I just got off the phone with Santa and apparently you guys were all on his nice list this year, so you're getting my Week 16 picks as a present. Sure, it's the worst present ever, but it's all I have since my first idea got shot down by the higher-ups.
Originally I wanted to buy everyone a Mike Ditka prayer candle, but that thing is harder to find than a Hatchimal, so it's not happening. Maybe next Christmas.
Speaking of prayer candles, Ezekiel Elliott must have been praying to his Ditka candle because that's the only way to explain why the NFL didn't fine him for his wild kettle hop Sunday night.
I don't work for the NFL, but if I did I would make sure there was a giant Salvation Army kettle at every stadium and I would make it required that players jump in it after they score.
Think about it, there's literally no downside to making every single player jump into a giant kettle.
It wouldn't have to be just players jumping either. Fans could jump into the kettle before each game and the league could charge people. I would pay at least $25 to be able to jump in a giant kettle. It might sound crazy, but look how happy it makes you.
You can't tell me that's not the happiest girl you've ever seen inside of a giant kettle.
That being said, I'm not sure a giant kettle could cheer up Jon Gruden.
The ESPN announcer told the saddest Christmas story I've ever heard Monday. Apparently, his brother once got him a rock for Christmas.
I usually get coal, so it could be worse, Jon.
Anyway, it's time to get to the Week 16 picks. You'll probably notice that there's a holiday theme.
Before we get to the picks, here's your weekly reminder that you can check out the picks from every CBSSports.com NFL expert by clicking here.
The reason you should click over and check out the other experts this week is because you're probably going to want to bet all of your Christmas money on Jamey Eisenberg's picks. The CBSSports.com fantasy writer went 11-4-1 against the spread in Week 15. Although I'm not good at math, I do know that if you had bet those picks, you could afford a lot of Mike Ditka prayer candles right now.
You can never have too many Ditka prayer candles.
Let's get to the picks.
NFL Week 16 Picks
All games on Saturday, Dec. 24 unless noted
Miami (9-5) at Buffalo (7-7), 1 p.m. ET (CBS): After watching the Bills play 14 games this season, I've noticed that there's only one thing they do really well: Run the ball. Literally, that's it.
Although running the ball on every play doesn't usually work in the NFL, that strategy might work this week because the Bills are going up against a Dolphins defense that's ranked 30th against the run. If I'm Rex Ryan, I don't even put any passing plays in the game plan this week. Instead, I just run the ball 61 times.
This would usually be the part where I mention that Ryan Tannehill has never won in Buffalo, but since he's not playing this week, I guess I don't have to mention it. However, I will mention that the Dolphins haven't won in Buffalo since 2011, which I'm only bringing up because the quarterback in that game for Miami was Matt Moore, the same Matt Moore who will be starting Saturday.
Moore made his first start of the season in Week 15, but I learned nothing about him because he basically got a bye week going up against the Jets defense.
Generally, I make about two picks per week that I immediately regret and I'm starting to feel like this is one of them, but I'm going to go with the Bills. I was leaning Dolphins, but I'm not sure I can pick against a team that just had its flag blessed by the Pope.
That guy could've asked for anything to be blessed and he went with his Bills flag. If that had been me, I wouldn't have asked for any blessing, I would've asked the pope what to get my girlfriend for Christmas because I'm out of ideas. Maybe a Bills flag?
The pick: Bills 27-20 over Dolphins
Cincinnati (5-8-1) at Houston (8-6), 8:30 p.m. ET (NFL Network): Christmas came early on Sunday for everyone in Houston not named Brock Osweiler. After 15 weeks of watching Osweiler throw passes to the other team, Texans coach Bill O'Brien finally decided to bench his starting quarterback, and let's just say that everyone in Houston seemed kind of excited by the move.
I'm pretty sure that's the loudest cheer that city has heard since the Houston Space Center safely talked those three astronauts through the Apollo 13 landing.
For the record, I think the Texans made the right move by going with Tom Savage. But this doesn't feel like a great week for Savage to be getting his first career start. For one, it's coming on a short week because the game is Saturday, and two, the game's in prime time.
