NFL Week 16 Spreads & Week 15 Takeaways in the Race to the Playoffs
Updated: Dec 24, 2020
Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
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Week 16 Spreads & Over/Under Point Totals
By Brandon Caputo & Miklos McMaster
*Thanks to the Rams, Steelers, & the Packers not covering vs the Panthers; Miklos & Brandon's Spreads ended up as much in the toilet as the Las Vegas Raiders playoff hopes after losing 4 of their last 5 games (the 1 win being a miracle end of game touchdown to beat the winless Jets).
With that being said, although the hosts' favourite teams are both now out of it this season, doesn't mean they can't spread Christmas🎄Cheer with their thoughts on a very important Week 16,
which is going to make the phrase "Happy Holidays" a reality for some of these teams!
CHRISTMAS GIFTS FOR EVERYONE if you're lucky enough to play against the Atlanta Falcons or Las Vegas Raiders' Defense! 🎁
Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Week 15 Spreads
Week 15 Over/Under's
Most confident picks of the week
Gold Pick: LA Rams over NY Jets ❌ *YIKES....
Silver Pick: Pittsburgh over Cincinnati ❌ *DOUBLE YIKES....
Bronze Pick: Baltimore over Jacksonville ✔️
Gold Pick: Arizona over Philadelphia ✔️
Silver Pick: Green Bay over Carolina (*won but did't cover) ❌ BY 0.5 POINTS....
Bronze Pick: Miami over New England ✔️
Minnesota Vikings vs New Orleans Saints(7.0) O/U 51.5
Miklos: NO Under 51.5
Brandon: NO Over 51.5
After a tough contest with the defending Super Bowl champs The Saints get to rebound against Minnesota who has been stumbling down the stretch. With the loss of the bears it looks like Minnesota's playoff hopes have been dashed and this game will just give Drew Brees another opportunity to get his game legs back under him, after being out for multiple weeks this season. The Saints are in a tight battle with the Seahawks for the #2 seed in the NFC, they need a win jusy as bad as the Vikings do who are clinging onto any playoff hopes at this point.
Should be a decent game to watch while you're enjoying your Christmas Day meal & gift opening.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9.0) vs Detroit Lions O/U 53.5
Miklos: TB Over 53.5
Brandon: TB Over 53.5
Tom Brady did it again coming back against the Atlanta Falcons in a very depressing game for Atlanta fans,
but he managed to keep the Bucs alive. Detroit on the other hand is continued to look subpar even though they gave a good showing against Green Bay last week. This is no easy win for an inconsistent Tampa Bay team,
but a must win if they want to continue to hold their spot in the playoffs & clinch Tom Brady's ticket to the playoffs, which his former Patriots & Coach Bill Bellichick have now missed the flight on this season.
San Francisco 49ers vs Arizona Cardinals (4.5) O/U 49.0
Miklos: ARI Under 49.0
Brandon: ARI Over 49.0
An intriguing NFC West match up on Boxing Day for us North of the border. San Francisco has been up and down with a depleted roster due to injuries all season, but with the loss to Dallas last week this might be it for them for the season.
It is a divisional match up so you could throw all the records out the window and they could still be a spoiler to Arizona who has had an incredible season and really hoping to make a splash in the playoffs as they hold onto the final Wildcard spot in the NFC.
Photo Credit: ninernoise.com
Miami Dolphins (2.5) vs Las Vegas Raiders O/U 47.5
Miklos: MIA Over 47.5
Brandon: MIA Over 47.5
After a thriller of a game on Thursday Night, it looks like Marcus Mariota is going to be the head of the ship for the Raiders potentially through the rest of the season after the injury to Derek Carr. They take on a still impressive Dolphins team who put the final nail in their divisional rival Patriots playoff coffin last week at home and continuing to grow with Head Coach Brian Flores & rookie QB Tua Tagovailoa as a potential sleeper team in the AFC playoffs.
This is a winnable game for the Raiders like many games they've lost this season, but with the lack of depth and inconsistency on the defensive end it will have to be a shootout to get there.
Cleveland Browns (9.0) vs New York Jets O/U 46.5
Miklos: CLE Over 46.5
The Cleveland Browns continue to impress and show that they are the most consistent team in the AFC North as unbelievable as that is to say. Despite the miraculous win against the Rams the combination of the Browns impressive running game and Baker Mayfield will be far too much for The Jets to handle.
