Week 16 NFL Picks: Can the Vikings Keep Their NFC North Hopes Alive?

Timing Unfortunate
Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORKCredit: Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Week 15 was about as mediocre as it could have been in terms of picking games.

We went an even .500, and we couldn’t even just go an even 8-8 for the slate of games. Instead, we had to throw two pushes in there and go 7-7-2. Luckily, mediocre keeps us knocking on the door of that .500 mark for the season, and now, it’s all about putting together a strong Week 16. Before we get into those Week 16 NFL picks, here is a look back at how we fared in Week 15:

  • Raiders -3 (W)
  • Vikings +3 (T)
  • Colts -1.5 (W)
  • Broncos +4 (L)
  • Browns -3 (T)
  • Packers -3.5 (L)
  • Texans +2.5 (W)
  • Dolphins -8.5 (W)
  • Patriots +9.5 (L)
  • Giants +6 (L)
  • Falcons -3 (L)
  • Rams -6.5 (W)
  • 49ers -12.5 (W)
  • Bills -2.5 (W)
  • Jaguars +3 (L)
  • Eagles -4 (L)

Season Record: 110-111-11

New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Rams

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
  • Spread: Rams -4
  • O/U: 46.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Rams -4

Both the Rams and Saints come into this weekend fighting for playoff spots and earned strong victories in Week 15 to firmly position themselves in the Wild Card race. Los Angeles has been a much more consistent group offensively, though, totaling 28+ points in each of their past four games. I’ll ride with the Rams to earn a home win on Thursday night.

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jake Browning (6) prepares to take the snap in the first quarter of a Week 15 NFL football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Cincinnati Bengals, Saturday, Dec. 16, 2023, at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati. © Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK.
  • Spread: Bengals -2
  • O/U: 36.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Bengals -2

The Pittsburgh Steelers are making another QB change this weekend as they move Mason Rudolph to the starting lineup. They have seen some major struggles offensively while Cincinnati has thrived under Jake Browning in recent weeks. Considering the Steelers defense hasn’t played particularly well either, I’ll ride with the Bengals to win their fourth straight game.

Buffalo Bills at Los Angeles Chargers

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
  • Spread: Bills -12
  • O/U: 43.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Bills -12

The Chargers looked absolutely horrible last Thursday against the Raiders, and it led to the firings of their head coach and general manager. Meanwhile, the Bills have regained momentum in a huge way over the past couple weeks, and they’ve done so without relying on Josh Allen to play hero ball. They win big.

Arizona Cardinals at Chicago Bears

In 9 Months
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports.
  • Spread: Bears -4.5
  • O/U: 43.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Cardinals +4.5

Both the Bears and Cardinals are coming off losses from this past weekend, but each team has shown positive signs over the past month. Chicago’s defense is legit, and ultimately may be the reason that they earn their sixth win of the season, but I think Arizona can keep this game close.

Indianapolis Colts at Atlanta Falcons

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Gardner Minshew (10) looks to pass during the second quarter of an NFL football matchup Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. The Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the Indianapolis Colts 37-20. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]
  • Spread: Falcons -1
  • O/U: 44.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Colts +1

The Falcons are going back to Taylor Heinicke for this game after their debacle in Carolina last weekend. However, this team continues to underutilize their star playmakers, and until that happens, it’s hard to pick them against a team that is thriving in the way that the Colts are. These are teams going in separate directions, and Indy picks up another win.

Seattle Seahawks at Tennessee Titans

Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports
  • Spread: Seahawks -2.5
  • O/U: 41.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Titans +2.5

Both teams enter the week with questions at quarterback. Geno Smith could be back under center for Seattle even after Drew Lock’s heroics in Monday night’s win against the Eagles while Will Levis did not participate in Wednesday’s practice after his ankle injury against the Texans. Seattle is coming off a short week, so Tennessee gets the win.

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings

Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
  • Spread: Lions -3.5
  • O/U: 46.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Vikings +3.5

Something wild always happens when the Lions and Vikings meet, and this time around, there are some real playoff implications involved. The Vikings have gotten their running game back on track in recent weeks, and with Detroit’s struggles on defense, I’ll take Minnesota to win this weekend.

Washington Commanders at New York Jets

Week 16 NFL Picks
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
  • Spread: Jets -3
  • O/U: 36.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Commanders +3

Something is going to have to give this weekend when the Commanders take on the Jets. Washington has allowed the most yards this season on defense while New York has gained the fewest yards on offense. As long as the weather doesn’t play a factor, I’ll take the Commanders to keep this game close.

Green Bay Packers at Carolina Panthers

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
  • Spread: Packers -5
  • O/U: 37.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Packers -5

Green Bay is coming off another really embarrassing loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and they should enter this weekend with a chip on their shoulder. The Panthers beat Atlanta last week, but much of the reason for that can probably be attributed to the weather. The Packers are a better team than they’ve shown, and they will get a bounce-back win here.

Cleveland Browns at Houston Texans

Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
  • Spread: Browns -2.5
  • O/U: 40.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Browns -2.5

C.J. Stroud remains in concussion protocol, and the Texans really had no business beating the Titans last weekend. Joe Flacco has rejuvenated the Browns offense, and their defense is still one of the best units in the league. Cleveland should win this game.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson talks to quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) during the third quarter of a regular season NFL football matchup Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-7. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]
  • Spread: Buccaneers -1
  • O/U: 42.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Jaguars +1

Regardless of what happened to the Jaguars offense last weekend, their defense played a pretty good game against the Ravens on Sunday night. Trevor Lawrence may not be available this week, but the Buccaneers won’t be able to move the ball as well as they did against Green Bay. Jacksonville takes it.

Dallas Cowboys at Miami Dolphins

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
  • Frey’s Pick: Dolphins -1.5
  • O/U: 48.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Dolphins -1.5

This is a tough one. I don’t necessarily trust either of these teams to beat great teams, but someone is going to have to come away with a win here. Miami has consistently played well at home this year, so I’ll roll with the Dolphins.

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos

Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports
  • Spread: Broncos -6.5
  • O/U: 34.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Broncos -6.5

New England really has nothing to play for at this point, and while their defense remains very good, they can’t get much going on the offensive side. Denver is fighting for one of the final spots in the AFC, and they need to get the bad taste out of their mouth from last Saturday’s loss to the Lions. They bounce back here.

Las Vegas Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
  • Spread: Chiefs -10
  • O/U: 41.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Raiders +10

The performance that Las Vegas had against the Chargers seems irreplicable against this Chiefs defense, but we’re in a spot where the Chiefs simply shouldn’t be favored by double digits against anyone. Kansas City has some real problems on offense right now, and they allowed a floundering Patriots team to hang around last week. The Raiders can do a similar thing this weekend.

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles

Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports.
  • Spread: Eagles -12
  • O/U: 42.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Eagles -12

The Eagles need a get-right game in the worst way, and they may have stumbled into a Christmas gift this week. The New York Giants proved that they could not hold down the Saints’ defensive front last weekend, and Philly should be able to have their way with New York’s offensive line on Monday if they are the Super Bowl contender that many believe them to be.

Baltimore Ravens at San Francisco 49ers

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
  • Spread: 49ers -5.5
  • O/U: 46.5 points

Frey’s Pick: Ravens +5.5

This could be a Super Bowl preview as the top teams in each conference face off to end the Christmas weekend. Both Baltimore and San Francisco have top-tier defenses while few teams have been able to slow down their offenses this year. This is a coin-flip game, and Baltimore can at least keep it close if not pull off the road upset.

Well, at Least the Vikings Recognize the Problem.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.