‘Tis the season for Christmas football!
I hope everyone is excited for food, family, presents and football on Monday.
Our week kicked off Saturday afternoon when the Colts traveled to Baltimore and the Vikings faced the Packers later that night.
There will not be a Sunday “night” game this week.
On Christmas Day, the Steelers will go on the road to face the Texans and then the Raiders will travel to Philly to face the Eagles to close this week of football.
We set a new high with a 14-2 record in Week 15’s picks, but I’m still chasing the elusive 16-0 slate. Will I be able to pull of a Christmas miracle and get every pick right? We will soon find out.
Los Angeles Rams (10-4) @ Tennessee Titans (8-6) (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET)
Tennessee isn’t legit. Last week should have been a wake-up call for the bunch, but it takes more than that to beat the Rams. Jared Goff and Todd Gurley make this LA offense unstoppable. Marcus Mariota is no match for the Rams’ defense and with a healthy offense, LA should have no problem handling Tennessee in this one.
The Pick: Rams 30, Titans 21
Buffalo Bills (8-6) @ New England Patriots (11-3) (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET)
The fun pick is Buffalo but like many picks this late in the season, it’s safest to go with what you know. Everyone knows that New England is better than Buffalo and at this stage in Tom Brady’s career, he has no time for entertaining the Bills in this one. Tyrod Taylor might have a decent game against the Pats’ D but if you expect him to out-duel Brady, you’ve got another thing coming.
The Pick: Patriots 27, Bills 23
Cleveland Browns (0-14) @ Chicago Bears (4-10) (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET)
I am going to give the Browns the win this week. This team will not go winless, and it’s certainly not going to beat Pittsburgh next week. Because of that, I’ve got to go with Cleveland in this one. Mitch Trubisky and DeShone Kizer both played horrible football last week but Kizer’s game against Green Bay a couple weeks ago gives me hope that he can pick up his first win as a NFL QB.
The Pick: Browns 24, Bears 20
Atlanta Falcons (9-5) @ New Orleans Saints (10-4) (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET)
Atlanta is in serious danger of dropping two straight to close the season. It’s a blessing to have two divisional games in a row to end the season (chance to win the division in epic fashion), but it’s also a curse (two teams better than you, tiebreaker implications, etc). The Falcons edged out the Saints in the first meeting this season but with Alvin Kamara healthy for the entire game this time around, there’s no way New Orleans drops this one at home.
The Pick: Saints 34, Falcons 26
Detroit Lions (8-6) @ Cincinnati Bengals (5-9) (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET)
Detroit is one of three NFC teams on the outside of the playoff picture (Seattle and Dallas as well) that need wins and some help in order to make the postseason. Cincinnati is out of the playoff race in the AFC and has not played great football this year. Detroit should handle the Bengals easily in an effort to keep its playoff hopes alive. Expect a big game from Matthew Stafford and potentially a couple Andy Dalton turnovers helping the cause for Detroit’s defense.
The Pick: Lions 27, Bengals 14
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10) @ Carolina Panthers (10-4) (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET)
Cam Newton had fun last week. When he is enjoying himself on the football field, the Panthers are as dangerous a team as anyone in the NFL. Jameis Winston’s best and Cam Netwon’s best are on two different levels, especially in a home game for Carolina. This one won’t be close.
The Pick: Panthers 27, Buccaneers 14
Miami Dolphins (6-8) @ Kansas City Chiefs (8-6) (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET)
Jay Cutler is coming off a horrible game, so the trendy pick is for him to have a great game and for the Dolphins to pick up the W. On the other hand, Kansas City is at home and is somewhat resembling the team that started the season 5-0. They’re not quite as dominant, but the Chiefs look pretty darn good. I’m going to pick them to stifle Jay Cutler and the ‘Fins this Sunday. Alex Smith should have a great game in what may be his last start at Arrowhead Stadium.
