Huge NFL Playoff Implications Alert – Patriots vs Ravens

The NFL Baltimore Raven's Torrey Smith

Huge NFL Playoff Implications Alert – Patriots vs Ravens

There are plenty of games this weekend that have NFL playoff implications, but no game feels bigger than the grudge match between the Baltimore Ravens and the New England Patriots. The Ravens, who are favored at BAL -2.5 on the Week 16 NFL spread, need to win this game to hold on to the sixth seed in the conference while New England seems firmly entrenched in the second seed for now. This is also a rematch of the last year’s AFC Championship game.

In other words, this game couldn’t be any bigger.

Last week, Joe Flacco failed to push his team in to the endzone once, but his team booted its way to victory thanks to a 61-yard field goal that gave them an 18-16 winning score, while Detroit and Matthew Stafford coughed up yet another game. With their post season lives on the line, Baltimore somehow willed their way to yet another late victory, which has become the norm for this team.

New England Patriots (10-4) vs. Baltimore Ravens (8-6)
The Baltimore Ravens are 2.5 point favorites facing the New England Patriots in week 16.
Starts: 12/22/2013 4:20PM
M&T Bank Stadium 1101 Russell St.
Baltimore, Maryland

 

The Ravens enter this game with tons of momentum, with four wins under their belt despite a 2-2 ATS record. They are notorious for ending season’s well and Joe Flacco is knowns as a late bloomer who saves his best for the last handful of games. Baltimore’s 2-8 ATS record in December games is misleading because it’s largely built on a four game losing streak they stumbled through after they had already locked up a playoff spot last year.

It’s also hard to envision Baltimore as a late season pusher because Flacco’s numbers never really grab your attention. He’s averaged just 247.5 yards and totaled only 5 touchdowns, but the Ravens are rallying around him. They’ll continue to do so with such heavy NFL playoff implications looming over this game like a shadow of death.

New England’s playoff spot isn’t guaranteed but it’s all but assured. They hold a two game lead over the suddenly surging Dolphins. A win here locks up the division and gives them the inside track on the second seed. A loss could drop them in to the wild card round if Cincinnati beats Minnesota. The bye week is a massive deal for the Patriots, who are barely surviving this season as is. See? When I mentioned that this game had huge NFL playoff implications, I wasn’t kidding.

Bonus Week 16 NFL Spread Picks

Date
Away
Home
Pick
Sun, Dec 22nd 2013
Cleveland
New York
NYJ -2.5
Sun, Dec 22nd 2013
Minnesota
Cincinnati
CIN -7.5
Sun, Dec 22nd 2013
Denver
Houston
DEN -10.5
Sun, Dec 22nd 2013
Tennessee
Jacksonville
JAX +5.5
Sun, Dec 22nd 2013
Miami
Buffalo
MIA -2.5
Sun, Dec 22nd 2013
New Orleans
Carolina
CAR -3.0
Sun, Dec 22nd 2013
Dallas
Washington
WAS +2.5
Sun, Dec 22nd 2013
Tampa Bay
St. Louis
TB +5.5
Sun, Dec 22nd 2013
Arizona
Seattle
SEA -10.5
Sun, Dec 22nd 2013
New York Giants
Detroit
NYG +10.0
Sun, Dec 22nd 2013
Oakland
San Diego
SD -10.0
Sun, Dec 22nd 2013
Pittsburgh
Green Bay
GB -2.5
Sun, Dec 22nd 2013
Indianapolis
Kansas City
KC -7.0
Sun, Dec 22nd 2013
Chicago
Philadelphia
PHI -3.0

The trouble with supporting the Patriots as dogs on the Week 16 NFL spread is that they’re 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games. They hold that same record in their last 5 road games when playing a team with a winning home record, and are also 0-5 ATS in their last 5 road games overall. Coming off a nail biting loss against Miami wasn’t a season killer for Brady and Belichik, but it exposed some weaknesses.

In general, New England seems vulnerable if you know where they have problems. They have considerable difficulty stopping the run on a constant basis, so while Ray Rice has been abnormally quiet all season, he could be in for a massive game. Beyond that, New England’s secondary and linebackers can get exposed in man-coverage. Even with all the NFL playoff implications inherent with the matchup, it’s hard to believe New England holding off Baltimore. They’ve allowed everyone to keep games close, and Flacco looks primed to blow this Week 16 NFL spread out of the water.

You can’t go wrong with either team in this game, but I think Baltimore has much more to play for here and they almost always rise up to give New England their best shot. Doubting Flacco is easy because he’s so devoid of personality and charisma, but he’ll let his team’s play do the talking as his win-loss record in late season games continue to surge.

Week 16 NFL Playoff Implication Matchup Betting Pick – BAL -2.5