Week 15 in the NFL brough some major surprises to throw off our games picks and predictions against the spread. With Christmas Day on its way in the middle of Week 16, there will be no gifts of “gimme” games this week, either

There are some pretty big numbers regarding strong favorites, plus a lot of narrow favorites in contests featuring two bad teams. All 32 teams are in action again, and hopefully, the fulll slate of 16 games won’t face a scheduling change.

Without further ado, here’s our latest fearless forecast of pigskin prognostications, hoping for some very happy holidays:

(Game odds reflect opening odds for Week 16, courtesy of FanDuel )

NFL POWER RANKINGS:
Packers go to No. 1 as Buccaneers, Cardinals drop; Chiefs, Cowboys rise

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NFL picks against the spread for Week 16

  • Game of the Week: Bills at Patriots (-2.5, 44 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Bills found something in the running game last week against the Panthers and also made their passing game more dangerous by unleashing Gabriel Davis to complement Stefon Diggs at wide receiver. They should be more relentless with the running game with Devin Singletary supporting Josh Allen while they adjust to handle the Patriots’ one-dimensional game plan with Mac Jones. Bill Belichick fooled them once, but the personnel limitations showed up here in the Buffalo rematch.

Pick: Bills win 20-17. 

  • Game of Midweek: 49ers (-3.5, 44.5 o/u) at Titans

Thursday 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network

The 49ers are rolling offensively with Jimmy Garoppolo spreading the ball around and the running game revved up again. The Titans can slow them down a little on the ground and contain tight end George Kittle. The big problems wiill be wide receivers Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. The Titans don’t have the firepower in their run-heavy offense around Ryan Tannehill to score enough.

Pick: 49ers win 23-20 but fail to cover the spread.

Result: Titans win 20-17

  • Lock of the Week: Chargers (-9.5, 46.5 o/u) over Texans

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Chargers are well rested and will be ready to roll out more of their electric offense with Justin Herbert in a great all-around spot. The Chargers are fading in the AFC West battle but they are strong bets to secure a wild-card berth in the first season under Brandon Staley. The Texans will be game for a little more offense again with rookie QB Davis Mills, but they can’t stop much of what Los Angeles does well.

Pick: Chargers win 34-17 and cover the spread.

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  • Upset of the Week: Vikings (+3, 49.5 o/u) over Rams

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Vikings are coming off playing on Monday night. The Rams will have played on Tuesday night. Minnesota tends to play up and down to opponents, leading to consistent close games. Matthew Stafford returns to an NFC North road spot in a different uniform and will have success throwing downfield, but he also will face plenty of pressure. Kirk Cousins can use his weapons to work around the Rams’ defensive strengths with the comforts of home.

Pick: Vikings win 27-24.

  • Browns at Packers (-7.5, 45 o/u)

Saturday 4:30 p.m. ET, Fox/NFL Network

The Packers can feel another No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs and won’t be in a giving mood at Lambeau Field this Christmas. The Browns are hoping to unwrap another a late AFC playoff berth but their injuries and other issues have held them back too much to give them enough time to recover. Aaron Rodgers is back in a jolly spirit with all of his weapons and can feel better about his defense flexing at home, too.

Pick: Packers win 27-17 and cover the spread.

Result: Packers win 24-22 and fail to cover the spread.

  • Colts at Cardinals (-2, 49.5 o/u)

Saturday 8:15 p.m. ET, NFL Network

The Colts don’t change their game plan of playing tough defense, stopping the run and containing the passing game with versatile cover men in the back seven. That’s not a good way to get Kyler Murray out of a slump given the shocking Lions result last week. The Cardinals also have sprung major leaks in their run defense and the Colts face another team where their run-heavy approach with Jonathan Taylor is the ideal approach.

Pick: Colts win 24-20.

Result: Colts win 22-16.

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  • Buccaneers (-11, 44.5 o/u) at Panthers

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Buccaneers’ passing game is suddenly facing some issues around Tom Brady with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin hurt at wide receiver, but the return of Antonio Brown to boost Rob Gronkowski is a big help. As will be the Bucs’ ability to run the ball well, whether it’s with more Leonard Fournette or Ronald Jones. The Bucs’ defense didn’t slump against the Saints and will get after Cam Newton hard.

Pick: Buccaneers win 27-10 and cover the spread.

