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NFL Week 16 Picks for Every Game: Bets to Make for Lions, Packers, Colts & More

NFL Week 16 Picks for Every Game: Bets to Make for Lions, Packers, Colts & More article feature image
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Via Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images. Pictured: Nick Foles #9 of the Indianapolis Colts looks pass before facing the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on November 06, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

Christmastime is here, and Santa brought us a whole weekend of football festivities packed with playoff implications.

You’re probably still sorting out some holiday travels plans, and that’s a good reminder that the nasty weather across the country this week could wreak havoc on this slate of football games. This might be one of the most weather-impacted NFL weeks in recent memory, so make sure to keep an eye on the forecast before you lock in any picks.

If a number starts falling quickly, check the weather. We’re expecting windy conditions (15+ mph) for Jets, Ravens, Bears, Browns and Steelers home games. Eight of the 16 games should kick off below 32 degrees, and there could be rain and snow across the nation too. Only the Vikings, Cowboys, 49ers, Dolphins, Cardinals and Colts home games look totally safe from the weather.

Cold temperatures and windy weather make scoring harder all around. Kicks don’t travel as far, and passing can be tricky. That means scoring may be down, with shockingly low totals around the league, and it means the run game is more important than ever. Let’s go around the league and make picks for every game. Picks are sorted by confidence level: Bet, Lean, or Pass.

There are no Waits this week with a full holiday weekend ahead — we’ll pick everything right now, and you can keep an eye on the app for any late or final decisions. Here are NFL Week 16 picks for every game.


Note: Odds are the best available for each pick as of writing. Shop for the best real-time lines with our NFL odds page.


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THE PASSES

Eagles vs.

Cowboys (-4.5)

This was supposed to be the marquee Saturday game, one we’ve waited for all season, and I’ve been waiting to bet the Cowboys here ever since they seemed to figure Philadelphia’s offense out late in the first matchup. Unfortunately, Jalen Hurts is unlikely to play, and that makes this game very unpredictable.

Gardner Minshew is a fine backup but totally changes an offense built around Hurts’s running ability. Dallas’s defense has really taken a nosedive over the last month with major injuries in the secondary, so there’s a chance Minshew could keep Philly’s offense moving. Philadelphia’s defense could also put together a statement performance.

It’s always tough to know what to make of a side everyone has counted out. Sometimes those teams show up and remind you this was a team effort, and sometimes you learn why Hurts was so valuable. I got Cowboys -2.5 early in the week before this rose, so I’ll stick with that. I made Dallas a favorite before the Hurts news, and this line hasn’t moved enough to reflect his importance to this team, even if I also think that’s overstated in his MVP candidacy.

THE PICK: Pick Cowboys -4.5 (Pass)

Saints vs.

Browns (-2.5)

This looks like the most weather-impacted game on the menu, with temperatures in the single digits, gusts over 30mph and a 50% chance of snow. That’s why this total has plummeted all the way down to 32 at books, which would be the lowest closing total in over a decade. That means none of the trends are even really applicable here.

That tells me there’s little precedent for a game like this in today’s passing environment, and with neither team having much of a playoff hope left either, I’ll stay away. The weather sets up a game script to favor the better running team. That’s been Cleveland most of the year, even though the Browns offense has been stuck in mud since Deshaun Watson suited up.

THE PICK: Browns -2.5 (Pass)

Raiders vs.

Steelers (-2.5)

I’ve been riding the Steelers for over a month, but it looks like the market has finally caught up with how well this team has been playing. Pittsburgh ranks top 11 both offensively and defensively in DVOA over the past six weeks. The problem is the Raiders are also playing better than you think, and their offense is really moving the ball, so I just don’t see a good edge on either side.

The Raiders’ last eight games include four losses and three walk-off wins, so it’s been a real roller coaster. But Pittsburgh isn’t dominating teams even when it wins, with only three wins all season by over three. This feels like a toss-up to me between two teams that likely won’t make the playoffs but might have been dangerous if they did. I’ll take the points.

THE PICK: Raiders +2.5 (Pass)

Broncos (-2.5) vs.

Rams

Two of our three Christmas Day games are complete duds. So much for that Russell Wilson versus Matt Stafford Super Bowl preview the NFL schedule makers were dreaming of. The corpse of Wilson will apparently be back out there, but the real Russell Wilson never showed up in Denver.

