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NFL 2018 SQ Insiders: Week 16

Austin Taliaferro

Our insiders pick the Week 16 games to help you beat Vegas and your pick’em league.

Pittsburgh was able to stave off disaster last week with an impressive win at home over the New England Patriots. Unfortunately, they are faced with an arguably tougher task this week as they will have to travel to take on the New Orleans Saint in the Super Dome. 

Our insiders do not like their chances and except the Saints to pull out the win by a score of 31-28. The only bright spot is that they expect Pittsburgh to cover the +6.5 spread.


Matchup

Max V

Hunter B

Matt F

Adrian N

Cincinnati at Cleveland
Tampa Bay at Dallas
Minnesota at Detroit
Washington at Tennessee
NY Giants at Indianapolis
Jacksonville at Miami
Buffalo at New England
Green Bay at NY Jets
Houston at Philadelphia
Atlanta at Carolina
LA Rams at Arizona
Baltimore at LA Chargers
Chicago at San Francisco
Pittsburgh at New Orleans
Kansas City at Seattle
Denver at Oakland
Total Record

137-85130-92139-83145-77



Matchup

Conglomerate Score

ATS Winner

Pick’em Winner

Why the home team will win

Why the away team will win

Cincinnati at Cleveland15-24CLE-6.5Since the departure of Hue Jackson, the Browns are 4-2 and are giving up only 23 points per game. The offense has also found it’s stride behind fellow rookies Mayfield and Chubb. The Bengals are a bottom 5 defense this year and will give Cleveland plenty of opportunities for points.Joe Mixon is having an incredible season and is the leagues 4th leading rusher. The Bengals will need to rely on him to control the game, the clock, and limit the amount of exposure their defense has to Baker and the Browns.
Tampa Bay at Dallas19-27DAL-7.5Despite a poor performance from their offense last week, Dallas is still a team with a very strong defense. They give up the 5th least years per game and the 4th least points and should be able to counter a Tampa team that has struggled offensively down the stretch.Quietly, Mike Evans has had a superb season. Despite quarterback controversy all year, he is second in the league in receiving yards at over 1300. Dallas gets good pressure, but one way to counterattack that is by having a number one option that you can focus when you need to get the ball out quick. Evans is that.
Minnesota at Detroit24-18MIN-5.5Detroit’s defense is pretty good at home. The Lions were able to defeat the Patriots here, so Minnesota shouldn’t be as tall a task. The return of Kerryon Johnson could help the run game, but Stafford will have to air it out to beat the Vikings.The Lions are not a great team and the offense looked as good as new last week against the Dolphins. The ground game is key for the Vikings. If Dalvin Cook can carry that hot performance into this week, the Vikings will escape Detroit with a win and a stronger grasp on that six seed.
Washington at Tennessee16-23WSH+10.5Three wins in a row have the Titans clawing at a playoff spot and they will be heavy favorites this week. Look for the offense to pound Derrick Henry and use the play action to take shots with Corey Davis. Dion Lewis catching out of the backfield could be an x-factor.Josh Johnson has Washington rolling! Not really, but that kind of performance is what Johnson needs to do to keep Washington afloat. Taking care of the ball is key against Tennessee’s defense.
NY Giants at Indianapolis20-30IND-9.5Andrew Luck’s Comeback Player of the Year campaign carries on into Week 16 where the Giants present him the perfect opportunity to cement his case. The Colts’ offense has the chance to put up 40 against a weak Giants team. Look for Frank Reich to air it out all day as the Colts chase that last playoff spot.Odell Beckham could return this week and help a slumping Giants’ offense. If he plays, there is no one on the field who can cover him, presenting an automatic mismatch for the Giants to exploit. This one should be a shootout.
Jacksonville at Miami12-17MIA-4.5The Dolphins are desperate to remain in the playoff picture, and a weak Jaguars team gives them a great opportunity to bounce back. Take care of the football and don’t let the Jags get free points with good field position. The Dolphins need to make Cody Kessler drive 75+ yards every drive if they want to score.The defense is still one of the better ones in the league, and their recent plays attest to that. If the defense can create turnovers and give Cody Kessler a short field for points, it’s likely the Jags spoil the Dolphins’ playoff aspirations.
Buffalo at New England15-31NE-12.5Before the game against the Steelers, the Patriots were averaging over 30 points per game in their last 10 contests. New England is going to bounce back playing at home against a terrible Bills team, the only question is by how many points will they win?
In their meeting with the Patriots earlier this season, the Bills defense had the team trailing 12-6 before a Derek Anderson pick six put the Bills on tilt. With Josh Allen back and playing much better than Derek Anderson, if the Bills defense can summon a similar performance then they will have a chance to win.
