumped on the Vikings, so this spread could take a massive drop Sunday morning.

    SUNDAY NOTES: I hope you were able to lock this in at +6 or higher. The sharps pounded the Vikings down to +4 this morning, though there was some Miami take-back at -4, perhaps from those looking to middle.

    The Psychology. Edge: Vikings.
    The Dolphins are coming off an emotional loss, and now there’s speculation that Joe Philbin will be out. Where will the motivation come from?

    The Vegas. Edge: Dolphins.
    Sharps are on the Vikings.
  • Percentage of money on Minnesota: 65% (23,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Vikings.
  • Underdog is 57-29 ATS in the Dolphins’ last 86 games.
  • Vikings are 13-25 ATS in outdoor road games since 2008.
  • Vikings are 6-25 ATS in their road finale since 1980.
  • Dolphins are 5-15 ATS as favorites of 3.5 or more since 2008.
  • Dolphins are 9-27 ATS at home against teams with losing records since 2003.
  • Opening Line: Dolphins -7.
  • Opening Total: 43.
  • Weather: .

    Week 16 NFL Pick: Vikings 26, Dolphins 23
    Vikings +6 (5 Units) — Correct; +$500
    Over 42 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Dolphins 37, Vikings 35

    Green Bay Packers (10-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-12)
    Line: Packers by 11.5. Total: 49.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Packers -10.5.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Packers -9.
    Sunday, Dec. 21, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Packers.

    If you haven’t seen this yet, we have a new NFL Pick Em Contest on this Web site. It’s free entry, and there are monthly and seasonal prizes: $350 for the year, and $100 for each month. It’s not too late to enter, so sign up soon!

    Also, you can make your own NFL Power Rankings here.

    GREEN BAY OFFENSE: Those surprised by how lethargic the Packers were at Buffalo didn’t watch the second half of the Monday night game against Atlanta. Green Bay got off to a hot start, scoring 31 in the opening half, but they were very complacent following intermission, mustering just 12 points. The Packers, consequently, didn’t look prepared against the Bills. They dropped seven passes, one of which was a potential Jordy Nelson 94-yard touchdown, while Aaron Rodgers had no rhythm with his wideouts, who were inexplicably not looking for his patented back-shoulder throws.

    Perhaps losing to the Bills like that is exactly what the Packers needed to wake up. They’ll be more focused following that ugly loss, and they’ll have a much easier foe this week. The Buccaneers’ defensive ineptitude is well-publicized, and the unit will be even worse in the final two weeks of the season with Gerald McCoy out of the lineup. McCoy is one of the top defenders in the NFL, and he’s the only Buccaneer who can consistently pressure the quarterback. With him missing, Rodgers will have all afternoon to scan the field and find his talented receivers for big gains.

    McCoy’s absence will also affect the Buccaneer run defense; Tampa is 12th versus ground attacks, but will be much worse in that regard without the talented defensive tackle.

    TAMPA BAY OFFENSE: As long as Rodgers has his supporting cast focused, the Packers’ one major liability is in the secondary. They surrendered countless yardage to Julio Jones a couple of weeks ago, and they figure to have similar problems defending Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson.

    Fortunately for Green Bay, it won’t have to deal with a quarterback of Matt Ryan’s caliber in this contest. Josh McCown is awful, as he tends to commit horrible turnovers. It doesn’t help him that his offensive line has issues blocking, so Clay Matthews and company should be able put plenty of pressure on him, which should force him into more give-aways.

    RECAP: I like the Packers a good deal here. The last time the they suffered an embarrassing loss like that with Rodgers under center was in 2011 when Kyle Orton’s Chiefs upset them as 12-point underdogs. Rodgers came back the following week and slaughtered the Bears. He should have an easy time against the McCoy-less Buccaneers, who are awful at home. My only concern is the amount of money pouring in on the Packers; otherwise, this would be a higher wager.

    THURSDAY UPDATE: Wow, this spread is soaring. I’m locking in the Packers -11.5 for two units. I may add a third unit later, but I’m concerned about 85-15 action.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: This game is out of the 85-15 range, but not by very much. I still like the Packers, but I’d be lying if I told you that I wasn’t concerned about the amount of action on the favorite.

    SUNDAY NOTES: If you like the Buccaneers, you can get them for +12 -105 at Bovada. There’s some sharp action on Tampa, while the public is taking the Packers.

    The Psychology. Edge: Packers.
    The Packers will be up for this game off a loss.