Broncos games have gone over twice in a row, but if you must invest in this game, it has to be the under. Games with home dogs have gone under 62% of the time this year, and Baker Mayfield starts with totals below 44 are 12-5 to the under. These offenses are playing second- and third-stringers, and while both defenses are fading, it’s clear that’s the better side.

I’ll be watching NBA Christmas rather than the Ghost of Russell Wilson Past. Do what Denver didn’t: save your money.

THE PICK: Lean Under 36.5
OTHER ANGLES: Rams +2.5 (Pass)

Bucs (-7.5) vs.

Cardinals

No Kyler Murray or Colt McCoy means Trace McSorley will make his first start, and that’s why this line has ballooned. But are we really making these Bucs more than a TD favorite against anyone?

Tampa Bay hasn’t covered this line since Week 2. In their last nine games, the Bucs have only three wins, with two of them coming on late wild comebacks over the mediocre Rams and Saints.

The Cardinals stink, but they’re still a professional football team. Kliff Kingsbury’s guys have usually been good underdogs, and Kingsbury remains 14-3-1 ATS (82%) as an underdog against a coach who hasn’t won a Super Bowl. Tom Brady is an ugly 2-11 ATS (15%) with the Bucs in primetime. I hate backing McSorley and late-season Kingsbury, but this line is outrageous.

THE PICK: Cardinals +7.5 (Pass)


THE LEANS

Jaguars vs.

Jets (-1.5)

It feels like these teams are moving in opposite directions. The Jaguars have won four of six, while the Jets have lost four of five. Trevor Lawrence is balling and looking like everything you want in a franchise quarterback, while Zach Wilson is… making Jets fans check frantically for Mike White updates.

This Jets defense is nasty and fun and should get some pressure on Lawrence, especially without his left tackle, but Lawrence has been good at avoiding sacks. Jacksonville should get plenty of pressure itself, and the Jets offense ranks only 22nd in DVOA with Wilson under center.

This is a pretty even matchup, and I like the under best. Thursday night games with a total 40 or below since 2010 are 16-4 to the under (80%), staying under by 10.2 PPG. Games at 37 or below since 2019 are 12-4 to the under too (75%). Jets games at 39 or below have gone under in eight of the last nine.

Their defense will keep the Jags in check, but Wilson and the offense won’t score much. Add in a short week and windy, rainy conditions, and the under looks best.

I grabbed this at 38.5 on the app, but it’s fallen since because of the poor weather reports, which only strengthen the angle. I still like the under, even more so if New York’s Quinnen Williams ends up playing.

THE PICK: Lean Under 36.5
OTHER ANGLES: Lean Jaguars +1.5

Falcons vs.

Ravens (-7.5)

Desmond Ridder did not crack 100 yards in his first start, and it only gets tougher against a Baltimore defense playing really well. The Ravens have the league’s best run defense since adding Roquan Smith, and that could be a big problem for a run-heavy Falcons squad that ran the ball more than ever with a rookie quarterback starting.

Still, Lamar Jackson has yet to practice as his status is in doubt again, and that would make this an awfully high line for Tyler Huntley. Every Huntley game of his NFL career had finished within a field goal before the Ravens only even scored three points last week. Baltimore has scored 10, 16 and three points these last three games.

Favorites since 2018 that have scored 16 or fewer in three straight are an ugly 1-6 ATS and just 3-4 SU, with two of those wins by one and two.

I love under 37.5 if Jackson is out. Baltimore should shut down Ridder and the run attack on the road, but the Ravens aren’t scoring much either. Ravens unders are 10-4 this season, and Baltimore games have failed to top 30 in four of the last five outings. Cold, windy conditions will only help the cause.

If Jackson’s out, I also like the Falcons catching over a touchdown. Road underdogs since 2010 with a total 34.5 to 38 are 65-40-2 ATS (62%). When points are this hard to come by, 7.5 is a massive spread.

THE PICK: Lean Under 37.5 (Bet if Jackson is out)
OTHER ANGLES: Lean Falcons +7.5

Bengals (-3) vs.

Patriots

I still can’t believe Bill Belichick’s team lost like that on Sunday, with Jakobi Meyers quite literally throwing the game away. I think he might’ve thrown away the season. New England is 0-4 against teams currently above .500 and was not competitive in three of those four. The Patriots rank 23rd in DVOA in those games, including 23rd defensively — and remember, that metric accounts for strength of schedule.

