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NFL Week 16 picks against the spread: Cold outside

For Chris and Ryan, it’s the penultimate chance to make some money back.

Super Bowl 50 Proposition Bets At The Westgate Las Vegas Race & Sports SuperBook Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Chris: We’re nearly to the end of many things in our virtual Vegas tours. Lounge room shows, bad buffets, things of that nature.

While I’m sure my compatriot would disagree given his parlay tickets, betting loses its luster outside of football season. I suppose it can still be fun, but that Tuesday NBA game lacks the charm of a football spread. Plus, if I’m bad at football gambling, I’m probably even worse at other sports.

We’ve crashed and burned and the finish line is almost in sight, and I’m still baffled at how Ryan Mathews not only came in here and started beating me nearly every week, but at the same time he’s been able to stay perfectly .500 through an entire season of football betting. You are Thanek. Thalnok? Fartlord? I don’t watch Marvel.

Ryan: Even though our adventure is reaching its conclusion, there’s no ring to toss in a volcano. No intergalactical bad guy for us to team up in order to thwart his evil plans to—I don’t know—make parlays illegal.

It’s been real, Chris. That .500 record I’ve put together, it’s real. You badgering me to get my picks in before Thursday because you picked the TNF game, that was real. Us yelling at each other on the PODcast because this weekly article bled over into all aspects of our lives, that was real too.

This was the first year we did this, and it looks like it’s going to be the last year we write this column together. And that’s fine, because it was real and the archives are around to prove it. I’m gonna miss this, buddy.

Chris: Christ save the sappy shit for next week. And your victory lap.

Ryan: To the spreads!

Chris’s Record: 48-55-1 (Last week 2-5)

Ryan’s Record: 45-45-2 (Last week 2-4-1)

Kansas City -5 at Chicago

Chris: The Bears have been getting big for their damned britches. You’d think people would realize they feasted on three bad teams and flailed about against a deficient Green Bay defense, but to hear it you’d think they got Mitch back on track.

I’m being a hater.

Regardless, the line reflects the reality that the Chiefs are starting to click, while the Bears just need to be mathematically eliminated. Maybe they are. I’m not good with math, and the websites I’m using don’t help my addled brain much. Kansas City -5.

Ryan: Who wants to lay money on the Bears against the Chiefs? Out yourself as a loser right here and right now. Kansas City -5.

Chris: Trump voice “loser.”

LA Rams at San Francisco -6.5

Ryan: This game screams trap, especially with the Rams backs against the wall. They have to win this game to even have a shot at making the postseason, and even then they need some help.

But I don’t think the Rams have it in them. After the shellacking they took at the hands of the Cowboys last week, they’re toast. Jared Goff is Trent Dilfer with a contract and a head coach who was ahead of the curve. And if you want to look at motivating factors, the 49ers are still vying for that NFC West title and a first-round bye. Smart money is on San Fran in this one. San Francisco -6.5.

Chris: The bit here would be to say something like, “how dare you impugn the good name of Trent Dilfer,” but let’s be honest, that just can’t apply here.

I agree with everything Ryan has said, but remember, I’m not the smart one here. Give me the trap, spikes and ridges and iron contraptions and all. Those sound rusty and awful just like the Rams, who will also give you tetanus. LA Rams +6.5.

Pittsburgh -3 at NY Jets

Chris: Pittsburgh is inexplicably in the playoff hunt after their grotesque start. The turnaround is so extreme that Football Outsiders now lists their defense as the third most efficient in the league. Good teams overcome their injuries. Take notes, Detroit.

I’m sure Ryan here will tell you that it’s a bad thing to lose to the Bills though.

Meanwhile, the Jets have clawed back recently with a few good wins to 5-9, which still keeps them comfortably in Jets-y territory. But to go back to Football Outsiders again? The Jets are the least efficient offense in the league.

That’s inverses, folks. I hate to take the Steelers on the road here because there’s a good chance the word “trap” is going to be thrown around about this game more than a questionable 4chan board. Pittsburgh -3.

Ryan: Losing to the Bills is akin to catching scurvy. You lost to Josh Allen. You ain’t clean. You ain’t healthy. You nasty.

I’m not sure why Pittsburgh wins this game for any other reason than Adam Gase is already gaining the ire of the franchise’s quarterback. As soon as he kicked the kissing disease and his spleen shrunk back to the size of the Grinch’s heart pre-Christmas enlightenment, it took just a few weeks for Sam Darnold to grow tired of Gase’s crap.

So yeah, I’m picking the Steelers, but I ain’t republican. Pittsburgh -3.

Chris: Ryan please keep politics at the door.

Jacksonville at Atlanta -7

Ryan: For some reason I still can’t totally grasp, this game snatched my attention and wouldn’t let go. Even as I scanned over more attractive spreads and interesting matchups from a football perspective, this was it. Gardner Minshew in a dome is at least three-quarters of the way to my football aesthetic, so that gets me closer to enjoying this sport more so than any other reasons you could come up with—unless that thought begins with Lamar Jackson, then say no more.

Atlanta beating San Francisco came as a big surprise in Week 15, so I think the Falcons are due for a bit of a letdown. That being said, I cannot root for a team that treats their laborers so poorly. Atlanta -7.

Chris: Tom Coughlin needs to really just chill out. After he was fired on Wednesday, he’ll have plenty of time to do that. There’s no room in football anymore for Tomainian dictators.

I’ve said that the Falcons are a superweapon cobbled together by a crazed scientist that charges up and fires its laser and annihilates everything in its way. Well, Atlanta has done that for two games. The weapon is on low power now and needs to recharge. There is a chance, a desperate chance, for the scrappy resistance to breach through and deliver a blow while it is vulnerable.

Minshew looks just like the scrappy rebel leader to do that. I mean literally looks the part, I’d cast him for the movie. Jacksonville +7.

Personal Picks


Buffalo +6.5 at New England
Green Bay at Minnesota UNDER 46
NY Giants +2.5 at Washington


Dallas -3 at Philadelphia
Kansas City at Chicago OVER 45.5
Miami -1 vs. Cincinnati

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