    The Vegas. Edge: Buccaneers.
    Why would anyone bet Tampa?
  • Percentage of money on Green Bay: 82% (37,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Packers.
  • Aaron Rodgers is 55-34 ATS since 2009 (8-5 ATS as a favorite of 12+).
  • Aaron Rodgers is 16-5 ATS after a loss (just 8-4 ATS as a favorite of 7.5+).
  • Road Team is 54-33 ATS in Buccaneers games since 2009.
  • Aaron Rodgers is 4-8 ATS on the road as a 6.5 favorite or more.
  • Buccaneers are 12-31 ATS at home in the previous 43 instances.
  • Buccaneers are 6-16 ATS as a home underdog since 2009.
  • Opening Line: Packers -10.5.
  • Opening Total: 48.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 16 NFL Pick: Packers 30, Buccaneers 13
    Packers -11.5 (2 Units) — Correct; +$200
    Under 49 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Packers 20, Buccaneers 3

    Detroit Lions (10-4) at Chicago Bears (5-9)
    Line: Lions by 10. Total: 43.5.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Lions -4.5.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Lions -4.
    Sunday, Dec. 21, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Lions.

    I wouldn’t say my weekly random NFL notes cluttered these picks pages, so I’ll keep them here. What I’m also going to do is store all of them in a Random NFL Notes section so that you can go back and read previous entries in the future.

    Some random NFL notes I can’t put anywhere else:

    1. I’ve written about Johnny Manziel enough this week. I’ve called him Johnny Arena Football and referred to him as the worst quarterback of all time. I’m shocked ESPN hasn’t picked any of this up, given how obsessed they are with him. They even posted this absurd graphic:

    They’re just trolling at this point, right? Whoever came up with this comparison should be executed. Seriously, just hang him/her right now. This is the dumbest thing I’ve seen in my life, and that’s saying a lot because I constantly have ESPN on in my office. Their “next-gen” stats are often crap, but this is something else.

    And ESPN wonders why everyone hates them…

    2. One thing I won’t be watching on ESPN is the Pro Bowl (is it even on ESPN?) The Pro Bowl is worthless, even in its new “fantasy” format, but I do like voting for the players. If you didn’t see my Pro Bowl picks, check them out at that link.

    3. Dez Bryant was an obvious receiver vote. He’s been great this year. In fact, he’s so phenomenal that he even owns the Eagles. He LITERALLY owns the Eagles. According to Wikipedia, anyway (thanks, Hal C.):

    DETROIT OFFENSE: The Lions had been on fire offensively prior to battling the Vikings, but they had issues scoring, barely squeaking by with a 16-point output. The reason was because the Vikings swarmed Matthew Stafford’s backfield. Minnesota has a great pass rush, which was able to take advantage of a very shaky offensive line and force numerous three-and-outs.

    The Bears actually gave the Lions similar problems in the early stages of their Thanksgiving affair, but things figure to be different this time around. There could be a quit factor for this miserable Chicago team, and even if there’s not, left tackle Riley Reiff’s presence will make it difficult for Jared Allen to register two sacks again. Reiff was out of the lineup on Thanksgiving, so someone named Cornelius Lucas was charged with blocking the future Hall of Famer. That was not a pretty sight, but Reiff will have much more success.

    Assuming Stafford has adequate protection, he’ll be able to torch Chicago’s miserable back seven. The Bears couldn’t deal with Calvin Johnson on Thanksgiving, and I don’t see them coming up with any sort of solution, especially considering that Kyle Fuller isn’t 100 percent.

    CHICAGO OFFENSE: The Bears had to dink and dunk in their Thanksgiving matchup against the Lions, which worked at first before Detroit figured out what the game plan was. Chicago couldn’t score after that – and that was with Brandon Marshall on the field.

    Cutler looked lost Monday night without his top receiver. He made terrible decisions and was guilty of several turnovers. Even more alarming, he took seven sacks against the Saints. Cutler dinked and dunked at Detroit because the Bears’ offensive line couldn’t handle Ndamukong Suh and Detroit’s front, and that once again will be the case.

    The Bears won’t be able to run much with Matt Forte if they’re in an early hole. Forte won’t have much success on the ground anyway, given that the Lions have the NFL’s top run defense. They haven’t surrendered more than 46 rushing yards to any opponent since before Thanksgiving.

    RECAP: Cutler is an automatic fade from me until further notice. I’m taking the Lions, but I hate the terrible line value we’re getting, as Detroit was -4.5 last week. I’m not betting this game, as the Lions could be flat while looking ahead to Green Bay. They still may cover if that’s the case, though; that’s how pathetic Chicago is.

