Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

Putting it on the Line

Posted by Eric Fisher On December 29

Except for missing on my top pick – I made a mistake by not figuring in the impact of the Saturday games on the Dolphins game on Sunday – Week 16 was a good week for me. I was 9-6-1 for the week, with a 3-0-1 mark for my “other top picks.” I’m hoping to finish the regular season strong with another good week.

The final week of the regular season can be difficult to evaluate because it’s difficult to judge motivation levels for teams eliminated from the playoffs. Some teams look as if they’re counting down the minutes until vacation while others play tough until the very end. Also, there are playoff teams that might sit out starters, such as the Saints and Cowboys, or could pull its starters in the middle of the game, such as the Bears. Still, there are some games which stand out this week.

The Eagles are playing their best football of the season. They need a win to make the playoffs, although they need help from the Bears against the Vikings. The Eagles have scored 30 and 32 points during their past two games, wins over the NFC West-champion Rams and AFC South-leading Texans. Thirty points should be more than enough to cover a 7-point spread against the Redskins, who are using their fourth-string quarterback. That’s why the Eagles are my “best bet.”

The Texans (-6½ vs. Jaguars), who need a victory to clinch the AFC South title, are among my “other top picks.” The Seahawks, who clinched a playoff berth last Sunday with a win over the Chiefs, need another win against the Cardinals to secure the top NFC wild card, which would mean a first-round game against the Cowboys rather than having to go to Chicago or L.A. in the first round. That should be motivation enough to cover the 13½-point spread and be one of my top picks.

The other “top picks” are based on the lack of motivation of one team. The Cowboys, locked in as the fourth seed in the NFC, have nothing to play for Sunday against the Giants (-6), who, for that reason, are a top pick. It also helps that the Giants are playing well during the second half of the season. The Saints have nothing to play for, but quarterback Teddy Bridgewater will want to show teams he can still play, which makes the Saints (-7) one of my top picks against the Panthers, who look like they’ve quit on this season.

Here are my Week 16 selections:

(Home team in CAPS) 

(Winning team against the line in bold)

GIANTS -6 vs. Cowboys

CHIEFS -14 vs. Raiders  

SAINTS -7 vs. Panthers

PATRIOTS -13½ vs. Jets

Eagles -7 at REDSKINS

Lions +8 at PACKERS

TEXANS -6½ vs. Jaguars

RAVENS -6 vs. Browns

Falcons -2 at BUCS

BILLS -5½ vs. Dolphins

Colts -3½ at TITANS

Bengals +14½ at STEELERS

Bears +5½ at VIKINGS

Chargers -6 at BRONCOS

SEAHAWKS -13½ vs. Cardinals

49ers +10½ at RAMS

Best bet: Eagles -7 at REDSKINS

Other top picks: TEXANS -6½ vs. Jaguars; GIANTS -6 vs. Cowboys; SAINTS -7 vs. Panthers; SEAHAWKS -13½ vs. Cardinals

Last week: 9-6-1 (114-130-10 this season)

Best Bet: 0-1 (7-9 this season)

Other top picks: 3-0-1 (31-30-3 this season)

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