As usual, there's not enough time to digest what happened in Week 15 before we start considering our picks for NFL Week 16 in 2023. The playoff race could be even more crowded this week than it was a week ago. This means that most of the games will have serious playoff implications when we consider our expectations for Week 16.
NFL Week 16 Picks
This is another crazy week for the NFL with one game on Thursday, two games on Saturday, and three games on Monday, which falls on Christmas Day. There are seven matchups between two teams that are .500 or better, including a showdown between two 11-win teams. It's been a lot to think about, but here are our picks for NFL Week 16 in 2023.
Bengals vs. Steelers
Stick a fork in the Steelers because they're done. Normally, it wouldn't be a bad idea to back Mike Tomlin's team as the underdog at home. But the Steelers have looked terrible offensively with Mitch Trubisky at quarterback, and starting Mason Rudolph is unlikely to help much.
Even as TJ Watt follows in his brother's footsteps as one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history, Pittsburgh's defense is not enough. If Gardner Minshew could run circles around the Steelers last week, Jake Browning should be able to do the same with Cincy's receivers.
Pick: Bengals -2.5
Lions vs Vikings
The Lions certainly made a statement last week with a convincing home win over the Broncos. However, they have still been inconsistent lately and have a somewhat unreliable defense. The Lions are also considered favorites to win at U.S. Bank Stadium, a place where they have lost five straight games.
Despite a painful overtime loss last week, Nick Mullens played well and got Minnesota's offense back on track. Justin Jefferson is healthy again, Jordan Addison is producing, and Minnesota's defense isn't too shabby, so things are trending in the right direction for the Vikings. Keep in mind that although they have lost three of their last four games, those three losses have come by a total of six points. With that in mind, we're happy to get Minnesota and the points.
Pick: Vikings +3
Cardinals vs. Bears
Although this game is not in the playoff race, this streak is too fishy to ignore. What exactly have the Bears done to be favored by more than just a field goal against anyone?
Other than catching the Lions on a bad day two weeks ago, there's no reason to favor the Bears by that many points, even against Arizona. Since Kyler Murray's return, the Cardinals have gone 2-3 straight up and 3-2 against the spread. They also put up a good fight and scored 29 points against one of the best defenses in the NFL last week. Keep in mind that the Bears have been held to 17 points or fewer in five of their last seven games. Chicago doesn't score enough points to comfortably cover more than a field goal against Murray and the Cardinals.
Pick: Cardinals +4.5
Raiders vs Chiefs
After scoring 63 points last week, the Raiders will come back down to earth in a big way. This team is still relying on rookie Aidan O'Connell at quarterback, and is just two weeks away from a 3-0 loss to the Vikings. They also suffered a 31-17 loss to the Chiefs at home a few weeks ago.
This week, the Raiders go to Arrowhead Stadium, where they have lost six straight, including the last three by at least 14 points. The Chiefs have certainly not been entirely reliable this year and have still lost three of their last five games. But they know this is a tough time and they won't need any extra incentive to go against the invaders. Additionally, Kansas City is 3-0-1 against the spread this year when favored by nine or more points, so covering double figures in this game doesn't ask much of Patrick Mahomes and company.
Pick: Bosses -10