    PICK CHANGE: A pick change already! Cutler has been benched in favor of Jimmy Clausen, prompting the spread to rise to eight. I like the Bears more now, as Clausen will actually try. A major reason I picked the Lions in the first place was a fade of Cutler. The Bears seem like the right side now – I’ll be shocked if Detroit doesn’t mail this one in – but I’m still not betting on this contest.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: The Lions have the highest percentage of bets this week, as everyone is fading Clausen. I don’t think Clausen is much of a downgrade over Cutler, as the latter stopped caring long ago. Clausen will at least try. That said, I could see the Lions winning this, 27-0, though I don’t see why they would try. I’ve gotten some questions about why Detroit would mail it in. The answer is simple: The Lions, who have already clinched playoff berth, can win the division with a victory next week. What happens this week doesn’t matter at all in terms of the division.

    SUNDAY NOTES: Wow, this spread has shot all the way up to -10. Vegas is going to lose a ton of money if the Lions cover.

    The Psychology. Edge: Lions.
    The Bears are in a terrible funk. The Lions could be looking ahead to next week’s matchup against the Packers.

    The Vegas. Edge: Bears.
    No surprise where the money is going. This could be an 85-15 game.
  • Percentage of money on Detroit: 83% (28,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • History: Bears have won 14 of the last 20 meetings (Lions won last 3).
  • Lions are 14-26 ATS against losing teams the previous 39 instances.
  • Matthew Stafford is 3-9 ATS as a favorite following 2+ wins.
  • Jay Cutler is 35-65 ATS if you exclude Monday Night Football.
  • Opening Line: Lions -6.5.
  • Opening Total: 46.
  • Weather: .

    Week 16 NFL Pick: Lions 17, Bears 13
    Bears +10 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Under 43.5 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Lions 20, Bears 14

    Check out Walter Football's LockerDome poll on LockerDome

    Atlanta Falcons (5-9) at New Orleans Saints (6-8)
    Line: Saints by 6. Total: 56.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Saints -7.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Saints -4.5.
    Sunday, Dec. 21, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: None.

    As with the random NFL notes, I’m going to have all of my Random College Football Notes on one page as well.

    Random College Football Notes:

    1. Florida State made it to the first-ever college football playoff despite barely beating crappy opponents all year, so I feel like we can make fun of them just a bit. I found some funny memes recently. For instance, here’s the newest addition to the Seminoles’ roster:

    With all that’s going on down there, you have to feel for the residents. Fortunately, there’s a solution:

    2. Speaking of teams in the college football playoff, want to hear the corniest joke of all time? Someone at my gym approached me and said this:

    Gym Friend: Hey Walt, I just made this up. If Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory liked sports, who would his favorite team be?

    Me: No idea.

    Gym Friend: Alabama! Because they have Yeldon, Cooper!


    Gym Friend: Get it!?

    Me: Yeah. That was the worst joke I’ve ever heard.

    Gym Friend: You don’t get it!?

    Me: Oh, I got it. I got it all right.

    Wow. Terrible. I am laughing now though, so maybe I just needed to think about it for a week.

    3. I’m always amazed by the trivial things players get death threats over. A kicker misses a field goal? Death threat. A blue-chip prospect picks School A over School B? Death threat. A player tries to pull another person’s pants down? Death threat.

    The latter actually did happen. As you may have seen, LSU tight end Logan Stokes tried pulling down the pants of Alabama linebacker Reggie Raglan in a recent game. Stokes, as a consequence, received tons of hate mail from Alabama fans, calling him fa***t and names of that sort.

    Kind of stupid, right? I mean, not that there’s anything wrong with pulling down someone’s pants. Matt Millen probably wishes he would’ve pulled down many pants and inserted kielbasas into his opponents’ backsides.

    By the way, I say anyone who sent Stokes a death threat is gay themselves. It’s a proven fact that most homophobes are homosexuals because they’re insecure of being gay, so rather than embrace their homosexuality and come out of the closet, they choose to hate. It’s a shame that they can’t send death threats to themselves.

    NEW ORLEANS OFFENSE: The Saints have done a complete 180 this entire season. They can’t win at home; they’re dominant on the road; their top-10 defense from 2013 is a bottom-10 unit in 2014; and their offense, which has always been a strength, has sputtered, especially in the Superdome. Brees has been alarmingly bad at home this year, but that could change this Sunday.

