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NFL Week 16 picks: Rams defeat Seahawks; Packers edge Titans

Rams quarterback Jared Goff pumps his fist after tight end Tyler Higbee.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff pumps his fist after throwing a touchdown pass against the Jets last week.
(Kyusung Gong / Associated Press)
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The Times’ NFL writer, Sam Farmer, examines this week’s matchups. Lines according to Pregame.com (O/U = over/under). Last week’s record 11-5 (.688); season 151-72-1 (.677).

Using point spreads with the scores Farmer predicted, the record against the spread would have been 8-8 (.500); season 115-104-5(.525). Times are Pacific.

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Buccaneers (9-5) at Lions (5-9)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady passes against the Atlanta Falcons on Dec. 20.
(Danny Karnik / Associated Press)

Saturday, 10 a.m.

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TV: NFL Network.

Line: Buccaneers by 10. O/U: 54.

Good teams can step on the gas when needed, and the Buccaneers have shown that ability at critical times this season. Their come-from-behind victory last week was a confidence builder.

Prediction: Buccaneers 31, Lions 16

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49ers (5-9) at Cardinals (8-6)

Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray warms up before a game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Dec. 20.
(Jennifer Stewart / Associated Press)

Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

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TV: Amazon Prime.

Line: Cardinals by 5. O/U: 481/2.

The Cardinals smacked the 49ers in the mouth in the opener, and that’s before San Francisco was ravaged with injuries. Now, incentivized by the playoff implications, Arizona pulls off a sweep.

Prediction: Cardinals 27, 49ers 23

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Dolphins (9-5) at Raiders (7-7)

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Marcus Mariota runs with the ball against the Chargers on Dec. 17.
(David Becker / Associated Press)

Saturday, 5:15 p.m.

TV: NFL Network.

Line: Dolphins by 3. O/U: 471/2.

Defense leads the way for the Dolphins, and it steps up big time in this one. Marcus Mariota makes things interesting for the Raiders, but Tua Tagovailoa is gathering some confidence for Miami too.

Prediction: Dolphins 28, Raiders 21

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Bears (7-7) at Jaguars (1-13)

Chicago Bears running back David Montgomery carries the ball against the Minnesota Vikings.
(Bruce Kluckhorn / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 705.

Line: Bears by 71/2. O/U: 47.

Big game for Bears. They’re finally giving the ball to David Montgomery a ton and letting Mitch Trubisky be more of a game manager. The Jaguars can hang in there with teams, but not for long.

Prediction: Bears 28, Jaguars 17

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Colts (10-4) at Steelers (11-3)

Indianapolis Colts quarterback Philip Rivers warms up before playing the Houston Texas on Dec. 20.
(AJ Mast / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 706

Line: Colts by 11/2. O/U: 441/2.

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Steelers receivers can beat man coverage, but the Colts don’t play a lot of man. They play a lot of two-deep coverage and stop the run. That, and Philip Rivers, is the winning formula.

Prediction: Colts 24, Steelers 18

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Panthers (4-10) at Washington (6-8)

Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater warms up before playing the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 19.
(Matt Ludtke / Associated Press)

Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 707.

Line: Pick ’em. O/U: 421/2.

Could be a close game, ugly and low-scoring, especially with Washington’s issues at quarterback. But can Carolina’s offense get enough done against a Washington defense that can be ferocious?

Prediction: Washington 17, Panthers 14

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Browns (10-4) at Jets (1-13)

Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield throws a touchdown pass against the New York Giants on Dec. 20.
(Adam Hunger / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

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TV: None. DirecTV: 708.

Line: Browns by 91/2. O/U: 471/2.

Throw out last week, and the Jets’ stunning upset of the Rams. The Browns have that swagger and an offense to back it up. With its ability to run, Cleveland could do some damage in postseason.

Prediction: Browns 35, Jets 24

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Giants (5-9) at Ravens (9-5)

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson warms up before a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 20.
(Nick Wass / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 709.

Line: Ravens by 101/2. O/U: 44.

The Giants are done. Baltimore is playing desperate, and Lamar Jackson is starting to look like himself again. The Ravens can run, and will do so even against a Giants defense that sometimes plays well.

Prediction: Ravens 28, Giants 17

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Bengals (3-10-1) at Texans (4-10)

Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson avoids diving Indianapolis Colts defensive end Justin Houston.
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson avoids diving Indianapolis Colts defensive end Justin Houston during a game on Dec. 20.
(Zach Bolinger / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 710.

Line: Texans by 71/2. O/U: 46.

Cincinnati’s defense played great against Pittsburgh on Monday, but the Texans’ offense has too much firepower. QB Deshaun Watson has been better since the coaching change, taking what is given.

Prediction: Texans 28, Bengals 21

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Falcons (4-10) at Chiefs (13-1)

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes looks to pass against the New Orleans Saints on Dec. 20.
(Tyler Kaufman / Associated Press)

Sunday, 10 a.m.

TV: Channel 11. DirecTV: 711.

Line: Chiefs by 101/2. O/U: 531/2.

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The Falcons have been playing better defense with Raheem Morris as coach, and will do OK against run. But Patrick Mahomes can sling it, and that will put pressure on Matt Ryan to play catch-up.

Prediction: Chiefs 35, Falcons 20

12

Broncos (5-9) at Chargers (5-9)

Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen runs with the ball against the Atlanta Falcons on Dec. 13.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

TV: Channel 2. DirecTV: 712.

Line: Chargers by 3. O/U: 49.

The Chargers keep it rolling. Denver’s offense is young but has pieces to be good. The Chargers should be better on defense than they are. Still, Keenan Allen (hamstring) will have a good game if he plays.

Prediction: Chargers 31, Broncos 27

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Rams (9-5) at Seahawks (10-4)

Rams running back Darrell Henderson carries against the against the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 6.
(Jennifer Stewart / Associated Press)

Sunday, 1:25 p.m.

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TV: Channel 11. DirecTV: 713.

Line: Seahawks by 1. O/U: 471/2.

Every so often, the Rams are as flat as can be, and that has to scare them. They usually play well against Seattle, will bounce back from flameout vs. Jets, and Darrell Henderson could have a big game.

Prediction: Rams 28, Seahawks 24

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Eagles (4-9-1) at Cowboys (5-9)

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts looks to pass against the Arizona Cardinals on Dec. 20.
(Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

Sunday, 1:25 p.m.

TV: None. DirecTV: 714.

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

Bit by bit, Jalen Hurts is proving it by the week. Philadelphia is starting to get healthier on offense and that’s the difference. The Cowboys’ defense is all-time bad and has its hands full in this one.

Prediction: Eagles 31, Cowboys 23

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Titans (10-4) at Packers (11-3)

Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill celebrates a touchdown pass against the Detroit Lions on Dec. 20.
(Brett Carlsen / Associated Press)

Sunday, 5:20 p.m.

TV: Channel 4.

Line: Packers by 31/2. O/U: 56.

Two high-scoring teams in what could be a snowy shootout. Ryan Tannehill has been fantastic, but it’s hard to bet against Aaron Rodgers in these situations, especially if weather is a factor.

Prediction: Packers 31, Titans 27

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Bills (11-3) at Patriots (6-8)

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen runs for a touchdown against the Denver Broncos on Dec. 19.
(Jack Dempsey / Associated Press)

Monday, 5:15 p.m.

TV: ESPN.

Line: Bills by 7. O/U: 46.

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Year after year, the Bills have been beaten down by New England. Buffalo exacts some measure of revenge. Postseason seeding is in play and Josh Allen, playing at an MVP level, does a little rubbing it in.

Prediction: Bills 34, Patriots 17

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