Week 16 NFL Picks, Aiding And A'Betting: Saints-Falcons, Giants-Packers, Jets-Bears

NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 26: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on September 26 2010 in New Orleans Louisiana. The Falcons defeated the Saints 27-24. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

It's Week 16, and the NFC South takes center stage with a wildly hyped Monday night game between the Saints and Falcons. Before that, though, is a landscape only a gambler could love - so get your bets in and pay off those Christmas credit cards.

The NFL's Week 16 landscape looks almost as bad as my recent picks. Sixteen games will be spread out over a long holiday weekend, but only three feature opposing teams with winning records. Of course, the best is truly saved for last, with New Orleans coming to Atlanta - and as we all know, a win clinches home-field throughout the playoffs for the Falcons. And personally, I'd love some quality Chris Redman - and even John Parker Wilson - action to close out the regular season. As for last week's 5-11 record against the spread, I now see the mixture of vodka and gambling isn't the smoothest move. So this week, stone-cold sober, which obviously means I have to finish these picks by 10 a.m.

The picks:

Carolina @ Pittsburgh (-14). Woo-boy, this one probably looked sexier to the NFL Network a few months back. Well hometown fans, want to sweat just a little bit? Carolina gets the Thursday game, and then a long 10-day break before facing Atlanta. The Falcons, on the other hand, play Monday night and see the Panthers with less than a week's preparation. Now I'm not saying the good guys shouldn't still win that game - but anything can happen in our NFL. Let's just get this thing done against the Saints, OK? PICK: Carolina

Dallas (-7) @ Arizona. Soon after deciding to spend the holidays at my sister's Phoenix casa, I discovered the only Christmas Day game would be played 20 minutes away. And why spend the day huddled with family when we could be mowing through tailgate beers in 73-degree weather? Originally I worried about being able to afford tickets, what with Dallas fighting for home-field advantage and the Cardinals wrapping up the NFC West, but let's just say those fears have been quashed. Twenty bucks should get me a ticket, two beers and a date to the game. I'll be the guy in the Falcons jersey yelling expletives at Keith Brooking. PICK: Dallas

New England (-8) @ Buffalo. The Patriots can clinch home-field throughout the playoffs with a win here, so it should be a full-steam attack in the upstate frigidity. (Buffalo's Sunday forecast is a high of 21 and snowy. Sucks to be in Arizona.) PICK: New England

NY Jets @ Chicago (-1). I think it's funny to "not take the Bears seriously" only because it's driving Chicago fans bugnut insane. So let's keep this going: I mean, we all know, obviously, the Bears only beat the Vikings because Favre was hurt and replaced by Joe Webb. Oh, you're the man Chicago, beating up on a rookie QB who'd taken a few meaningless snaps his entire career. WAY TO GO, TOUGH GUYS. I look forward to the glorious day we can bet against the Bears in the playoffs, and I mean that even if they get matched up with St. Louis or Seattle in Soldier Field. Every single one of their wins has been complete luck. (Heh-heh, that was fun.) PICK: NY Jets (LIKE DUH!)

Baltimore (-3 1/2) @ Cleveland. The Ravens have publicly declared their intent to focus on Browns RB Peyton Hillis, which means two things: 1) it'll be up to Colt McCoy against the Ravens D, and 2) I'll be starting LeGarrette Blount over Hillis in my fantasy championship game. And because the playoffs hinge on a win here, I can't see Baltimore letting Cleveland hang around. PICK: Baltimore

Tennessee @ Kansas City (-4 1/2). My favorite NFL subplot of the week (only because I refuse to acknowledge the phrases "Rex Ryan" and "foot fetish"): last Wednesday, a Nashville talk radio show got a call from "Woody," a passionate hater of Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher. Well, to anyone with a set of ears, "Woody" was obviously Randy Moss venting his petulant frustration. Of course, the Titans have denied it was him, but come on - it oh-so-definitely was. And as much as I think Moss is correct (Fisher has sucked this year), does any team take a shot on him next year? Dude might be done. PICK: Kansas City

San Francisco @ St. Louis (-2 1/2). HOLY DAMN HELL SHOOTFIRE, there are playoff implications here. As ridiculous as it sounds, the 5-9 49ers almost control their own destiny: if they win the last two games (@St. Louis, vs. Arizona), they simply have to hope for Seattle to drop one of its remaining two (@Tampa Bay, vs. St. Louis). As you can see, this is very possible. St. Louis, on the other hand, is definitely in with a win here and one vs. Seattle, so there won't be any backups on the field for this game (unless you count San Fran's QB corps, which consists entirely of back-ups). This is all best left ignored. PICK: St. Louis

Detroit @ Miami (-3 1/2). In a season full of ridiculous numbers, there might be none crazier than Miami's home-road split. They are almost unbeatable away from Dolphins Stadium, going 6-1. However, in front of Miami faithful, they've landed with a mirror-image of 1-6. It looks like the Lions will win a second-straight road game for the first time since 1783. PICK: Detroit

Washington @ Jacksonville (-7). The obligatory playoff scenario: none, apparently. Even though the Jags remain in contention for the AFC West crown, a win over the NFC's Redskins basically does nothing for them. Win-or-lose, they really just have to beat Houston next week and have the Colts lose to the Titans on the same day. And now I've gone and confused myself, cross-eyed and the like. PICK: Washington

San Diego (-7 1/2) @ Cincinnati. Cincinnati is way out, San Diego has hope. Sometimes it's just that damn easy. PICK: San Diego

Houston (-3) @ Denver. Houston has a quarterback, Denver has Tim Tebow. Sometimes it's just that damn easy. PICK: Houston

Indianapolis (-3) @ Oakland. The Colts have to win the AFC South to make the playoffs (no possibility of a wildcard), so a win here keeps destiny in-house. And as much as I like this Raiders incarnation, I'm not willing to bet against Peyton Manning with his back  to the wall. (Side-note: Twitter users should really follow Colts owner Jim Irsay. Breaking news, Pearl Jam lyrics, contests and occasional hilarity mixed into one.)  PICK: Indianapolis 

NY Giants @ Green Bay (-2 1/2). News out of Packers camp: Aaron Rodgers is back. News out of Giants camp: to rebound from last week's Philly's disaster, there was a players-only meeting led by a fiery Eli Manning. And honestly, I picture a "fiery Eli Manning" as that angry "World of Warcraft" kid. Advantage: Pack. PICK: Green Bay

Seattle @ Tampa Bay (-6). Again, an abomination of a game that somehow has playoff implications for both teams. Examining this match-up any further is against my religion. PICK: Tampa Bay

Minnesota @ Philadelphia (-14). Lost in Philly's amazing fourth quarter win against the Giants was how inept they looked for the first 75% of that game. New York did a lot of things right that good coaches can feed on. PICK: Minnesota

New Orleans @ Atlanta (-2 1/2). Typically, I move the Falcons game to the top of the list, but this one seems to deserve a "best for last" placement. It truly is the premiere game of the weekend, and the aura has only intensified with Twitter wars this week - especially from Roddy White (he made some questionable comments that somehow overshadowed his GUARANTEE OF A WIN). As Roddy likes to say, "Ridiculous." But also ridiculously awesome, in my Saints-hating opinion. My favorite comments, though, have come from John Abraham, who has relished replying to foul-mouthed Saints fans. Let's make this plain, Who Dat Nation: PRETTY PLEASE piss off John Abraham some more. LOVELY. (And yes, I'll be watching from a g-d Phoenix sports bar. Life ain't right sometime). PICK: Atlanta

Last week: 5-11-0
Overall: 118-99-7 (thank God for the early season cushion)

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