So here we go with the week sixteen weeks, but before that there’s the minor matter of our trivia competition.

‘In Week 3 the Browns beat the Jets 20 – 17, but how many days, and against whom, prior to Sept 20 is it since they had last won? As it’s Christmas I’ll allow you 25 days either way but give 3 points for an exact hit.’

So as odd as this might sound, I’m going to start with the days as I remember that apart from last season’s 0-16, the year before the Browns only went 1-16 (making it all the more remarkable that Hue Jackson kept his job) and there was real talk of them going 0-16 that season so I’m going to work on the theory that they got that solitary win in week sixteen. Counting along the calendar that gives me Sunday the 25th of December 2016, but whilst I think there were some games on Christmas day I don’t the NFL played the full slate and I hardly think the Browns would be a prime time game so let’s say the Browns won on the 24th of December 2016, so the Browns went six hundred and thirty-five days without a win. Now here’s the frustrating problem, I have no idea who they beat. Like none… So I’ve gone to a random NFL generator online and spun their wheel. The first team to come up were the Panthers, but I don’t like that as it would be more likely to be a fellow AFC team than an NFC team so I spun again and got the Bengals, but I think I would remember that, so once more I spin and I get the then San Diego now LA Chargers. I have no idea if that is right, but I’m sticking with the Browns beating the Chargers six hundred and thirty-five days before they beat the Jets this season.

‘Ok, I know this. I happen to know that it was a nice little Christmas present for the Browns with their precious win being on Christmas Eve 2016. Their game in week 3 was on the Thursday night, so if I’ve done my maths correctly (and I’ll be annoyed if I’ve not!), I make it 635 days between wins. And the win was against the then San Diego Chargers.’

Falcons @ Panthers (-3.5)

The Atlanta Falcons got their first win in six weeks last week and this week they visit a Carolina Panthers team who having fallen out of the playoffs last week, are sitting Cam Newton so he can start treatment on his injured throwing shoulder. On almost any previous week I would have backed the Panthers in this game, but I’m going for the Falcons in week sixteen given the comparative form and who is starting at quarterback.

Gee’s Pick:          Falcons
Dan’s Pick:          Panthers

Bills @ Patriots (-12.5)

The New England Patriots are very much in control of their own destiny and I’m not going to suggest they will lose to the Bills at home, but things have not been right with them for a number of weeks now and with Josh Gordon stepping away from football for the good of his mental health it doesn’t exactly look to be getting better for the Patriots offence. The Bills defence is still ranked third in the league by DVOA and that alone is enough for me to take the step of backing the Bills to keep this game within thirteen points. I just hope the Patriots usual ability to cover big lines doesn’t suddenly re-appear this week.

Gee’s Pick:          Bills
Dan’s Pick:          Patriots

Bengals @ Browns (-6.5)

Given their comparative form I have no issue with the Cleveland Browns being favoured in this game, but six and half points feels like a little much given the way the Bengals have played over the last two weeks. The fact that the Bengals have now lost leading receiver Tyler Boyd as well as all the other receiving options does give me pause, but I don’t feel like the Browns are going to win the battle of Ohio by a touchdown. I hope I am right at any rate, even if the Browns will be supremely motivated to beat Hue Jackson.

Gee’s Pick:          Bengals
Dan’s Pick:          Browns

Buccaneers @ Cowboys (-7.5)

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost to the Ravens last week and now must travel to Dallas to face a Cowboys teams who will be looking to bounce back from their shutout loss the week before. I’m not sure how competitive this game will be, but the line worries me as they were not at all competitive against the Colts. The Cowboys will be feeling the pressure with the Eagles beating the Rams and Washington managing to stay one game behind but this line is just that little bit too rich for me.

Gee’s Pick:          Buccaneers
Dan’s Pick:          Cowboys

Vikings @ Lions (+5.5)

The Detroit Lions’ up and down season continue to falter along and whilst most of their problems would seem to be on offence from injury, it is their defence that ranks thirty-first in the league by DVOA and I’m sure some questions are going to asked of their first-year head coach Matt Patricia in the offseason. It doesn’t get any easier for them this week either as they welcome a Minnesota Vikings teams who rediscovered their offence last week on the back of a renewed commitment to running the ball and scored forty points for the first time this season. In a league that never has a big sample size it is dangerous to read too much into one game, but it at least makes sense that reducing the amount Kirk Cousins is asked to do leads to a more efficient game and I like the Vikings to carry their new form into this matchup.

Gee’s Pick:          Vikings
Dan’s Pick:          Vikings

Packers @ Jets (-0.5)

The New York Jets made last week’s game competitive against the Houston Texans and did take a lead in the fourth quarter, albeit a short lived one. However, there are thirteen places between them and the visiting Green Bay Packers in the overall DVOA rankings and whilst this has only manifested itself in one more win this season, Aaron Rodgers is planning to play out the season with his team and even on a down year I’m going to back him in this matchup.