Brandon: NYJ Over 46.5
Before calling me crazy, hear me out on this. I still think the Browns win this game, but asking them to cover 9 points is a big task if you know anything about the Browns woes over the last decades of losing backdoor covers on the weekly. Expect the Jets to have a boost due to their big upset win over the Rams last week, & wouldn't it be the most Jets thing to go out & win 2 games straight to miss out on the #1 Overall Pick after going winless all season?
I think the suddenly motivated Jets cover the 9 points, but the impressive Browns team continues their rise to surprising playoff contenders in the AFC, as they are still not out of it yet in the AFC North with the suddenly struggling Steelers.
New York Giants vs Baltimore Ravens (no spread, no points)
We both cannot believe this is a pick'em game with no spread & no points, but nonetheless the Giants have slow down after their winning streak during the middle of the season, despite their surprisingly efficient running attack & stout defense the 2nd half of the season.
They might have run out of magic trade they're taking on another surging team in the AFC North, as Baltimore has really been pushing in the last couple of weeks to try & make it 3 teams out of the NFC North in the playoffs. Unfortunately for the G-Men they're caught in the path of another hot team in back to back weeks as Lamar & the Ravens get it done.
Cincinnati Bengals vs Houston Texans (8.0) O/U 46.0
Miklos: CIN Over 46.0
An absolutely impressive win by Cincinnati against their division rival and stumbling Pittsburgh Steelers. Zac Taylor has really done an impressive job coaching this team despite their lack of depth and with their franchise quarterback going down. They have shown that they can play tough and eight points is a little too rich for an extremely inconsistent Houston Texans team.
Brandon: HOU Under 46.0
First off, i'm shocked that my partner would actually pick the Bengals here. Although a major upset win vs their bitter rival steelers on Monday Night, the Bengals are still in rebuild mode & without their franchise QB Joe Burrow who is out the rest of the season due to injury, as they try to lock up the #3 Overall Pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Houston's offense has looked much better since Bill O'Brien was let go as Head Coach, even though their results have been a mixed bag to show for it. A very underwhelming game to say the least & with 4-10
going up against 3-10-1, this is the football game equivalent of getting coal in your Christmas Stocking...
Chicago Bears (7.5) vs Jacksonville Jaguars O/U 47.0
Miklos: CHI Under 47.0
Brandon: CHI Under 47.0
Mitchell Trubisky take two has been impressive to say the least . Not only that but the Bears seem to have discovered their running game, as David Montgomery has been on an absolute tear in recent weeks. Based on how the Ravens ran all over Jacksonville last week it looks like they're ready to be a speed bump yet again.
Jacksonville are now in the driver seat for the #1 Overall Pick after the Jets decided to win last week, so they won't want to give that back to them during these pivotal last 2 games of the season.
Atlanta Falcons vs Kansas City Chiefs (10.0) O/U 53.5
Miklos: KC Over 53.5
Photo Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Unfortunately for the Atlanta Falcons after losing in yet another heartbreaking game they at least get the relief that they'll be put out of their misery early by a red hot Kansas City Chiefs team that just seems to get better each and every week. This will be an intriguing game with Le'Veon Bell taking over full starting running back duties with Clyde Edwards Helaire going down with an injury in their game against the Saints.
Brandon: ATL Over 53.5
If there was ever an Atlanta Falcons thing to do, it would be to blow a lead against every other team this season & actually beat the Super Bowl Champions. The Chiefs really don't need this cross conference game, as barring a miracle they will still be the #1 Seed in the AFC despite what happens these final 2 weeks.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire their star rookie Running Back being out means that Le'Veon Bell and his limited snaps this year will be starting, which may take awhile for him to get his feet back under him in a starting role.
I still think the Super Bowl Champions come away with the win, but even as an underdog the Falcons covered vs the Buccaneers last week (not to mention were up 17-0 at half).
Chiefs by 7 or 8 but that is good enough for the cover, as the Falcons & their offense come out motivated with a respectable performance vs the Champs.
Indianapolis Colts (1.5) vs Pittsburgh Steelers O/U 45.5
Miklos: IND Over 45.5
After becoming the first team in NFL history to start 11 in a row and then lose three straight the Pittsburgh Steelers aren't getting any relief taking on a tough Indianapolis team. The Colts have a lot on the line still fighting for the top spot in the AFC South and it doesn't look like Pittsburgh has what it takes to compete with the top tier Colts.
