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SB Nation Minnesota's Week Sixteen NFL Picks

This will teach me to get a little too cocky about my proclivity when it comes to picking football games.

Yes, thanks to last week being Bizarro Week in the National Football League, we managed to turn in one of our worst weeks of the season, going 6-9 straight-up and 5-9-1 against the number, with the push coming courtesy of Oakland's one-point loss to Detroit late on Sunday afternoon. That puts us back under break-even against the spread, even though our numbers straight-up are still pretty good.

Sadly. . .or, perhaps, not. . .I managed to miss Thursday night's battle between the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts, so I'm already starting this week one game down, so let's get to it with all the games this week being on Saturday. All of the point spreads are brought to you by our good friends from

Game of the Week - New York Giants "at" New York Jets (-3)

This is technically a Jets home game, but it's essentially a home game for both teams. This one has playoff implications for both teams, but while the Jets can still get into the post-season party with a loss, the Giants can't, as a loss here will pretty much knock them out of contention. Hey, since my own team can't bring themselves to be interesting, I need to hope for interest from somewhere.

Straight-Up - Giants, ATS - Giants

Lock of the Week - Denver Broncos (-2.5) at Buffalo Bills

Last week, the Fightin' Tebows got lit up pretty good by New England at Mile High Stadium. The Bills aren't the Patriots, and Ryan Fitzpatrick isn't Tom Brady (even less so since he signed that huge contract extension). The Broncos still hold all the cards in the AFC West, and should be able to keep it that way against the train wreck in Buffalo.

Straight-Up - Broncos, ATS - Broncos

Upset of the Week - Arizona Cardinals at Cincinnati Bengals (-4)

All John Skelton does is win, folks. . .he's 6-1 as the Arizona starter this year, and will get the nod over an apparently healthy Kevin Kolb in this one. The Bengals are still hanging in there in the AFC playoff chase, and a loss here would be devastating. Of course, this is the Bengals. . .

Straight-Up - Cardinals, ATS - Cardinals

The Rest of the Week

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (-7.5)

Remember when Raheem Morris was a rising star in the coaching ranks and Josh Freeman was going to turn the world in it's ear? Yeah, neither do the fans in Tampa Bay, who may be ready to run Morris out of town after this one. I don't like that extra half-point on the spread, though.

Straight-Up - Panthers, ATS - Buccaneers

Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens (-12)

With the Steelers losing in San Francisco on Monday night and the Texans falling apart against Indy, the Ravens have the inside track to a first-round bye. . .if they can stop shooting themselves in the foot long enough to take advantage. I'm not taking the Ravens to cover a spread this big, though.

Straight-Up - Ravens, ATS - Browns

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans (-7.5)

The Titans' loss to the Colts last week may have torpedoed their playoff chances, but if they'll keep themselves alive into Week 17 with a victory in this one. Blaine Gabbert continues to look completely overmatched at quarterback for the Jags, and there's no reason to think he's going to do significant damage here.

Straight-Up - Titans, ATS - Titans

St. Louis Rams at Pittsburgh Steelers (-12)

A few days ago, I might have predicted this to be a Pittsburgh blowout. Then I watched a completely ineffective Ben Roethlisberger limp around the field against the Niners, and now I'm not so sure. The Steelers have already punched their ticket to the playoffs, and really don't stand to benefit from throwing Roethlisberger out there. They're still the better team, but they're not blowing anybody out without Big Ben taking the snaps.

Straight-Up - Steelers, ATS - Rams

Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (-9)

The Dolphins have had a huge turnaround since the early part of the season, but Bill Belichick knows that there's a very good chance to ensure the road to the Super Bowl runs right through Foxboro. He and Tom Brady don't often miss out on opportunities like those.

Straight-Up - Patriots, ATS - Dolphins

Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs (-1)

I have no idea what in the heck is going on in the AFC West any more. But the Raiders failed me last week, and they shall pay for their insolence now against the team that, mercifully, ended Green Bay's run at perfection.

Straight-Up - Chiefs, ATS - Chiefs

San Diego Chargers at Detroit Lions (-1)

For the second straight week, the Lions are a one-point favorite. This weekend, however, the Chargers are likely going to be without Vincent Jackson, and Detroit knows it can clinch its first playoff spot since the Truman Administration (or thereabouts) with a victory. Congratulations in advance to Detroit.

Straight-Up - Lions, ATS - Lions

San Francisco 49ers (-1) at Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks have, somehow, gotten themselves back to .500. The Niners appeared to be going into the post-season in reverse, until they throttled the Steelers on Monday Night Football. San Francisco knows that a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs is still at stake, and I still don't trust Tarvaris Jackson. Sorry, Seattle fans.

Straight-Up - Niners, ATS - Niners

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (-1.5)

You want to hear something crazy? If the Eagles, Giants, and Cowboys all finish 8-8, the "Dream Team" Eagles would go from potentially being the NFL's biggest disaster to winning the NFC East and hosting a first-round playoff game. I, for one, would like to see that.

Straight-Up - Eagles, ATS - Eagles

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers (-12.5)

The Bears have been falling apart at the seams since Jay Cutler went down. Last week, the Packers' offense looked thoroughly useless without Greg Jennings running routes. A win for Green Bay wraps up home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Ugh.

Straight-Up - Packers, ATS - Bears

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-7.5)

The Falcons are fighting for their playoff lives, while the Saints are still hunting for a first-round bye. It should be a pretty good contest, but in the end, I'm not sure if the Dirty Birds have the power to keep up with the Dirty Team.

Straight-Up - Saints, ATS - Saints

Straight-Up For Season: 132-74 (6-9 last week)
ATS For Season: 98-100-8 (5-9-1 last week)
Lock of the Week: 7-7
Upset of the Week: 5-8-1

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.