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Week 16 handicapping column

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Posted Dec. 20, 2012 @ 6:59 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

Nothing has come easy for the 2012 Jets. A lot of that has been their own making. We don’t need to rehash it here, and my goodness, the Jets have to be tired of hearing about it. No one wants to be reminded of how they got themselves wedged in the middle — good enough to be clearly better than the worst of their competitors but not even close to the best in their field.

From a pointspread perspective, the 2012 Jets have been below-average. In 14 games, they have covered the spread six times. Seven times, they failed. In Week Three, they got their backers their money back with a pointspread push in a three-point win at Miami. That was a lucky little thing. Sometimes, a push feels like a win, and that one was a triumph, given how poorly the Jets played. After a game like that, you cash your ticket and buy a drink, and when the glow starts to wear off, you ponder what it is you are doing.

In many ways, the 2012 Jets are like a lot of bettors out there. We want to be better than we are. Sometimes it happens. The Jets looked like a playoff team dispatching of Buffalo in Week One. Later in the season, they took apart the Colts, and the Colts are probably going to the playoffs.

The Jets are not postseason-bound, as you are well aware. We know the reasons why. They are headed toward an offseason of big decisions, new resolutions. They aren’t unlike the guy who knows he bet a little too much this season, that he didn’t sock away enough when he lucked into a five-team parlay in September. And why did he buy all of those Mega Millions tickets? 

2013 will be different. We will say it, and we will believe it. It may even turn out that way. That’s what links of all us — the Jets, the 19 other teams that miss the postseason, the 31 teams that don’t win the Super Bowl, the guy who resolves never to bet Los Alamitos again.

My Week 16 picks: 

• I'm very intrigued by the Seahawks, who could be live underdogs in the wild-card round. Nonetheless, I have to play against them Sunday vs. San Francisco (-1). The 49ers handled the Seahawks in the first meeting between the teams, pulling away to a 13-6 win that could have been more lopsided if San Francisco didn't turn down a safety and was sharper in the red zone. The Niners are the play. Also, with both offenses stronger than they were nine weeks ago, Over 39 points appeals, too. 

The Bears are a shaky proposition against top competition, but they should prove to be too much for Arizona, which has a very limited offense. The Bears (-5½) have handled their business against weaker foes all season, and a solid effort on offense and defense will leave them clear of the Cardinals. Arizona's 38-10 Week 15 rout of Detroit wasn't as good as it looks on the scoreboard; the Lions were simply awful. 

• I'm taking a calculated risk siding with the Ravens (+2½) against the Giants. On balance, the Ravens' résumé is far more good than bad, and they have usually been strong at home. There has been a lot of focus on what the Ravens can't do, but if they can get a little more out of their offense, they are very capable of snapping their three-game losing streak. I'm not convinced the Giants' defense can get the stops needed to win. This is a reasonable price to take on Baltimore. 

Mike Wilkening's Week 16 Picks

San Francisco (-1) at Seattle

San Francisco at Seattle OVER 39

Chicago (-5½) at Arizona 

Baltimore (+2½) vs. N.Y. Giants

Last week: 2-2

Season to date: 33-25-2

Click here to see the PFW editors' consensus selections for Week 16.

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