Week 16 NFL picks against the spread: No sugarcoat

Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Here are your Week 16 NFL picks against the spread.

The Detroit Lions' MNF loss to the Baltimore Ravens was one of the more heartbreaking losses I've experienced as a Lions fan. Losses don't surprise me anymore, but they still hurt feelings. This one hurt a lot. It took me back to 2000 when the Lions blew an opportunity to make the playoffs by losing to the 4-11 Chicago Bears on a 54-yard Paul Edinger field goal. It was a regime-changer and Justin Tucker's 61-yard field goal may ultimately have the same consequences for Jim Schwartz and his staff.

The Ravens loss doesn't have to be the end, though. The Lions can still win the NFC North by getting wins in their final two games and a loss from both the Bears and Green Bay Packers, one of which will come in Week 17 when they play each other. I haven't seen a line on it, but a friend pointed out to me this week that the Lions should still be favored to win the division, as the Bears are underdogs this week and will most likely be favored in Week 17 against Green Bay. The Lions are heavy favorites this week and should be favorites in Week 17 against Minnesota. That suggests the odds are in the Lions' favor; Matthew Stafford will break his eight-game December losing streak and the team will be NFC North champions.

But let's not kid ourselves. Most Lions fans are already trying to come up with scenarios as to what would be the most "Lions way" to officially lose the division. What makes any longtime Lions fan think reasonably that a team notorious for disappointing, which already blew a golden chance to control its own destiny, is now going to win a pair of must-wins and get the help it needs? No sugarcoating -- nothing should, especially not Vegas.

Speaking of sugar, I was at the grocery store on Friday picking up some for my wife so she could bake cookies after dinner. I walked down the aisle where the sugar was located and passed a guy decked out in Pittsburgh Steelers gear. I decided to say, "Hope your team wins on Sunday," to which he half-knowingly replied, "Yeah? Who do you pull for?" I honestly felt embarrassed to respond. Steelers guy, fan of six-time Super Bowl champs, gave a wry smile and said, "Oh, you all have your own problems." Yep. I'll just take this confectioners' sugar and go now. Thanks.

The Lions are playoff bound like my 2013 picks are .500 bound.

Let's stay sweet:

Dolphins (-2.5) over BILLS

PANTHERS (-3) over Saints

Cowboys (-3)* over REDSKINS

Colts (+6.5)* over CHIEFS

BENGALS (-7)* over Vikings

JAGS (+5.5) over Titans

Cardinals (+10.5) over SEAHAWKS

LIONS (-9) over Giants

RAMS (-5.5) over Bucs

EAGLES (-3)* over Bears

Browns (+3) over JETS

Broncos (-10.5) over TEXANS

CHARGERS (-10) over Raiders

Steelers (+7) over PACKERS

Patriots (+2.5) over RAVENS

Falcons (+12.5) over 49ERS

STANDINGS: SEASON (LAST WEEK)

Northern Lite: 106-87-8 (10-5)
Elfuego51: 98-99-8 (7-8)
KDawg: 99-110-9 (10-6)
Me: 96-117-9 (10-6)
lions fan displaced in las vegas: 86-75-6 (8-7)
cram9030: 81-89-8 (6-9)
Big.Al: 79-60-5 (11-4)
Bighaircut: 60-58 (7-8)
HireMattMillen: 50-43-5
jwitzsc: 49-48-3 (9-7) (5-3 on locks)
Hendo44: 27-33
JT072589: 25-17-3 
Reno09: 22-33-5
Jeremy Reisman's locks of the week: 9-14-1 (2-1)
MAISON G BLUE: 9-7
gibbsericj: 7-7
ncbur10: 3-9-3

* denotes teaser (+14) (season: 52-8)

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