Gee’s Pick:          Packers
Dan’s Pick:          Jets

Giants @ Colts (-9.5)

I like the direction the Indianapolis Colts are heading in and they remain in the playoff hunt. Coming off a strong showing against the Cowboys you can see why they are favourites against a New York Giants team who have struggled all season despite their talent at the offensive skill positions. Having got shut out and lost by seventeen last week, it is not like setting this line against the Giants is an insult but the Colts themselves got shut out two weeks ago by the Jaguars and so I’m not so confident that I will predict they win by ten. I could be wrong, but this line is just that little bit too rich for me.

Gee’s Pick:          Giants
Dan’s Pick:          Colts

Jaguars @ Dolphins (-4.5)

The Miami Dolphins got beat badly last week but they have also been terrible on the road losing every game bar their first against the Jets. That said, they are 6-1 at home and this week welcome the Jacksonville Jaguars who after a 3-1 start to the season have only won one game since then. The change at quarterback has not exactly invigorated the Jaguars offence and on the road I don’t expect them to set the world alight but it is still hard to have this much faith in the Dolphins. It’s not that they don’t deserve to be favourites, but this feels like too many points to be giving up for a team I don’t trust. I’m sure Dan would be very happy to see me proved wrong.

Gee’s Pick:          Jaguars
Dan’s Pick:          Dolphins

Texans @ Eagles (-0.5)

This is a sneaky good game as the Houston Texans take their 10-4 record to Philadelphia to see if they can beat an Eagles team who dragged themselves back into the contest for the NFC East with their win over the Rams last week. The Eagles chances still rests on the Cowboys slipping up but they have something to play for and looked much better against the Rams last week. What I’m not sure about is how these teams will play against each other and this line is not exactly helping but their 5-2 record on the road looks to favour the Texans yet I’m not sure they are two and half points better than the Eagles, which is what this line suggests. I’m going to nervously back the home team and hope I’m not making a big mistake.

Gee’s Pick:          Eagles
Dan’s Pick:          Eagles

Bears @ 49ers (+3.5)

The San Francisco 49ers have won two straight and found a little something toward the end of what has been a difficult season. This week they face a Chicago Bears team who clinched their division with a win over the Packers last week and whilst there is some potential for a let down for the Bears, they are now only a game back from the Rams and so a playoff bye week is up for grabs. Perhaps more importantly, the Bears number one defence in the league by DVOA will make it a very long day for Nick Mullens. This line is really tempting as home underdogs usually are but in the end, I’m going with the Bears.

Gee’s Pick:          Bears
Dan’s Pick:          49ers

Rams @ Cardinals (+14.5)

This is a surprisingly big game for the LA Rams who have now lost two straight and have not looked themselves for weeks now. They will be looking to get right against the bottom ranked team in the league by DVOA and whilst early in the season I might have backed them to cover this line, right now I think it is way too high. The Arizona Cardinals have had a miserable season but they actually rank fifteenth in the league on defence by DVOA and fifteen point wins are not that common, especially for a team who haven’t looked right and need to rest an injured Todd Gurley.

Gee’s Pick:          Cardinals
Dan’s Pick:          Rams

Steelers @ Saints (-6.5)

This should be a cracking game as the league leading New Orleans Saints welcome a Pittsburgh Steelers team who got back on track last week with a win over the New England Patriots. The Saints are a really good home team but their offence has gone down a notch or two in recent weeks yet they’ve kept winning thanks to their defence gradually improving across the year. The Steelers have been more up and down and dropped a bad game on the road against the Raiders in week fourteen. I know that Ben Roethlisberger is not the same quarterback on the road as he is at home, but I this line is too much for me given the recent points output of the Saints as I think this should be a close and fun contest.

Gee’s Pick:          Steelers
Dan’s Pick:          Steelers

Chiefs @ Seahawks (+2.5)

We follow one cracking game with another as the Kansas City Chiefs visit Seattle to take on a Seahawks team who will be smarting having lost on the road to the 49ers last week. The Seahawks still have an edge in the NFC wildcard hunt but they can’t afford to keep dropping games even if they do play the Cardinals in week seventeen. The Chiefs come into this game with the better record and DVOA ranking, but with receivers banged up and having cut Kareem Hunt a couple of weeks ago when the video of him kicking a woman was released by TMZ, their offence has not looked the same. As strange as it might have sounded at the start of the season, Patrick Mahomes is what is making the Cheifs’ offence go right now but Seattle is a tough place to play and that is enough for me to grab the points with the home underdog.

Gee’s Pick:          Seahawks
Dan’s Pick:          Seahawks

Broncos @ Raiders (+2.5)

Out final game of the week sees one team who only fell out the playoff hunt a couple of weeks ago visiting a team who all but announced they were rebuilding at the start of the year when they traded away Khalil Mack. That move catapulted the Bears into a division win whilst I still can’t understand it for the Raiders, who may have beat the Steelers in week fourteen but crashed back to earth last week when they lost 16-30 to the Bengals. Two of the Raiders’ three wins have come at home and getting points might be tempting, but their defence ranks thirty-first against the pass and twenty-seventh against the run by DVOA and with undrafted rookie running back Phillip Lindsay heading to the Pro Bowl I think a Broncos team with twice the number of wins will have enough to see the Raiders out. This looks like it could be the Raiders last game in Oakland, which could throw a spanner in the works but I’m going to trust my numbers on this one as I can’t stay away.

Gee’s Pick:          Broncos
Dan’s Pick:          Riders