The Pick: Chiefs 31, Dolphins 20
Denver Broncos (5-9) @ Washington Redskins (5-8) (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET)
Denver and Washington are both teams that had high expectations heading into the season, but were extremely disappointed with how things have gone so far. Kirk Cousins is playing each week in hopes he’ll convince some team (maybe Washington) that he’s worth a hefty price tag this offseason. Brock Osweiler played lights out football in relief of Trevor Siemian last week. Osweiler and Paxton Lynch are splitting reps in practice and as I write this, no decision has been made about who’s going to start this Sunday. Either way, I’m going with Washington. If Osweiler starts, it’ll be a close one. If he doesn’t, it’ll be a blowout.
The Pick: Redskins 28, Broncos 24 (with Osweiler) or Redskins 28, Broncos 14 (with Lynch)
Los Angeles Chargers (7-7) @ New York Jets (5-9) (Sunday, 1:00 PM ET)
LA is still playing for a playoff spot despite blowing a chance to take sole possession of the AFC West lead last week. New York is without Josh McCown and looked lost last week with Bryce Petty on the field at QB. Philip Rivers should rebound from his horrible game last week against the Chiefs with a solid performance on Sunday. Los Angeles will get back on track, but is it too little too late?
The Pick: Chargers 31, Jets 7
Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4) @ San Francisco 49ers (4-10) (Sunday, 4:05 PM ET)
I thought long and hard about picking Jimmy Garoppolo’s 49ers getting the upset in this one. I also thought long and hard about how well Blake Bortles has played in the month of December and how he’s helped his team win every week. I’m going to stick with Jacksonville in this one. Bortles has played turnover-free football and with how great the Jags’ D is, Garoppolo might have his first challenging start as a pro. The Jaguars are just so much better than the 49ers at this point.
The Pick: Jaguars 28, 49ers 21
Seattle Seahawks (8-6) @ Dallas Cowboys (8-6) (Sunday, 4:25 PM ET)
Stick a fork in Seattle. It’s so hard to stick a fork in a team with Russell Wilson as its quarterback, but do it. Ezekiel Elliot’s value to Dallas is very underestimated and the entire world found out how much he means to the team during his six weeks off. Elliot has bet Eric Dickerson he’d run for 200 yards this week and after seeing how fit he looks coming off his suspension, I’m not going to disagree with him. Look for Zeke to eat on Sunday and look for the Cowboys to keep their playoff hopes alive. It’ll be close, but Dallas will emerge victorious at home.
The Pick: Cowboys 34, Seahawks 30
New York Giants (2-12) @ Arizona Cardinals (6-8) (Sunday, 4:25 PM ET)
Eli Manning. Eli, Eli, Eli. It feels as if his days as a member of the New York Giants have been numbered all season, but especially now that his team is projected to pick in the top five in the upcoming NFL Draft. With that said, I think Eli has one more magical game in a Giants uniform left. Arizona’s defense is tough to beat but due to a lack of offense (Drew Stanton is playing QB for the Cardinals), the Giants will pick up the W.
The Pick: Giants 20, Cardinals 14
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3) @ Houston Texans (4-10) (Monday, 4:30 PM ET)
Pittsburgh is going to blow Houston out of the water. Earlier in the year, I imagined a DeShaun Watson vs. Big Ben shootout, perhaps one in which the Texans could emerge the winners. Now that Tom Savage is hurt and TJ Yates is the starter for Houston, forget about it. Ben Roethlisberger is going to pick apart the Texans without Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell is should have a field day. Don’t watch this one if you’re a Texans fan. If Jacksonville can put up 45 on the Texans, so can Pittsburgh.
The Pick: Steelers 45, Texans 13
Oakland Raiders (6-8) @ Philadelphia Eagles (12-2) (Monday, 8:30 PM ET)
Nick Foles showed last week that the Eagles are going to be fine without Carson Wentz. As long as the defense can play at a high level and there is somewhat of a running game existing, Philly has a good shot to beat just about anyone. The Raiders have been the disappointment of the NFL this season and can’t seem to get out of what has been a season-long offensive funk. Derek Carr has taken a step back this year and it’ll show this week. Expect the Eagles to pick up win number 13.
The Pick: Eagles 31, Raiders 19
That’s it for the Holiday edition of TBFF’s NFL Picks. I hope everyone has a safe and amazing holiday and I’ll be sending more content your way soon.
Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images