With only two games left on the docket for each team, the NFL Week 16 odds slate is clearly separated into distinct halves based on playoff implications.
On the one hand, a matchup featuring the disappointing Green Bay Packers (5-8-1) visiting the dreadful New York Jets (4-10) won’t really move the meter. Both teams have nothing left to play for, and despite Aaron Rodgers’ pledge to play pushing the line to Green Bay (-2.5), the only drama will concern draft positioning coupled with the Pack’s attempt to avert an 0-8 season on the road.
On the other hand, when the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5-1) head to the Big Easy for a date with the New Orleans Saints (12-2), the result will reverberate throughout both conferences.
A win for the Saints – tabbed as big (-6) home favorites by online sportsbook Bovada on the NFL Week 16 odds – secures the NFC’s top seed in the playoffs, and the guaranteed home field advantage that status affords.
Meanwhile, the Steelers can’t let up after last week’s huge win over the New England Patriots (9-5) as (+2.5) home dogs. Pittsburgh needs a victory to stave off the hard-charging Baltimore Ravens (8-6) in the AFC North, along with a slew of Wild Card combatants nipping at Pittsburgh’s heels.
Knowing that, both teams should be expected to bring everything they have for this one.
The sixteenth week of the season means no more Thursday Night Football, but bettors will double up on their early action come Saturday.
The afternoon game sends the Washington Redskins (7-7) to Nashville for a tango with the Tennessee Titans (8-6).
Amazingly, despite resorting to their fourth quarterback of the year in journeyman Josh Johnson last Sunday, the ‘Skins pulled out a gritty 16-13 road win over the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10). Johnson wasn’t pretty by any stretch, completing only 16 of 25 passes for 151 yards and a score, but he protected the ball and gave Washington a chance to win – something Mark Sanchez couldn’t do two weeks ago in a disastrous spot start.
Johnson already beat one tough AFC South defense on the road, but he’ll need to turn the trick a second time this week if the Redskins have any hope of squeezing into the playoff bracket.
Tennessee boasts the stingiest scoring defense in all of football – tied with Baltimore – surrendering only 18.1 points per game. And that Titans defense has shown off over the last two Sundays, shutting down the New York Giants (5-9) in a 17-0 road romp last week, while holding the Jaguars to a safety and a single touchdown in a 30-9 blowout.
Those wins extended what’s now a three-game winning streak, putting Tennessee on the verge of an AFC Wild Card berth in the process.
But even with a ferocious defense strutting their stuff, the (-10) spread tagged to the Titans might just be too much for an offensively limited squad to cover.
In the Saturday evening contest, the aforementioned Ravens head westward to face the Los Angeles Chargers (11-3).
Baltimore is vying for the same Wild Card berth as the Titans, not to mention an AFC North title should Pittsburgh falter, and they’ll continue to lean on backup-turned-starter Lamar Jackson at quarterback.
The rookie has dazzled since replacing an injured Joe Flacco a few weeks ago, using his legs to transform the Ravens offense into a team capable of ravaging opposing defenses on read-option plays.
Gaudy rushing yardage has worked for Baltimore thus far, but Jackson will need to put up plenty of points if he hopes to keep pace with Phillip Rivers. The Chargers quarterback is enjoying perhaps his best statistical season to date, and with a win on Saturday, Los Angeles could very well chase down the Kansas City Chiefs (11-3) for the AFC’s top seed.
L.A. will be (-4.5) home favorites here on the NFL Week 16 odds, a line which might just give Baltimore backers hope, as the Chargers have won by one-, five-, and three-point margins in their last three games.