    The reason, quite simply, is Atlanta’s defense. The Falcons generally have not placed good pressure on opposing passers. Brees will have all afternoon to throw as a consequence. The Falcons’ secondary, save for Desmond Trufant, has been a mess lately, so Brees will have plenty of opportunities. Jimmy Graham could also have a big game, as he showed signs this past Monday that he’s ready to break out of his funk. He’s not 100 percent yet, but perhaps he’s getting close.

    The Saints also figure to have success on the ground. The Falcons are 19th against ground attacks, surrendering 4.19 YPC to the opposition. They just handled Le’Veon Bell pretty well, but only because they completely sold out against the run. Eddie Lacy and James Starks trampled them for 152 yards on just 24 attempts just six days earlier.

    ATLANTA OFFENSE: The Falcons will have to match the Saints in a shootout if they want to win this game. They should be able to do that, especially if Julio Jones is able to play. Jones’ status is unknown, and his presence would obviously mean a lot, given how dominant he has been this year. Keenan Lewis is a talented cornerback, but it’s tough to stop Jones.

    I still expect the Falcons to score a fair amount of points even if Jones doesn’t play. That’s because New Orleans’ defense is atrocious in all regards. Their secondary, save for Lewis, is in shambles, and their pass rush has been non-existent prior to dominating the dysfunctional Bears. Matt Ryan doesn’t have the best protection, but his offensive line should be able to hold up somewhat well against the Saints.

    Oh, and Steven Jackson might even look decent. Excluding the Chiefs, the Saints have the worst rush defense in the NFL. They’ve been even worse lately, surrendering an embarrassing 5.99 YPC to the opposition. They made Jonathan Stewart look like an All-Pro, so maybe they can revive Jackson’s career for one Sunday as well.

    RECAP: I don’t understand why this spread is so high. The Saints haven’t been as good at home this year, and even if that suddenly changes, their divisional rivals know how to handle the Superdome noise. Check out the Saints’ margin of victory over the Falcons as hosts since 2007: 6, 4, 29 (outlier), -3 (loss), 8, 4, 6. These games are usually close, and I don’t see why things would be different this time. I like Atlanta for a unit.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: No change. I still like the Falcons, as they usually keep this rivalry close.

    SUNDAY NOTES: This is still available for +6 at Bovada, but the spread has dropped to +5.5 everywhere else.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: None.
    Equal action.
  • Percentage of money on New Orleans: 55% (29,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Saints.
  • History: Saints have won 11 of the last 15 meetings (Home Team has won five of the last 6).
  • Falcons are 19-8 ATS following a loss of 6+ in the previous 26 instances.
  • Saints are 35-18 ATS as a home favorite since 2007.
  • Sean Payton is 9-4 ATS after Monday Night Football.
  • Opening Line: Saints -6.
  • Opening Total: 55.
  • Weather: Dome.

    Week 16 NFL Pick: Saints 27, Falcons 24
    Falcons +6 (1 Unit) — Correct; +$100
    Under 56 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Falcons 30, Saints 14

    New England Patriots (11-3) at New York Jets (3-11)
    Line: Patriots by 11. Total: 47.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Patriots -10.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Patriots -8.
    Sunday, Dec. 21, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Patriots.

    If you’ve followed this site for a while, you might remember that I like to respond to my spam mails. Four years ago, a man named Jon Wire from the “United Bank of Africoan” promised me an ATM card of some sort, so I responded as a man named Mister Compassion Chuck Norris, who was raised by wolves. The following season, I received e-mails from Richard Held and Loon Bruce, who told me I won a Facebook Award, which comes with a “lump sum pay out of (750,000.00 GBP).” Pretending to be Matthew Millen Kim, I sent out my application and fake money.

    I messed around with a spammer pretending to be a black woman named Mulyana in 2012. I assumed Steve Urkel’s identity and had many exchanges with Mulyana. Click the link to see all of that. As for this past season, I pretended to be Riley Cooper and Aaron Hernandez in some responses.

    Check out the new Spam Mails page here with my most recent responses.

    NEW ENGLAND OFFENSE: The Patriots are so dynamic on offense with Rob Gronkowski. They’ve averaged 36.2 points per game ever since getting blown out against the Chiefs on Monday Night Football back on the final week of September. They even managed a 41-point effort versus Miami’s tough defense last week. However, one of their lowest outputs came against the Jets, when they scored 27 points in a mere two-point victory.

    Rex Ryan has always given Bill Belichick some problems, but it’s more than that. New York’s greatest weakness on this side of the ball is its secondary. Opposing quarterbacks have torched them all year. However, Tom Brady doesn’t really throw downfield all that much. He mostly tosses intermediate passes to Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and others. The Jets can handle that pretty well.

