It was only a matter of time until our red-hot picks came crashing back to earth on the wings of regression to the mean and it’d be silly to pretend anything else has happened. Yet another lackluster 2-4 showing brings our season record to 43-43 on the year — right in that meaty part of the curve Steven Koren enjoyed. But we’re looking to build like an architect — or better yet a city planner — and finish this thing off on the right foot. Here are our six best bests for Week 16.
It’s been legitimately shocking listening to some other high-profile prognosticators talk about how much they like the Vikings in this game because … what’s to like? Nick Mullens is only playing because he’s the least-bad option and their supposedly staunch defense allowed Jake Browning to look like Joe Burrow when it mattered most. Meanwhile, Jared Goff threw five touchdowns without a turnover against the Broncos, Sam LaPorta may legitimately be the best tight end in football and Jahmyr Gibbs should have to register himself as a lethal weapon. Yes, the Vikes are going to blitz all day long but Ben Johnson has been preparing for that possibility for months now in anticipation of securing the division. Lions big. Even bigger than what you think of when you first think big. Lions 37, Vikings 14
It’s probably not time for Eagles fans to panic because they can still get three home games en route to the Super Bowl if someone else takes care of the Niners but on the other hand it’s hard to imagine them winning three straight against quality opponents. Their recent skid looks equal parts physical and mental and we could be dead wrong but they simply don’t scare anyone anymore. That could all change by taking care of Tommy DeVito and the suddenly sort of adorable Giants yet this is a divisional game around the holidays and it just has all the makings of a weird, 60-minute war. Eagles 22, Giants 16
There’s only one team in the NFL we’d trust on the road in San Francisco and it’s helmed by Lamar Jackson. This could very well be a Super Bowl preview and in the end that should delight people because it’s going to be thoroughly competitive. Both of these teams are super tough and sorta Spider-Man-meme-y but we’ll talk Lamar Jackson’s ability to improvise and a flyer on his MVP odds as well. Ravens 28, Niners 24
Green Bay has stumbled since their Thanksgiving Day upset inspired everyone to wonder aloud if the Packers were back. The offense has only been successful in fits and starts while Joe Barry has come under fire for his porous defense and failure to stop anybody on third down. They are still in much better shape than the Panthers who needed the power of a monsoon (and Arthur Smith) on their side to notch their second win of the year. Tickets will probably be more than 45 cents for this one, but we wouldn’t pay much more because it is not going to be competitive at all. Packers 33, Panthers 13
Strange that the Dolphins aren’t getting more points here, but we’ll take it. The Cowboys will surely bounce back after an “everything goes wrong” game against the Bills last week but their road woes have become a pattern of behavior worth paying attention to. Miami didn’t seem to miss Tyreek Hill all that much last week and it feels like he’ll be back again this week. Playing at Hard Rock Stadium in December is tough for anybody. Dallas should be a lot more competitive but it’s very hard to buy stock in their chances to take a game on the road as of now. Harder than it is to believe Mike McDaniel snapped his team out of their second consecutive late-season slump with their dominant win over the Jets. Dolphins 27, Cowboys 24
The Patriots had a bit of a spark in the first half of their game against the Chiefs on Sunday and then promptly reverted back to the bad team we know they are in the second half. We’re banking on more of that here. The Broncos’ defense got obliterated by a competent Lions unit and New England isn’t even in the same stratosphere in that regard so Denver should be a lot better this week. They’ve got real stakes on the line with a Wild Card spot still within reach. The Broncos are not a perfect team but they are not quite a bad team and that is more than good enough to beat the Patriots. Spend some time with your loved ones instead of watching this on Christmas Eve. Broncos 24, Patriots 10