Merry Christmas everyone.
After a rock-solid, 3-1, Week 15, I’m putting some more picks under your tree.
May your budget get back in the back with these Week 16 picks:
49ers at Cardinals -5
» There was a time when it was a good decision to fade Kyler Murray. That time is over. The last two weeks, the Arizona quarterback has stuck it to me. I expect him to stick it to a 49ers team that has nothing to play for and seems as if it has fully checked out while they temporarily shack up with the Cardinals.
Arizona’s proclivity to play down to its opponents would normally make this a good line, but the 49ers having CJ Beathard as their quarterback makes it laughable.
Beathard is 1-9 as a starter. He seems to have a death wish in the pocket, holding onto the ball for amounts of time that would make even Russell Wilson blush. He has an arm, but that’s the only thing about him that’s better than Nick Mullens (out for the season), and Mullens had been a tire fire the last three weeks.
Beathard might pick up some garbage time stats, but the Cardinals need to win this game and they should be able to open up a nice, fat advantage on San Francisco in the first few quarters. Remember, Arizona beat the Niners in Week 1 — when the Niners were fully healthy.
Dolphins at Raiders OVER 47.5
» The Raiders’ defense is so bad that you have to take the over on any total that’s less than 50 points. Even if it’s the Dolphins, whose offense has looked anemic for a good portion of the season. Even if the Raiders start Marcus Mariotoa (we’ll see who actually starts for Las Vegas.)
And that’s with the Raiders’ defense at relatively full health. But they have another wave of COVID cases on that unit in addition to the injuries that have already taken down a bad defense a few notches.
A long trip on a holiday be damned, Tua is going to look like Patrick Mahomes against these Raiders.
Actually, considering how poorly the Chiefs played against the Raiders this season, let’s say that Tua is going to look like Justin Herbert this week.
On the flip side, the Dolphins give up a lot of yards but get by because they have the best third-down defense in the NFL.
But Las Vegas is an offense built for third downs — Jon Gruden seemly only wants to move the chains if there were two plays preceding the one that actually gets them to move. But it works, the Raiders have the second-best third-down percentage in the league at nearly 50 percent.
I think the Raiders can keep this game interesting offensively and I wouldn’t be shocked to see both teams in the 30s.
Browns at Jets UNDER 47.5
» I know Jets fans are livid, but good on New York for beating the Rams last week. The goal of the game is to win and there’s no virtue — not even the kind that might look like Trevor Lawrence — for going winless in a season.
The Browns know all about that — they did it not too long ago — and all it landed them was Baker Mayfield. Was it really worth it?
Regardless, the Jets’ fight last week should serve them well against the Browns this week. Yes, the Rams slept-walked through the game, but there’s something to be said for how the Jets played them on defense, too. And that Rams’ offense is awfully similar to what the Browns run.
Do I expect the Browns to win? Absolutely. But I expect the Jets to keep this close for a while and, in turn, keep the total under 47.5 all game.
Bengals at Texans -8
The Bengals turned in a performance for the season against the Steelers, playing with all kinds of juice in their improbable win.
In that game, they also had 78 passing yards.
And while I’m not the biggest fan of Deshaun Watson, even I can say that he’s quite a bit different than Big Ben, whose play can only be described as “lit trash”.
Watson is going to get his — he won’t help but be able to. And it doesn’t matter who the Bengals have at quarterback, they won’t be able to keep up. Cincinnati hasn’t passed for over 210 yards since Nov. 1.
Check out our other NFL articles(coming soon)
- First-look betting preview from Geoff Ulrich
- Christmas Day betting preview from Geoff Ulrich
- Saturday Football betting preview from Matt Dickason
- The DFS Big Three from James McCool
- Main slate betting preview from Matt LaMarca
- Sunday Night Football betting preview from Geoff Ulrich
- Line Movement Staff Picks from Matt Ramos