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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, December 23, 2015 at 12:00 AM




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You better be sure of one thing as we head into NFL Week 16 play …
There’s a whole lot of folks that won’t be having a “holly-jolly” Christmas week!

For instance:
Buffalo’s first-year head coach Rex Ryan promised a playoff berth for the starving Bills fans and instead gave ‘em all the proverbial lump of coal in their stockings …

The San Diego Chargers wanted to give their hale and hearty fans a big 2015 but instead many Bolt fans now simply can’t wait till the door hits the AFC West team in the fanny on the way to Los Angeles (it’s a 95 percent done deal, folks) …

In Gotham City, the New York Giants perfected the art of blowing games late and – on top of that – head coach Tom Coughlin proved he was a phony when he didn’t remove spoiled brat WR Odell Beckham, Jr. from the lineup in last Sunday’s 38-35 loss-but-cover against Carolina. To Coughlin and Beckham, may your egg nog be extra-sour on this holiday week …

And, last but not least, to the NFL officials/referees who ruined so many games this ’15 season with their incessant flags, may Grinch meet up with you all this holiday season and may your “mics” not work in the cold!

Alas, the games roll on here in Week 16 and in a moment we’ll get you Thursday/Saturday game previews but first this important reminder …
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On Thursday Night, it’s …
SAN DIEGO (4-10) at OAKLAND (6-8) – 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network
Wow – spending Christmas Eve in the “Black Hole” … doesn’t get any better than that, eh?
The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers will indeed be spending the holidays on the outside-looking-in at the playoffs – no post-season for the Raiders since 2002 and, believe it or not, the Bolts have been in the playoffs just once the past six years – and no doubt all eyes will be on Raiders’ rookie WR Amari Cooper who snagged six passes worth 120 yards and one TD in last week’s 30-20 loss to 4-point favorite Green Bay while late-year “fantasy” owners want to know what Chargers’ do-it-all RB Danny Woodhead will do for an encore following last Sunday’s four-TD showing in the 30-14 win against 1-point pup Miami.

Remember that Oakland beat San Diego 37-29 as 3.5-point road dogs back in Week 7 play.
Spread Notes – Oakland is 7-6-1 ATS (against the spread) this year and note the silver-and-black is a collective 10-3 spreadwise versus San Diego since the start of 2009. The SD Chargers are 6-8 against the numbers this year and they’ve failed to cover nine of their last 10 AFC West games.

On Saturday, it’s …
WASHINGTON (7-7) at PHILADELPHIA (6-8) – 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network
It’s the line that everyone likes to hear at this time of the year …
Win and you’re in!
And that’s the deal when it comes to the Washington Redskins who’ve not won three games in a row since the very end of the 2012 regular season – you can look it up! – but now roar into this NFC East prime-time game with all the momentum following last Sunday’s 35-25 triumph over 2-point fav Buffalo as ‘Skins QB Kirk Cousins (four TD passes/1 TD run last week) has folks “believing” but what’s gonna tell the tale here is whether or not the Eagles can play any run defense one week after Arizona slam-dunked Philly for 230 rushing yards in that 40-17 ‘Zona win.
Philadelphia can win here and beat the host New York Giants in Week 17 and swipe the NFC East – but right now do you get any sense that Chip Kelly’s team can play a strong 60 minutes?

Spread Notes – Washington is a dead-even and vig-losing 7-7 against the odds this year but note the ‘Skins have covered seven of their last 10 games in Philadelphia. On the flip side, the Eagles are 6-8 versus the vig overall this year and 14-25-1 ATS as hosts since the start of the 2011 season.

Let’s get you updated with some “spread streakers” in the NFL as we head into Week 16 …
The Chicago Bears have failed to cover their last three consecutive games …
The Green Bay Packers have covered three in a row beginning with that “Hail Mary” game win in Detroit …
The Indianapolis Colts have now dropped three in a row to the number and they’ve already had a four-game against the spread losing skid this year …
The Miami Dolphins have dropped five straight to the Las Vegas price tags following last Sunday’s 30-14 show-no-effort loss in San Diego …
Finally, the surging Seattle Seahawks have covered five in a row while entering Sunday’s home finale against St. Louis.

Here’s a look at the bowl games slated for Thursday, Dec. 24th:

BAHAMAS BOWL – at Nassau, Bahamas
Hey, good luck topping last year’s inaugural Bahamas Bowl when Western Kentucky held off Central Michigan 49-48 (after building a 49-14 lead!) but you could see similar fireworks here as Western Michigan junior QB Zach Terrell (career-best 27 TD passes this year) has two “favorite” targets – WRs Daniel Braverman and Corey Davis combined for an eye-popping 185 receptions for 2,523 yards and 23 TDs – while the flip side says Middle Tennessee State could go off with QB Brent Stockstill – the coach’s son – fresh off a 3,678-yard passing season with 27 TDs and keep a close eye here on Blue Raiders’ WR Richie James (1,220 receiving yards and 6 TDs). The totals price could go up if the sun stays out in Nassau.
Current Line: Western Michigan (- 4.5) and 64 points

Spread Notes – Middle Tennessee State is 8-4 ATS this season and that includes a four-game pointspread winning streak while entering this bowl bash. The MTSU Blue Raiders also are 10-17-2 spreadwise as underdogs since the start of the 2010 campaign. Meanwhile, Western Michigan’s a rock-solid 8-4 versus the vig this year but the Broncos have failed to cover their last three consecutive bowl games dating back to 2008.

HAWAII BOWL – at Honolulu, HI
SAN DIEGO STATE (10-3) vs. CINCINNATI (7-5) – 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Shhh … don’t tell anyone but the San Diego State Aztecs zip into this bowl bash on a nine-game SU (straight-up) winning streak and that just so happens to be the third-longest winning streak among FBS schools behind powerhouses Clemson (16 straight wins) and Alabama (10 straight wins).
Head coach Rocky Long’s crew is now 5-for-5 in bowl appearances since he came aboard prior to the 2011 season – but the history books are quick to tell us SDSU’s lost three of those four prior bowl tilts including last year’s rugged 17-16 setback versus 3-point dog Navy in the Poinsettia Bowl. Now, San Diego State – a slight betting fav after it was announced Cincinnati’s usual starting QB Gunner Kiel would miss this game because of “personal reasons” – knows its ground-and-pound rushing attack starring RB Donnell Pumphrey (1,554 yards rushing and 16 TDs while averaging 5.5 yards a pop) has been the team strength during this long winning streak.

If Cincy’s gonna overcome Kiel’s absence in the 50th state, than frosh QB Hayden Moore (school-record 557 passing yards in a 53-46 loss-but-cover at Memphis back on Sept. 24th) must be deadly accurate on an array of dead balls.
Current Line: San Diego State (- 1.5) and 56.5 points

Spread Notes – Cincinnati is 6-6 against the odds this year and overall the Bearcats are 2-6 vig-wise in bowl games the past 10 years. San Diego State zooms into this Christmas Eve game on a 7-1-1 ATS run following its 0-4 ATS start. The Aztecs, however, have failed to cover three of their last four bowls going back to 2011.



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