NFL Week 16 picks ATS: Bengals beat Patriots, Eagles hang with Cowboys

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The NFL playoff races in both conferences are intensifying entering a pivotal Week 16.

There are 10 teams (six in the AFC and three in the NFC) that trail a playoff spot by two games or fewer. 

This week's schedule is loaded with matchups between teams in a playoff spot or fighting for one. That should make for an awesome weekend of high-intensity football.

Here are our best bets against the spread for the Week 16 games. All start times listed are ET. All betting lines via DraftKings Sportsbook.

Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Jets (-2.5)

Time/TV channel: Thursday, Dec. 22, at 8:15 p.m. ET on Prime Video

Over/Under: 36.5

The Jaguars are all of a sudden on the brink of a playoff spot. They trail the Tennessee Titans by just one game in the race for the AFC South division title after beating the Dallas Cowboys in overtime last week. 

Trevor Lawrence is starting to fulfill his potential as a franchise quarterback for Jacksonville. He has thrown 14 touchdown passes with only one interception in the last six games, and the Jaguars went 4-2 over that span. The Jets have lost three consecutive games and need to start Zach Wilson at quarterback due to Mike White's rib injury. Wilson has completed less than 50 percent of his pass attempts in his last four games played. New York lost three of those matchups.

The Jaguars are 4-2 ATS in their last six games and 9-4 ATS in their last 13 matchups versus the Jets.

Pick: Jaguars +2.5

Cincinnati Bengals (-3.5) at New England Patriots

Time/TV channel: Saturday, Dec. 24, at 1 p.m. ET on CBS

Over/Under: 41.5

The Bengals have the second-longest active win streak at six games, including a comeback win over Tom Brady's Buccaneers last week despite trailing 17-3 at one point in the first half. The Bengals are the fifth-highest scoring team in the league at 26.4 points per game. They have arguably the best QB-WR duo with Joe Burrow and Ja'Marr Chase, and they still have a chance to earn the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs. The Bengals are a more talented team than the Patriots and should be a more motivated one, too. 

Cincinnati also is a sparkling 11-3 against the spread (ATS) this season, including a 6-0 ATS record in the last six games. 

Patriots starting quarterback Mac Jones is coming off his worst performance as an NFL player last week versus the Raiders, and the offense as a whole has scored just four touchdowns in the last three games. This game in Foxboro could get ugly for the Patriots.

Pick: Bengals -3.5

Detroit Lions (-2.5) at Carolina Panthers

Time/TV channel: Saturday, Dec. 24, at 1 p.m. ET on FOX

Over/Under: 44

The Lions were 1-6 earlier this season. Now they're 7-7 with a very real chance of securing a wild card playoff spot in the NFC. Detroit has won three games in a row and six of its last seven. The Lions' only loss during that span came against the AFC-leading Buffalo Bills on Thanksgiving.

Detroit is 10-4 ATS this season and 7-0 ATS in its last seven games. The Lions offense has been one of the league's best all year. It ranks No. 5 in total yards per game (375.1) and No. 6 in points scored per game (26.4). The Panthers have played better of late, and they still are in the mix for the NFC South title. But it's hard to see how the Panthers keep pace with an explosive Lions offense that has a superior passing attack and ground game.

Pick: Lions -2.5

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys (-5.5)

Time/TV channel: Saturday, Dec. 24, at 4:25 p.m. ET on FOX

Over/Under: 46.5

Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts, the likely league MVP, has been ruled out for this game with a shoulder injury. His backup, Gardner Minshew, will make his first start of the season. Minshew is actually a pretty good quarterback. He has completed 63.2 percent of his passes with 41 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in 30 career games. Those numbers are pretty good, and he has plenty of talented weapons around him on that Eagles offense.

This spread is just too high. The Cowboys are a really good team, but the Eagles are better on both sides of the ball. Dallas could absolutely win this game, but 5.5 points just seems like too much. The Cowboys also have struggled a bit over the last two weeks. They barely defeated the last-place Houston Texans at home in Week 14 and lost in overtime to the Jaguars on the road in Week 15.

The Eagles have won their last seven road games and remain the only unbeaten team on the road (6-0) this season.

Pick: Eagles +5.5

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