Handicapper Vegas Vic is advising caution when thinking about an early play on the Eagles. He's rolling with the Saints again as his best bet. Here's a look at the Week 16 rundown and our staff's picks.
Home teams in CAPS
Quick hit: Raiders quarterback Derek Carr last week became the fifth quarterback to reach 100 touchdown passes within his first four seasons of his career. Dan Marino, Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson and Andrew Luck are the others.
Raiders vs. spread: 4-8-2
Eagles vs. spread: 10-4
Vegas Vic's take: This is your basic wait-and-see. If the Packers should somehow upset the Vikings on Saturday, the Birds will have it all – the No. 1 seed and homefield throughout the playoffs. How many players will Doug Pederson rest? How far will the line drop? All questions that my Magic 8-ball has no answers for. But one of my Vegas bookmakers has an answer. At least for the line. If Monday night means zilch, and for some reason they rest Nick Foles and Nate Sudfeld plays, my guy said the line could drop all the way down to -3. Who is Sudfeld? Wasn't he the guy on that comedy show with George, Elaine and Kramer? Obviously you're getting my drift that it is impossible to handicap the game until the Packers and Vikings finish. So, if the Green Machine is still fighting for the #1 and home field, we like the Birds to rock a 31-17 W. If the game means nada, then we don't even open the wallet. Merry Christmas to all.
This picture of Raiders quarterback Derek Carr pretty much sums up the heartbreak of Oakland's loss to Dallas last week.Get insights on the Eagles delivered straight to your inbox with Early Birds, beat writer Zach Berman's newsletter for Eagles fans. Click here to sign up.
Quick hit: Baltimore's defense leads the NFL in takeaways (33) and is fourth in fewest points allowed. The Colts haven't scored more than 20 points in a game in nearly two months.
Colts vs. spread: 6-8
Ravens vs. spread: 8-5-1
Vegas Vic's take: Huge bundle, but Baltimore has all the tools necessary for a blowout win, while Indy has virtually NO tools left.
Quick hit: If the Packers pull the upset and beat the Vikings, the Eagles will clinch homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs before they even take the field Monday night.
Vikings vs. spread: 10-4
Packers vs. spread: 7-7
Vegas Vic's take: Pretty much an obvious Minny W, but as the great Chris Berman used to say, "That's why they play the game."
Quick hit: Cincy QB Andy Dalton needs 140 yards to join Peyton Manning as the only quarterbacks with 3,000 yards passing in each of their first seven seasons. The Bengals are 5-9 this year, so Dalton will remain 0-4 in the postseason through his first seven seasons. Manning had a 3-5 playoff record through his first seven years and didn't win the Super Bowl until his ninth season.
Lions vs. spread: 7-6-1
Bengals vs. spread: 7-7
Vegas Vic's take: Last home game ever for Marvin Lewis and the least Cincy could do is get him, or us, a cover.
Quick hit: Disgruntled Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, a Temple product, was back at practice after being benched for last week's game for being late to a team meeting. Jets coach Todd Bowles has said Wilkerson is a game-time decision, but that could be murky. The Associated Press points out that Wilkerson is likely to be cut after the season and that his $16.75 million salary for 2018 would be guaranteed if he sustains a serious injury.
Chargers vs. spread: 7-6-1
Jets vs. spread: 8-5-1
Vegas Vic's take: The New Yorkers have nothing to play for, but they have been solid at home, winning four of seven straight up, and covering SIX (86%), while the Lightning Bolts travel across the country with a pathetic 6-17 record on the road.
Quick hit: The Rams acquired the right to the No. 1 pick in 2016 in a trade with the Titans two weeks before the draft. They, of course, selected Jared Goff. Tennessee didn't need the top pick because they already had a franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota. Goff (24) has twice as many touchdown passes as Mariota (12) this season.
Rams vs. spread: 9-5
Titans vs. spread: 6-7-1
Vegas Vic's take: Gotta think that L.A. might be looking ahead to next week's crucial battle, wink wink, against the 49ers.
Quick hit: The winless Browns' final two games are this week at Chicago and next week at Pittsburgh. Cleveland is the only team to start consecutive seasons 0-14. The only team to go 0-16 is the 2008 Lions.
Browns vs. spread: 3-11
Bears vs. spread: 6-7-1
Vegas Vic's take: You KNOW that Chicago has heard all the noise about how this is Cleveland's last best chance for a win. And how all the talking heads have already thrown Mitchell Trubisky into the same trash bin where Ryan Leaf and some other high draft choices wound up. Well, Double V is here to tell you, FORGET all the noise. We have been playing against the Brownies every week since mid-2016, and put 19 covers in our wallet with only five losses. Say hello to OH and 15 baby!
