By Eric Amzallag
MINNESOTA (RushPRNews)12/18/08 – Can the Eagles keep their hot streak alive or fold under the pressure and miss the playoffs? The loser of the Ravens vs Cowboys matchup will most likely not qualify for the playoffs while the winner is almost guaranteed to be playoff bound. Which of the two will have their season extended?
Those questions will be answered below with Ericâ€™s canâ€™t miss NFL picks for week 16.
Picks of the week
1) Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Redskins
Pick: Philadelphia -5
The last time these teams met, the Redskins upset the Eagles 23-17 in week 5. At one point this season, the Redskins were 6-2. After losing 5 of their last 6, they find themselves at 7-7 and out of the playoffs. The Eagles are in the NFC playoff race but absolutely cannot afford to lose their final two games. Donovan McNabb has been red hot throwing for 741 yards, 7 touchdowns and only 1 pick in his past 3 contests. The Eagles will need a strong performance from McNabb in order to win since Washingtonâ€™s defense is ranked 5th in the NFL. There is every reason to believe they will get it. The trends are completely in the Eagles favour. The Eagles are 5-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last 6 versus the NFC and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 on turf. Washington is 0-5-1 ATS in its last 6 overall and 0-5 ATS in its last 5 home games. The Eagles are fired up and absolutely determined to make the playoffs and the Redskins are still trying to figure out how they ended up being out of playoff contention so quickly. Philly wins this one and covers.
2) Baltimore Ravens @ Dallas Cowboys
Pick: Under 39.5
This is a critical inter conference matchup featuring two teams who are fighting for a wildcard playoff berth. Each team has an identical 9-5 record. The winner of this game is almost guaranteed a wildcard playoff spot; meanwhile the loser may have little hope in making the playoffs this season. Based on the way these teams have been playing lately, this looks like it will be quite a defensive battle. The average point total of Dallasâ€™ last 5 games versus opponents with winning records is 31.2 points per game. This is mainly due to the fact that Wade Phillips decided to take over the defense after an embarrassing 34-14 loss to the Rams in week 7. Since then, the Cowboysâ€™ defense has allowed an average of only 15.1 points per game. On a related note, Dallas currently leads the NFL with 53 sacks. Therefore, it would make sense to assume that rookie QB Joe Flacco will be sacked at least 3-4 times. He has already been sacked 25 times this season.
There are several trends related to Dallas that favour the under. Under is 4-1 in Dallasâ€™ last 5 overall and in their last 5 games as a favourite. Expect this to be a defensive struggle. Dallas will probably win but they wonâ€™t win by a large margin and they wonâ€™t score that many points.
Sports Zealots, bettors and fans alike get accurate sports predictions with Ericâ€™s Weekly picks every Thursday or Friday morning.
photo Courtesy of the NFL