NFL Week 16 Tips & Betting Preview

Week 16 is always a pivotal week in the NFL schedule and this year is no exception. After a breathtaking Week 15 of action, we now have competition around the NFL for the final few playoff spots in each conference. New Orleans have established themselves as the likely #1 seed in the NFC and Super Bowl favourite, whilst the Los Angeles Chargers have emerged as a threat in the AFC. With so many meaningful games this week, there is also a ton of value from a betting perspective. Let’s take a look at our best bet on each of the main Sunday games this week, with a four-fold multi thrown in for good measure.

Cleveland Browns vs CIncinnati Bengals
Under 44.5 Points

Monday, December 24, 5am (AEDT), FirstEnergy Stadium 

Cleveland Browns 

The Browns enter this one off an impressive 4 wins in 5 games and currently sit 6-7-1. This included an impressive road victory over Denver on Saturday Night Football last week. Rookie Running Back Nick Chubb again had an outstanding day, rushing for 100 yards on his 20 carries. QB Baker Mayfield was also solid, throwing for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns. Where the Browns won this game was with another excellent performance from their defence. They held the Broncos vaunted rushing attack to just 32 yards on 20 carries. The pass defence was just as good, holding Case Keenum to 5.4 yards per attempt and forcing 2 interceptions. Against a struggling Bengals side, you’d have to fancy Cleveland’s chances of making it 5 wins in 6. 

Cincinnati Bengals 

The 6-8 Bengals make the trip to Cleveland after only their 2nd win in their last 8 games. Running Back Joe Mixon had another outstanding day, rushing for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns. This helped mask a terrible display from QB Jeff Driskel, who went 14/33 for just 130 yards. Without A.J. Green, this offence really lacks a big-play Receiver. The defence also did a solid job, limiting this Oakland attack to just 16 points. They allowed just 68 rushing yards on the day, managing 5 sacks on Derek Carr in the process. With the offence struggling of late, the defence will need a similar performance here to pull off the upset. 

Prediction: Under 44.5 

With both of these sides all but out of playoff contention, it’s tough to identify the more motivated team. Given Jeff Driskel’s struggles of late, I really can’t see him putting up too many points on the browns. At 44.5, I lean under in this one. Browns 24-17 Bengals. 

Dallas Cowboys vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bucs (+7.5)

Monday, December 24, 5am (AEDT), AT&T Stadium 

Dallas Cowboys 

The Cowboys laid an egg in Indianapolis last week, falling to a very disappointing 23-0 loss. QB Dak Prescott had a poor display, averaging only 5.3 yards on his 39 attempts. RB Zeke Elliott was the catalyst behind the Cowboys recent 5-game winning streak, totalling 1900 yards from scrimmage this season. Dallas’ defence has also been very good of late, holding each of their last 6 opponents to 23 points or less. Youngsters Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have combined to form one of the league’s most impressive Linebacker duos. Against an unmotivated Bucs team, expect Dallas to right last week’s wrongs here. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

The Buccaneers make the trip to Dallas at 5-9 after consecutive losses. QB Jameis Winston struggled big time, completing only 13/25 passes for 157 yards and a pick. Tampa again also struggled in the rushing game, totalling just 85 yards. Receiver Mike Evans deserves credit for his solid day, hauling in 4 catches for 121 yards. Despite their struggles this season, the Buccaneers defence has noticeably improved of late. The pass defence was particularly solid, allowing only 128 yards on the day. That said, they struggled to contain a Ravens rushing attack that went for 242 yards. Against this strong Cowboys rushing attack, this will need to improve substantially. 

Prediction: Buccaneers +7.5 

Despite coming off a loss last week, I think this is just too many points to lay with the Cowboys. They’ve historically struggled as a favourite under Jason Garrett and the Bucs have been competitive of late. Expect a close one here. Cowboys 27-24 Buccaneers. 

