December 23, 2016

Is clinching this early a good thing? + Week 16 picks

by Dan Bilicki In: Football, Picks

Thanks to the New York Giants loss to the Eagles on Thursday night, the Dallas Cowboys have clinched not only the NFC East, but also a first-round bye and home-field advantage through the playoffs.

Of course, this is great news for Cowboys fans everywhere, but it could also be a negative for Dallas.

The Cowboys will now have to wait three weeks until their next competitive game, which isn’t exactly great news considering they have struggled for the past few weeks.

This does mean that Dallas can rest its stars and ease the workload of rookie Ezekiel Elliott, for one.

Also, we should see Tony Romo get some snaps, which is a scenario that I never dreamed would happen.

If you had told me at the beginning of the training camp that the Cowboys were going clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC before their Week 16 game, which would give Tony Romo a chance to get a few snaps, I would’ve said you were insane.

How this situation plays out will be interesting to watch and we’ll see how much playing time the starters get on Monday and then against Philadelphia in Week 17, but if Elliott plays a snap in the second half on Monday’s game, there might be a riot.

The lines are from Vegas and the home teams are in CAPs.

New York Giants -2.5 over PHILADELPHIA

The Eagles tried as hard as they could to blow this game, but the Giants just didn’t want it either. Now New York is basically stuck in the No. 5 spot in the NFC and will have to take their show on the road to reach the Super Bowl.

GREEN BAY -7 over Minnesota

It’s all over for the Vikings, who need a miracle to make it into playoffs. Even the return of Adrian Peterson didn’t help last week and the memory of their 5-0 start to this season has long faded. The Packers, on the other hand, are just rounding into form now.

JACKSONVILLE +5 over Tennessee

Don’t forget that Jags interim head coach Doug Marrone was actually a decent one in Buffalo. The Jags have covered the past two and could certainly do so again here.

Washington -3 over CHICAGO

The Bears have been playing like an actual NFL team since Matt Barkley stepped under centre, but Washington desperately needs to get back in the win column against this relatively easy opponent.

Miami +4 over BUFFALO

The Bills won’t roll over for the Dolphins like the Jets did last week, but we don’t think they should be giving more than a field goal. Let’s not forget that Rex Ryan and Tyrod Taylor are under some intense pressure for a reason while Miami needs to keep on rolling to reach the post-season.

Atlanta -2.5 over CAROLINA

The Panthers are 5-0 in prime-time games and 1-8 in the rest. That’s some pretty good news for the Falcons, who were already flying high coming into this contest.

CLEVELAND +6 over San Diego

Mark my words: This is the game that Cleveland wins. If not, it’s a 0-16 season for certain facing Pittsburgh next week. The Chargers haven’t been all that good down the stretch, either.

New York Jets +16.5 over NEW ENGLAND

As terrible as the Jets have been in the past few years, they haven’t let the Patriots embarrass them. Since 2013, the Pats haven’t beaten the Jets by more than seven points and two games have gone to OT. New England will certainly win this game, but I’m not expecting a blowout.

OAKLAND -3.5 over Indianapolis

Derek Carr’s finger is becoming a problem for the Raiders offence, but everything else is working for Oakland. This should cause some trouble for the Colts, who may have blown out the Vikings last week, but we think is more of an outlier.

Tampa Bay +3 over NEW ORLEANS

The Bucs are a better road team and need to bounce back after losing a close one in Dallas last week. The Saints are hanging around, but this should be the nail in their coffin.

SEATTLE -7.5 over Arizona

These two teams played to a sloppy tie earlier this season, but much has changed. The Seahawks continued to rise while the Cards’ season has ended early. Expect a much more one-sided result in Seattle.

San Francisco +3.5 over LOS ANGELES

The 49ers might be terrible, but are you really willing to give more than a field goal to take the Rams, a team that has one win at home and has scored five TDs in L.A. all season?

HOUSTON -1 over Cincinnati

Tom Savage isn’t going to be Houston’s savior, but he is much better than Brock Osweiler. The Bengals have nothing left to play for and, while they won’t roll over, are we sure they’re hungry enough to play spoiler for a team that means nothing to them?

Baltimore +5.5 over PITTSBURGH

A massive Christmas Day matchup with huge playoff implications. Everybody loves this Pittsburgh offence, but we all know that a Ravens-Steelers game will always likely come down to three points, either way.

KANSAS CITY -3 over Denver

This year’s Broncos have disproved last year’s theory that you can win without a QB. The defence is still there, but the offence is dreadful. This should be a solid, low-scoring game, but the Chiefs aren’t going be giving much on Christmas to their rivals.

Detroit +7 over DALLAS

There’s a chance that this game could be completely meaningless for the Cowboys come Monday night, meaning taking a touchdown against a team that won’t be going all out is an excellent situation to be in.

Last week: 10-5-1

This season: 115-96-8

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