Green Bay at NY Jets22-18GB+0.5While it’s easy to just summarize this game as one team has, Aaron Rodgers and the other doesn’t, look at the facts. Green Bay has not won a road game all year and Rodgers has not been completely right since he lost some of his mobility in week 1. The Jets have a good defense and can win this if they keep the Packers below 24 points.The Packers have been a much better team than the Jets this year, sporting a +1 point differential compared to the Jets’ -67. The Green Bay running game has strengthened these last several weeks. If they can continue to take some of the load off of Rodgers, then they should win on Sunday.
Houston at Philadelphia21-21HOU+0.5TiedThe Eagles kept their playoff hopes alive with a shocking victory over the Rams last week. Nick Foles had some of the same magic he did last year during their playoff run. That will need to continue this week for them to take down the Texans.The Texans know that if they are going to make a Super Bowl run they need the first-round bye. In order to get it, they have to win because the Patriots have two home divisional games they will likely win. Deshaun Watson is going to have to make some plays with his legs late in this game to help Houston pull it out.
Atlanta at Carolina27-24ATL+3.5Carolina’s defense played its best game of the season on Monday night against the Saints. Going up against an Atlanta offense that just scored 40 on Arizona, the Panthers defense is going to have to play well once again. The offense needs to rely on Christian McCaffrey to make a few timely plays to get them the victory.Matt Ryan and the offense finally got back on track last week. Tevin Coleman had one of his best games of the season. For the Falcons to win this game on the road, they are going to need another big day from that offense.
LA Rams at Arizona34-17LAR-14.5Arizona has had most of its success against divisional opponents. They beat the 49ers twice and lost a close game to Seattle. With the Rams offense struggling, the Cardinals defense has an excellent chance to slow them down so the offense can make a play late to steal this game.The Rams hopes of getting the 1st seed are probably gone at this point, but getting the 2nd seed is more important than ever with Todd Gurley appearing to be injured. With games against the Cardinals and 49ers to end the season, the Rams offense must get back on track heading into their playoff run.
Baltimore at LA Chargers17-21BAL+4.5The Chargers’ powerful defense should have a good day against a rookie quarterback.Baltimore is fighting for a playoff spot and will give the Chargers their best shot. Film is limited on rookie QB Lamar Jackson, who is supported on the other side of the ball by Baltimore’s league-best defense.
Chicago at San Francisco26-19CHI-3.5San Francisco has been one of the league’s more surprising teams this season. After a victory over Seattle, would we really be that shocked if they pulled one out against Chicago?Chicago’s defense has been unstoppable these past two weeks, shutting down Jared Goff and Aaron Rodgers. A game against San Francisco QB Nick Mullens should prove to be a less daunting task.
Pittsburgh at New Orleans28-31PIT+6.5The Saints are unstoppable at home and will fight to hold onto their homefield advantage in the playoffs, while the Steelers have been inconsistent and unstable throughout 2018.Pittsburgh has had an up-and-down season, but the team is riding a huge wave of momentum after their win against New England. The Pittsburgh defense held Tom Brady and the Patriots offense to just 10 points - are you kidding me? Meanwhile, the Saints have recently managed just 10 and 12 points against the Cowboys and Panthers, respectively. The timing could work out very well for Pittsburgh.
Kansas City at Seattle30-24KC-2.5Seattle is trying to clinch a playoff spot and has serious home field advantage. If we consider coaching and quarterback play to be relatively tied, Seattle comes out on top when you look at defense.As well as Seattle’s defense has been playing, containing Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes II has proven to be nearly impossible. The MVP candidate will pull out all of his best moves as Kansas City tries to protect its first-place spot in the AFC West.
Denver at Oakland22-22OAK+2.5TiedThe Raiders have played well at home the past few games and since this could very well be the final game in Oakland for the Raiders, I expect that trend to continue. Behind an emotionally charged crowd, Derek Carr and the offense will have a big day leading to a victory.The Broncos offense hasn’t been the same without Emmanuel Sanders, but a game against the Raiders struggling defense gives them a chance to get back on track. They need to have a big game rushing the ball to give Case Keenum something to rely on.


Edited by Joe Sparacio, Brian Kang.

SQuiz
What is Drew Brees' home winning percentage?
Created 12/18/18
  1. 54%
  2. 63%
  3. 70%
  4. 79%

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