Detroit Lions vs Minnesota Vikings
Vikings (-5.5)

 Monday, December 24, 5am (AEDT), Ford Field 

Detroit Lions 

The Lions enter this one at 5-9 after a disappointing loss in Buffalo last week. QB Matt Stafford had another low-yardage performance, totalling only 208 yards. The rushing attack delivered a slightly improved display, going over 100 yards and a touchdown. Receiver Kenny Golladay has emerged as a bright spot, hauling in 7 catches for 146 yards. Defensively, the Lions deserve some credit for their strong recent performances, giving up only 17 points in their last 2 games. They allowed only 195 total passing yards and only 3.2 yards per carry to the strong Bills rushing attack. Against a desperate Vikings side, they’ll need to be at their best here. 

Minnesota Vikings 

The 7-6-1 Vikings appeared to get back on track last week with a very solid 41-17 win over Miami. The rushing game was outstanding in this one, totalling 220 yards and 3 touchdowns on their 40 carries. Kirk Cousins was also efficient in the passing attack, throwing for 215 yards and 2 scores on his 21 attempts. The Vikings defence has also delivered consecutive ferocious performances. They held Russell Wilson to just 72 yards a fortnight ago and allowed only 37 total passing yards against the Dolphins. Their impressive pass rush registered 9 total sacks, including 2 each for Anthony Barr and Danielle Hunter. The current frontrunners for the #6 seed in the NFC, I’m expecting another solid display from Minnesota here. 

Prediction: Vikings -5.5 

This is another huge motivational mismatch. The Vikings are fighting desperately for the #6 seed in the NFC whilst the Lions are just playing out the string. Give me the motivated Vikings laying under a touchdown here. Vikings 27-17 Lions. 

Indianapolis Colts vs New York Giants
Colts (-9)

Monday, December 24, 5am (AEDT), Lucas Oil Stadium 

Indianapolis Colts 

The 8-6 Colts had their 7th win in their last 8 games last week, a thumping 23-0 home win over Dallas. Running Back Marlon Mack led the way offensively, going off for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns. Despite a quiet display last week, QB Andrew Luck has had a phenomenal season, throwing for over 3900 yards and 34 touchdowns. A very underrated unit, the Colts defence has been outstanding of late. They shut out a surging Cowboys offence last week, forcing 3 sacks and 2 turnovers. This team is extremely dangerous right now and I expect them to continue their solid recent run here. 

New York Giants 

After 4 wins in 5 games, the Giants were brought back to Earth last week with a home shutout against the Titans. QB Eli Manning was awful in this one, completing just 21/44 passes for 229 yards and a pick. Even the improving rushing attack couldn’t get going, totalling just 47 yards. Defensively, it was a mixed bag from New York. The passing defence allowed just 86 total yards on 21 attempts. The rushing defence wasn’t nearly as good, conceding 215 yards and 2 scores. I think the Giants are running into a buzz saw with the surging Colts and will struggle in this one.  

Prediction: Colts -9 

In another motivational mismatch, I’m happy to take the team still fighting for a playoff spot. The Colts defence has been excellent of late and I expect them to contain Eli Manning and Co here. Expect another big day from Andrew Luck en route to a comfortable home win. Colts 27-17 Giants.  

Miami Dolphins vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Miami (-4)

Monday, December 24, 5am (AEDT), Hard Rock Stadium 

Miami Dolphins 

The 7-7 Dolphins are somehow still in playoff contention, despite a huge 41-17 loss to Minnesota last week. QB Ryan Tannehill was terrible, completing just 11/24 passes for 108 yards. To make matters worse, he also took 9 sacks, leaving just 37 net yards on the day. The Dolphins rushing attack was again strong and should be relied upon more. Defensively, the Dolphins just had no answer for the balanced Vikings attack. They allowed over 400 yards and 5 touchdowns in what was an unacceptable display. Given the Jaguars recent struggled, you’d have to fancy Miami here. 

