NFL Week 16 Betting Preview
LAS VEGAS, NV (The Spread) - Can you believe there is just two weeks left in the regular season for NFL football? Here are this week’s five most important NFL football contests.
For those making NFL picks and studying the betting odds, here is what you can expect each team to do to win and hopefully this puts money in your pocket.
(103) NEW ORLEANS at (104) CAROLINA FOX
SUNDAY DEC. 22 / 1:00 E
Saints Game Plan: New Orleans didn't have a good day on either side of the ball against St. Louis and they were schooled. Whether they were looking ahead or not, New Orleans will have to make a few variations after they exploited the Panthers' pass defense two weeks ago and might do more comeback passing routes early to move the chains. Defensively, they have to try and contain Cam Newton like they did in their earlier meeting.
Panthers Game Plan: This is Carolina’s moment. The Panthers prefer to rush four and drop seven, but Brees carved them up in the first half last time. Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott blitzed more in the second half and slows the Saints offense. He will have to find a happy medium and not let Brees slide to his right. The Panthers have to fire up the running game and stick with it since the Saints allow 4.6 yards per carry (28th). Newton was jittery two weeks ago and needs to relax and play his game.
Key sports betting number: New Orleans is 10-2 ATS in road games after trailing in their previous game by 14 or more points at the half.
(109) CHICAGO at (110) PHILADELPHIA NBC
SUNDAY DEC. 22 / 8:30 E
Bears Game Plan: Jay Cutler is the focal point and against a weakened Philadelphia secondary, basketball-sized receivers Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall and tight end Martellus Bennett are all capable of huge days. Running back Matt Forte balances the attack, but Cutler has to be sharp. Defensively, the Bears need to do plenty of disguising, giving Nick Foles one look but always making sure they have safety at or coming to the line of scrimmage on early downs to thwart LeSean McCoy. If the Chicago can have success against the run, something they have seldom done this season, they make the Eagles more predictable.
Eagles Game Plan: Philadelphia’s bread and butter is utilizing McCoy and playing with a fast tempo. Last week they veered away from this and were hammered at Minnesota. Chicago is last in the NFL in stopping the run, thus there will be no excuse for McCoy not to have a minimum of 25 touches which opens the deep passing game for Foles. On defense, the Eagles have to create ways to disrupt the timing of the Bears passing game with the pass rush or bump coverage at the line of scrimmage. Another good tact is to fake blitzes and drop linebackers into coverage, Cutler does not recognize this all the time.
Key sports betting number: Chicago is 13-29 ATS in road games the last four weeks of the regular season the past 21 years.
(113) INDIANAPOLIS at (114) KANSAS CITY CBS
SUNDAY DEC. 22 / 1:00 E
Colts Game Plan: After a number of weak starts, Indianapolis got off to a good start on offense in last week's home-field win over Houston by going uptempo and by spreading out the Texans defense. Look for more of the same on Sunday against Kansas City. The Colts will have to deal with the noise factor at Arrowhead Stadium and on defense they have to be smart and under control because Jamal Charles can hurt any defense in many ways and is a big play waiting to happen. Lastly, the Indy has to neutralize the Chiefs special teams.
Chiefs Game Plan: Kansas City has gone from ordinary scoring team in their first ten contests (23.2 points per game) to an explosive outfit at 41.8 PPG in their past four outings. The diversity is obvious and Alex Smith’s confidence is soaring. Contributions are also coming from the defense and kicking game which has added a lot of confidence to this group. The same is not true of the defense, which is beaten regularly via the pass. The Chiefs have to get in Andrew Luck’s grill and not let him escape.
Key sports betting number: Indianapolis is 6-1 SU and ATS at Kansas City.
(121) ARIZONA at (122) SEATTLE FOX
SUNDAY, DEC. 22 / 4:05 E
Cardinals Game Plan: Arizona has a monumental task to make the playoffs the next two weeks, but at least they have a chance, which was not predicted before the season. If there is a weakness in the Seattle defense it is quick hitting runs in the A-gaps. This is where Rashard Mendenhall can be a huge factor, which helps set up RB Andre Ellington as an electric component. Carson Palmer is not going to beat Seattle without a running game. The Cardinals know what to presume from a Pete Carroll offense and they have to execute and hopefully force turnovers.
Seahawks Game Plan: Seattle had seven sacks against Palmer in the earlier meeting and with the slow afoot quarterback battling a high ankle sprain and possibly not having Larry Fitzgerald (concussion), the Seahawks defense can shrink the field and make life miserable for the Cards QB. Seattle wraps up home field advantage in the NFC with a victory and would like to improve upon their recent 3.9 yards per carry average, even against Arizona’s No. 1 run defense. Seattle might come out passing like they have a couple times this season to confuse the opposition, which could enhance the running game.
Key sports betting number: Seattle is 10-2 ATS playing against a team with a winning record since last season.
(129) NEW ENGLAND at (130) BALTIMORE CBS
SUNDAY, DEC. 22/ 4:25 E
Patriots Game Plan: Just assume this will be a close outcome since the two teams have played 16 games decided by three points or less this season. New England moved the ball against Miami last week but stalled in the red zone and will get beat again if this conundrum continues. Simply stated, a Patriots pass catcher has to get open in the end zone to help Tom Brady. New England’s defense only ranks 24th but generates enough negative plays to help. What Bill Belichick really needs from his stop troops is turnovers.
Ravens Game Plan: Baltimore has won four in a row, but its offense is also sputtering (six field goals last week) and needs to find the end zone if they want to play for the AFC North title next week. You can run on the Pats and the Ravens need to crack the century mark in rushing yards to keep Brady on the sidelines. Joe Flacco can attack the New England with Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown and tight end Dennis Pitta, if he’s accurate. The Ravens' defense will be wary of Brady's often precise spirals and receivers Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman's ability to elude defenders after the catch. Baltimore understands you have to being physical with New England.
Key sports betting number: New England is 8-1 ATS off a division game the last two seasons.