    Ryan’s defense also stops the run exceptionally well, ranking third in that regard when it comes to YPC (3.51). The Jets have surrendered 78 rushing yards or fewer to their previous three opponents, and they limited New England to 55 yards on the ground in their Week 7 matchup.

    NEW YORK OFFENSE: Geno Smith is one of the most inconsistent players in the NFL. It’s amazing how he can look somewhat decent one week and then he’s a train wreck the following contest. He was the former in the initial meeting versus New England, going 20-of-34 for 226 yards and a touchdown to go along with 37 rushing yards. He fittingly followed that up with a 2-of-8, 5-yard, three-interception showing versus Buffalo. Amazing.

    The Patriots have made defensive strides since that Week 7 contest. They’ve improved versus the run lately, limiting their previous four foes to 3.43 YPC. In fact, no team has gained more than 100 yards on the ground against them since Week 8. This is important, as the Jet running backs tallied 175 yards on 44 attempts in the first meeting. Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson will be lucky to get 75 rushing yards in this contest.

    This definitely does not bode well for Smith, as the running game took lots of pressure off him in the prior matchup. He’ll have to do more to lead his team to victory, which could spell trouble, given that he has to go up against New England’s elite secondary.

    RECAP: The Jets are playing hard for Rex Ryan, and this is their Super Bowl. This season has been an absolute (albeit predictable) failure for them, but they can at least feel good about themselves if they knock the Patriots out of the driver’s seat for homefield advantage. Ryan typically plays the Patriots well, with his previous three losses against his arch rival being by a combined eight points.

    New England, which usually doesn’t thrive as a huge favorite like this, is getting tons of action from the betting public. It appears as though this will be an 85-15 game, which tells us that the Jets are probably the right side. I like New York for a few units.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: With the sharps on the Jets, I’m going to lock this in at +11, which is currently available at Bovada. Perhaps this spread will rise, but I think there’s a better chance that it falls.

    SUNDAY NOTES: As expected, this line dropped to +9.5, though you can still get +10 -105 at Bovada. The sharps are on New York.

    The Psychology. Edge: Jets.
    This is the Jets’ Super Bowl. The Patriots are coming off a big win and could be complacent.

    The Vegas. Edge: Jets.
    No one is betting New York.
  • Percentage of money on New England: 77% (35,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Jets.
  • History: Patriots have won 19 of the last 24 meetings.
  • History: Home Team has won 9 of the last 12 meetings.
  • Patriots are 44-30 ATS vs. AFC East opponents since 2001.
  • Tom Brady is 171-57 as a starter (131-92 ATS).
  • Rex Ryan is 6-2 ATS in same-season divisional revenge games.
  • Jets are 8-3 ATS as underdogs of 7+ since 2010.
  • Opening Line: Patriots -10.
  • Opening Total: 47.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 16 NFL Pick: Patriots 23, Jets 17
    Jets +11 (3 Units) — Correct; +$300
    Under 47 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Patriots 17, Jets 16

    Kansas City Chiefs (8-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5)
    Line: Steelers by 3. Total: 50.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Steelers -3.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Steelers -4.
    Sunday, Dec. 21, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Steelers.

    Video of the Week: If you’ve never seen Game Theory on YouTube, I urge you to check it out. It’s an awesome channel. Here’s an example: See why Super Mario is really a communist.

    PITTSBURGH OFFENSE: The Steelers have been so explosive ever since some of their receivers emerged. Ben Roethlisberger has torched opposing defenses, as they haven’t been able to concentrate on stopping him because of Le’Veon Bell’s dynamic running.

    Bell is arguably the top overall back in football, and he seems poised to have a performance for the ages. The Chiefs have the worst run defense in football by a wide margin. They’re surrendering 5.1 YPC, and yet no one else is above 4.85 YPC. Kansas City has made the likes of C.J. Anderson and Latavius Murray look like All-Pros, so what’s going to happen with Bell running against them?

    The Chiefs can’t even stack the box because, as stated earlier, Roethlisberger is on fire. His supporting cast is just too good, and with Eric Berry out, Kansas City doesn’t have the talent in the secondary to deal with him. Cornerback Sean Smith has been playing well, but no one has been able to contain Antonio Brown. The Chiefs will need to pressure Roethlisberger frequently, and they might be able to do that, as the Falcons got to Roethlisberger on numerous occasions, especially when they were in their own territory.