Jacksonville Jaguars 

The 4-10 Jaguars had another terrible loss last week, falling at home to the lowly Redskins. QB Cody Kessler was dreadful again, completing just 9/17 passes for 57 yards and a pick. He also took 6 sacks, leaving Jacksonville with just 20 net passing yards. The rushing attack did fair somewhat better, totalling 172 yards on the afternoon. With the offence playing so badly, it’s hard to criticise this Jaguars defence. They held Adrian Peterson in check last week, allowing just 2.7 yards per carry. The pass defence was just as good, allowing only 136 yards on the afternoon. Hopefully this team finds the QB they need to get back into playoff contention. 

Prediction: Miami -4 

Still in the playoff mix, I think the Dolphins have the clear motivational edge over Jacksonville here. They are the better team and have performed strongly at home this season. Expect a solid day from Kenyan Drake en route to a win and cover here. Dolphins 24-13 Jaguars. 

New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills
Patriots (-12.5)

Monday, December 24, 5am (AEDT), Gillette Stadium 

New England Patriots 

The 9-5 Patriots enter this one off rare consecutive losses, falling 17-10 in Pittsburgh last week. Tom Brady was solid in this one, throwing for 279 yards and a touchdown on 7.8 yards per attempt. Even the rushing attack managed 5.1 yards per carry. New England just couldn’t get into the end-zone, managing only 1 touchdown all day. Defensively, it was an average performance from New England here. They held Ben Roethlisberger under 7 yards per attempt and managed 2 interceptions. The rushing defence was poor however, giving up 142 yards to 3rd string RB Jaylen Samuels. After consecutive losses, I can’t bet against the Patriots here.  

Buffalo Bills 

The Bills enter this one at 5-9, managing their 3rd win in their last 5 with a home victory over Detroit last week. QB Josh Allen delivered another efficient display, throwing for 204 yards and a score on 7.8 yards per attempt. The rushing attack was also strong, grinding out 117 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, the Bills have been good all season. They employed an effective bend but don’t break defence to limit Detroit to just 13 points. If QB Josh Allen can continue his resurgence next season, the Bills should be a fun team to watch. 

Prediction: Patriots -12.5 

Whilst there’s probably some line value on the Bills, New England are definitely the more motivated team in this one. Belichick rarely loses two in a row and you know he’ll have the troops fired up for this one. Expect the Pats to get back on track here. Patriots 31-17 Bills. 

New York Jets vs Green Bay Packers
Under 44 Points

Monday, December 24, 5am (AEDT), MetLife Stadium  

New York Jets 

The 4-10 Jets enter this one off a competitive 7-point loss to Houston last week on Saturday afternoon football. QB Sam Darnold looked better in this one, throwing for 253 yards and 2 scores. The rushing attack unfortunately couldn’t get going, averaging just 2.9 yards per carry. Defensively, it was a mixed bag from the Jets. They did a very strong job in rush defence, holding Houston to just 47 yards on 17 carries. That said, they just couldn’t contain Texans QB Deshaun Watson. They allowed the impressive Sophomore to go off for 294 yards and 2 scores, including an impressive game-winner. 

Green Bay Packers 

The 5-8-1 Packers enter this one firmly out of playoff contention after last week’s loss to Chicago. Aaron Rodgers just couldn’t find the end-zone, averaging just 6.5 yards per attempt and throwing an interception. The rushing attack didn’t do much better, with the top 2 Running Backs combining for just 63 yards. Defensively, Green Bay weren’t a match for this improving Bears offence. They allowed 97 yards and a touchdown on the ground, whilst Mitchell Trubisky threw for 235 yards and 2 scores. With little to play for, Green Bay are very much playing for next season now. 

Prediction: Under 44 

There has been a ton of line movement on the spread in this one with questions around Aaron Rodgers’ health. Both of these sides have struggled offensively of late and I’m expecting a low-scoring one in the cold of New York. Packers 20-17 Jets. 

