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NFL Week 16 predictions: Our picks for each game

Giants (8-5-1) against Minnesota Vikings (11-3), 1 p.m., Fox
Row: Vikings -3 | Overall: 47.5

This game should be entertaining if nothing else. The Vikings will take care of it. They have won 11 games and 10 of them have been by 8 points or less. Last week, they trailed the Colts 33-0 just to stage the biggest comeback in NFL history and win, 39-36. The Giants are coming off their biggest win of the season against Washington, almost guaranteeing a playoff appearance. Just like the Vikings, the Giants play close games. None of their eight wins have been by more than one score. Chances are this game will be close as well. The Giants defense (29th in DVOA) could give the Vikings a slight advantage. Choose: Vikings -3

Cincinnati Bengals (10-4) at New England Patriots (7-7), 1 p.m., CBS
Lineage: Bengals -3.5 | Overall: 41.5

The Bengals currently play among the best footballers in the NFL, and the Patriots play not to lose every week. The point spread seems small compared to the apparent gap in the performance of each of these teams recently. But despite 86% of bettors backing Cincinnati, 68% of the money was on the Patriots. Such is the value of home advantage, which narrows the gap between these two teams slightly. The Patriots have one of the best defenses in the league and their coach knows how to manage a game and keep the team able to bounce back from opponents’ mistakes. They just need to avoid making their own stupid mistakes. Choose: Patriots +3.5

Detroit Lions (7-7) at Carolina Panthers (5-9), 1 p.m., Fox
Row: Lions -3 | Overall: 44.5

The Lions are doing the unthinkable: They’re making a legitimate run in the playoffs. They have won six of their last seven games. A win over the Panthers would take their playoff chances to around 56%. Last week, the Panthers lost to the Steelers after rushing for a total of 21 yards, their fewest since 2012. D’Onta Foreman had rushed for more than 70 yards in each of their two wins before the Pittsburgh game. The Lions’ defense has improved, but their opponents’ average yards per play is still the worst in the league. If the Panthers can get back to the running game that helped them beat Seattle and Denver, and Detroit’s defense regresses to average, the Panthers can cover the 3-pointers as home underdogs. Choose: Panthers +3

Atlanta Falcons (5-9) at Baltimore Ravens (9-5), 1 p.m., Fox
Line: Crows -7.5 | Overall: 37.5

Quarterback Desmond Ridder’s debut last week didn’t go well. He threw for 97 yards on 26 pass attempts and relied heavily on Tyler Allgeier and Cordarrelle Patterson to move the ball in the 21-18 loss to the Saints. Allgeier had a career-high 139 yards and a touchdown, and he averaged 8.2 yards per carry. The Ravens had hoped to see Lamar Jackson return to the team this week. Since Jackson left the game in the first quarter of their Week 13 game against Denver, the Ravens have scored two touchdowns in three games. Last week against the Browns, they didn’t hit the end zone once. Jackson, however, was absent from practice on Tuesday. If he doesn’t play, the Ravens will need their defense, which has held teams to 3.8 yards per carry, to stop Allgeier. Choose: Crows -7.5

Washington Commanders (7-6-1) vs. San Francisco 49ers (10-4), 4:05 p.m., CBS
Line: 49ers -7.5 | Overall: 38.5

San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns against the Seahawks last week and won the NFC West. Purdy managed the team well, but only threw three passes over 20 yards. Maybe the 49ers just don’t need him to pitch it deep. Their offense is a well-oiled machine, with the league’s best points-per-game margin over the past three weeks. They have built up big first-half leads in their last five games. If they can do the same this week and hold their lead in the second half, the Commanders can squeeze in some cover. Choose: Commanders +7.5

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