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- The Saints are currently the No. 2 seed in the NFC and own tiebreaker over Seattle.
- At 7-7, the Raiders are the No. 9 seed in the AFC, on the outside looking in.
- The Dolphins own the last playoff spot in the AFC and tiebreaker over Baltimore.
- As of right now, the Titans would win the AFC South and earn the No. 4 seed over Colts
- The Packers have clinched the NFC North and currently own the conference’s No. 1 seed
For the NFL to reach Week 16 without a pandemic-related league shutdown is truly a Christmas miracle. Granted, there have been calls for clearer protocols and a more balanced approach to shifting play dates. After all, it was just a month ago when the Steelers-Ravens AFC North clash was batted around the late-November calendar like a beach ball to – if we’re being honest – appease Baltimore and provide the franchise with the best shot at taking the the field rather than forfeiting due to a nasty COVID-19 outbreak among the team and staff.
With only two weeks remaining in the 2020 regular season, several Week 16 holiday weekend matchups possess playoff implications beginning with a Christmas Day special between the Vikings and Saints. After losing to Kansas City last Sunday, the Saints have yet to clinch the NFC South as Tampa Bay won’t go away. While the Dolphins can’t catch the Bills to win the AFC East, Miami does cling to the last wild card slot and owns a tie-breaker over the Ravens. Miami needs to beat a reeling Raiders squad to keep pace in the AFC playoff race. Finally, on Sunday night, the Titans head to Lambeau Field for a crucial matchup with the Packers where one slip up could cost Tennessee its footing atop the AFC South.
|Week 16: Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints|
|Date: December 25, 2020 4:30 p.m ET|
|Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Superdome|
|TV Coverage: FOX|
|Opening Odds: Saints -6.5 | O/U 53|
|Week 16: Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders|
|Date: December 26, 2020, 8:15 p.m. ET|
|Stadium: Allegiant Stadium|
|TV Coverage: NFL Network|
|Opening Odds: Vegas -1.5 | O/U 46.5|
|Week 16: Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers|
|Date: December 27, 2020, 8:20 p.m. ET|
|Stadium: Lambeau Field|
|TV Coverage: NBC|
|Opening Odds: Packers -4.5 | O/U 57|
|How to Bet: Best Online Sportsbook Reviews|
The Saints opened 6.5-point home favorites over Minnesota, but most online sportsbook we track pushed the line to New Orleans -7. The Vikings moneyline opened at +245. The point total opened at 53. The total has gone OVER in 8 of Minnesota’s last 12 games.
The Raiders initially opened as 1.5-point home favorites over the Dolphins, but has since flipped to Miami -2.5 at most books. Las Vegas’ moneyline ranging between +120 and +130. The point total opened at 46.5 before a significant move to 48 at the majority of sports betting outlets we follow. The OVER has hit in 4 of the Raiders last five games, while the UNDER has hit in 4 of the Dolphins last five games.
The Packers opened as 4.5-point home dogs, but the line has since dipped to Green Bay -3.5. The Titans’ moneyline opened at +181, but dipped down to +155 to +160 range. The point total for Sunday night’s primetime event is 57 before books updated it with a 55.5-to-56 TOTAL range. The UNDER has hit in seven consecutive Packers games played in December.
Vikings-Saints News and Notes
Here are five things to know heading into Vikings-Saints:
- Drew Brees completed only 15-of-34 passes in his first game back from serious rib injuries. It’s the fewest number of completions for Brees in a game he finished since November 2018.
- Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer was hired by the Vikings for his defensive knowledgebase. This season, Zimmer’s defense allows 5.8 yards per play, eighth-most in the NFL.
- Though their point differential is in the red, the outcome of the Vikings last six games has been decided by 8-or-fewer points.
- The Saints are 14-6 straight up but 7-13 against the spread when home favorites of 7-or-more points over their past 20 games.
- Prior to the Chiefs game, New Orleans placed All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas on injured reserve with an ankle injury that has bothered him since Week 1. Without Thomas for most of the season, running back Alvin Kamara leads the team in rushing and receiving with more than 1,500 yards combined.
Dolphins-Raiders News and Notes
Here are five things to know heading into Miami-Las Vegas:
- Miami were missing their top three receivers in their win over the Patriots. So, undrafted running back Salvon Ahmed and Matt Breida combined for 208 rush yards.
- The Raiders have allowed 171 rush yards per game the past three games, third-most during that stretch.
- After suffering what appeared to be a painful groin injury on national television, Derek Carr is unlikely to start at quarterback for the Raiders Saturday night. Despite the loss to the Chargers, Marcus Mariota performed well in relief of Carr and actually led the Raiders in rushing with 88 yards on nine carries.
- Las Vegas is 2-5 straight up and 3-4 against the spread at home this season.
- Miami is 4-2 against the spread on the road this season.
- The OVER has hit in 11 of the Raiders 14 games.
Titans-Packers News and Notes
Here are five things to know heading into Tennessee-Green Bay:
- The Packers have ONE win over a team with a winning record this season (Saints)
- Their three losses are to the 9-5 Buccaneers, 10-4 Colts and 6-8 Vikings.
- The Titans are the fifth team in NFL history with five consecutive games with at least 420 total yards and 30 points (AP).
- Unlike other Packers opponents, the Titans can keep pace with Aaron Rodgers.
- Green Bay averages nearly four (4) red zone trips per game, while the Titans sieve-like defense ranks 30th in keeping opposing offenses out of the end zone once they get inside the 20. Tennessee’s 70.91% opponent RZ conversion rate means 7x out of 10, once an opposing offense reaches the red zone, it winds up on the end zone.
- Derrick Henry is averaging 139.3 rush yards per game with seven rushing touchdowns over his past six games.
- The Packers allow 4.5 yards per rush, ranked 21st in the NFL.
Betting Picks: Vikings +7 | Dolphins -2.5 | TEN-GB OVER & Titans ML
Minnesota might not be a playoff team in 2020, but they can still act as a thorn in the side of many playoff caliber teams. Kirk Cousins has built a nice rapport with rookie Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook’s Pro Bowl season is being wasted on a .500 ball club. Still, I like them to cover against an overrated Saints squad missing their top offensive weapon.
Las Vegas is trending in the wrong direction late in the season … again. Despite the homefield advantage, the Raiders offense will find it a challenge to score against this Dolphins defense. I wouldn’t touch the spread if it moved to Miami -3-or-higher, but I like their chances in this spot with the playoffs on the line.
The Packers beat up really bad teams, but have struggled with playoff contenders. This is a late-season slip-up where Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry do some damage against the Packers’ defense in a high-scoring shootout.