    KANSAS CITY OFFENSE: You have to wonder if Andy Reid will remember to give Jamaal Charles enough touches. Charles had his hands on the ball just 12 times against the Raiders. Granted, the Chiefs won easily, but it’s not like they had much success offensively; their points came on special teams and turnovers. This was not just a one-time occurrence either; Charles hasn’t touched the ball enough in numerous contests recently, including the brutal loss to Denver at home.

    The Steelers have a bottom-10 ground defense, surrendering 4.42 YPC, so there’s a real opportunity for Charles here. Charles can also serve as a solid pass-catcher out of the backfield if he’s utilized that way.

    Pittsburgh’s primary defensive weakness is its inability to stop the pass, as the secondary has surrendered more than nine yards per attempt to its previous four quarterbacks, an atrocious number by all accounts. However, something will have to give because Alex Smith can’t throw downfield. We’ve all heard the crazy stat that none of his receivers have caught a touchdown this season. That could change against Pittsburgh’s incompetent defensive backfield, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

    RECAP: I had trouble with this one. I think the Steelers are the better team. They haven’t handled success well in recent years, but this squad might be different, as they won in Atlanta, a type of game in which the team typically loses. On the other hand, Andy Reid has a stellar track record in road games with the Chiefs; he’s 12-3 ATS as a visitor with Kansas City.

    I actually think this will be a field-goal game, so I’m inclined to take the underdog. I may change my pick later in the week; that’s how wishy-washy I am with this one.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: I said that I’d think about changing my pick, but I won’t do it. This seems like a bad spot for the Steelers, given that they have the Bengals next week. The sharps have bet the Chiefs.

    SUNDAY NOTES: As mentioned, the professionals are on Kansas City, which is why this spread has dropped to +2.5 everywhere except for Bovada (still +3).

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    Big game for both teams.

    The Vegas. Edge: Chiefs.
    Late money coming in on the Steelers.
  • Percentage of money on Pittsburgh: 73% (33,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Steelers are 29-13 ATS in December home games since 2000.
  • Ben Roethlisberger is 4-9 ATS as a non-divisional home favorite following a road win.
  • Opening Line: Steelers -3.
  • Opening Total: 46.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 16 NFL Pick: Steelers 23, Chiefs 21
    Chiefs +3 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Under 50 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Steelers 20, Chiefs 12

    Cleveland Browns (7-7) at Carolina Panthers (5-8-1)
    Line: Panthers by 6. Total: 40.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : No Line (Newton).
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Panthers -3.5.
    Sunday, Dec. 21, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Panthers.


    Remember when Tom Brady used to be the most clutch quarterback in the NFL? He had that epic drive against the Rams in the Super Bowl. He then engineered numerous other fourth-quarter comebacks, including one to defeat the Panthers two years later to claim his second Lombardi trophy. After he earned his third, there was a wide-spread belief that he would pass both Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw and eventually earn five or more total rings.

    Well, Brady’s been stuck on three. He’s no longer clutch; in fact, he often melts down in the fourth quarters of big matchups. He seems to really care about some games – especially those involving Tim Tebow – but then he’s so lackadaisical in others.

    So, what happened? The obvious answer is his wife. But more specifically, it’s the haircuts that his wife forces him into getting. It’s unknown to the media, but Brady’s haircuts are much more than just silly fashion statements; each haircut gives Brady a new persona. Including this one…

    Check out the newest chapter of the Adventures of Tom Brady’s Haircuts.

    CLEVELAND OFFENSE: There’s no line on this game because of Cam Newton’s status, but I need to address the Browns first because of how awful Johnny Manziel was in his first game as a starter. I thought Bill Simmons said it best when he compared Manziel to some fan that Cleveland’s coaching staff plucked out of the stands. That was exactly how some random, athletic fan would play; he’d move around, maybe complete a pass or two, but he’d make dumb turnovers trying to do too much, and he’d get the simple things wrong, including what the cadence is and how to line up following a TV timeout.

    Manziel had the worst performance of any quarterback with some sort of acclaim that I’ve ever seen. He was completely unprepared to play the Bengals, and his team followed suit. And I don’t care that it was his first start. As I mentioned in one of the top capsules, we’ve seen Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr, E.J. Manuel and Geno Smith cover the spread in their initial games, and all looked way more functional than Johnny Arena Football did. It was an absolute joke.

