Mike Ivcic’s Week 16 NFL Preview and Free Picks [2013]

By Mike Ivcic, UltimateCapper Contributing Writer

Cleveland Browns @ New York Jets
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Jets by 2.5
The interesting thing about this game is that both of these teams are already eliminated from playoff contention, but a win by the Browns here would eliminate the Steelers. I don’t think that happens, but welcome to parity in the NFL.
Pick: New York 20, Cleveland 16

Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Cowboys by 3
First defense that can stop the other team’s offense wins! Ok, maybe not, but it wouldn’t shock me to see this game easily creep into the 40’s. I just can’t see Dallas blowing two games in a row… right?
Pick: Dallas 44, Washington 38

Denver Broncos @ Houston Texans
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Broncos by 10.5
Denver keeps catching breaks, because every time they lose, so too do other teams with a shot to catch them for the top seed. Now, with KC sporting an equal 11-3 record, the margin of error for the Broncos is gone. They need to win out – and they will.
Pick: Denver 37, Houston 20

Indianapolis Colts @ Kansas City Chiefs
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Chiefs by 7
Two weeks in a row, the Chiefs have blown out bad teams. Now, we finally get to see if their “rejuvenated” offense is for real against another playoff team. If the Chiefs defense can finally return to form from what they were the first 10 weeks, this game won’t be close.
Pick: Kansas City 31, Indianapolis 16

Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Dolphins by 2.5
It’s always an adventure when warm-weather teams go to cold-weather cities like Buffalo in the middle of December. Unfortunately, the forecast calls for rain and 44 on Sunday, so I’m calling for a Miami victory.
Pick: Miami 24, Buffalo 17

Minnesota Vikings @ Cincinnati Bengals
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Bengals by 7
This game is huge for Cincinnati. Yes, they have a one-game lead over both Baltimore and Miami, but a loss here means next week’s game against the Ravens could be an elimination game if the Dolphins win this week, and that’s not a good situation for the Bengals. Playing at home with a lot on the line, I think Cincinnati gets it done.
Pick: Cincinnati 33, Minnesota 23

New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Panthers by 3
Here’s your NFC South championship game and first-round bye game. A Saints win officially locks it up, while a Panthers win would force New Orleans to beat Tampa and hope Atlanta beats Carolina in week 17 for the Saints to leap the Panthers. After last week, it’s fairly obvious that the Saints aren’t the same team away from the Superdome, so I’m going against my preseason pick here and taking the Panthers to claim the division title.
Pick: Carolina 24, New Orleans 20

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ St. Louis Rams
Sun, 1pm, FOX
Line: Rams by 5
The Rams are absolutely maddening. If they could have played earlier this season as they did against Indianapolis, Chicago, and New Orleans in the past month, they could easily have staked out a playoff berth. Instead, they’re looking back at losses to Atlanta and Tennessee as the reason they’re once again outside the postseason picture. It also means this game becomes another “who knows?” game featuring one of the most unpredictable teams in the entire NFL.
Pick: St. Louis 28, Tampa Bay 20

Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Sun, 1pm, CBS
Line: Titans by 5.5
Ok, so the Jags aren’t going to make the playoffs after all… but they can still finish second! A win here would but both Jacksonville and Tennessee at 5-10, and the Jags will have swept the season series. Get ready for the “second-place Jags” phrase coming to a sports update near you.
Pick: Jacksonville 24, Tennessee 21

Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks
Sun, 4:05pm, FOX
Line: Seahawks by 10.5
Seattle is home. Seattle will win. Let’s just start there. As for the cover, well… they beat Arizona by 8 on the road, so 10.5 should be no problem.
Pick: Seattle 34, Arizona 17

New York Giants @ Detroit Lions
Sun, 4:05pm, FOX
Line: Lions by 9.5
After the last five weeks (where the Lions went 1-4) there is absolutely no way I am willing to give the Giants 9.5 points. I do believe Detroit will win, and there’s a good chance that there will be more interceptions than completions between the two teams combined, but asking a team that’s basically given away the NFC North over the past month to win by double digits is too tall an order.
Pick: Detroit 31, New York 27

New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens
Sun, 4:25pm, CBS
Line: Ravens by 2.5
I’ll start by saying I don’t like the Ravens or the Dolphins, but the greatest possible scenario is both of those teams winning out, the Bengals beating the Vikings this week, and the Bills beating the Patriots next week. That scenario results in New England missing the postseason, and while it’s highly unlikely, it won’t stop me from picking accordingly.
Pick: Baltimore 27, New England 23

Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers
Sun, 4:25pm, CBS
Line: Chargers by 10
Oakland’s defense has allowed 56 points to the Chiefs, 49 to the Eagles, and 30+ points to the Broncos, Cowboys, and Jets. The Chargers offense is better than at least three of those five, so this game should be no different.
Pick: San Diego 36, Oakland 19

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Green Bay Packers
Sun, 4:25pm, CBS
Line: Packers by 7
As mentioned above, the Steelers could be eliminated before this game even starts, and if so I would take the Packers to win and cover. Because I can’t know that two days in advance, and also because I think the Jets will win and keep Pittsburgh alive, I’ll take the Steelers to cover, even if I still think Green Bay will ultimately win the game either way.
Pick: Green Bay 21, Pittsburgh 17

Chicago Bears @ Philadelphia Eagles
Sun, 8:30pm, NBC
Line: Eagles by 3
I typically use the philosophy of, “pick with my head, not with my heart.” But my heart is pulling hard for Chicago, and it talked my head into believing Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall will score enough to win a shootout with Nick Foles and company.
Pick: Chicago 34, Philadelphia 31

Atlanta Falcons @ San Francisco 49’ers
Mon, 8:30pm, ESPN
Line: 49’ers by 12.5
Full disclosure – I am terrible this year with double digit spreads. Fair warning.
Pick: San Francisco 28, Atlanta 10

Straight-Up: 142-81-1
Against Spread: 107-111-6