Brandon: PIT Under 45.5
The Steelers are REELING to say the least as they are the 1st team in NFL History to start off 11-0 & lose their next 3 games. They went from 1st place in the AFC to needing to win 1 of these last 2 games to not be placed as a Wild Card team.
With the surging Cleveland Browns now breathing down their neck for the AFC North title, the Steelers need this game just as much as the Colts do for playoff implications. I'm looking for a "get right" game from the Steelers after an embarrassing loss to their rebuilding division rival Bengals last Monday Night & snapping their 3 game losing streak.
Denver Broncos vs Los Angeles Chargers (3.0) O/U 48.5
Mikos: LAC Over 48.5
A game that will probably be competitive despite the lack of playoff implications. Justin Herbert has continued to impress throughout the season while Drew Lock has been up and down. This is an opportunity for the Chargers to continue their strong finish through the end of the season and could be something to build on for next year.
Brandon: DEN Under 48.5
Not making the same mistake of picking the Chargers as favourites vs anyone, it never ends well for them or the person betting on them. Perennial letdowns in the AFC & in the sports betting world, the Chargers will be going up against their division rival Broncos who were just waxed by the Buffalo Bills at home last Saturday.
Looking for Vic Fangio's group to come out with a much more motivated effort in a very winnable game between these AFC West teams. Running Back Melvin Gordon gets another crack at his former team & no extra motivation will be needed going up against the Chargers.
Drew Lock & the offense have a perfect opportunity here to right the ship & gain some confidence back after an abysmal effort last week vs Buffalo. I am going with the Broncos to cover & win this rivalry game.
Carolina Panthers vs Washington Football Team (2.5) O/U 44.0
Miklos: WAS Over 44.0
Brandon: WAS Under 44.0
Another intriguing game and one where Carolina could prove to be spoiler well Washington continues to fight for their playoff spot. Carolina has been feisty throughout the year and Washington has just continued to impress through weeks and weeks with a dominant defensive line an excellent coaching by Ron Rivera. A must win game for Washington if they want to solidify their hold on the NFC East Title & you know Riverboat Ron is going to be extra motivated to get a Win vs the team who let him go, after accomplishing the most successful Head Coaching tenure in Carolina Panthers franchise history.
Los Angeles Rams vs Seattle Seahawks (2.5) O/U 47.5
Miklos: SEA Under 47.5
Brandon SEA Over 47.5
Well, it doesn't get easier for the Rams after an embarrassing loss to the winless Jets they get to follow it up by traveling to one of the hardest places to win in the NFL, while taking on their division rival and the top seed in the NFC West: Seattle Seahawks . The Seahawks continued to win games in bizarre an ugly fashions but the important thing is is that they win. They could cement their hold on the NFC West division crown with a win against the Rams here and build momentum for the playoffs.
Photo Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Philadelphia Eagles (2.0) vs Dallas Cowboys O/U 49.5
Miklos: PHI Over 49.5
Brandon: PHI Over 49.5
Jalen Hurts has been a breath of fresh air in the city of brotherly love and possibly could mean the end of Carson Wentz's tenure in Philadelphia. Andy Dalton has also impressed in relief duty for Dallas and this should be an intriguing matchup between 2 NFC East teams that are somehow still have a shred of hope of making the playoffs. The Cowboys seem to be preserving Ezekil Elliott's snaps for the rest of the season, as they look towards 2021 with the return of Dak Prescott under centre. Backup RB Tony Pollard has been getting a bulk of the work and has looked impressive nonetheless.
With that being said, Jalen Hurts is far more promising and likely to keep the threat of Philadelphia on Washington through the end of the season.
Tennessee Titans vs Green Bay Packers (3.5) O/U 56.0
Miklos: GB Over 56.0
Brandon: GB Over 56.0
Photo Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
A title match on Sunday night between the very strong Tennessee Titans and the smoking hot Green Bay Packers, as both look playoff bound & look to lock up their respective division titles. It will be very interesting to see how both these defenses hold-up vs all-world talent on both offenses.
Aaron Rodgers is probably the difference in this game against the Titans secondary that has been suspect all season. A game that could possibly decide the MVP of the league this year with QB Aaron Rodgers going toe-to-toe with RB Derrick "King" Henry.
We both have Green Bay winning a close one, but definitely a great showcase on Sunday Night Football.