Quick hit: The Panthers will not have linebacker Thomas Davis, who is suspended because of the vicious block below last week on Green Bay's Davante Adams.
Buccaneers vs. spread: 4-9-1
Panthers vs. spread: 9-4-1
Vegas Vic's take: Carolina rumbles in with a 4-0 spread perfecto at home, and a likely playoff berth on the line, while Tampa is sitting close to the bottom of the ugly charts, covering just two of the last 12.
Quick hit: The Falcons have three straight wins over New Orleans, including two weeks ago in Atlanta, 20-17. The underdog has covered seven of the last eight in this series.
Falcons vs. spread: 6-8
Saints vs. spread: 8-6
Vegas Vic's take: So last week, we stumbled with our best bet when New Orleans failed to cover a 15.5 point spread in a 31-19 victory over the Jets. Watched the game and was praying for a back-door cover, but it never came. It also looked like the Saints were kinda going through the motions, didn't have any real intensity, and were looking forward to this matchup against Atlanta that will determine the king of the NFC South. Drew Brees and his guys have not lost a game at home since their bye week (6-0) and the Ws have come by an average of 11 points per game. They've also been BRILLIANT against the spread against their division opponents, covering 12 of the last 16. Also have a little side plate of revenge on the table from the Falcons 20-17 win over in Atlanta back on December 7. And since the Falcs have covered only two of the last eight on the road, there's only one thing left to say. This IS MY BEST BET, BABY!
Quick hit: In 23 career games against NFC opponents, Denver linebacker Von Miller has 22.5 sacks.
Broncos vs. spread: 4-9-1
Redskins vs. spread: 6-8
Vegas Vic's take: Looks like Denver's D – 13 points allowed the last two games – has recaptured its mojo.
Quick hit: It's astounding that the Chiefs have never won back-to-back division titles. But a win over the Dolphins — or a Chargers loss — would give Kansas City the AFC West crown for the second year in a row.
Dolphins vs. spread: 5-7-2
Chiefs vs. spread: 8-6
Vegas Vic's take: What scares me? Kaycee comes in with a negative 0-4 perfecto as a double digit favorite. So we stay ultra-light.
Quick hit: Tom Brady is 27-3 against Buffalo, 12-1 at home. Buffalo shutout the Patriots in Foxborough last season (16-0) in the final game of Brady's four-game deflategate suspension.
Bills vs. spread: 7-5-2
Patriots vs. spread: 9-5
Vegas Vic's take: Not gonna play the money line or anything, but check out Buffalo's recent work AT New England. Last season, the Bills (+3.5), yes it was without Tom Brady, fed the Pats a 16-0 bagel. In 2015, the Buffs (+7) lost 20-13. In 2014, the Bills (+5) won 17-9. So you're feeling me right. Not looking for an upset, but after the Brady Bunch came home from Pittsburgh with that emotional last-second 27-24 W, not sure how much is left in the tank.
Quick hit: Niners defensive coordinator Robert Saleh was the Jaguars linebackers coach from 2014-16, so he knows Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles very well.
Jaguars vs. spread: 9-5
49ers vs. spread: 7-7
Vegas Vic's take: This should be a no-doubter for Jax, but as we said last week, this is the era of Jimmy Garoppolo.
Quick hit: The Giants (2-12) have never lost more than 12 games in a season. They end the year in Arizona this week and hosting Washington next.
Giants vs. spread: 6-8
Cardinals vs. spread: 4-9-1
Vegas Vic's take: If rookie Davis Webb gets the start the Giants, it's Arizona. If Eli's coming, we would step back and close the wallet.
Quick hit: Dallas went 3-3 without running back Ezekiel Elliott, who is back from suspension this week. They averaged 7.3 points the first three games (all losses) and 29.3 in the last three (all wins).
Seahawks vs. spread: 5-8-1
Cowboys vs. spread: 7-6-1
Vegas Vic's take: You might think that the only reason for grabbing Dallas is the return of Double E, Ezekiel Elliott. Obviously, that is one of the factors, but the main focus is on Seattle's injury-riddled Swiss cheese defense that has allowed 72 points in its last two games. Then we dug a little deeper into the spread bible, the KING VIC version, and found out the 'Hawks have covered only three of the last 11 on the road. That's 27%, and that's UGLY!
Quick hit: Pittsburgh will be without star wide receiver Antonio Brown, who is out with a partially torn left calf. The Steelers hope he can get back for the playoffs. But the only receiver targeted more than Brown (163) is Houston's DeAndre Hopkins (168).
Steelers vs. spread: 6-8
Texans vs. spread: 7-7
Vegas Vic's take: After getting flat out ROBBED last week, expect Pittsburgh to POUR it on against this lame Houston club.