Week 16 NFL Picks and Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 12/22/2010
The only good thing about last week’s picks is that they are in the past. Ugly. These Week 16 NFL picks and odds are going to be better, though. It’s a Christmas promise. This week we will concentrate on two games with plenty of playoff implications.
Baltimore (-3.5) at Cleveland (Sunday, Dec. 26, 1 p.m. EST)
The Ravens are not in control of their playoff destiny, but if they win their last two games they at least have a chance of passing Pittsburgh to win the division. That will be motivation enough down the stretch.
The Ravens have won the last five meetings between these teams by at least this much. A few weeks ago it was reasonably easy to be optimistic about the Browns. Since then, though, they have lost to the Bills and the Bengals. Buffalo tries hard even if they aren’t talented so that one isn’t so bad. Losing to the Bengals is totally unacceptable, though -- Cincinnati is a horrific mess.
The Ravens have won four of five and are coming off a very impressive win over the Saints. They have a very significant edge at QB - McCoy might be like Flacco at some point, but he certainly isn’t now -- and they come out on top in virtually every comparison of the teams. The Browns have a better running game right now, but the Ravens have the liberty of being able to focus attention on stopping it here because the passing game isn’t the concern it could be.
The Ravens will win the defensive game-planning contest going away, and that will be enough to put them over the top in this one. If the Ravens play even a reasonably good game then they will cover this spread handily.
Chicago (-1) vs. New York Jets (Sunday, Dec.26, 1 p.m. EST)
I have spent most of the season saying I don’t really believe in the Bears, and now here I am picking them to win. There’s a good reason for that, though -- I believe in the Jets even less. Sure, they beat Pittsburgh last week, but the Steelers beat themselves as much as anything in that game. Even in that game we saw the same problems carry on - the offense was spotty and the defense wasn’t nearly as consistent as it needs to be or as ferocious as it was earlier in the season.
The Bears, on the other hand, have looked solid in six of their last seven -- a horrible outing against the Patriots being the exception. The offense is firing, and that will be a reasonable test for the Jets defensively. The Bears will be able to score. Defensively, the Bears are playing well, at least when they aren’t facing Tom Brady, and they are going to give Mark Sanchez and the suddenly underwhelming running game headaches.
The Jets probably need this game more than the Bears do, but Chicago is still in the hunt for a first round bye so they will certainly be here at full force. I don’t like the way Rex Ryan has coached his team this year, and I am not convinced that they have as much left in the tank as they should at this point of the year. The Bears, on the other hand, just seem to be getting more confident.
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