    Manziel is an auto-fade unless he somehow proves that he’s capable of actually playing in this league. Carolina’s defense has improved lately; it shut down the Saints in New Orleans and then limited the Buccaneers to 10 points until a garbage-time touchdown, so the team figures to play well on this side of the ball. The Browns can’t run without Alex Mack, so the Panthers will be able to concentrate on Manziel, who doesn’t even know when the ball should be snapped, or which side he has to turn to in order to hand the ball off to his running back. It’s crazy. Can you tell I’m pissed about the eight units?

    CAROLINA OFFENSE: Newton, as mentioned, is a game-time decision. If I were a Panther fan, however, I’d want Derek Anderson to quarterback my team. If Newton’s not 100 percent, he may hesitate to run, and if that’s the case, he’s just a pedestrian signal-caller. Anderson, meanwhile, has been much more effective in two starts, although both were versus Tampa Bay.

    That said, it’s not like the Browns have some dominant defensive unit. They just made Jeremy Hill look like the second coming of Walter Payton, which wasn’t really shocking because they’re 24th against the rush in terms of YPC (4.41). Jonathan Stewart is definitely not as talented as Hill at this stage of his career, but we just saw him go off in New Orleans two weeks ago, so perhaps he’ll be able to eclipse the century mark.

    The problem for the Panthers in this contest, however, is that they have just one downfield threat. This is a problem because Joe Haden, one of the top cornerbacks in the NFL, will be draped all over Kelvin Benjamin. Andy Dalton had the same issue last week and struggled mightily as a result. Fortunately for Anderson/Newton, they’ll be able to target Greg Olsen. The Browns haven’t battled a top-tier tight end since Week 2, when they were eaten alive by Jimmy Graham.

    RECAP: I’ll have a pick posted when a spread is listed. Follow me @walterfootball for updates.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m taking the Browns to cover. This spread is just too high. Cam Newton is going to play, but will he be 100 percent? If he doesn’t run around, Carolina’s offense will be stagnant. Plus, I feel like there was too much of an overreaction to what happened to the Browns last week.

    SUNDAY NOTES: This spread has soared all the way up to +6. You can even get that with -105 juice at CRIS and Bovada. The number’s too high, given that it’s unknown if Newton is 100 percent. The Browns will not be as terrible as they were last week, in all likelihood.

    The Psychology. Edge: None.
    No edge found.

    The Vegas. Edge: Browns.
    Who wants to bet on Johnny Arena Football?
  • Percentage of money on Carolina: 68% (13,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: None.
  • Opening Line: Panthers -3.5.
  • Opening Total: 41.5.
  • Weather: .

    Week 16 NFL Pick: Panthers 23, Browns 20
    Browns +6 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Over 40 (0 Units) — Incorrect; $0
    Panthers 17, Browns 13

    Baltimore Ravens (9-5) at Houston Texans (7-7)
    Line: Ravens by 6.5. Total: 42.

    Las Vegas Hilton Advance Point Spread : Texans -1.
    Walt’s Calculated Line: Ravens -3.
    Sunday, Dec. 21, 1:00 ET
    Comment on this game

    The Game. Edge: Ravens.

    We’re going to have new features on the site shortly, beginning with something we published recently. You can go here to Create Your Own Power Rankings – and once you do, people will be sending you hate mail, just like they do for my NFL Power Rankings.

    Also, check this out: We have a new Matchup Breakdown, featuring game logs, experts’ picks and more.

    HOUSTON OFFENSE: Poor Texans. You have to feel bad for them, even if you root for another team in the AFC South. They wanted to start Ryan Mallett, but he suffered a season-ending injury. Ryan Fitzpatrick had the team playing well in a big game at Indianapolis, but he broke his leg. The coaching staff then at least would get a nice look at Tom Savage, but he got hurt as well. Houston is now down to Case Keenum and Thad Lewis, and Bill O’Brien plans on starting the latter, who just happened to be on the practice squad last week.

    The Ravens will devour Keenum. The Texans don’t even block all that well – right tackle and left guard are huge liabilities – so they’ll have trouble keeping Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil out of the backfield; Baltimore trails Buffalo and Philadelphia by only one sack for the league lead. The Ravens’ weakness, of course, is their secondary, but Keenum won’t be able to expose that.

    Houston’s one and only chance is to establish Arian Foster and have him dominate. The problem, however, is that the Ravens are fourth against ground attacks (3.57 YPC). Haloti Ngata is out, but Baltimore limited Lamar Miller and the Dolphins to just 57 rushing yards. Foster is obviously better than Miller, but the Ravens will be able to stack the box in this mathchup.