Usually I pick against the Bengals when they play in prime time, but as it turns out, the Texans might actually be worse at night. In their past 12 prime-time games, the Texans are 2-10 (the Bengals are 3-9). If I could, I would pick against both teams, but I can't do that. Instead, I'm going to let the spirit of the season guide me: The Bengals have never lost the game before Christmas in Andy Dalton's career and I'm not about to pick against that kind of holiday magic.
The pick: Bengals 23-20 over Texans
Baltimore (8-6) at Pittsburgh (9-5), 4:30 p.m. ET, Sunday (NFL Network): I only have two rules when I pick games: First, always pick against the Browns. Second, never pick against the Steelers in December. Since the first rule doesn't apply to this game, let's focus on the second one. Since 2013, the Steelers are 13-2 in December, which is the best record of any NFL team over that span, so obviously I should pick Pittsburgh. However, one of those two December losses came to Baltimore, so that kind of throws a wrench in my plan of picking the Steelers -- OR DOES IT?
The Ravens' defense has been impressive this season, except when they actually go up against a good offense. The Ravens have played five games against teams that have a top-10 offense and they are 1-4 in those games. That one win came in November against the Steelers (21-14), but I'm putting an asterisk next to it because Ben Roethlisberger was playing just three weeks after having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.
I can't even eat Cheetos after I get a splinter in my hand and Roethlisberger was out playing in an NFL game three weeks after surgery. The last time these two teams played, I picked the Ravens because Big Ben was beat up. This time around, I don't think the Ravens are going to win unless they get a Christmas miracle.
The pick: Steelers 26-23 over Ravens
Detroit (9-5) at Dallas (12-2), 8:30 p.m. ET, Monday (ESPN): This game hasn't even been played yet and newspapers in Michigan are already counting it as a loss for the Lions.
In the old days, this kind of nightmare front page headline error would cause publishers to order papers pulled out of newspaper boxes... pic.twitter.com/C5oQinteUq— Chad Livengood (@ChadLivengood) December 19, 2016
You can't really blame them though. If you've watched Detroit play over the past few weeks then you know there's a 95 percent chance those headlines come true.
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford injured his middle finger against the Bears in Week 14, and although he says it's not bothering him, THE STATS BEG TO DIFFER, MATT. THE STATS SAY THE FINGER IS BOTHERING YOU.
Matthew Stafford's passer rating was 100.5 at the time he dislocated his finger in Week 14. Since then, it is 64.6. pic.twitter.com/vqhbIiNbn2— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) December 18, 2016
Sorry for yelling, but I really wanted to make a point there. Anyway, as you can see based on those stats, Stafford's injured finger has basically turned him into Brock Osweiler, and if you've followed the Texans at all this season, then you know that's not a good thing.
I think what I'm trying to say is that I'm going to need to personally examine Stafford's injured finger before I can be convinced that it's healed, and until that examination happens, I can't pick the Lions to win another game this season.
Dez Bryant rips 'fake' Cowboys fans, wants them off bandwagon, pronto https://t.co/9lGFxSjpfa— Shawn O'Toole (@therealslo1) December 19, 2016
If they're gone, I'm not sure who that leaves on the bandwagon, but I'm sure it will all get figured out Monday.
By the way, if you want to know if you're a fake or real fan, it depends on how many times you can watch the video below. If you get through it 100 times, you're definitely a real fan.
The pick: Cowboys 30-20 over Lions
Sad Browns fan of the week/Browns pick
The Browns have been so unwatchable that the NFL went ahead and did us all a favor for next season: They sent them to London for a game. That's right England, the Browns are your problem now.
Now, I'm no history buff, but I have to say the Greeks sending a giant wooden horse to Troy was a less hostile move than sending the Browns to England. If this doesn't start World War III, I don't think anything will.
The Browns are so bad that Americans are already apologizing to the people of England and the game is still roughly a year away.
For anyone in London that is planning on going to one of the NFL games next year.— Jared 🎄 (@akaJaR_) December 13, 2016
I'm sincerely sorry if you're going to see the Browns.