I think the Patriots are done. They play the Bengals, Dolphins and Bills to end the season and probably need at least two wins to sneak into the playoffs. Cincinnati’s defense is starting to lose some key pieces, but I’m not sure these Pats are more than a mostly well-coached team that has taken care of things against limited, less talented teams.

The Bengals are not that. Only my respect for Belichick and all his legacy trends hold me back from going harder here. I know New England is playing for its life and for pride, but the Bengals have earned our trust.

THE PICK: Lean Bengals -3

Commanders vs.

49ers (-7)

The 49ers remain the hottest team in football no matter who’s playing quarterback, but this will be Brock Purdy’s biggest defensive test yet. Washington’s defense ranks seventh in DVOA over the last six weeks, including second against the pass. The Commanders win the trenches and should limit Purdy’s offense.

They’ll have to do so because Washington surely won’t score much against this awesome 49ers defense. The Commanders have scored more than 23 points only once since Week 2, averaging 17.5 points per game during that span, and if you can’t block the Giants, you have no shot against the 49ers.

The 49ers have also been tremendous front runners, with nine of their 10 wins covering this line, and Taylor Heinicke chasing against a ball-hawking defense could get ugly and lead to a big 49ers number. If you like Washington, play the moneyline. If you think the Niners win, just take the cover.

Both defenses are balling, and both offenses are among the slowest-paced in the league. You have to play an under here — the question is which one. I wanted a Washington team total under, but 14.5 is such a low number. I’ll play just the second-half under. Both teams are 9-4-1 to the second half under (69%) on the season, and I just don’t see a ton of points here.

THE PICK: Lean 2H Under
OTHER ANGLES: Lean 49ers -7

Texans vs.

Titans (-3)

Ryan Tannehill is out for the season, and a Titans squad that was coasting toward the playoffs is now an underdog to win the division after a four-game losing streak in which the team is averaging only 15.5 points per game. It’s rookie Malik Willis’s show now, and he completed only 11 passes in his first two starts.

One of those starts came against these Texans, though. That was in Houston, and the Titans dominated even without a passing game thanks to a monster Derrick Henry game.

Henry had multiple touchdowns and went over 210 rushing yards for a fourth consecutive time against Houston’s bad run defense, and no Tannehill should mean the Titans lean on Henry more than ever. Tennessee led 17-3 until Houston scored a garbage touchdown in the final minute.

Houston is playing good defense, while Tennessee’s terrific D has fallen apart against the pass thanks to a barrage of injuries. Even still, this line makes this close to a pick’em outside of home field, and I just can’t give the 1-12-1 Texans that much credit.

I’m not looking to invest in Tennessee long term, but a loss here would be nearly season-ending. Lean on Henry to get the job done. He’s still +600 to win the rushing title at PointsBet, and I still like it. If he does his usual against Houston, he could finish the weekend within striking distance.

THE PICK: Lean Titans -3
OTHER ANGLES: Derrick Henry rushing yards overs & escalators once posted

Giants vs.

Vikings (-4.5)

These are the goofiest, luckiest teams in the NFL this season, so good luck trying to figure this one out. It might end up a playoff preview too. A Vikings win sets this up as the 2-7 matchup, while a loss boosts the Giants and pushes this toward the 3-6 matchup.

Both teams have metrics far short of what the win-loss record would indicate, but you already know that. These are flawed teams that keep finding a way late. The Giants can’t pass protect, but the Vikings aren’t getting much pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Minnesota is vulnerable defensively against explosive pass plays, but the Giants aren’t hurting teams that way. The Vikings offense can generate explosive pass plays but might not get the time against a good G-Men pass rush.

Anything could happen here, but the most likely outcome looks like a close, goofy game. 10 of the 11 Vikings wins have been by one score, and all eight Giants wins are by one score. That means taking the Giants and the points, but I’d rather just bet on a close game.

At FanDuel you can bet on Giants to win by six or fewer at +430 or the Vikings to do the same at +330. If we split our bet on the two, we get either team to win by six or fewer at an implied +137. We can also do the same thing at five or fewer at an implied +182. We’ve had only 17 of 240 games (7.1%) finish at exactly six points, so I like the more aggressive number. If you have bet365, you can use the Tribet option to get this play at +187 and cover a tie too — essentially we’re betting on neither team to win by six or more.

Why predict an unpredictable outcome when we can just play for it to be close and let these two goofy teams figure it out on the field?