Philadelphia Eagles vs Houston Texans
Texans (+2)

Monday, December 24, 5am (AEDT), Lincoln Financial Field 

Philadelphia Eagles 

The Eagles enter this one at 7-7 after a surprising road win in Los Angeles last week. Nick Foles was solid yet unspectacular, completing 24/31 passes for 270 yards. Even the Eagles rushing attack had a solid day, going for 111 yards and 3 touchdowns. Where they really did a solid job was in shutting down this fancied Rams offence. They held Jared Goff to just 6.3 yards per attempt, managing 2 interceptions in the process. The Rams strong rushing attack was also held in check, totalling just 82 yards on 18 carries. With the #6 seed in the NFC still wide open, Philadelphia will be desperate for a win here. 

Houston Texans 

The Texans enter this one an impressive 10-4, managing another road win over the Jets last week. QB Deshaun Watson again showed his quality, completing 22/28 passes for 294 yards and 2 scores. Receiver DeAndre Hopkins had another outstanding display, hauling in 10 catches for 170 yards and 2 touchdowns. Defensively, the Texans delivered another solid display here. They held the Jets to just 2.9 yards per rush attempt and only 6.7 yards per pass. Moreover, they managed 3 key sacks and a crucial fumble recovery that helped change the game. With how this team is playing, they have every chance at the #2 seed in the AFC. 

Prediction: Texans +2 

After a solid display in Los Angeles last week, I believe the Eagles are overrated here. Big **** Nick season is in full swing and I’m not sure he can keep it up against this Houston front. As the favourites for the AFC #2 seed, I’ll take Houston plus the points. Texans 24-21 Eagles. 

Carolina Panthers vs Atlanta Falcons
Under 47 Points

Monday, December 24, 5am (AEDT), Bank of America Stadium 

Carolina Panthers 

The Panthers enter this one at 6-8, their 6th straight loss all but ending their season on Monday Night Football. Cam Newton has been battling a shoulder injury and struggled mightily in this one, throwing for just 131 yards on 4.5 yards per attempt. RB Christian McCaffrey continues to look like a stud, totalling over 1700 yards and 13 touchdowns this season. Carolina’s defence also deserves a ton of credit after their effort against New Orleans last week. The pass defence in particular was phenomenal, holding Drew Brees to a mere 5.8 yards per attempt. 

Atlanta Falcons 

After 5 straight losses, the Falcons got back to winning ways last week with a thumping 40-14 win over Arizona. RB Tevin Coleman led the way offensively, going off for 145 yards and a touchdown on his 11 carries. QB Matt Ryan was again efficient, throwing for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns. It was an improved performance from the Falcons defence this week that was really good to see. They allowed just 60 yards on the ground, an average of only 2.7 yards per carry. The pass defence was also excellent, forcing 2 interceptions and 6 sacks on Josh Rosen that saw him benched. The 41-yard pick-six from Deion Jones was another great highlight play for this side. 

Prediction: Under 47 

After a soul-crushing loss to New Orleans last week, it’s tough to see how motivated Carolina will be for this one. It is unclear whether Cam Newton will play in this one with his shoulder injury, which tilts this firmly towards the under for me. Panthers 24-20 Falcons.  

Arizona Cardinals vs LA Rams
Cardinals (+14)

Monday, December 24, 8:05am (AEDT), State Farm Stadium 

Arizona Cardinals 

The Cardinals enter this one off yet another dreadful loss, falling 40-14 in Atlanta last week. QB Josh Rosen was awful yet again, completing 13/22 passes for 132 yards, no touchdowns, and 2 picks. Combine that with the 6 sacks that he took, and coach Steve Wilkes was right to bench him. I wouldn’t be surprised if backup QB Mike Glennon gets the nod this week. It was also an unusually bad performance from this Cardinals defence. They were completely gashed in the run game, conceding 215 yards and two touchdowns. As the favourites for the #1 pick, I’m not expecting much from Arizona here. 

