clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

BFTB Sunday Game Picks: Playoff race gets hotter with three big games

The BFTB Staff talk through their picks for Sunday’s games headlined by Lions vs. Vikings, Buccaneers vs. Jaguars and Cowboys vs. Dolphins.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

Good Morning, Bolts From the Blue!

The Chargers are getting closer to the end of a lost season, their Week 16 game against the Buffalo Bills is set to take place tonight in yet another prime time spot where a national audience will get to see the obvious gap in where these two teams are. The Bolts are huge underdogs going into this game mainly due to Justin Herbert missing the rest of the season but even if he was available, the needle would have not have shifted to put Giff Smith’s side much closer. Let’s see whether this team can rally under its new leader and quarterback combination and give some confidence for the future of this team. A little pride could go a long way.

For Sunday’s games I am taking a close look at those with playoff implications. This gets started with an NFC North clash between the Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings in the early window. The Lions are three games clear of the Vikings in the division so whilst it is possible Minnesota could topple their rivals if they win out, it would come as a surprise. The New York Times’ playoff simulator gives the Vikings just a 4 percent chance to do it. This game, for them, is more about gaining momentum in chasing a wildcard playoff spot. The Lions have been an enigma of late losing to both their other division rivals in the last month after looking like contenders for the number one seed. Their defense has been lousy and it means they have had to live and die by their offensive prowess which hasn’t been able to carry the load. DraftKings Sportsbook has the Lions as 3-point favorites and I have taken them at -115 to cover this because even though the Lions’ defense has struggled overall, they have been strong against the run and it will force the ball into Nick Mullens’ hands which is not a winning recipe.

In the mid afternoon slot we will see two division leaders face off when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at Raymond James Stadium. If you played this game a month ago the Jaguars would have been heavy favorites but after three straight losses and three straight wins for the Buccaneers, this is down to a pick-em single point spread. Baker Mayfield has been on fire, torching the Green Bay Packers for big numbers but I can’t say I’ll be convinced of a quarterback taking advantage of a Joe Barry defense. I think the Jaguars will win in a tight game with Trevor Lawrence stepping up for Doud Pederson’s side. Moneyline is the right line to attack and they are -102 for the win. The better bet is the under 42.5 at -112, stylistically these two match up almost identically so I don’t see this being a score-fest.

This week’s prime time game showdown is between the two highest scoring offenses in the league in the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins. The Cowboys got absolutely manhandled by the Bills and it will be a test to see how they bounce back from that kind of loss. The Dolphins themselves suffered a shock loss to the Tennessee Titans two weeks ago and in retaliation, they walked all over the New York Jets. But this will be the first test for both these teams since those losses and I think we will see fireworks, the over 50 bet at -108 is a must. The Cowboys’ defense has been figured out to an extent but I am still surprised to see them as 1.5-point underdogs given how they are capable of greater things when matched up better schematically. I like them to cover that spread at -112.

Here is how the BFTB staff sees this game breaking down:

What do you think, BFTB? Are any of you placing bets across the holiday?