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Scott Shapiro's Week 16 NFL Worksheet: Taylor will stay red-hot in Arizona

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December 22nd, 2021

Just when we thought we had this NFL thing figured out, the Lions manhandle the Cardinals and the Saints shut out Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in primetime. Oh well, back to the drawing board as we inch that much closer to the playoffs.

Despite a ton of key injuries and COVID-19 situations throughout the league, it is onto Week 16, where the slate includes a pair of key matchups on Christmas Day, a rematch in better weather between the Bills and Patriots, and a number of other divisional matchups that will help sort out a murky playoff picture with just three games to play.

Team Most Likely to Win by 14+ Points: Dallas Cowboys

Mon, December 27 2021, 1:20 AM

DAL Cowboys

Moneyline

-480

Spread

-10.5

Total

O 47.5

WAS Football Team

Moneyline

+360

Spread

+10.5

Total

U 47.5

Originally, I had the Chiefs as the likeliest team to blowout their opponent in Week 16, but the COVID-19 situation in Kansas City could hurt them in their matchup against Pittsburgh. I opted instead to pivot to Dallas, who host the Washington Football Team in primetime.

The Cowboys’ offense has not been nearly as dynamic as it was over Dallas' first six games, but their defense has been spectacular. Dan Quinn’s unit has not only done a great job of holding opposing offenses down since yielding 36 points on Thanksgiving to the Raiders, but they have regularly taken the ball away from them as well.

The Cowboys may have only won by seven points in their Week 14 matchup in D.C., but they dominated that game far more than the final score suggests. Look for Dallas to do so once again on Sunday night when the Cowboys encounter a WFT squad on short rest.

Underdog of 6+ points Most Likely to Spring an Outright Upset: New York Giants

Sun, December 26 2021, 6:00 PM

PHI Eagles

Moneyline

-455

Spread

-10.5

Total

O 40.5

NY Giants

Moneyline

+340

Spread

+10.5

Total

U 40.5

It is difficult to envision the Eagles losing to the hapless Giants based on how the two teams played in Week 15, but it is important to note that Philadelphia returns on short rest after its 27-17 home victory against Washington on Tuesday night.

Sure, the Giants are short-handed at several key positions, including quarterback with Daniel Jones out for the rest of the season with a neck injury, and they have been poorly managed and coached for eons, but they have covered the number against Philly in seven of their last 10 encounters. Perhaps, Joe Judge can rally the troops for one big upset in the NFC East before his tenure in the Big Apple comes to an end? Probably not, but I do not love the other options.

RB/WR/TE Most Likely To Score 2 Touchdowns: Jonathan Taylor

Sun, December 26 2021, 1:15 AM

ARI Cardinals

Moneyline

-112

Spread

-0.5

Total

O 49.5

IND Colts

Moneyline

-108

Spread

+0.5

Total

U 49.5

What a run it's been for the former University of Wisconsin star. Taylor has rattled off seven 100-yard performances over his last nine games, and found the end zone an incredible 19 times over the Colts' last 11 contests.

The second-year back has rushed for over 140 yards or more in three of his last four games and gets a tasty matchup against a Cardinals defense that yielded 112 yards to undrafted free agent Craig Reynolds in Week 15. The JT train rolls on in Arizona.

Quarterback Most Likely to Throw for 400 Yards: Kirk Cousins

Sun, December 26 2021, 6:00 PM

MIN Vikings

Moneyline

+128

Spread

+2.5

Total

O 49

LA Rams

Moneyline

-155

Spread

-2.5

Total

U 49

The challenge with correctly predicting a QB that gets the volume and game script needed to get to a monster statistical performance in 2021 continues with another slate of games where little sticks out as an obvious call. I will take a chance with Kirk Cousins in a contest that is likely to play out far differently than Minnesota’s Monday night victory in Soldier Field, where the Vikings took an early lead and grinded the game away from there.

Look for the Rams to move the ball up and down the field against a Minnesota defense that played well against a pitiful Bears offense, but has underwhelmed against quality competition most of the season. Cousins should post big numbers in a potential shootout in U.S. Bank Stadium.

Defense Most Likely To Pitch a Shutout: New Orleans Saints

Tue, December 28 2021, 1:15 AM

NO Saints

Moneyline

-165

Spread

-3

Total

O 38.5

MIA Dolphins

Moneyline

+135

Spread

+3

Total

U 38.5

The last time a team pitched back-to-back shutouts in the NFL was in 2014, when the St. Louis Rams blanked the Raiders in Week 13 and came back and held Washington scoreless in Week 14 in a 24-0 victory at FedEx Field. After shutting out the high-powered attack of the Buccaneers, New Orleans has a more favorable matchup against Miami on Monday night. They have a chance to do what no team has done in seven years if they can get to Tua Tagovailoa like they did to Tom Brady.

My Week 16 ATS Plays of the Week:

  • Under Bengals/Ravens (44.5)
  • Denver (+1.5)
  • New Orleans (-3)

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