With the NFL playoff field far from set, the final two weeks should be wild.
That means you’ll want to be extra cautious when filling out your bet slips and pick pools this weekend. Before you do that, here are three favorites you might want to avoid in Week 16.
(-2.5) Washington Football Team vs. Carolina Panthers
Is this run of recent success coming to an end in DC? WFT has been one of the more surprising teams this season, but we’ve seen some issues the last couple of weeks. Mainly, the offense looks like a problem. Washington ranks dead last in the NFL in yards per play over the last three weeks. Washington is averaging just over 20 points in that span. While Carolina will have its own issues trying to solve an admittedly stout Washington defense, it’s unlikely the Panthers find themselves in a position like last week where they fell behind 21-3 and had to abandon the game plan. They should be able to control the game a little more in this scenario, and they certainly have an edge at quarterback even before the mess surrounding Dwayne Haskins this week.
(-10.5) Kansas City Chiefs vs. Atlanta Falcons
Go ahead and tease down the Chiefs to your heart’s content, but be careful about laying the full 10.5 this weekend. Kansas City hasn’t covered the number in its last six games, twice failing to cover at home. That’s not solely because of massive spreads, either. The Chiefs just haven’t looked overly dominant in the last month and a half. That’s particularly true of the defense, which ranks 26th in EPA/play allowed over that time and is 25th in passing success rate against. A return is at least possible this week for Atlanta’s Julio Jones, but even if the All-Pro wideout can’t return, we did see Matt Ryan carve up the Tampa Bay defense a week ago with help from a career game from Calvin Ridley. Don’t get crazy with the Falcons on the money line, but don’t be surprised if they’re able to come close to keeping pace with the KC offense.
(-3) Green Bay Packers vs. Tennessee Titans
This is probably best left as a stay-away game. The reasons to bet the Packers are quite clear. They have an MVP front-runner at quarterback in Aaron Rodgers and arguably the NFL’s top offense. They also have a huge advantage in the trenches on offense, with an elite offensive line squaring off against a relatively toothless Titans pass rush. But when the Titans have the football, that’s where the problems with Green Bay become evident. It’s certainly possible the Packers come out like a house of fire and take an early lead, forcing Tennessee to abandon its game plan. It’s also quite possible Derrick Henry runs all over the Packers. We’ve seen it quite a bit the last two seasons. In the seven Green Bay losses since Matt LaFleur took over as head coach, the Packers have allowed an average of 172 rushing yards. Henry is more than capable of doing that damage. Admittedly, almost all of those losses came to far better defenses than Tennessee, but still, it shouldn’t inspire a ton of confidence in a Green Bay wager.