Each week during the NFL season, TheLines will compile a list of implied team totals. In other words, NFL Week 16 implied team totals are how many points each team is expected to score this week, based on simple math with the spread and over/under.
All lines come from FanDuel Sportsbook as of Dec. 20, rounded to the nearest whole number. Keep in mind that due to the COVID-19 outbreaks and uncertainty they cause, the market has been a little slower than usual to set lines this week.
NFL Week 16 Implied Team Totals
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Highest NFL Week 16 implied team totals
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A few weeks ago, the Cowboys had a 24-0 lead in the second half against the Washington Football Team. What looked like it was going to be an easy win got hairy as they scored just 3 in the second half en route to a 27-20 victory.
Since Week 11, the Cowboys rank an astonishing 22nd in offensive EPA/play. That’s simply an unacceptable number for a team with this much talent on that side of the ball.
Instead, recent victories like the aforementioned one have been driven largely by the defense. They’ve held their past three opponents to a combined 43 points.
Luckily, Washington looks unlikely to be close to full strength. They have multiple starting DBs on the COVID list and are trying to work their defensive front back into full strength after a COVID outbreak. Watch the Eagles game to see how they perform. If they look good, then this game against the Cowboys could be lower scoring than the market thinks.
Kansas City Chiefs
The team total for this game is likely on hold due to the announcement that TE Travis Kelce has entered the COVID-19 list. The Chiefs‘ corps of pass catchers is among the most thin in the NFL, so losing Kelce could have a massive impact on this offense.
Luckily for the Chiefs, the new protocols combined with Kelce’s status as a vaccinated player mean he has a chance to return in time to face the Steelers.
Interestingly, though, the Steelers do appear to have the defensive style that will give them a chance to slow the Chiefs down here. They prefer to err on the conservative side and play zone in obvious passing downs, and they’ve only allowed 37 explosive pass plays all season. Only 10 teams have allowed fewer, per Sharp Football Stats.
The interesting battle will happen up front. A KC offensive line that ranks sixth in adjusted sack rate should hold its own against the Steelers rush. The weak point, though, has been RT Lucas Niang and the Steelers may position TJ Watt on that side to try to exploit him.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers looked like they were again ramping up to late-season juggernaut status. They’d won four straight, two against good competition, scoring 30+ in each of those games.
Then, Sunday Night Football against the Saints happened. New Orleans shockingly shut them out, and worse yet, the team’s two best available pass catchers went down, as did RB Leonard Fournette.
Carolina may not be a good team, but they do still have a strong defense. Football Outsiders rates their pass rush as the league’s best, and they pressure the opposing QB more often than any other defense. Their have safeties and linebackers who can cover ground in a hurry, so if they finish plays with strong tackling, they can limit this offense in much the same way the Saints did.
Lowest NFL Week 16 implied team totals
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On the other side of that game in Arrowhead, the Steelers face considerable question marks about their offense. They managed to win a low-scoring dogfight against the Titans in Week 15, but that path to victory seems unlikely here.
The Chiefs defense has stepped it up big time of late, but the Chargers went with an interesting strategy that bore fruit. They pounded the rock frequently and piled up 192 rushing yards.
The problems for Pittsburgh are two-fold. First, they have one of the worst run-blocking units in the league, ranking 28th in adjusted line yards. Second, Chris Jones seems fairly likely to return to the Chiefs lineup, and the run defense should stiffen a bit if he’s back.
Those who watched the game know that didn’t tell the whole story, though. The Bears marched between the 20s with ease. The red zone proved their bugaboo, though, as they failed multiple fourth downs. They also piled up 91 yards in flags and lost three fumbles.
Justin Fields actually showed flashes of being the franchise QB who can take this team somewhere. His biggest weak point has been taking awful sacks, but Seattle has an atrocious pass rush, particularly with Jamal Adams on IR.
The Seahawks allow the highest success rate on dropbacks in the league. If the receivers actually hold onto the ball and the team cleans up its fumbling, the Bears can certainly clear this low total.
Detroit has actually showed signs of life in their passing offense of late in grabbing two recent upset wins. They hit multiple downfield passes, a rarity for this team, against a solid Cardinals defense.
Because it’s the Lions, though, they’ve hit a potential road block. They placed Jared Goff on the COVID-19 list. Like Kelce, though, he’s vaccinated and could return in time for this game. For the same reason, FanDuel has not posted a team total market here yet.
Where the Chiefs could still potentially succeed without Kelce, the Lions look potentially helpless without Goff. As maligned as he’s been, Goff represents a big step up from backup Tim Boyle, who managed just 77 yards in his only start against the Browns. David Blough has actually moved the ball a bit as a pro, so perhaps the team would pivot in that direction if Goff does sit.
Keep an eye on Goff’s status as the Falcons defense does not figure to provide huge resistance.
Other Notable Implied Team Totals
Conditions could be less than ideal again, with the forecast calling for snow and 11 mph winds. However, that still represents a far better offensive ecosystem for these teams than the last time out.
Despite the Week 15 loss, the Patriots pass defense played basically a flawless game. It was the rush defense that failed them, and an interesting subplot to this one will be how often the Bills try to attack that with the surging Devin Singletary.
The market has set the bar pretty low for the Bills in the biggest game of their season. It’s an enticing spot to buy low even against a strong opponent on the road.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers being projected for 26 points stands out because of how incredibly effective this offense has been.
Aaron Rodgers has been simply unstoppable lately. They’ve cleared this number easily in four straight games and ascended to the top of the EPA/play rankings and pass offense DVOA rankings.
The Browns make for an interesting opponent. They have strong defensive numbers but have been hit by a wave of COVID and several injuries. Crucially, Myles Garrett got banged up in the loss to the Raiders.
Depending on what the Browns can put on the field, this number might look prescient or silly come Christmas.