    BALTIMORE OFFENSE: Joe Flacco has enjoyed a career year in 2014, and a major reason for that is his offensive line. The unit has permitted the second-fewest sacks in the NFL, as Flacco has been dropped just twice since his Week 11 bye.

    This obviously bodes well in this matchup, as any quarterback needs all the protection he can get against J.J. Watt. The best defensive player in the NFL will still make plenty of plays, but Baltimore’s elite front line will at least be able to prevent him from completely dominating. That’ll mean that Flacco will be able to attack a Houston secondary that has just as many issues as his own.

    Meanwhile, Justin Forsett should have a rebound performance. The Jaguars, who have improved greatly in terms of stopping the run, shut him down, but part of the reason was that he was playing hurt. Forsett will be better with an extra week to heal, and Houston’s ground defense has been pretty mediocre this season, ranking 17th in terms of YPC (4.15).

    RECAP: I wouldn’t recommend betting the Ravens. They have a terrible track record as a road favorite, as they tend to slack off in games they’re supposed to win (see last week’s dud). Also, keep in mind how much action they’re getting. No one is betting on Houston.

    Having said that, I’d still take the Ravens if I had to. The Texans could be drained following that emotional loss to the Colts. Knowing their season is over, they may pack it in.

    FINAL THOUGHTS: This will be a pick change. I think I overreacted too much to the Texans’ quarterbacking situation. We’ve also seen some teams in desperate need of a win fall short versus eliminated teams already, and the same thing could happen to Baltimore. The sharps are on Houston.

    SUNDAY NOTES: Another line that’s too high. Case Keenum isn’t awful, and the Ravens usually suck as road favorites.

    The Psychology. Edge: Ravens.
    The Texans just lost an emotional game, as well as their quarterback.

    The Vegas. Edge: Texans.
    Who wants to bet on Case Keenum?
  • Percentage of money on Baltimore: 79% (16,000 bets)

    The Trends. Edge: Texans.
  • Ravens are 11-19 ATS as road favorites since 2005.
  • Opening Line: Ravens -3.5.
  • Opening Total: 42.
  • Weather: Dome.

    Week 16 NFL Pick: Ravens 20, Texans 16
    Texans +6.5 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Under 42 (0 Units) — Correct; $0
    Texans 25, Browns 13

    Week 16 NFL Picks – Late Games
    NY Giants�at�St. Louis, Indianapolis�at�Dallas, Buffalo�at�Oakland, Seattle�at�Arizona, Denver�at�Cincinnati

    Prop/Teaser/Parlay Picks
    A list of some of my favorite team/player prop picks this week
    (Offense & defensive ROY picks to be counted whenver winners are announced.) Picks carried over on a week-to-week basis will be in black.

  • Prop/teaser/parlay picks posted in Week 16 NFL Picks – Late Games

    2024 NFL Mock Draft - April 9

    NFL Power Rankings - Feb. 22

    Fantasy Football Rankings - Feb. 19

    NFL Picks - Feb. 12


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    My Team-by-Team ATS Record
    This section shows how well I do when picking each team this year. The purpose is to see how well I read each team. Pushes are not displayed. Winning/losing streak in parentheses.

    Cowboys: 8-9
    Bears: 11-4
    Bucs: 6-11
    49ers: 10-7
    Eagles: 7-7
    Lions: 9-8
    Falcons: 8-9
    Cardinals: 8-9
    Giants: 7-9
    Packers: 5-12
    Panthers: 8-9
    Rams: 8-9
    Redskins: 14-3
    Vikings: 6-9
    Saints: 10-7
    Seahawks: 7-9
    Bills: 9-7
    Bengals: 12-5
    Colts: 7-10
    Broncos: 9-6
    Dolphins: 6-11
    Browns: 11-5
    Jaguars: 13-4
    Chargers: 8-9
    Jets: 8-9
    Ravens: 11-6
    Texans: 5-12
    Chiefs: 5-10
    Patriots: 7-9
    Steelers: 11-6
    Titans: 9-8
    Raiders: 6-9
    Divisional: 50-35 (2011-22: 558-526)
    2x Game Edge: 36-24 (2011-22: 363-361)
    2x Motivation Edge: 32-36 (2011-22: 478-405)
    2x Spread Edge: 41-40 (2011-22: 197-168)
    2x Vegas Edge: 41-38 (2011-22: 407-406)
    2x Trend Edge: 15-13 (2011-22: 306-279)
    Double Edge: 17-13 (2011-22: 190-172)
    Triple Edge: 1-1 (2011-22: 32-36)

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