To The Great People of the United Kingdom . Next year the NFL will send our Pathetic Browns to play in the London Series . I'm Sorry— Daniel Schell (@DanielSchell14) December 14, 2016
Dear London,— David Medve (@medvedaa) December 13, 2016
Sorry the Browns are playing there. Sincerely, the world.
With the Browns headed to London next season, the big winner here is the people of Cleveland, who now only have to sit through seven homes games next season.
As for this year, if you need a stocking stuffer, you can get tickets to the Chargers-Browns game for $6.
I don't live anywhere near Cleveland, but I might buy a few of these and give them to the Salvation Army because that's what Ezekiel Elliott would want.
As for this week's game, if the Browns can't beat a West Coast team (San Diego) at home in 35 degree weather, then they're pretty much destined to go 0-16.
The guy below basically has the right idea.
I hope Santa has enough room in his sleigh to deliver one of those to everyone in Cleveland this week.
The pick: Chargers 27-13 over Browns
NFL Week 16 picks: All the rest
Giants 20-17 over Eagles, Thursday
Bears 19-16 over Redskins
Patriots 30-17 over Jets
Rams 20-13 over 49ers
Best pick: Last week, I predicted that the Titans would go into Kansas City on the coldest day in Earth's history and upset the Chiefs and then the Titans went into Kansas City and upset the Chiefs. Now, did I know that Andy Reid was going to completely botch the use of at least one timeout late in the game and cost Kansas City the win?
Of course I did, because if there's one thing you can count on from Andy Reid every week, it's his amazing ability to either mismanage the clock or blow a timeout. In this game, Reid decided he wanted to ice the Titans' kicker before a 53-yard field goal with five seconds left, and as soon as he called the timeout, everyone in Kansas City knew how the game was going to end.
Titans kicker Ryan Succop missed his first attempt short, but the kick didn't count due to Reid's timeout. After the timeout, Succop proceeded to make his second kick and win the game for Tennessee.
haha andy reid icing the kicker on a missed FG attempt is peak andy— ☕ (@FireJB_) December 18, 2016
I can't believe what Andy Reid did. Why I have never believed in "icing the kicker". They are iced standing on the sideline all game!— Greg Byron (@byrongreg) December 18, 2016
S/O Andy Reid icing the kicker costing his team a W and conference championship... Have fun in the wild card— Eleven & Three (@30JT) December 18, 2016
The irony in all of this is that Succop played for the Chiefs until Reid cut him in 2014.
If I were a Chiefs fan, I would feel more comfortable with one of Santa's elves making late-game decisions over Reid. I have no idea whether elves can coach, but they might have to if this guy's Christmas wish comes true.
Dear Santa, can you make Andy Reid retire for Christmas? If so, please remove all previous gift requests for 2016. Thanks.— Brandon Jewell (@BrandonJewell3) December 18, 2016
I need to stop with this Andy Reid talk because I'm already starting to reconsider my Broncos-Chiefs pick.
Worst pick: For some reason I picked the Redskins to win a Monday night home game even though they might possibly be the worst team in NFL history when it comes to Monday night home games. Including the loss to the Panthers, the Redskins are 1-16 at home in Monday night games since 1998. Basically, the Redskins turn into the Cleveland Browns every time they play at home on a Monday.
If I had done any research, I would've known how bad the Redskins are on Mondays and I wouldn't have picked them to win. However, I didn't have time to do research last week because Best Buy sent me an email about some made up shopping holiday called Green Monday, and I bit hard.
After I got the email, I spent the next four hours looking at Justin Bieber albums and flatscreen TVs that I'll never buy. I was only looking at the Bieber albums because that's what I'm getting everyone in my family for Christmas. Sorry fam, I know that's what I do every year, but it's either that or an autographed copy of Fast Five.
Look at that guy in the front left. You can't play a train passenger better than that.
Happy Holidays everyone, and if you get a DVD copy of Fast Five under your tree, that's a good thing because that means my royalty check will go up next month. Instead of four cents, it will be six cents.
Straight up in Week 15: 12-4
SU overall: 129-93-2
Against the spread in Week 15: 7-8-1
ATS overall: 104-109-11