Usually it's a good idea to lock your NFL bets in early. That was not a good idea last week with three games being rescheduled and more than 100 COVID-19 cases. I don't want to spoil the fun again, but I don't think this is another week you should be rushing to place your bets, either. The NFL has updated their COVID-19 protocols allowing for vaccinated individuals to "test out." But that didn't help the Cleveland Browns or Washington Football Team last week.
It's unfortunate because we are near the end of the regular season and most of these matchups have huge playoff implications. Below, I'll give you five against-the-spread picks I'm eyeing right now. Credit to the CBS Sports research team for providing the information found in this column. Let's jump into the picks. Peep the season stats below.
Top five picks record: 40-35
Overall ATS record: 105-118-1
Straight up record: 139-84-1
2020 ATS record: 125-120-9 (2 official picks missed due to COVID rescheduling)
All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook
Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET (NFL Network)
One team is coming off of a monster win while the other is coming off of an embarrassing loss. While the Cardinals' loss to the Detroit Lions was unpredictable, I think they bounce back this week. They have had time to process the loss of DeAndre Hopkins and Chase Edmonds should now be 100 percent healthy.
All the trends centered around the Cardinals being favorites at home in primetime games say that Arizona is primed to drop another one, but c'mon, it's Christmas in the desert. No way it happens again! What you have to worry about in this matchup is obviously Jonathan Taylor, who is a legitimate MVP candidate. He leads the NFL in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, and has run in a score in 11 straight games. That's tied for the fourth-longest streak in NFL history. The Cardinals are middle of the pack when it comes to defending the run, but have allowed just eight rushing touchdowns all season -- which is tied for the third-fewest in the NFL.
The public is beginning to view the Colts as a dark-horse postseason contender while simultaneously falling out of love with the Cardinals. Arizona wins this week and confuses everyone again concerning if it should be a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
The pick: Cardinals -1
Projected score: Cardinals 30-18
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Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
I went 3-3 picking double-digit spreads last week and 1-1 in my best bets. The one I hit was against the Giants. In fact, this week marks the fourth straight week in which I've faded the Giants, and I anticipate going 4-0. Taking Mike Glennon to lose by double digits to the Dallas Cowboys and the Los Angeles Chargers was easy money. Taking him to lose by four to the Miami Dolphins was easy money too.
Apologies, enough railing on the Giants. Like CBS Sports' Pick Six Podcast host Will Brinson, I have many fond memories of watching Glennon tear it up in Carter-Finley Stadium. There is a kink in this pick, and that's that Jake Fromm may be making his first career start. There's a chance he actually injects some energy into this team, but there's also a chance he flops. As for the Eagles, they are pumped up after their 10-point win over Washington. They have a legitimate chance at the playoffs, and will want to destroy a lesser division rival that beat them in a gross game with Daniel Jones last month.
The pick: Eagles -9.5
Projected score: Eagles 24-13
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)
When you ask which NFL head coaches are on the hot seat, you may think about Matt Nagy or Joe Judge. I think we should start putting Matt Rhule's name in that conversation as well. The Panthers have completely bungled their quarterback situation over the past few years and are still finding ways to look foolish with it. We are in Week 16 and Carolina still wants to run a multiple-QB system -- even while switching up who those quarterbacks are. Against the Atlanta Falcons a couple weeks ago, PJ Walker would step in for Cam Newton at times. Newton threw all the passes last week against the Buffalo Bills, but now Rhule wants to insert Sam Darnold into the lineup at times against the Buccaneers? There are other problems such as last week's fourth-down call and criticism along with offensive line rotation that are stories for another time, but the Panthers have lost four straight and things aren't getting better.
The Buccaneers won't have Chris Godwin or Leonard Fournette, and then Lavonte David and Mike Evans have their statuses in question as well. I don't care. Ronald Jones can carry the load and Antonio Brown is back. Brown returning is actually pretty notable. With him, Tom Brady is 5-0. Without him, the Bucs are 5-4.
Brady hates being embarrassed and that's exactly what happened last week against the New Orleans Saints. The Buccaneers have been more profitable against the spread in their last four games going 3-1 (+190). The Panthers have gone 0-4 (-440).
The pick: Buccaneers -10
Projected score: Buccaneers 31-20
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET (Fox)
The Bears are 4-10 ATS this year. Even though they were up double digits on the Green Bay Packers in the first half a couple week ago, they failed to cover a double-digit spread. Then there was Monday night, where Chicago's lone touchdown came just before the final whistle. The Bears have lost their last three by at least eight points, and Justin Fields is nursing an ankle injury.
The Seahawks showed the Los Angeles Rams some fight on Tuesday, and now get to return home. Seattle is 7-7 ATS this year and I think has more momentum than Chicago. Russell Wilson should also get Tyler Lockett back, which is big.
The pick: Seahawks -6.5
Projected score: Seahawks 27-17
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)
Let's get wild. Drew Lock is starting in place of the injured Teddy Bridgewater. That means the Raiders are the easy pick, right? Wrong! Lock may not be the best quarterback for Denver, but he actually takes some shots downfield. He threw the Broncos' only touchdown of the game last week on the same series in which he replaced Bridgewater. Lock won't be shouldering the load with Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon to work off of either.
Then, there's the Broncos defense. They haven't allowed more than 15 points in a game in over a month and have reason to be motivated this Sunday. Denver was one of six teams that did not have any Pro Bowl selections, although star safety Justin Simmons, pass-rusher Bradley Chubb, safety Kareem Jackson and rookie cornerback Patrick Surtain II are alternates. I feel like this unit is going to be flying around the ball and wreaking havoc on an offense that is averaging just 13.3 points per game over the past three contests.
The pick: Broncos (PK)
Projected score: Broncos 23-16
Other Week 16 picks
49ers 28-27 over Titans (+3)
Packers (-7.5) 30-21 over Browns
Jets (PK) 24-20 over Jaguars
Falcons (-5.5) 28-21 over Lions
Bills (+2.5) 27-24 over Patriots
Chargers 30-21 over Texans (+10)
Ravens (+3) 26-23 over Bengals
Rams (-3) 30-25 over Vikings
Chiefs (-7.5) 28-20 over Steelers
Cowboys 28-23 over Washington (+10.5)
Dolphins (+3) 27-23 over Saints