Los Angeles Rams 

The 11-3 Rams enter this one off their most disappointing loss of the season so far, a 7-point home defeat to Philadelphia. QB Jared Goff appears to have regressed recently, throwing 0 touchdowns to 6 interceptions in his last 2. Even Todd Gurley has struggled to get going, totalling only 76 rushing yards over the past fortnight. With the level of talent that they have, the Rams defence hasn’t been good enough either. They were gashed in the run game, allowing 111 yards and 3 touchdowns to Philadelphia. Reigning Superbowl MVP Nick Foles also gouged them in the air, throwing for an efficient 270 yards.  

Prediction: Cardinals +14 

The Rams are really starting to show flaws and have looked like a different team of late. In their last home game of the season, I’m expecting a much more competitive showing from Arizona here. 14-point home underdogs have historically performed well ATS and I expect that to continue here. Rams 27-17 Cardinals. 

San Francisco 49ers vs Chicago Bears
Under 43 Points

Monday, December 24, 8:05am (AEDT), Levi’s Stadium 

San Francisco 49ers 

After looking like favourites for the #1 pick a fortnight ago, the 4-10 49ers enter this one off consecutive wins. QB Nick Mullens looked impressive in last week’s win over the Seahawks, throwing for 275 yards and a touchdown. Tight End George Kittle has also emerged as one of the NFL’s best, going over 100 yards for the season. The 49ers defence also deserves credit for holding off a surging Seahawks offence last week. Whilst they were somewhat gashed in the ground game, they only allowed 217 yards through the air. With how well this Bears defence is playing this season, the Niners will need to match them this week to stay competitive. 

Chicago Bears 

The Bears enter this one at an impressive 10-4 after a win over the rival Packers last week. QB Mitchell Trubisky was much more efficient, throwing for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns. The rushing attack did just enough in this one, going for 97 yards and a score. As usual, the Bears defence was the catalyst behind the victory. They managed 5 sacks on QB Aaron Rodgers, allowing just 235 total passing yards. The rushing defence was just as good, holding Green Bay to only 88 rushing yards. Having locked up the NFC North, you have to wonder how motivated the Bears will be here. 

Prediction: Under 43 

Both of these teams had huge wins last week and you have to question their motivation here. The Bears defence is still the NFL’s best and I expect them to contain San Francisco here. Set at 43, I heavily lean to the under. Bears 21-17 49ers. 

New Orleans Saints vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Under 53.5 Points

 Monday, December 24, 8:25am (AEDT), Mercedes-Benz Superdome 

New Orleans Saints 

The Saints enter this one after an ugly but crucial road win in Carolina that strengthened their grip on the #1 seed. This was despite another off-night from Drew Brees, who threw for just 203 yards and a pick on 5.8 yards per attempt. Another strong display from the rushing attack helped pick up the slack, totalling 155 yards and a touchdown. The New Orleans defence also continued their incredible recent run, holding Carolina to just 9 points. Aside from a trick-play touchdown, the pass defence was phenomenal and held the Panthers under 100 yards on the night. 

Pittsburgh Steelers 

The Steelers enter this one at 8-5-1 after a crucial home win over the Patriots last week. 3rd string RB Jaylen Samuels was fantastic, going off for 142 yards on 19 carries. QB Ben Roethlisberger was also clutch when it counted, throwing for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns. Defensively, the Steelers also deserve a ton of credit. They did a very effective job limiting Tom Brady and held the Patriots rushing attack under 100 total yards. If they can repeat this display against a slumping Saints offence, they’ve got every chance of pulling off an upset. 

Prediction: Under 53.5 

The Saints offence has noticeably faded of late and the Steelers defence has come on leaps and bounds. Even in the Superdome, I’m expecting a more competitive game here. At 53.5, the under is one of my better bets of the week. Saints 27-24 Steelers. 

Titans, Vikings, Colts, Patriots All to Win
Combined Odds of $2.31

4-leg NFL multis are typically the best value given the bonus bet guarantee if 3 of your selections get up and I’ve identified a solid one here. Starting on our Sunday slate, I’m convinced Tennessee easily gets the job done against a terrible Redskins side. Needing a win to remain in playoff contention, the Vikings and Colts should have no trouble either. Belichick won’t lose 3 straight either, making the Patriots a near lock.