  • Giants at Eagles (-10, 42.5 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Giants have a quarterback mess and their offense doesn’t have much in the offense anymore when not giving Saquon Barkley or another running back key touches. Their defense is still playing with pride for Joe Judge, however, and the Eagles will make this more of a grinding game with a lot running themselves coming off a very short week. Philadelphia slams the door with great defense in a mild walkover.

Pick: Eagles win 20-13 but fail to cover the spread.

  • Ravens at Bengals (-2.5, 44.5 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, CBS

The Bengals have control of the AFC North thanks to beating the Ravens in Baltimore in Week 7 and won’t let up here with a chance for a terrific breakthrough season. The Ravens’ defense can’t stop much of anything in the passing game anymore with all the injuries and Joe Burrow will light them up all over the field for a second time. The Ravens will do their best with whoever’s running and passing to stay competitive, but they are outmatched.

Pick: Bengals win 31-27 and cover the spread.

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  • Lions at Falcons (-3.5, 43.5 o/u)  

Sunday 1 p.m. ET, Fox

The Lions have had some flashes with new coach Dan Campbell. The Falcons have enjoyed their share with new coach Arthur Smith. The Lions are riding a high after beating the Cardinals, while the Falcons might seem deflated after the 49ers defeat. But Detroit already has had the big moment in an otherwise lost season. Atlanta would like to finish strong outside the division. It wins with a few more defensive answers.

Pick: Falcons win 23-20 but fail to cover the spread.

  • Jaguars at Jets (-2.5, 42 o/u)

Sunday 1 p.m. ET,  CBS

The Jaguars haven’t done right by Trevor Lawrence with either Urban Meyer and Darrell Bevell during his rookie season as the No. 1 overall pick. The Jets have done their best to lift Zach Wilson under Robert Saleh and Mike LaFleur, but his progress as the No. 2 overall pick has been slowed by injuries and a dwindling supporting cast. Wilson has had a few bigger individual moments than Lawrence and his team is a little more put-together and motivated in a tossup game.

Pick: Jets win 20-17 and cover the spread.

  • Bears at Seahawks (-7, 43.5 o/u)

Sunday 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox

The Bears have to go a long way on a short week, but it’s even shorter for the Seahawks. Justin Fields is a good spark for the offense and the Seahawks have several holes he can exploit knowing his team will have rushing success with David Montgomery. Russell Wilson can attack the Bears’ weakened pass defense a little better and also use his running well enough to preserve a needed cosmetic victory.

Pick: Seahawks win 23-19 but fail to cover the spread.

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  • Broncos at Raiders (-1.5, 42.5 o/u)

Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS

The Broncos lost to the Raiders 34-24 at home in Week 6. These two teams are too even to think fading Las Vegas will sweep the season series. Denver can also smash this with its typical 1-2 rushing punch of Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon. Derek Carr and his weapons are slumping with their limitations and Vic Fangio’s defense will smash them around on the road.

Pick: Broncos win 19-17.

  • Steelers at Chiefs (-10, 46.5 o/u)

Sunday 4:15 p.m. ET, CBS

The Steelers played much better defense against the Titans to help them win a low-scoring game. But they also gave up a ton in the running game and got a break from a team with almost no real passing game. That’s not the case vs. Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Darrel Williams, Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. Kansas City is playing like a team possessed and focused on another No. 1 seed, while Pittsburgh is on the ropes to fall out of playoff contention.

Pick: Chiefs win 34-17 and cover the spread.

  • Washington Football Team at Cowboys (-10, 47.5 o/u)

Sunday 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC

WFT and Dallas just played a couple weeks ago. The Cowboys handled that matchup well on the road, but almost let Washington right back into the game late. Coming off a short week, the Football Team, with no chance of winning the division anymore, will go through the motions with the limited offense facing a red-hot all-around defense. Dak Prescott uses this favorable matchup at home as a much-needed get-well tuneup.

Pick: Cowboys win 33-14 and cover the spread.

  • Dolphins at Saints (-3, 40.5 o/u)

Monday 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN

The Dolphins’ defense has fueled their winning streak, supported by the running game getting it done more to lift an efficient Tua Tagovailoa passing to his diverse weapons. They have struggled at times against the pass but have cleaned up things against the run. Miami is more versatile and multiple on both sides of the ball, while New Orleans’ limitations cost it another home game against an AFC East foe.

Pick: Dolphins win 17-13.

Vinnie Iyer’s 2021 picks:

  • Week 15 record against the spread: 8-8
  • Week 15 record straight up: 12-4
  • Season ATS: 123-99
  • Season straight up: 149-74