Below are my confidence level straight up picks for Week 16. The picks with a confidence level of 1-5 (a set of selections that have gone 63-29-1 since Week 8) will be available to all NFL Pickwatch readers. 


The selections with a 6+ confidence level, a group of games that have netted a 199-77-2 record since 2020 (including 42-17 since Week 4), will be available exclusively to Pickwatch Pro subscribers. Pickwatch Pro is a great service that allows subscribers to download the best expert data in the industry, see team-by-team winners for every expert, and provides access to Upset Watch, which has been the ultimate cheat code to beat the sportsbooks over the last six years. Combine those elements with the top level of my weekly picks and it makes for a must-subscribe service for anyone serious about betting.


Arizona at Atlanta


This game features a battle of backup quarterbacks, as Colt McCoy is apt to be under center for the Cardinals, while Atlanta has turned to rookie Desmond Ridder to finish out the year.


McCoy has held his own of late, as DeAndre Hopkins has a long track record of posting quality receiving totals with average level quarterbacks of McCoy’s caliber, but that hasn’t stopped Arizona’s turnover woes, as the Cardinals have given the ball away at least two times in five straight games.


Atlanta giveaway issues aren’t as pronounced, as the Falcons haven’t had more than one of these in a game since Week 11, but Atlanta does have major problems in stopping the run, having allowed 1,040 rushing yards over the past six weeks. Add that to the Falcons offense not garnering nearly as much star power as the Cardinals and Arizona has enough of an edge to get this selection.

Edit: due to multiple Arizona injuries, this pick is changing to the Falcons.


KC’s pick: Atlanta


Confidence level: 2


Pittsburgh at Baltimore


The NFL moved this matchup to the Sunday Night Football slot because this is a great rivalry game that can have a notable impact on the AFC playoff race. The Steelers and Ravens have both played well since their midseason bye weeks, as Pittsburgh is 5-2 since their break, while Baltimore is 4-2.


The Steelers have done this by getting their defense back in gear, something that showed up the past two weeks when Pittsburgh allowed Carolina and Las Vegas, two teams have moved the ball very well on the ground of late, to gain a total of 79 rushing yards.


That could be a big issue for a Baltimore squad that very likely won’t have Lamar Jackson for this matchup. The Ravens did overcome Jackson’s loss to post 215 rushing yards against the Steelers in Week 14, but this is still an offense with many limitations. Combine that with Baltimore’s secondary having some subpar coverage metrics of late and Pittsburgh is the preferred option here.


KC’s pick: Pittsburgh


Confidence level: 3


Chicago at Detroit


The Lions looked like they were headed for a playoff berth, but then Detroit ran into a buzzsaw in Carolina, as the Panthers racked up an insane 320 rushing yards and 570 total offensive yards against the Lions on the way to a 37-23 upset win.


Chicago has entertained no such postseason dreams, having lost eight straight games, but the Bears went toe-to-toe with Philadelphia in Week 15 and stayed close to the Bills for the first half of last week’s game.


The key here is if the Lions Week 16 debacle was an anomaly, or a true vision of what Dan Campbell’s team is. Since the Panthers are playing quite well under Steve Wilks, the lean is towards anomaly. If that’s the case and things get back to their norm, the Lions are the percentage pick.


KC’s pick: Detroit


Confidence level: 5


Miami at New England


This is a contest between teams that are both headed in the wrong direction, as Miami has lost four straight games, while New England has been on the downside of the scoreboard in four of its past five contests.


Miami’s woes get even worse since it now looks like Tua Tagovailoa might not just miss this game but could possibly be out for the rest of the season with another concussion. This offense tends to go as its vertical passing attack goes, as the Dolphins have rushed for more than 100 yards in one of the past five games even though they faced some subpar rush defenses in that span.


Keep that in mind when thinking about the magic number in this game: 20. New England is 7-0 when allowing fewer than 20 points and 0-8 when giving up 20 or more points. Since Miami did not score 20+ points in a single game that Tagovailoa missed earlier this year, the odds are in favor of the Dolphins falling below that point total, which gives this one to New England.


KC’s pick: New England


Confidence level: 4


Indianapolis at NY Giants


The Colts have been going through one of the worst stretches in team history, having allowed the worst single quarter point differential in any NFL game in the fourth quarter against Dallas, given up the largest comeback in league history against Minnesota, and then having an abysmal offensive showing against the Chargers last Monday night.


The Giants are having struggles of their own, having gone 1-4-1 in their past six games, but New York can take solace in that Saquon Barkley now looks like he has gained his second wind and the receiving corps has developed some solid pass catchers.


Those offensive weapons should be more than enough to keep the Giants ahead of a demoralized Colts club and when that is combined with the home field, it’s a Big Blue win here.


KC’s pick: New York


Confidence level: 5


Carolina at Tampa Bay


This is one of the most important games of Week 17, as a win by the Buccaneers will give them the NFC South title, while a victory by Carolina here and in Week 18 over the Saints will deliver that division title to the Panthers.


These are very inconsistent teams, as Carolina has posted 185+ rushing yards in its four wins over the past six weeks yet gained only 57 rushing yards in the two losses in that span.


Tampa Bay’s offense has been a turnover machine over the past month, as the Buccaneers have tallied 11 giveaways since Week 13.


