NFL Week 16 odds, picks: Steelers take down surging Bengals, 49ers edge Ravens at home in battle of top seeds

It’s pretty remarkable that we’re already in the final month of the 2023 NFL regular season. One minute you’re in the summer months gearing up for the season ahead, and BAM it’s Christmas. And what do we want in our stockings this year? Winners. We rebounded slightly after a dull Week 14, but the 6-8-2 ATS record last week is hardly something to hang our hat on. I’ll look to get us back on a positive track throughout the holiday weekend as I’ve zeroed in on a number of vulnerable teams on this slate and have us backing three road teams inside my five locks of the week. 

Happy Holidays to you and your family! Now, let’s get some last-minute shopping money. 

2023 record

Regular season
Locks of the Week ATS
: 37-38-1
ATS: 113-100-11
ML: 139-85

All NFL odds via SportsLine consensus odds.

Featured Game | Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnati Bengals

  • Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET (NBC, fubo)  

Pittsburgh is turning the keys to the offense to Mason Rudolph after the Mitch Trubisky experience found Mike Tomlin’s team 0-2 in his starts and falling out of the playoff picture. I can see Rudolph (7-3 ATS in his career as a starter) giving this Steelers offense a bit of a boost, especially against a Bengals secondary that is giving up 7.5 yards per pass attempt (31st in the NFL). Meanwhile, Cincinnati got banged up in their come-from-behind victory against the Vikings last week with star defensive tackle D.J. Reader going down for the year, and wideout Ja’Marr Chase expected to miss time due to a shoulder injury. The Bengals have also struggled mightily in divisional games this year as they are 0-4 SU and ATS against the AFC North. On the other hand, Pittsburgh is 5-1 SU and ATS against the division in its last six meetings, which includes a 3-0 SU and ATS record at home. 

Projected score: Steelers 21, Bengals 17
The pick: Steelers +2

Featured Game | New York Jets vs. Washington Commanders

I think the Jets are on the verge of caving in on themselves (if they haven’t done so already). The team was just shut out in Miami, eliminated from playoff contention and now Aaron Rodgers has essentially confirmed he won’t come back this year. That’s about as deflating of a stretch as you can imagine, which begs the question of how much juice you’re going to get from the rest of the roster. Meanwhile, the motivation for the Commanders — also eliminated from the playoffs — is a bit more clear as Ron Rivera continues to coach for his job and Sam Howell — who was benched last week — is still trying to prove that he can be a starter in the NFL. Even if Howell struggles, I expect Rivera to put him on a short leash, which would pave the way for Jacoby Brissett to come in (which I would argue is an improvement). New York is 1-6 ATS in its last seven games and the Commanders have been solid against the AFC, particularly on the road where they’ve covered five straight. I’ll take the field goal and also look for Washington to come out on top here.

Projected score: Commanders 23, Jets 17
The pick: Commanders +3

Featured Game | Chicago Bears vs. Arizona Cardinals

  • Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (Fox, fubo)  

Yes, the Cardinals are not a good football team this year. At 3-11, they’re looking at the NFL Draft board more than the standings, but don’t sleep on them in this spot as they head to Chicago. When Kyler Murray starts, Arizona is 10-3 ATS on the road since 2021. His mobility should help negate what has grown to be a solid pass rush for Chicago with the arrival of Montez Sweat, and he has weapons — like tight end Trey McBride — that should help move the chains and keep this game close. The Bears — 0-3-1 ATS as a favorite since 2021 — also have an affinity for blowing fourth-quarter leads this season, which leaves the backdoor wide open for the Cardinals to cover. This is a field goal game in my estimation, which has me jumping on the points with Arizona.

Projected score: Bears 24, Cardinals 21
The pick: Cardinals +4

Featured Game | Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots

  • Sunday, 8:15 p.m. ET (NFL Network, fubo)

The Patriots offense has shown some life in recent weeks. However, it’s only come in the first half. In the past two weeks as Bailey Zappe has ascended to the starting job, New England has averaged 15.5 points in the first half, but has managed just seven total points in the second half over that same stretch. This prime-time Christmas Eve showdown could be a spot where we finally see a full four-quarter effort from the offense as Denver is tied for the fourth-most second-half points allowed (13.1) in the NFL this season. Pair that with a New England defense that continues to be stout, and the Patriots will keep this game within the number. For what it’s worth, Russell Wilson is also 3-9 ATS in his last 12 prime-time games. 

Projected score: Broncos 23, Patriots 20
The pick: Patriots +6.5

Featured Game | San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens

  • Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ABC, fubo)  

We cap off the Christmas Day slate with a Super Bowl preview. While these are the two teams favorited to ultimately meet in Las Vegas, I think San Francisco is still a tier above every other team in the league, including Baltimore. The Niners can give even the top defenses fits with their collection of skill-position players, Brock Purdy is playing at an MVP level and the defense can apply pressure to an opposing quarterback at will. They’ve also smoked teams that are at least two games above .500 this season, winning all four of their prior such games by double digits. Meanwhile, the Ravens lose a bit of explosion out of their offense with running back Keaton Mitchell going down for the year. The Niners send a reminder that they are the team to beat in the NFL with a win here.

Projected score: 49ers 27, Ravens 20
The pick: 49ers -5.5

Rest of the bunch

Saints at Rams
Projected score: Rams 27, Saints 20
The pick: Rams -4

Bills at Chargers
Projected score: Bills 30, Chargers 17
The pick: Bills -11

Colts at Falcons
Projected score: Colts 24, Falcons 21
The pick: Colts -2

Seahawks at Titans
Projected score: Seahawks 26, Titans 20
The pick: Seahawks 2.5

Lions at Vikings
Projected score: Lions 28, Vikings 24
The pick: Lions -3

Packers at Panthers
Projected score: Packers 24, Panthers 13
The pick: Packers -5

Browns at Texans
Projected score: Browns 23, Texans 20
The pick: Browns +2.5

Jaguars at Buccaneers
Projected score: Buccaneers 27, Jaguars 24
The pick: Buccaneers -1

Cowboys at Dolphins
Projected score: Dolphins 28, Cowboys 24
The pick: Dolphins -1.5

Raiders at Chiefs
Projected score: Chiefs 27, Raiders 17
The pick: Raiders +10.5

Giants at Eagles
Projected score: Eagles 30, Giants 17
The pick: Eagles -10.5

The author reflects on the fact that it is already the final month of the 2023 NFL regular season and discusses the unpredictability of the season so far. They acknowledge that their picks in Week 14 were not successful, but they are determined to turn things around in Week 15. The author then provides their picks for the featured games of the week, analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of each team and making their predictions for the final scores. They also provide their picks for the rest of the games on the schedule. Overall, the author aims to provide readers with betting advice and predictions for the upcoming week of NFL games.

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