Welcome to SLICED SPREAD, the place on Inside Pulse Sports for weekly NFL picks against the spread, head to head survivor picks, and score prognostications.
Week 16 was kind to me as I finished 10-6 ATS and 3-0 in my locks of the week. For the season, I am 117-123 ATS and 22-26 ATS for locks, and so I’d like nothing more than to finish strong … and above .500 for the season against the spread in what has been a very wacky NFL season. I am also going to give four locks this week so I can try and get to an even record in that department too.
Onto the picks!
Jacksonville (+4.5) over TENNESSEE — The Jaguars won’t try very hard to win this one since they still have a chance at the #1 draft pick. However, they won’t have to try that hard to keep it close against a Titans team that is almost as bad as they are. Titans win 21-17
PITTSBURGH (-7.5) over Cleveland — The Steelers are officially out of Playoff contention, but that doesn’t mean they won’t want to finish the season strong at home to get back to .500 against an inferior Browns team. Steelers win 27-19
CINCINNATI (+3.5) over Baltimore — The Bengals and Ravens are both Playoff-bound, but both division rivals will still want to finish the regular season on a positive note. I have been riding with the Bengals almost all season, so why not stick with Cincinnati one more time? Bengals win 23-20
*LOCK IT UP: NEW ORLEANS (-4.5) over Carolina — The Saints and Panthers have both been playing with chips on their shoulders lately, albeit too little too late. I like the Saints to win in a shootout to get to 8-8 in a very forgettable season. Mark my words, though, these angry, pissed off Saints will be a collective force to be reckoned with in 2013 once they are able to get a fresh start. Saints win 34-28
NEW ENGLAND (-10.5) over Miami — The Patriots almost slipped up big-time in Jacksonville last week. They will not do the same thing at home when they still can lock up the #1 seed in the AFC with a Texans’ loss. Patriots win 31-17
Houston (-4.5) over INDIANAPOLIS — With the Patriots breathing down their necks, the Texans have all of the motivation here to preserve their #1 ranking, while the Colts are already locked into a wild card slot. If Houston jumps out to a huge early lead and keeps the pressure on Indy’s offense, I can see the Colts packing up early and playing for another day. Texans win 31-20
NY Jets (+3.5) over BUFFALO — These two teams started the season against each other and now they get to wrap things up in a meaningless contest up north. The Jets are a complete mess but the Bills aren’t that good either. I am taking the points but am not confident about this one in any way. Bills win 13-10
Philadelphia (+8.5) over NY GIANTS — This is Andy Reid’s last game as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, and Michael Vick will be getting the start. What better way for the Giants’ roller-coaster season to end than to lose a game they should have no business losing? WIth that said, I think the Giants will do just enough to hold off the Eagles, but they will still miss out on the Playoffs due to last week’s loss at Baltimore coupled with what I think is one of three most likely scenarios — a Bears win in Detroit. Giants win 28-24
Chicago (-2.5) over DETROIT — The Bears are still alive for the Playoffs but like everyone else fighting for that last wild card slot in the NFC, they need some help to get in. I think they will prevail over the Lions though, in a close one. Bears win 24-20
*LOCK IT UP: ATLANTA (-6.5) over Tampa Bay — No way the Falcons lose their momentum against a Bucs team that has simply quit on their coach. Falcons win 42-13
MINNESOTA (+2.5) over Green Bay — The Packers and Vikings will both be fighting for something. Green Bay would love to have a first round bye in the Playoffs, while the Vikings simply want to get into the Playoffs. I have a feeling that the Vikings will be slightly more motivated than the Packers to win at all costs here, and when all is said and done Minnesota will win. Adrian Peterson may or may not break the single-season rushing record during this contest, but he’s certainly my choice for 2012 MVP. Vikings win 31-27
SAN FRANCISCO (-16.5) over Arizona — I just don’t see Arizona scoring very many points, so I have to take that albatross of a spread and go with the Niners. Niners win 24-6
SEATTLE (-10.5) over St. Louis — Can anyone stop this upstart Seattle team anymore? I don’t think these Rams will, especially on the road. Seahawks win 38-20
DENVER (-16.5) over Kansas City — This is another HUGE spread, but Denver will be fighting off New England to hold onto that first-round bye and Kansas City will be fighting off Jacksonville for a chance at that first-round draft pick. Therefore… Broncos win 31-14
*LOCK IT UP: SAN DIEGO (-6.5) over Oakland — This will be Norv Turner’s last game as head coach of the San Diego Chargers and the Bolts have been playing well during his home stretch. Meanwhile, the Raiders absolutely have looked absolutely dreadful and they just don’t score very much. Chargers win 28-9
SUNDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL:
*LOCK IT UP: Dallas (+3.5) over WASHINGTON — I know that almost everyone will be picking against Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys here. After all, the game is in Washington, RGIII is the chosen one, and this season would just seem very anti-climactic if the Redskins somehow miss out on the postseason. But funnier things have happened in the NFL, and I just have this sneaking suspicion that this game will be close. Super close. Overtime close. And, well, in overtime… Cowboys win 27-24
That’s all for this week’s edition — AND THIS SEASON — of SLICED SPREAD.
See you next year and good luck in the Playoffs!
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