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Fade Material: NFL Week 16 Predictions

San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) celebrates a thirs quarter touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens during their Sunday Night NFL football game in San Diego, California December 18, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

It was a bounce back week for ol’ A.Stalter. After producing a 0-4 with my predictions in Week 13, I rebounded with a solid 3-1 last Sunday as the Redskins, Saints and Patriots all covered. My lone loser was the J.E.T.S., who forgot they had the late game in Philadelphia and never showed up.

My season record against the spread is now 27-30-2. With just two weeks remaining, my only goal is to get above .500 and save what’s left of my dignity.

Happy Holidays to you and yours! Be safe out there and spend time with the people you love…

Buccaneers @ Panthers, 1:00PM ET
This is a divisional game and divisional games should be close. But the Bucs have clearly shut it down for the season and are just looking to get through these next two weeks as quickly as possible. I have my reservations about laying nine points on a Carolina team that doesn’t play defense but Tampa Bay’s offense is completely inept. The Panthers are still playing with a sense of pride too and just scored on a “fumblerooski” last week forgodsakes. They’ll do anything for a victory these days! The favorite is 7-1 against the spread in the last eight meetings between these two teams while the Bucs are just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 trips to Carolina.
THE PICK: PANTHERS –9

Vikings @ Redskins, 1:00PM ET
I love the Skins as a 7-point underdog but I equally hate them as a 7-point favorite, and it doesn’t matter who they’re playing. Washington shouldn’t be overlooking anyone but I have a sinking suspicion that it’ll overlook a hapless Minnesota team today. The Skins are 2-8-1 against the spread in their last 11 games as a favorite and 0-7 ATS in their last seven games as a home underdog. This game will be closer than people think.
THE PICK: VIKINGS +7

Chargers @ Lions, 4:05PM ET
Detroit has a chance to accomplish something today that it hasn’t done since 1999: Clinch a playoff berth. But the Lions have a serious matchup problem on their hands as their banged up secondary tries to slow down Norv Turner’s vertical passing game (even without Vincent Jackson, who may miss the game with a groin injury). In his last three games Philip Rivers has seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. That’s a stark contrast from his previous 11 games when he threw 17 interceptions and looked like a quarterback playing with zero confidence. Some people don’t want to buy into San Diego’s late-season surge but I’ll bite. I think the Bolts pick up a huge road victory today and stay in the AFC West hunt.
THE PICK: SAN DIEGO CHARGERS +1

Eagles @ Cowboys, 4:15PM ET
In theory, this game could become meaningless if the Giants beat the Jets at 1:00PM ET. If that happens, then the Eagles would be eliminated from playoff contention and the Cowboys would be unable to clinch the NFC East (they’d have to wait until next week when they play the Giants in New York). That said, try telling Philadelphia and Dallas that this game doesn’t mean anything. Dallas is 1-4 against the spread in its last five games as a favorite and 1-4 ATS in its last five games overall. The ‘Boys are also 1-5 ATS in their last six games versus the NFC and 0-4 ATS in their last four division games. I like the Eagles to beat a Dallas team that usually chokes when everyone expects it to step up.
THE PICK: EAGLES +1

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Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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2011 NFL Week 16 Point Spreads & Odds

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is sacked by Loins Nick Fairley for a 1yard loss during first quarter action against the Detroit Lions at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 4, 2011. UPI/A.J. Sisco

Four spreads of note:

Falcons +6.5 @ Saints, 8:30PM ET, Monday
The spread opened at 7.5 but has dropped a full point to 6.5 at most sports books, although some places still list the line at a touchdown. For as unbeatable as the Saints have been at home this year (both literally and figuratively), 7.5 points was too high. Quite frankly, I think 6.5 points is too high considering this is a divisional game and the fact that the Falcons are 11-5 against the spread in their last 16 trips to New Orleans but 6.5 makes more sense than 7.5. Again, Drew Brees and New Orleans has been a juggernaut at home this season but there has been a different feel to this Atlanta team the past two weeks. Ever since they trailed Carolina 23-7 at halftime a couple of weeks ago, the Falcons have played perfect football. That’s not to say Atlanta will pull off the upset on Monday night, but their no-huddle attack has looked very efficient these past six quarters and even though the competition (Carolina and Jacksonville) hasn’t been good, the Falcons appear to have finally found some consistency on offense. It’s not a stretch to think this game will be tight throughout.

Giants +3 @ Jets, 1:00PM ET, Saturday
What on God’s green earth do you do with this game? This isn’t really a true home game for the Jets since the Giants play in the same stadium, but it’s not like the G-Men have played well at home this year anyway. They lost to Seattle at home, barely beat Buffalo and Miami at home, and lost to Philadelphia, Green Bay and Washington at home as well. Their signature victories this year came on the road against New England and Dallas, respectively, so I’m not sure there’s an advantage for the Giants to play a home “road” game versus the Jets this weekend. Given how bad both of these teams looked last week, I wouldn’t touch this game with your money. The over is 4-0 in the Giants’ last four games as an underdog and 4-0 in the Jets’ last four home games overall, so maybe I would toy with the total. But in my eyes there’s little to no value in the side.

Rams +15.5 @ Steelers, 1:00PM ET
Make no mistake the Rams are a horrendous football team. If they were to play the Colts on a neutral field tomorrow, I’d have no qualms about taking Indianapolis. That said, the Steelers’ offense has been in a funk of late and there’s a good chance that Ben Roethlisberger will be held out for Saturday’s game. He clearly didn’t look right on Monday night in San Francisco and seeing as how the Steelers could beat the Rams with Charlie Batch under center, there’s no sense in playing Big Ben. That said, even if the Steelers could win with Batch it doesn’t mean that St. Louis can’t stay within two touchdowns of Pittsburgh (even on the road). Kellen Clemens had some success last week versus the Bengals because Josh McDaniels scaled back the playbook and kept things simple. McDaniels is likely to do that again this week, especially against a nasty Pittsburgh defense. Thus, if both teams are playing things close to the vest, 15.5 points is a little high for what could be a 10 or 13-point game.

Eagles +1 @ Cowboys, 4:15PM ET Saturday
With this being a divisional game that has impact on the NFC East race, there’s already plenty of interest in this matchup. But throw in the fact that Dallas opened as a 3-point favorite and is now down to –1 makes this game even more intriguing from an odds standpoint. It’s rare when oddsmakers open a line at 3 and move off that number, unless it’s to go up to 3.5. It’s not often that a spread opens at 3 and drops all the way down to 1 unless there’s a significant injury, which isn’t the case here. Methinks there may have been some heavy action on Philadelphia when the line opened, forcing bookmakers to adjust right away. Either way, I’m extremely interested in seeing how much this line dances over these next couple of days.

2011 NFL Week 16 Odds:

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