Week 16: NFL picks with caddies Joe Skovron, Justin York, Mark Urbanek and Chris McCalmont
It doesn’t seem possible, but we only have two weeks of regular-season NFL football left.
Sad, we know.
But, that’s also what makes these next two weeks so much fun to watch – the games are crucial for so many teams in terms of the playoff picture and, for those who are already mathematically out of the playoffs, it’s a chance to play spoiler and ruin winter for other NFL fanbases.
To prepare for Week 16, we had PGA Tour caddies Joe Skovron, Justin York and Mark Urbanek, along with LPGA caddie Chris McCalmont, weigh in with their respective picks for five, key match ups.
Here’s how they see those games playing out…
Baltimore at LA Chargers
Spread: Chargers -5
Skovron’s Pick: Chargers
Why: Doesn’t matter if it’s the bet or not, we all know I’m not picking against my Bolts! Interesting match-up against this new-look Ravens offense. Looks like a 2018 version of the wing T to me. The weakness in the Chargers D has been up the middle and the Ravens have been running all over people. Another matchup to look for is Eric Weddle playing against his good friend and former teammate, Philip Rivers. Plenty of stories of epic matchups in practice over the years. We’ll see if he can give his guys an idea of what Phil likes to do.
Urbanek’s Pick: Chargers
Why: I don’t have a lot of confidence in the Chargers scoring many points in this one, but I have even less confidence in the Ravens scoring! Jackson hasn’t faced anyone decent yet and this one is on the road against a surging LA squad. Melvin’s return, even at less than 100 percent, is enough for me to take Rivers’ side in a pillow fight and squeeze out a cover. Baltimore 13, LA 20.
York’s Pick: LA Chargers
Why: The Bolts are looking to secure home-field advantage in the playoffs and will need to win out to do so. Melvin Gordon is back for the Chargers, which will help the offense tremendously and they are looking to show everyone they are the best team in the NFL.
McCalmont’s Pick: Ravens
Why: While the Chargers win outright, Baltimore, with its top defense, keeps it close.
Houston at Philly
Spread: Philly -1
Skovron’s Pick: Philly
Why: Sharp money is on Philly so far, so I always lean that way. This is a tough one because Houston has been a better team all year. Philly has been hit with the injury bug and has struggled. This line seems funky when you look at the teams and the records. Can the Foles magic happen again? I don’t know, but I’m gonna side with the sharps and take Philly this week.
Urbanek’s Pick: Houston
Why: I’m not buying more Foles magic. The Texans have a top-5 run D, so Philly will probably have to do it in the air. Watson has been stellar in spite of the injuries at receiver and will continue that trend against a very porous secondary in Philadelphia. Eagles won’t be able to keep up in this one… getting way too much respect off the LA win, and should be dogs in this one, in my opinion. Houston 27, Philly 17.
York’s Pick: Houston
Why: The Texans are hoping for a win this week to clinch the division. Philly is still starting Foles at QB, which is still a handicap for their offense. Should be a close game, but the Texans will come out on top.
McCalmont’s Pick: Philly
Why: Philly plays its best with backs against the wall and the team actually looks better with Foles under center.
Cincinatti at Cleveland
Spread: Cleveland -7
Skovron’s Pick: Cincy
Why: This line has gone to 9. Baker and the Browns are looking good under Coach Williams and might finally be turning the corner. Cincy is not very good. That being said, I’m fading public perception and taking the points.
Urbanek’s Pick: Cincy
Why: I refuse to even research this matchup. It’s Cleveland, c’mon man. I know they have been playing well as of late but c’mon man, seven points?! I will be rooting for them to win, I love a good turnaround story in sports and Mayfield is certainly no loser. He appears to have the mentality shifting but seven is just too much in a rivalry game for my liking. Browns pull out a close one. Cincy 23, Browns 24.
York’s Pick: Cleveland
Why: The Browns still have an outside shot of a playoff berth, so they will be looking to score a lot of points the next two weeks. Cincy is hanging on by a thread of any resemblance of an NFL team. Should be a boat race with the Bengals getting the short end.
McCalmont’s Pick: Cleveland
Why: No Dalton, Green or Boyd, so the Bengals will struggle scoring while their bad defense will have trouble stopping Mayfield.
Pittsburgh at New Orleans
Spread: New Orleans -5.5
Skovron’s Pick: Pittsburgh
Why: New Orleans is debatably the best team in the NFL. They found a way to win Monday night with the offense sputtering a bit. Pittsburgh is coming off a huge win against the Pats. This point spread makes it a toss-up for me so I’m going with the sharps and taking Pitt.
Urbanek’s Pick: New Orleans
Why: The Saints have given up 17 or fewer points in six straight games. Been on the road for a month, they can’t wait to get in front of the home crowd. I realize the Saints offense has been weak lately, but at home against an average D, I like them to get back firing on all cylinders. Brees will solidify his first MVP season with a solid 300+ yards and three TDs+. Pitt 23, NO 33.
York’s Pick: Pittsburgh
Why: The Steelers are on the inside looking out with their performance over the last month. They got a big win last week at the hands of their AFC rival Patriots, so they look to continue the momentum into New Orleans. The Saints are in a bit of a scoring slump with poor performances in back-to-back weeks. The Saints win the game outright by a field goal.
McCalmont’s Pick: Pittsburgh
Why: While the Saints win outright, the Steelers are talented enough on both sides of the ball and filled with more confidence after the huge Pats win, to keep this game close. Also, the Saints offense has struggled as of late, so it wouldn’t surprise me to even see the Steelers win, because the Steelers seem to play up or down to its competition — so the team will be focused and engaged this week.
Kansas City at Seattle
Spread: Kansas City -2.5
Skovron’s Pick: Chiefs
Why: Seattle is tough at home and my Bolts could use a Chiefs loss. Seattle seems to be a trendy upset pick. Seattle runs the ball well but I’m not sure they can take advantage of the Chiefs suspect secondary. Mahomes just keeps amazing me. I’ll take the Chiefs.
Urbanek’s Pick: Seattle
Why: Had it all written up that I wasn’t drinking the Seattle at home Kool-Aid, and then I had a sip… and it was delicious! Somehow, someway, Seattle will scrape this out. The Seahawks top-rated run game (154 yards/game) against the KC D giving up 5.0 yds/carry will help them keep the ball out of Mahomes’ hands. The absence of Hunt will continue to be a thorn in the Chiefs offensive side. KC 27, Seattle 30.
York’s Pick: Kansas City
Why: The Chiefs have to win out with the Chargers breathing down their backs for the division title. Although the Seahawks are still finding ways to win games with a sub-par defense, they won’t be any match for the high-scoring Chiefs. Kansas City wins this one by a TD.
McCalmont’s Pick: Seahawks
Why: Simple. In a game with a spread this close, I usually side with the home team. And the fact that Seattle is one of the toughest places to play.