THE PICK: Lean Neither Team to Win By 6+, as laid out above +187
OTHER ANGLES: Lean Giants +4.5

Bills (-8.5) vs.

Bears

I honestly thought this line would be closer to two touchdowns, but it looks like the Windy City will live up to its name this weekend, which has nerfed the total and the spread. Josh Allen is an alien, though, so he might just deal right through the wind like he did against the Steelers earlier this year, and the Bills could probably name their score on this awful Bears defense in good weather.

I would’ve played Bills -14 in perfect conditions. Chicago can’t pass block, and Justin Fields has fallen back to earth and doesn’t look totally healthy, so the Bears are mostly depressing again. I still like the Bills even in the weather. When the temperature is 45 or below, Fields is 1-5 ATS while Allen is 14-9-3.

The best play looks like a Bills team total over 24.5. Chicago has allowed 25 or more in seven straight, and Buffalo has scored at least 23 in 11 of its 14 games. Windy conditions or not, the Bills are versatile enough to find 25 points, and this way I don’t have to worry about if Fields and the Bears can score.

THE PICK: Lean Bills Team Total Over 24.5
OTHER ANGLES: Bills -8.5

Seahawks vs.

Chiefs (-10)

Finally, a game that should feature some scoring. Seattle Island has taken water and gone down with the ship, but both of these teams have failed to cover each of their past five games.

The Chiefs will certainly score aplenty on this rapidly fading Seahawks defense that ranks dead last in DVOA over the past six weeks, but Seattle is especially struggling against the run. The Chiefs aren’t built to expose the worst of this defense, though Patrick Mahomes has been outrageous on late downs, and Seattle’s defense has struggled to get off the field, so that could make for a long game.

Still, I think Seattle can score, at least enough to hang around and cover his number. Kansas City’s passing defense is beatable, and Geno Smith has played well. Kenneth Walker is also a great battering ram weapon for these wintery games. Seattle’s offense has actually been far better on the road, and it’s also No. 1 in DVOA in the fourth quarter, which could leave the back door open.

I lean Seattle here at the high number. Underdogs of nine or more are 13-4 ATS (76%) since the start of October, and Mahomes is 11-18-1 ATS (38%) as a favorite of over seven. But we know the Chiefs will score here, so a Seattle bet is a bet on them scoring. Why not just take the Seahawks team total over 19.5? Seattle had scored 19 or more in 10 straight games before failing to do so against the 49ers, and the Chiefs are not the 49ers defense.

THE PICK: Lean Seahawks Team Total Over 19.5
OTHER ANGLES: Lean Seahawks +10


THE BETS

Packers vs.

Dolphins (-4)

Everyone saw the Dolphins lose by only a field goal in Buffalo last weekend and came away impressed, but I’m not seeing it. Miami’s offense got two 67-yard plays but was otherwise pretty tepid. Tua Tagovailoa wasn’t as bad as he had been the previous two games, but the passing game still didn’t look good.

Miami ranks 20th in DVOA the last three games, including 21st on offense. Teams have suddenly found ways to jam those speedy receivers and take away the middle of the field, and the Dolphins still aren’t finding many answers outside of the occasional big play when their speed breaks the defense.

Green Bay has disappointed this season, but the Packers have been much more average than bad, with two egregious flaws: the run defense and the special teams. Luckily for Green Bay, Miami has not been great running the football, and its special teams are miserable, so the Dolphins aren’t built to take advantage of Green Bay’s weaknesses.

But the Packers pass defense is actually pretty good, and the offense has been good too — even better than Miami’s lately. The Packers rank seventh in Offensive DVOA on the season, and that’s up to third over the past six weeks. Green Bay runs the ball very efficiently and could chew up the clock, and Aaron Rodgers has found some rhythm with his receivers and should exploit a beatable Miami pass defense.

I wrote about both of these teams in last week’s Friday Futures: Miami to miss the playoffs, and Green Bay to make the playoffs. I still like both plays, and they were in part because of this specific matchup.

Aaron Rodgers is 14-9 ATS (61%) as an underdog, covering eight of his last nine and winning seven of those eight outright. I like the Packers to do the same here, winning in Miami and making that one final push for the playoffs. I’ll play the cover and the moneyline.


Lions (-2.5) vs.

Panthers

I wrote about this on last week’s Lookahead, and though the line hasn’t moved yet as expected, I still love the Lions. They’re just way better than the Panthers.