Buffalo Bills (7.0) vs New England Patriots O/U 45.5
Miklos: BUF Over 45.5
Brandon: BUF Over 45.5
Revenge is a dish best served cold and what better way to cement the new era of the Bills in the AFC East than to hammer the Patriots who have had a stranglehold on this division for nearly 2 decades. While they did win in their previous matchup, it was a struggle so Josh Allen and the Bills would like nothing more than to run up the score on the Patriots team, that is limping to the end of the season and are now officially out of playoff contention.
Photo Credit: ESPN SportsCenter via Facebook
Gold Pick: Cleveland over NY Jets
Silver Pick: Buffalo over New England
Bronze Pick: New Orleans over Minnesota
Gold Pick: Arizona over San Francisco
Silver Pick: Washington over Carolina
Bronze Pick: Tampa Bay over Detroit
Week 15 Takeaways
By Miklos McMaster & Brandon Caputo
Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
1. The Ron Rivera Effect is actually working in Washington!
Brandon: With all of the things that Ron Rivera has battled through in his 1st year as Washinton's Head Coach is truly inspiring. The fact that he took a job with one of (if not the most) dysfunctional organization with Owner Dan Snyder being the poster-child for that reputation, shocked a lot of people. Even with Ron's pedigree, integrity, & reputation as a well respected football coach, even he must have known the challenge that was ahead with this team on-and-off the field.
Firstly, the team is forced to change their team name as the "Redskins" was no longer deemed an appropriate term. He was then diagnosed with squamos cell cancer in his lymph nodes in August,
shortly before Washington was due to begin its first season with Rivera at the helm. Washington even made special requests as away teams asking the home team facilities to accommodate Rivera with a couch to nap in, as rest was an important part of his recovery. Rivera underwent seven rounds of treatment since then, but in late October, he was able to ring the bell after having completed his battle.
Not to mention taking over a very young, immature, unproven football team that had been in shambles after the failed Jay Gruden tenure, he has managed to make them contenders in his 1st year, in what has been a very shocking NFC East in 2020. Even despite all of the recent misconducts of owner Dan Snyder's 2009 Lawsuit & QB Dwayne Haskins off-field antics this past weekend, Washington currently sits with a 6-8 record, which is good enough to be at the top of a very disappointing NFC East division.
Nonetheless, what he has been able to accomplish with this team despite so many hurdles on-and-off the field has been nothing short of remarkable & he definitely has my vote for Coach Of The Year, especially if Washington can wrap-up the NFC East Division Title in these last 2 weeks of the season.
2. The Jets do the most Jets thing ever...
Photo Credit: AP/Kyusung Gong)
Miklos: Now also on Sunday we had probably the most jets thing to happen all year. The Jets have been comfortably in the lead for the number one overall pick and generally having one of the worst NFL seasons in recent memory. They had it all laid out to chalk up the third ever 0-16 season in NFL history on route to #1 Overall Pick in the NFL draft, then this past Sunday happened.
Not only did the Jets put together their best game of football of the season, they did it against a team that no one thought they had any business even competing with after the way that they lost the Seattle Seahawks last week.
Now, I have been toting how underrated and good the Rams have been all season and even put them as my gold pick last week, but in one of the biggest upsets of the season they lose to the New York Jets. In the process of winning this game, the Jets avoid going 0-16 but likely have cost themselves the number one pick and quarterback of the future Trevor Lawrence because thanks to the rules of the NFL they have got a tougher strength of schedule than the also 1-15 Jaguars and are regarded as the better team.
It is really going to make the last two weeks of the season interesting to see what happens with both of these teams as they continue to compete for the first overall pick but as of right now the Jaguars control their destiny and the possibility of getting one of the best quarterback prospects to come out of College in recent memory. Also of note the Jets will become the first ever team to go 1-15 on a season and not have the 1st overall pick.
One caveat to this is the one in 15 Lions in 1999 who did not get the 1st overall pick because in 2000 the Houston Texans were becoming a new team in the NFL and we're going to get the 1st overall pick no matter what happened in the season. Just a cherry on top to what has been a truly horrific Jets season.
I'm so sorry Jets fans.
3. Super Bowl Preview last Sunday?
Miklos: On Sunday afternoon we saw what might have possibly been a Super Bowl preview in the Super Dome. Now granted, Drew Brees was not at his best and the rest of the Saints offense was depleted, but there was definitely shades of things to come. For one thing of all the teams that I have seen played against the Chiefs this season the Saints might be the only team that has the defense to make the unbelievable Chiefs offense uncomfortable.
