At the beginning of this season, we launched our Sports on Earth Confidence Pool, which allows you to compete against me (and Vegas and FiveThirtyEight, ESPN's smart analytics site). The winner of the pool gets to assign me to write about whatever they would like for my weekly newsletter. And I am proud to say that I am doing well. But this is less because "I am smart" and more because "I'll make sure to do my picks every week because it's my job and not every reader will have time to do that." I'll wait you out, people!
Actually, we can track how I'm doing against FiveThirtyEight and Vegas. With just two weeks left, here are the current scores:
Vegas Odds: 1310 (1st place)
Leitch: 1288 (5th place)
FiveThirtyEight: 1268 (10th place)
First place is held by … Vegas! Yes, the wisdom of the crowd is winning out. Perhaps inevitably. Anyway! It's not too late to join, if you want to join: Just go here.
For now, though: Week 16! Here goes! Vegas and FiveThirtyEight picks are after mine. Favorites are in all caps, with spreads (via Bovada, subject to change, with points indicating first team listed) and tune-in info below (all times ET).
16. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (12-2) over Oakland Raiders (6-8)
(-9) 8:30 p.m. Monday, ESPN
If Nick Foles takes the Eagles to the Super Bowl five years later, the world just makes no sense anymore. (But you knew that.)
15. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (11-3) over Houston Texans (4-10)
(-10) 4:30 p.m. Monday, NBC, NFL Network, Amazon Prime
It will be a while until Steelers fans will get over how that Patriots game went down … but this week will help.
14. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (11-3) over Buffalo Bills (8-6)
(-13) 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
Even with a loss here, the Bills still have a real shot at the playoffs.
13. CAROLINA PANTHERS (10-4) over Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10)
(-10) 1 p.m. Sunday, FOX
This remains the most fun thing that has happened in the NFL this year:
Clay Matthews: It's that wheel route, it's that wheel route- Athlete Advisory™ (@AthleteAdvisory) December 18, 2017
Cam Newton: You been watching film, huh?
Cam: That's cool. Watch this
Cam: Slant to McCaffrey TD
I can't stop watching this.pic.twitter.com/6CLTjFl3TV
12. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (8-6) over Miami Dolphins (6-8)
(-10) 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
The Chiefs are back on top … which means they better not flop again.
11. LOS ANGELES RAMS (10-4) over Tennessee Titans (8-6)
(-7) 1 p.m. Sunday, FOX
It's so nice seeing this Todd Gurley back again.
10. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (10-4) over San Francisco 49ers (4-10)
(-4½) 4:05 p.m. Sunday, CBS
The Jaguars were this close to being ahead of the Patriots right now.
9. BALTIMORE RAVENS (8-6) over Indianapolis Colts (3-11)
(-14) 4:30 p.m. Saturday, NFL Network
This has to be the least inspiring playoff push in memory.
8. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (7-7) over New York Jets (5-9)
(-7) 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
The chances of an all-Los Angeles Super Bowl dropped considerably last week.
7. WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (6-8) over Denver Broncos (5-9)
(-3½) 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
There was a time when this would have been a signature NFL matchup. A long, long time ago.
6. ARIZONA CARDINALS (6-8) over New York Giants (2-12)
(-4) 4:25 p.m. Sunday, FOX
The incentives for Eli Manning and for Giants fans may be in direct opposition in this game.
5. DETROIT LIONS (8-6) over Cincinnati Bengals (5-9)
(-5) 1 p.m. Sunday, FOX
It figures that Marvin Lewis wouldn't even leave in an interesting way.
4. Atlanta Falcons (9-5) over NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (10-4)
(+6) 1 p.m. Sunday, FOX
Why, yes, I do need some upsets to climb up the standings in the last two weeks. Why do you ask?
3. Green Bay Packers (7-7) over MINNESOTA VIKINGS (11-3)
(+9) 8:30 p.m. Saturday, NBC
The Packers can still try to spoil the Vikings' first-round bye hopes.
2. Seattle Seahawks (8-6) over DALLAS COWBOYS (8-6)
(+5) 4:25 p.m. Sunday, FOX
I'm not ready to say the Seahawks are going to roll over and die just yet.
1. Cleveland Browns (0-14) over CHICAGO BEARS (4-10)
(+6½) 1 p.m. Sunday, CBS
Oh, yes. LET'S DO THIS.
16. NEW ENGLAND over Buffalo
15. BALTIMORE over Indianapolis
14. PHILADELPHIA over Oakland
13. CHICAGO over Cleveland
12. CAROLINA over Tampa Bay
11. PITTSBURGH over Houston
10. KANSAS CITY over Miami
9. JACKSONVILLE over San Francisco
8. ARIZONA over NY Giants
7. DALLAS over Seattle
6. MINNESOTA over Green Bay
5. LA RAMS over Tennessee
4. WASHINGTON over Denver
3. DETROIT over Cincinnati
2. LA CHARGERS over NY Jets
1. NEW ORLEANS over Atlanta
16. BALTIMORE over Indianapolis
15. NEW ENGLAND over Buffalo
14. KANSAS CITY over Miami
13. PITTSBURGH over Houston
12. PHILADELPHIA over Oakland
11. LA RAMS over Tennessee
10. LA CHARGERS over NY Jets
9. CHICAGO over Cleveland
8. CAROLINA over Tampa Bay
7. DALLAS over Seattle
6. DETROIT over Cincinnati
5. NEW ORLEANS over Atlanta
4. JACKSONVILLE over San Francisco
3. ARIZONA over NY Giants
2. MINNESOTA over Green Bay
1. WASHINGTON over Denver
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