NFL Week 16 Predictions: Our Picks Against the Spread

Carolina has arguably the worst quarterback room in the league, and Coach Matt Rhule said both Cam Newton and Sam Darnold, who just returned from a shoulder injury, will both play on Sunday. Wide receiver Antonio Brown should play after serving a three-game suspension for using a fake vaccine card, and Brady should be able to score at will while the Panthers’ lousy offense continues to struggle. Pick: Buccaneers -11

Los Angeles Chargers at Houston Texans, 1 p.m., CBS

Line: Chargers -8 | Total: 46

Coach Brandon Staley has already ruled out edge rusher Joey Bosa, and the Chargers (8-6) could be without running back Austin Ekeler and center Corey Linsley against the Texans (3-11) because of coronavirus issues. Even with those potential absences, Los Angeles is capable of dominating Houston. The Chargers allow the 10th-fewest passing yards per game, and they should easily contain wide receiver Brandin Cooks, the Texans’ best offensive weapon. That’s if he even plays, as the team placed him on the Covid-19 reserve list on Wednesday afternoon. Bet on the Chargers with confidence, even if they are short-handed. Pick: Chargers -9.5

Denver Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders, 4:25 p.m., CBS

Line: Raiders -1.5 | Total: 42.5

The Raiders (7-7) kept their postseason hopes alive on Monday by barely beating a Browns team that started a third-string quarterback. The Broncos (7-7) are also technically in the hunt, making this something of a must-win for both teams. Denver is likely to start Drew Lock at quarterback as Teddy Bridgewater recovers from a concussion. That’s not ideal for Denver, as Lock is known to make improper reads and turnovers. Las Vegas beat the Broncos in October in its first game after Jon Gruden’s resignation, and the team is capable of repeating if it leans on its defense to cause pressure and force Lock into mistakes. Pick: Raiders -1.5

Washington Football Team at Dallas Cowboys, 8:20 p.m., NBC

Line: Cowboys -10 | Total: 47.5

The Cowboys (10-4) beat Washington (6-8) two weeks ago and will likely do so again. Because of the coronavirus, Washington started its third-string quarterback, Garrett Gilbert, against Philadelphia last week, and it is unclear whether Taylor Heinicke or Kyle Allen will be available to play at Dallas. The Cowboys have won three straight games, a surge that has surprisingly been led by the team’s defense. Micah Parsons continues to excel as a versatile edge rusher, with 12 sacks, and Trevon Diggs leads the league with 10 interceptions. If quarterback Dak Prescott and the offense take care of the ball, the defense should smother Washington and keep the score within the spread. Pick: Cowboys -10

Chicago Bears at Seattle Seahawks, 4:05 p.m., Fox

Line: Seahawks -7 | Total: 44

For the first time since drafting Russell Wilson in 2012, the Seahawks (5-9) will finish the season with a losing record. The reasons are plenty, and they include Wilson’s midseason finger injury, the team’s overall offensive ineffectiveness, and an uncharacteristically porous defense. The Bears (4-10), whose offense is fourth-last in points scored per game (17.1), are one of the few teams that has been worse than Seattle.

Chicago averages nearly seven penalties per game, and that is not a good formula for a team led by a rookie quarterback, Justin Fields. This isn’t a game to watch, but if you bet on it, expect Seattle to be inspired to finish the year well. Pick: Seahawks -7