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Week 16 NFL picks against spread: Seahawks upend Chiefs; Saints stuff Steelers | NFL

And there were two. We’re up to Week 16 in the NFL, which means there are only two weeks of 32 total regular-season games left to pick in 2018.

The season thus far has been a wild, unpredictable, mostly offensive thrill ride. Although that has made the predictions a lot more challenging, it’s been a blast trying to figure it all out. For the penultimate time this year, here’s our fearless football forecast, for entertainment purposes only. (Game lines courtesy of Bovada.)

Week 16 NFL picks straight up

Week 16 NFL picks against the spread

(All times ET)

Game of the Week: Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5) at Seattle Seahawks

Sunday 8:20 p.m., NBC

The Chiefs’ defense is starting to show some major holes again, especially against the run. The Seahawks’ ability to play ball control with Chris Carson and the power running game will help them pull off the upset at home. They missed their chance to clinch a playoff spot last week, and the 12s will be in full force under the Sunday night lights. Kansas City will still make plenty of big plays when Patrick Mahomes gets his chances, but Russell Wilson will find the final answer in the fourth quarter.

PICK: Seahawks win 31-27.

Game of the Week II: Pittsburgh Steelers at New Orleans Saints (-6)

Sunday 4:25 p.m., CBS

The defenses of both teams are playing well, but Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and the teams’ respective receivers and running games will make this lean toward the high-scoring side with no concern for the elements in the Superdome. New Orleans will respond well on a short week by stopping the run and forcing Big Ben into uncomfortable situations with a strong pass rush. Pittsburgh will be worn down late by the combination of Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram to deny a comeback.

PICK: Saints win 34-24 and cover the spread.

AFC Game of the Week: Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers (-4.5)

Saturday 8:20 p.m., NFL Network

The Ravens won’t deviate from their run-heavy approach fueled by quarterback Lamar Jackson, which is the exact way to attack the Chargers’ defense. But at some point, as Philip Rivers is expected to have both Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen healthy around him again, Los Angeles will throw Baltimore off schedule by making the bigger pass plays and finishing off drives. This short-week road trip is tough, and the Chargers are simply the more well-rounded team.

PICK: Chargers win 24-20 but fail to cover the spread.

Lock of the Week: New York Giants at Indianapolis Colts (-9)

Sunday 1 p.m., CBS

The Giants were shut out by an AFC South foe last week. The Colts shut out an NFC East foe last week. So nothing really has to give here in a matchup of one No. 1 overall QB pick in his prime (Andrew Luck) and another in his twilight (Eli Manning). Look for Indianapolis to grind out another win with its running game and defense, this time with a few shot plays from Luck for good measure. Once the Colts can contain Saquon Barkley, the Giants will have no chance.

PICK: Colts win 30-14 and cover the spread.

MORE: Updated NFL playoff picture

Rest of the Week
Washington Redskins at Tennessee Titans (-10)

Saturday 4:30 p.m., NFL Network

Josh Johnson has given the Redskins both a spark and a real hope to salvage a playoff spot. But the Titans, with Derrick Henry running like a Heisman possessed, will keep Mike Vrabel’s physical freight train rolling at home. They also can easily shut down the run and tee off on Johnson.

PICK: Titans win 23-16 but fail to cover the spread.

Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers (-2.5)

Sunday 1 p.m., Fox

The Falcons won’t be returning to the playoffs. The Panthers are on the brink of elimination, too, but they will play with a lot more pride in their final home game. Ron Rivera’s defense will outplay that of Dan Quinn, and Atlanta is not built to handle quick, fast cogs such as Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel in the short passing game. Carolina will keep playing Cam Newton and keep playing hard to split with its division rival.

PICK: Panthers win 27-24 and cover the spread.

Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-13)

Sunday 1 p.m., CBS

Josh Allen will present some challenges for Bill Belichick’s defense because he’s a deep-throwing, mad-scrambling wild card who does things off-script. But he can also be sloppy with the ball and make physical mistakes. New England will be focused on eliminating the mental mistakes that have caused its uncharacteristic December slide and get back to power running and setting up easier throws for Tom Brady.

PICK: Patriots win 34-17 and cover the spread.

Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns (-7)

Sunday 1 p.m., CBS

Baker Mayfield isn’t done making sure Hue Jackson rues the decision not to give him the chance to start right away. He lit up the Bengals once on the road and will do it again at home, this time with an even bigger assist from Nick Chubb. Cincinnati could be down to Joe Mixon as its only legitimate offensive skill option, and that’s not nearly enough against Gregg Williams’ surging, confident defense.