Detroit is really good! I’ve been screaming this from the rooftops since I played the Lions’ in-season win total over 6.5 wins on December 3rd’s Friday Futures, noting that “they might do it with a game or two to spare.” It turns out I sold the Lions short since they’re already over with three games to spare, and now the they are making a serious playoff push too.

With a healthy Amon-Ra St. Brown, the Lions offense ranks fourth in DVOA on the season, averaging 28.9 PPG. Even against an improving Carolina defense, even on the road and with Jared Goff playing outdoors, we should trust Detroit to score.

But it’s not just the offense anymore — the Lions defense is playing well too. This team found some answers during the bye week, and starting in Week 8 once they got St. Brown back a week after the bye, the defense ranks 13th in DVOA while the Lions rank fourth overall.

The Detroit Lions! The fourth-best team in football since Week 8!!

Carolina’s offense has not been good or reliable, so Detroit’s improved defense is a big edge here. Sam Darnold is 16-22-1 ATS (42%) as an underdog, and Goff thrives in these 1 p.m. ET kickoff windows at 25-13 ATS (66%). The Panthers are “improving” under Steve Wilks and “in the playoff hunt” only because Matt Rhule and the NFC South are so pathetic. The Lions are actually a really good football team, and I expect them to take care of business.

Bet Lions -2.5, but if you want to play a total, you can get creative here. Both defenses have been far better early in games but troublesome late, and both rank bottom five by DVOA in just the second half. Carolina games average 18.0 points per game in the first half versus 24.1 in the second half, while Detroit’s games increase from 24.9 to 27.5. I like the second half over, and I might even get creative and parlay it with a first half under and/or a Lions cover.

You can also just bet on the second half to be the highest-scoring half if you prefer to keep it simple. Either way, make sure you bet Lions -2.5.

Pick: Bet Lions -2.5 | Other Angles: 2H Over 20.5, Second half to be highest-scoring half


Chargers (-5) vs.

Colts

Last Saturday the Colts led 33-0 at halftime and looked set to grab their most convincing win of the season before everything went wrong. Indianapolis melted down and nearly lost in regulation before succumbing in overtime, giving the Vikings the greatest comeback in NFL history. It turns out that was also the end for Matt Ryan, who has been benched for Nick Foles.

That benching pushed this line a couple points in the Chargers’ direction, but should it have? Foles has barely taken first-team snaps all season, but are we sure he’s not the best quarterback on the roster? Foles is 29-27 lifetime, a Super Bowl champion and still only 33 years old. As bad as Ryan and Sam Ehlinger looked for Indianapolis, maybe we should’ve upgraded the Colts with a competent Foles at the helm.

Besides, it’s the Los Angeles Chargers coasting to the playoffs with 80% odds and only the meager Colts, Rams, and Broncos standing in their way — what could possibly go wrong?

Oh, right, since it’s the Chargers, that answer continues to be just about anything and everything. Los Angeles still has injuries up and down both sides of the ball, and this team continues to play bad football on first downs on both sides of the ball, burying itself early. That’s the exact wrong formula against a Colts team that isn’t really great at anything but is good at limiting big plays and taking what’s there in front of them.

The Colts defense has been pretty solid all season. They’ll force the Chargers into long drives and put Justin Herbert into a spot where he has to repeatedly play hero on late downs, and as great as he is, that’s just not a good path to victory. The Chargers can’t run the ball, and the offense has been maddeningly inconsistent.

I don’t see any reason the Chargers will go on the road and win this one easily. Los Angeles has only eight wins all year, and five of them are by three or fewer points. The Chargers have only covered this five-point spread once all year. This is just not a team that puts opponents away.

We’ve seen the Colts at their lowest moments several times this year, getting shutout in Jacksonville in a revenge game, firing their coach for a high school coach and now responding to the biggest collapse in NFL history. And each time the Colts hit a nadir, they responded by winning the following week — over the Chiefs after Jacksonville and against the Raiders in Jeff Saturday’s debut.

This is a prideful Colts team, and I think they show up with something to prove after that embarrassing Vikings second half. I like the Colts to cover and win outright on Monday night. Foles is 6-9 SU as an underdog of 4.5 or more including the postseason, giving bettors a 60% ROI on the moneyline.

Besides, it’s Christmas weekend! Who better to put your money on than ol’ St. Nick? Gimme the Colts and the moneyline.


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