Time to see which teams will give some holiday presents to their bettors
The last two weeks or so I've struggled record-wise with NFL picks as I've gotten a healthy dose of kickers missing extra points and teams failing to muster much effort. It becomes a little bit harder to wager on the NFL these last few Saturdays and Sundays as the lines get sharper with so many teams out of the race. It's harder to find value and some of the cards become a little smaller in the process. Still, let's try and find some winners in Week 16.
Note: All times are ET and all games are on Sunday, Dec. 23.
Here are this week's best NFL picks against the spread:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-9) at Dallas Cowboys (8-6), 1 p.m.
Dallas just needs one more win to lock up the NFC East and is coming off of a bad, 23-0 road loss to the Colts. The Cowboys were lucky to beat the Eagles the week before and need to fix a few things if they hope to do anything in the postseason. Dak Prescott has been really shaky and the offense has seven turnovers in the last three games. The defense has been pretty awesome for the most part holding six straight opponents to 23 points or fewer. Tampa Bay's offense has dried up a little bit with just 26 points against the Saints and Ravens the last two weeks. We know how talented the Cowboys' defense is, but this is still one of the more underrated units in the league. The Bucs' defense has been much maligned and for good reason, although they did hold the Ravens to 20 points in Baltimore. Over the past four weeks, they've played a lot better, including generating 10 takeaways. Each of those games were unders while Dallas has gone under in three of its last five. I think this one continues those trends. SELECTION: Under 47
Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10) at Miami Dolphins (7-7), 1 p.m.
If you have been following my picks all season you know that I'm unreasonably interested in the Dolphins and they've treated me really well. Miami is 7-7 and has a very small chance to make the playoffs and will need a lot of help to get there. The Dolphins have taken care of business at home with a win over the Patriots two weeks ago. Ryan Tannehill is coming off a rough game at Minnesota, but I think he'll do better here against the Jags. Jacksonville has packed it in on the season and has shown little to no interest in playing hard. The Jaguars have scored just 28 points over the last three weeks and don't have what it takes to exploit Miami's defense. I think the Dolphins can run up and down the field on the Jags and if they score early, this one could get really, really ugly. SELECTION: Dolphins -4
Houston Texans (10-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (7-7), 1 p.m.
The defending champion Eagles went west and picked up a victory over the Rams this past Sunday night. It was just like old times with Nick Foles under center and the defense doing just enough to earn the victory. Everything seemed to be working out for them for one night, but can they carry it over in this one against the Texans? Philadelphia can still make the playoffs although the Eagles don't control their own destiny. Houston is coming off a 29-22 win in New York against the Jets last Saturday. The one concern there was how much Deshaun Watson got knocked around and the beating he has taken all year long. Still, I don't know how Philadelphia's patchwork secondary will cover DeAndre Hopkins and Demaryius Thomas. Houston's defense should force the Eagles to be one-dimensional with Foles under center. There's been a very big line move towards the home team in this one. I think the road team is worth a look on the chance that the Eagles spent a lot of their energy in the Rams win. SELECTION: Texans +2.5
Minnesota Vikings (7-6) at Detroit Lions (5-9), 1 p.m.
Pardon me if I don't think everything is fine and dandy with the Vikings after their win over the Dolphins. Minnesota has lost three of its last five and Kirk Cousins has not been showing himself to be worth the money he got this past offseason. The Vikings have thrown for fewer than 200 yards in three straight and four of their last six. These two teams met back on Nov. 4 with Minnesota winning at home, 24-9. Detroit could have possibly have beaten both Arizona and Buffalo these past two weeks. This is the Lions' final home game so I think we see a better effort. Minnesota can't afford to lose this one because of the tight race for the wild-card spots in the NFC. The Vikings have covered just nine of their last 22 on the road. I think Detroit can win this one outright but give me the points. SELECTION: Lions +5
Chicago Bears (10-4) at San Francisco 49ers (4-10), 4:05 p.m.
I've faded the Bears a lot on the road and I'm going to do it again this Sunday. Chicago is coming off two emotional home wins over the Rams and Packers and now head to sleepy San Francisco to face a 49ers team that has won two straight. Chicago is only 3-3 against the spread away from home, losing to the Giants a few weeks ago. It was a massive party for the Bears after last week's game as the team clinched the division so focus could be a little bit of an issue. San Francisco does scare me with Nick Mullens under center although he's been better as of late. The 49ers' defense isn't that great, but they've held five of their last six opponents to under 220 passing yards. I think we could get an ugly, low-scoring game, which means the home team is worth a look. SELECTION: 49ers +4
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.