They got after Patrick Mahones sacking him several times and forcing him to make unbelievable plays every single down to move the ball against them . As mentioned in the broadcast of the game, they are one of the few teams that is able to stop teams running the ball with just their front four and are able to play 2 high safeties the entire game negating one of the things that the Chiefs major weapons which is their speed .
The Saints were able to play zone and hand off the quick crossers and not get mixed up and despite the end result and the amount of points that were put up had an impressive performance against one of the top offenses the NFL has seen in awhile. They also gave Patrick Mahomes one of the biggest hits he probably has ever had in his life courtesy of Trey Hendrickson and Marcus Davenport. The two of them sandwich Mahomes on a play in the third quarter and he was visibly uncomfortable and in pain and it's something that no GM or coach ever wants to see happen to their star quarterback.
On the other side of the field, Drew Brees was definitely not at his best and not only that he had essentially practice squad wide receivers (including former Texas Longhorns WR Lil'Jordan Humphrey scoring a TD) that he was throwing too as almost all of them went down injured either before or during the game. The Saints aren't going away, make no mistake about it and if they can continue to get healthy into the playoffs and Drew Brees gets his legs back under him, seeing these two teams tee off in Tampa for the Vince Lombardi Trophy in February will definitely be a game for the ages.
4. The Atlanta Falcons Still Don't Get It.
Brandon: For the 8th time in their 10 losses this year, the Atlanta Falcons found another way to blow another lead away, incredible fashion.
After being up 17-0 after the 1st Half to their division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers & the hated Tom Brady who robbed them of their 1st & only Super Bowl title as a member of the Patriots,
(while holding the Bucs to 62 total yard of offense) the 2nd Half Atlanta Choke-ons found a way to disappoint once again by losing 31-27.
Photo Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Results like this are now becoming a weekly narrative with this team, that now sits at 4-10 on the season with a top 5 pick in the 2021NFL Draft being a strong possibility at this point. Since the dreaded 28-3 blown lead in the Super Bowl to those New England Patriots & Tom Brady that has haunted Falcons fans, players, & coaches since, this team has never recovered and have never gotten over the demons of blowing leads.
They are sadly now becoming known as the laughing stock of the NFL, as far as the team with all the talent in the world on paper & who show it at times during a game, until crunch-time happens where they completely implode & fall apart giving into that label of perennial chokers.
It begs the question if the Matt Ryan & Julio Jones Era is coming to an end in Atlanta? Even if Raheem Morris is able to shed his Interim tag as Head Coach, he & the yet to be hired General Manager will have their work cutout for them, if owner Arthur Blank (sadly pictured above) can finally bring a Super Bowl champion to the state of the art Mercedes-Benz Stadium & the Atlanta fans who are so desperate after all these years of sports heartbreak.
How long that takes, will be remained to be seen, but the 12 years with Matt Ryan under centre have been the most successful years in the teams underwhelming history.
5. Josh Allen for League MVP?
Photo Credit: Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Miklos: There has been lots of talk about this, but we have yet to mention it and it's time that we did. Josh Allen is a serious contender for NFL MVP. The Bills are currently 11-3 and are easily the second best team in the AFC next to the Chiefs and Josh Allen is a big reason why. On the road to that 11-3 record, Allen has been absolutely masterful. He has thrown for over 4000 yards , completing 68% of his passes for 30 touchdowns, only 9 interceptions , and a QB rating of 104.2. Not only that, he's added an additional 8 touchdowns on the ground.
All in all, he has been the quarterback that the Bills have been looking for since Hall of Famer: Jim Kelly retired. He has been throwing the ball all over the field showing the accuracy that many doubted in him when he first got drafted and also showing the arm talent that everyone knew he had. He has played in close games and comeback victories and done everything you expect out of a franchise quarterback.
With Tom Brady gone and New England in shambles, it is looking like the AFC East is going to be firmly in the hands of Josh Allen and the Bills for the near future. His jump in play from last season has been nothing short of remarkable. If the Bills win out the season and continue this success in the playoffs he absolutely needs to be in the conversation for MVP.
After battling through high hope failures like J.P Losman, Trent Edwards, EJ Manuel, & Tyrod Taylor; congratulations Bills Mafia, you have finally found your guy!