The deciding factor here will be Carolina’s ground game. Tampa Bay has allowed 121+ rushing yards in three of the past five contests but has also given up fewer than 70 rushing yards in four of the last seven games. That leans in the Buccaneers direction and when that is merged with Carolina registering only seven takeaways in the past seven weeks and home field for Tampa Bay, the Bucs earn this one.


KC’s pick: Tampa Bay


Confidence level: 2


Cleveland at Washington


The path to an NFC Wild Card berth is very clear for the Washington Commanders, as a win in this game against Cleveland and a Week 18 victory over Dallas will as Ron Rivera’s club of a postseason berth. The Browns have no such path, having already been eliminated from AFC playoff contention.


That doesn’t mean Cleveland will be throwing in the towel on this one, as the Browns have won three out of their last five and want to use the end of this season as a springboard into a full season with Deshaun Watson as quarterback next year.


Watson hasn’t exactly helped the Browns offense to take off so far in 2022, as Cleveland has scored 33 points over the past three games combined and not tallied more than 13 points in any of those contests.


That pace will not get it done against a Washington offense that now is getting big plays from Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson and could also get a passing upgrade with the return of Carson Wentz.


KC’s pick: Washington


Confidence level: 3


NY Jets at Seattle


The Jets looked like a lock for a playoff spot in Week 12, as they had a 7-4 record and had six out of their past eight games. That playoff berth is almost gone, as following a four-game losing streak the New York Times playoff predictor indicates the Jets only have a 17 percent chance of making it to the postseason.


Seattle is in much the same boat, as the Seahawks had a 7-5 mark only a few weeks ago but are now in the midst of a three-game skid that has lowered their playoff percentage to a meager 23 percent.


The issues causing these downward trends are worse for the Jets than they are for the Seahawks, as New York run game has disappeared of late, and they are now hoping that Mike White can get their offense back in gear. Seattle simply had the misfortune of facing the 49ers and Chiefs back-to-back, so a home matchup against the Jets should be just what the doctor ordered for the Seahawks.


KC’s pick: Seattle


Confidence level: 4


Minnesota at Green Bay


The Packers 2022 season seemed pretty much over when Green Bay lost to Philadelphia in Week 12, as the Packers were then 4-8, had lost seven out of eight, and were seemingly out of the NFC playoffs. Since then, wins against Chicago, the Rams, and Miami have given the Green Bay a reasonable chance to land a postseason berth.


Minnesota has earned its 12-3 record in large part due to winning high scoring games, as the Vikings are 7-0 in shootouts (defined as when both teams score 24+ points). This type of contest is not the preferred game type for the Packers, as Green Bay has only been in three shootouts this season and has a 2-1 mark in those contests.


This means slowing things down will be key for the Packers, but no one in the league has been able to keep Justin Jefferson in check for long. Put that together with Green Bay’s on-again, off-again rush defense and the Vikings get this selection.


KC’s pick: Minnesota


Confidence level: 4


LA Rams at LA Chargers


If anyone questioned whether or not the Rams were going to keep playing at 100 percent after seeing their post-Super Bowl season fall apart, a 51-14 destruction of the Broncos last week should dispel any of those notions. Baker Mayfield may not be in Los Angeles next season, but he’s making a case to be a long-term solution at quarterback with his ever-improving performance while in the Sean McVay system.


The Chargers clinched an AFC playoff berth with a win over the Colts on Monday night. The Bolts have been an offensive-centric team for most of this year, but their rush defense has held two of the past three foes to under 100 rushing yards and they have allowed 17 or fewer points in three straight games.


The biggest issue here may be motivation, as the Chargers are pretty much locked into the No. 5 or No. 6 seed and wins in their last two games will do little to change that. That may put this club into looking ahead mode, which should allow the Rams to keep the game close enough to cover the spread but won’t be quite enough to keep the Chargers out of victory lane here.


KC’s pick: Los Angeles Chargers


Confidence level: 3


Buffalo at Cincinnati


This matchup has the potential to go down as one of the greatest Monday Night Football games of all time, as the 12-3 Bills travel to face the 11-4 Bengals in a game that could decide the No. 1 seed in the AFC.


Buffalo is considered a pass-centric offense, but the Bills have gained 100+ rushing yards in every game this year. Buffalo’s defense is also stepping up after having been quite inconsistent earlier this season, as the Bills have 13 or fewer points in three of the past four games.


The problem with leaning too heavily on that improved Bills defense for this pick is that Buffalo did that against the Patriots, Jets, and Bears (in a bad weather game). That doesn’t exactly hold up as a barometer when facing a Bengals club that hasn’t scored fewer than 20 points since Week 8.


The Bengals also have the personnel to stop Buffalo’s ground attack, as over the past five weeks Cincinnati held the Titans, Browns, Buccaneers, and Patriots to a total of 287 yards on the ground.


That trend will keep the Bills rushing game in check and when that is combined with the home field advantage and the Bengals offensive firepower, this one goes to Cincinnati.


KC’s pick: Cincinnati


Confidence level: 4


KC’s 6+ confidence level picks, a group of selections that have gone 199-77-2 since 2020 (including 42-17 since Week 4), are available exclusively to Pickwatch Pro subscribers.