NFL Upset Picks for Week 16

Jalen Ramsey covering DK Metcalf

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) is defended by Los Angeles Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey (20) during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 15, 2020, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
  • Can the Los Angeles Rams rebound from last week’s embarrassing loss and win in Seattle against the Seahawks?
  • Will the Titans be able to keep pace with the Packers offense in Lambeau?
  • Last week’s picks went 0-2, losing 3 units to bring our yearly total down to +7.96

Week 15 gave underdog bettors a true Christmas miracle, when both the +1000 Jets and +700 Bengals won outright. Too bad we didn’t pick either of those games! (At least seriously.) Instead we got a lump of coal from the Broncos and Patriots.

Turning to the NFL’s Week 16 odds, we’re going to start by focusing on a few underdogs that still have a lot to play for as they battle it out for their respective division crowns.

NFL Week 16 Upset Picks

Matchup Spread Moneyline Pick Units
Los Angles Rams vs Seattle Seahawks SEA -1 +100 Rams 1.5
Tennessee Titans vs Green Bay Packers GB -3.5 +154 Titans 1
Cincinnati Bengals vs Houston Texans HOU -7.5 +300 Bengals 0.5

Odds taken Dec. 25 from DraftKings and FanDuel

Rams Rebound vs Seahawks

There’s no concern surrounding the Rams, even after falling flat against the Jets last week. You’d think losing to Adam Gase would have some impact on LA’s appeal to the betting public, but they’re only one-point dogs in the Seattle for this crucial NFC West tilt .

Los Angeles stymied the Seahawks’ offense in Week 10 and since then, Seattle hasn’t been the same aggressive aerial attack. Russell Wilson is averaging five fewer pass attempts in the second half of the season and since Week 9, the Seahawks rank 17th in EPA per play and 16th in passing.

Numbers-wise, Seattle’s defense is also playing better over that stretch, but they haven’t exactly been challenged by the league’s best offenses. After facing a gamut of Dwayne Haskins, Colts McCoy, the New York Jets and the Carson Wentz-led Eagles; playing Jared Goff will feel like going up against Kurt Warner.

The Rams have always been able to bounce back well under Sean McVay: they haven’t lost consecutive games straight up and against the spread since Dec. 15, 2018. With a chance to take the lead in the NFC West with a win, don’t expect a flat showing here.

Titans Outshoot Packers

In the final stretch of the season, the MVP race has basically boiled down to Patrick Mahomes vs Aaron Rodgers. Yet there’s an overlooked candidate who could force his way into the mainstream discussion with an excellent showing on Sunday Night Football: Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill.

If Tennessee can pull off the upset as 3.5 point underdogs in Lambeau, Tannehill MVP chatter will get real loud. Especially because both of these teams win by letting their offenses do the heavy lifting while the defense just comes along for the ride.

The Pack’s defense doesn’t rank nearly as terribly as the Titans, but Tennessee’s offense does have all the elements that have given Green Bay fits in recent years. The Packers’ run defense has been notably weak, and the better the running back, the worse they perform. Dalvin Cook had 226 combined yards in his last outing against the Pack, while Alvin Kamara notched 197. What damage will Derrick Henry do on the league’s biggest stage?

There’s no reason to expect the Titans defense to step up here either, but Green Bay is capable of going on a cold stretch, like in the second half last week against Carolina.

This game will probably come down to; who gets the ball last? I for one will be hoping it’s Tannehill and company that get put in that position.

Cincy Covers Consecutive Games

The Bengals had been a pretty brutal bet since that season ending injury to Joey Covers, before they absolutely waxed the Steelers on Monday Night. That shocking result had more to do with Pittsburgh’s offensive freefall than anything else, but it was still a solid showing from Carl Lawson, William Jackson III, and Mackensie Alexander — a few Cincy defensive players angling for new deals.

A few weeks ago, we made the case that the Bengals D was actually playing okay football, and that remains the case. Yet somehow, they’re 7.5-point underdogs in Houston this weekend against an equally trash Texans team.

The only reason Houston is getting this much love is because of one player.

Deshaun Watson can cover for a lot of the Texans deficiencies, but he can’t single handedly win this team games.

Playing Cincy in this spot isn’t a big vote of confidence in Ryan Finley and company, but an acknowledgement this line is way too high in favor of the Texans. Houston wasn’t fetching 7.5 in either game against Jacksonville this season. What have they done in the last few weeks to be favored by such a spread now?

Anything can happen in a late season game with no playoff implications. Taking Cincy at +270 against a pretty evenly matched opponent (minus the QB spot) is worth a shot.

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