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NFL preview capsules — Week 16

Browns (4-10) at Jets (6-8)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Jets by 2½.

The skinny: After all the whispers about Rex Ryan’s future, I think the Jets will play for their beloved coach’s job. Neither team has been a good play of late: The Jets are 1-3-1 against the spread (ATS) in their past five games overall. The Browns are 1-4. The Jets are also 5-2 ATS in their past seven home games.

The pick: Jets.

Saints (10-4) at Panthers (10-4)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Panthers by 3.

The skinny: The NFC game of the week. The winner has the inside track on the No. 2 seed. I’ve gone back and forth on this one a few times. The Panthers have been a solid bet all season (8-5-1 against the spread) and have a lot to play for, especially after a 31-13 loss at the Saints in Week 14. Plus, they’re 5-0-1 ATS in the past six home games. However, I’m going to fade those trends, and hitch my wagon to Drew Brees and the Saints, who are 3-8 ATS in their past 11 games against Carolina. Call it a hunch.

The pick: Saints.

Dolphins (8-6) at Bills (5-9)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Dolphins by 3.

The skinny: Miami’s Joe Philbin could be a candidate for Coach of the Year, especially if his Dolphins find a way into the AFC playoffs. I know the Dolphins could very well have a letdown after a big win last week against the Patriots. But the favorite has covered four of the past five meetings between these two.

The pick: Dolphins.

Colts (9-5) at Chiefs (11-3)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Chiefs by 6½.

The skinny: This could be a matchup we see again in the first weekend of the playoffs. The Chiefs still have some hope for the AFC’s top seed. Jamaal Charles and the Chiefs have pounded two lightweights the past two weeks in Oakland and Washington by a combined score of 101-41. The Chiefs haven’t covered their past four home games, and are 1-5 against the spread against winning teams. However, I think the Chiefs will come up with a big effort against the Colts, who usually find a way to dig themselves into big road holes. That formula will spell disaster in January.

The pick: Chiefs.

Cowboys (7-7) at Redskins (3-11)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Cowboys by 2½.

The skinny: I just feel like the NFC East HAS to come down to a Week 17 winner-take-all meeting between Dallas and Philadelphia. The only group that struggles more than the Cowboys in D.C. is Congress: Dallas is 1-6 against the spread in its past seven meetings against Washington, and 2-6 ATS in its past eight games in Washington. Still, it will find a way.

The pick: Cowboys.

Vikings (4-9-1) at Bengals (9-5)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Bengals by 7½.

The skinny: Cincinnati, 6-0 against the spread at home, will bounce back from its loss last week to the Steelers.

The pick: Bengals.

Broncos (11-3) at Texans (2-12)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Broncos by 10½.

The skinny: Unfortunately for Houston, Denver will have had 10 days to think about that loss to San Diego. Will Houston go 0-14 after a 2-0 start?

The pick: Broncos.

Buccaneers (4-10) at Rams (6-8)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Rams by 5½.

The skinny: The Buccaneers are 5-2 against the spread in their past seven games. Take the points.

The pick: Buccaneers.

Titans (5-9) at Jaguars (4-10)

Time: 1 p.m. today.

Line: Titans by 5.

The skinny: In their past six games, the Titans are 1-5 against the spread and the Jaguars are 4-2.

The pick: Jaguars.

Cardinals (9-5) at Seahawks (12-2)

Time: 4:05 p.m. today.

Line: Seahawks by 10½.

The skinny: I know Arizona has been a pleasant surprise this season, and 10½ is a big number, but we’re talking about Seattle at home. The Cardinals are 2-6-1 in their past nine road games against teams with winning home records. Plus, Seattle is 37-16 in its past 53 home games. Fear the 12th Man!

The pick: Seahawks.

Giants (5-9) at Lions (7-7)

Time: 4:05 p.m. today.

Line: Lions by 9.

The skinny: The Lions need a win — and help — to make the playoffs. Plus, the Giants are 3-8 against the spread in their past 11 road games.

The pick: Lions.

Patriots (10-4) at Ravens (8-6)

Time: 4:25 p.m. today.

Line: Ravens by 2½.

The skinny: A rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game won by Baltimore. I’m constantly amazed at how teams’ fortunes change from week to week. The Ravens were nearly out of it, but have won five of their past six games. New England has dropped five consecutive road covers. But I’ll follow this trend: The Patriots are 7-2 against the spread in their past nine games as underdogs dating to 2010.

The pick: Patriots.

Steelers (6-8) at Packers (7-6-1)

Time: 4:25 p.m. today.

Line: Off (Green Bay quarterback questionable).

The skinny: I’ve seen this line in some spots with the Packers as a seven-point favorite. Even if Aaron Rodgers returns, I believe the Steelers will keep this close enough.

The pick: Steelers.

Raiders (4-10) at Chargers (7-7)

Time: 4:25 p.m. today.

Line: Chargers by 10.

The skinny: San Diego still has an outside shot at a wild-card spot. With the release of Anchorman 2 maybe the Bolts could get a boost if Ron Burgundy calls the game. Stay classy, San Diego.

The pick: Chargers.

Bears (8-6) at Eagles (8-6)

Time: 8:30 p.m. today.

Line: Eagles by 3.

The skinny: Nick Foles and Jay Cutler could make this a high-scoring game.

The pick: Bears.

Falcons (4-10) at 49ers (10-4)

Time: 8:40 p.m. Monday.

Line: 49ers by 13.

The skinny: If Arizona loses today, the 49ers will clinch a playoff spot. Still, they’ll be pumped up for the regular-season finale at Candlestick Park. Atlanta is 2-2 against the spread in its past four games and has been competitive lately, but I think San Francisco will win big. Farewell, “Windlestick.”

The pick: 49ers.

— John Boell, Newsday


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