Three weeks remain in the 2021 NFL regular season, which means we’re fully in crunch time of survivor leagues.
Major kudos to you if you’re still alive in your respective league, as this campaign hasn’t had a shortage of wild upsets. The most recent? The Detroit Lions’ stunning win over the Cardinals, which played a big hand in Arizona dropping to fourth in the NFC standings.
Week 16 presents a fairly tricky board for survivor league participants, but we’ll try to help make your decision-making process a bit easier.
(All point spreads and money lines are provided by DraftKings Sportsbook.)
Teams to pick:
Green Bay Packers (-7.5, -365)
Opponent: vs. Cleveland Browns
This contest has some shades of a trap game, as a primetime date with the NFC North rival Minnesota Vikings awaits the Packers next week. That said, Green Bay is by and far the better team in this Christmas Day matchup and the Browns have been one of the teams most impacted by the latest COVID-19 outbreak. The Pack had a bit of a wake-up call last week courtesy of the shorthanded Baltimore Ravens, so we expect them to rebound with a more well-rounded, convincing performance.
Los Angeles Chargers (-10, -525)
Opponent: at Houston Texans
We expect the Chargers to be as hungry as ever Sunday on the heels of their heartbreaking overtime loss to the AFC-leading Kansas City Chiefs. Los Angeles absolutely needs to capitalize on this advantageous matchup, especially since they close the regular season against a pair of desperate teams (Denver Broncos and Las Vegas Raiders). Look for Justin Herbert to shine in the Lone Star State.
Kansas City Chiefs (-8.5, -400)
Opponent: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers are coming off arguably a season-saving win against the Titans, but that game might have had more to do with how banged up Tennessee was. After all, Mike Vrabel’s team was able to bounce back against a fairly hot San Francisco 49ers club on short rest, no less. Pittsburgh was held to 20 points or less in three of its last four games, while Kansas City combined to score 82 points in its last two outings. Despite what the outcomes might suggest, these two teams are going in opposite directions.
Teams to avoid:
Atlanta Falcons (-6.5, -290)
Opponent: vs. Detroit Lions
Detroit has come a long way, to the point we actually can say don’t sleep on the Lions. Dan Campbell’s team has played hard all season, and it finally was rewarded with a pair of wins over a three-game span. The Falcons hung around in postseason contention for a while, but they might have shown their true colors in a listless Week 15 showing against the Niners. Matt Ryan could be in store for a long day Sunday.
New England Patriots (-2, -130)
Opponent: vs. Buffalo Bills
To say the Bills will be motivated Sunday would be a significant understatement. Buffalo, despite what Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer might tell you, were embarrassed by New England at the start of the month in a game the Patriots only threw three times. Josh Allen and Co. now have an opportunity to make a statement in enemy territory and retake control of the AFC East. This should be a hard-fought, chippy contest and no one should be surprised if the Bills leave Foxboro with a win.
New Orleans Saints (+2.5, +120)
Opponent: vs. Miami Dolphins
How bad is the Saints’ quarterback situation right now? Well, they reportedly reached out to the retired Drew Brees with a one-game-only offer for Monday night. The future Hall of Famer declined, so Ian Book will have his first taste of NFL action as Week 16 wraps up. The rookie quarterback will need all the luck he can get, as the Dolphins have won six straight and are hopeful for a playoff spot.
Week 16 pick? Green Bay Packers
Teams used (10-5): San Francisco 49ers (Week 1 win), Cleveland Browns (Week 2 win), Denver Broncos (Week 3 win), New Orleans Saints (Week 4 loss), Dallas Cowboys (Week 5 win), Indianapolis Colts (Week 6 win), Arizona Cardinals (Week 7 win), Cincinnati Bengals (Week 8 loss), Buffalo Bills (Week 9 loss), Baltimore Ravens (Week 10 loss), Tennessee Titans (Week 11 loss), New England Patriots (Week 12 win), Los Angeles Rams (Week 13 win), Kansas City Chiefs (Week 14 win), Miami Dolphins (Week 15 win)