Sam Farmer’s NFL picks for Week 16

New England Patriots safety Devin McCourty (32) intercepts a pass intended for Buffalo Bills wide receiver John Brown (15) in the first half in Orchard Park, N.Y. on Sept. 29.
(Ron Schwane / Associated Press)

The Times’ NFL writer, Sam Farmer, examines this week’s matchups. Lines according to (O/U = over/under). Record last week 10-6 (.625); season 142-81-1 (.637). Using point spreads with the scores Farmer predicted, the record against the spread would have been 7-8-1 (.467); season 118-100-6 (.541). Times Pacific.

HOU (9-5) at TB (7-7)

Saturday, 10 a.m.

Texans 31, Buccaneers 27

TV: NFL Network.

Line: Texans by 3. O/U: 501/2.

The Buccaneers have won four straight and five of six, but they’re beat up and missing a lot of key players. AFC South-leading Houston needs to keep winning, and desperation is a powerful incentive.


BUF (10-4) at NE (11-3)

Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

Bills 24, Patriots 20

TV: NFL Network.

Line: Patriots by 6. O/U: 37.

Josh Allen is playing well and the Bills should be able to run the ball on New England. Buffalo is tough on defense, and there’s no indication the Patriots can do much more than the Steelers did.

LAR (8-6) at SF (11-3)

Saturday, 5:15 p.m.

49ers 24, Rams 20

TV: NFL Network, Channel 2.

Line: 49ers by 61/2. O/U: 441/2.

The 49ers are pretty battered, so this one won’t be easy. This is a good team, though, and the Rams are reeling after coming up empty against Dallas. Still, this game has the feel of a slugfest.

BAL (12-2) at CLE (6-8)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

Ravens 35, Browns 21

TV: None. DirecTV: 705.

Line: Ravens by 10. O/U: 491/2.

The Ravens need to keep winning to lock up the No. 1 seed in the AFC. That’s bad news for the Browns, who are in that familiar place of being on the outside looking in. The visitors are much hungrier.


CIN (1-13) at MIA (3-11)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

Dolphins 31, Bengals 23

TV: None. DirecTV: 706.

Line: Bengals by 1. O/U: 461/2.

Miami’s Ryan Fitzpatrick joins Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson and Arizona’s Kyler Murray as one of three quarterbacks to lead their team in rushing and passing. Dolphins are still playing hard.

PIT (8-6) at NYJ (5-9)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

Jets 27, Steelers 23

TV: None. DirecTV: 707.

Line: Steelers by 3. O/U: 37.

The Jets can shut down the run, and Sam Darnold plays particularly well at home. The Jets have three fewer wins than the Steelers, but this is a game where Gang Green could step up big.

JAC (5-9) at ATL (5-9)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

Falcons 31, Jaguars 23

TV: None. DirecTV: 708.

Line: Falcons by 7. O/U: 461/2.

Gardner Minshew can make things interesting when he scrambles, but the Jaguars are just OK. The Falcons have gotten healthier, and Julio Jones is going to give Jacksonville its share of problems.


CAR (5-9) at IND (6-8)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

Colts 27, Panthers 21

TV: None. DirecTV: 709.

Line: Colts by 61/2. O/U: 461/2.

So Ron Rivera was the problem? The Pan- thers have lost seven of eight and don’t look as if they’ll be better any time soon. The Colts are struggling, having lost six of seven, but they’re home and desperate.

NO (11-3) at TEN (8-6)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

Saints 28, Titans 24

TV: Channel 11. DirecTV: 710.

Line: Saints by 21/2. O/U: 491/2.

Even though they’re not in a dome, the Saints are a really good team. It’s going to be hard for Tennessee to run it on them. Ryan Tannehill has had a great year, but can he keep pace with Drew Brees?

NYG (3-11) at WAS (3-11)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

Giants 24, Redskins 18

TV: None. DirecTV: 711.

Line: Redskins by 2. O/U: 41.

The Giants are starting to get healthy again, and Saquon Barkley is starting to look like himself again. Dwayne Haskins has shown some promise. Still, theGiants have enough to get this done.


DET (3-10-1) at DEN (5-9)

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Broncos 27, Lions 21

TV: None. DirecTV: 712.

Line: Broncos by 7. O/U: 371/2.

Drew Lock has looked good, the Broncos can run the ball, and Denver’s defense doesn’t necessarily wow people but it gets the job done. The Lions don’t scare anybody with that offense.

OAK (6-8) at LAC (5-9)

Sunday, 1 p.m.

Chargers 34, Raiders 24

TV: Channel 2. DirecTV: 713.

Line: Chargers by 7. O/U: 45.

Raiders frittered away a win over Jackson- ville in the last game in the Black Hole. Will that disappointment linger? With Derwin James back and lots of other talented players, Chargers have the edge.

DAL (7-7) at PHI (7-7)

Sunday, 1:15 p.m.

Cowboys 30, Eagles 27

TV: Channel 11. DirecTV: 714.

Line: Cowboys by 11/2. O/U: 451/2.

Teams can throw it all over the Eagles. It’s hard to run against them, but Dallas runs it as well as anyone. The Cowboys showed against the Rams that they can be dangerous when they come together.


ARI (4-9-1) at SEA (11-3)

Sunday, 1:15 p.m.

Seahawks 34, Cardinals 21

TV: None DirecTV: 715

Line: Seahawks by 10. O/U: 51.

The Seahawks have the chance to be the No. 1 seed, so they’re hungry. Seattle is a really difficult place to play. The Cardinals have won some games, but they’re still in the early stages of a turnaround.

KC (10-4)at CHI (7-7)

Sunday, 5:15 p.m.

Chiefs 33, Bears 24

TV: Channel 4.

Line: Chiefs by 6. O/U: 441/2.

The Chiefs defense has played really well the last four or five weeks, and Chicago is on the road to irrelevance. Kansas City is going to score big on everyone, and Chicago will have a hard time keeping pace.

GB (11-3) at MIN (10-4)

Monday, 5:15 p.m.

Vikings 28, Packers 24


Line: Vikings by 51/2. O/U: 46.

The Vikings are the better team. Aaron Rodgers is phenomenal, but the Packers have lots of other vulnerabilities. Green Bay hasn’t won at Minnesota since 2015, so never in the new stadium.