PICK: Browns win 27-13 and cover the spread.

Green Bay Packers (TBD) at New York Jets

Sunday 1 p.m., Fox

The Packers are eliminated from playoff contention but need to finish strong with Aaron Rodgers to carry some momentum into 2019 for their new coach. Sam Darnold won’t be afraid to duel Rodgers, and the Jets will get as aggressive as they can while Todd Bowels coaches for his job. But without a real edge pass rush and with struggling cornerbacks, Gang Green is ripe to be picked apart by Green Bay’s No. 12. The Packers will finally deliver on the road in 2018 before it’s too late.

PICK: Packers win 34-27.

Houston Texans at Philadelphia Eagles (-2)

Sunday 1 p.m., CBS

The Texans aren’t getting much respect here, and the Nick Foles return to Super-stardom is being overblown. He actually will face resistance this week from J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney abusing his underachieving offensive line. Houston will put the Austin high school product in bad situations by stuffing the run. Meanwhile, Desahun Watson will escape the Eagles’ pressure and keep connecting with DeAndre Hopkins downfield. The Texans will back the AFC South in convincing fashion and bury the reigning champions.

PICK: Texans win 24-16.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Miami Dolphins (-4.5)

Sunday 1 p.m., CBS

The Jaguars are back to going through the motions for Doug Marrone. The Dolphins are back home, where they’ve been a completely different and sometimes exciting team for Adam Gase. The latter is the better motivator and offensive adjuster, and Miami’s defensive struggles will get a break against remedial quarterback Cody Kessler and a shell of a Jacksonville offensive line.

PICK: Dolphins win 20-10 and cover the spread.

Minnesota Vikings (-5.5) at Detroit Lions

Sunday 1 p.m., CBS

The Vikings won’t be able to run as easily on the Lions this week on the road, but Kirk Cousins will use plenty of Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook in the passing game to exploit all of the host’s major coverage weaknesses away from Darius Slay. The Lions’ anemic offense will continue without the threat of Kerryon Johnson in the backfield, and the combination of Mackensie Alexander in the slot and Xavier Rhodes outside will slow down Kenny Golladay.

PICK: Vikings win 24-13 and cover the spread.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys (-7)

Sunday 1 p.m., Fox

The Cowboys struggled in Indianapolis because they couldn’t stick with the run, and Dak Prescott went erratic being forced to pass too much. Back at home, they’ll be able to do whatever they want with Elliott and Amari Cooper again facing a wilting front seven and leaky secondary. Dallas’ defense also will rebound against the deep-ball dependent Jameis Winston.

PICK: Cowboys win 27-17 and cover the spread.

Chicago Bears (-4) at San Francisco 49ers

Sunday 4:05 p.m., Fox

The Bears haven’t fared as well on the road, and the 49ers have played spoiler at home in back-to-back games against the Broncos and Seahawks. The 49ers will try to stick with Kyle Shanahan’s system, looking to be effective with the zone-blocking running game to set up more favorable throws for Nick Mullens. But Khaili Mack and Chicago’s pressure will eventually get to the young QB, while Mitchell Trubisky will be a lot more comfortable operating against San Francisco.

PICK: Bears win 23-20 but fail to cover the spread.

PLAYOFF PICTURE: Scenarios for Week 16

Los Angeles Rams (-14) at Arizona Cardinals

Sunday 4:05 p.m., Fox

The Rams survived a scare with the knee injury to Todd Gurley, the best thing to come out of a bad, costly home loss to the Eagles. Getting away from LA, to some indoor confines in the division, is just what they need. Gurley can destroy the Cardinals’ run defense a second time to avoid putting the game in the hands of slumping Jared Goff against a good pass defense.

PICK: Rams win 30-14 and cover the spread.

Denver Broncos (-2.5) at Oakland Raiders

Monday 8:15 p.m., ESPN

The Raiders will be jacked up for Monday night, and the moment won’t be lost on their emotional coach Jon Gruden. He led Oakland to great things in the past in the Coliseum, and he’s getting his team to respond more down the stretch; enough so to think 2019 won’t be the same kind of lost cause, wherever the Silver and Black is playing at home. The Broncos, meanwhile, are in lame duck mode with Vance Joseph. Case Keenum will cost them again with more bad mistakes while counterpart Derek Carr continues to play well.

PICK: Raiders win 23-20.

MORE: Updated NFL power rankings

Last week’s record straight up: 9-7
Last week’s record against the spread: 7-9
Season record straight up: 122-70
Season record against the spread: 89-99

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