It is Christmas weekend, and it is also the penultimate week of regular season NFL action and there is still a lot to be decided down the stretch. There are a couple of nice NFC matchups this week as well as some more playoff-clinching opportunities. Who will be eating “W’s” this time around? Here are my Week 16 picks!
Last Week: 12-4
Saturday, December 23rd, 4:30 e.t.
Indianapolis Colts (3-11) @ Baltimore Ravens (8-6)
The Ravens are looking like a team that is loading up to make a run at the AFC title and their offense is peaking at the right time. The Colts should serve as nothing more than a speed bump for them here as they are going to be playing at home and have a decided advantage on defense. Look for the Baltimore pass rush to give Jacoby Brissett nightmares as they romp over this hapless Indy team.
Baltimore 31, Indianapolis 7
Saturday, December 23rd, 8:30 e.t.
Minnesota Vikings (11-3) @ Green Bay Packers (7-7)
This game lost all intrigue the minute that the Packers lost to the Panthers last week. Now Green Bay has put Aaron Rodgers back on injured reserve since there is no need to potentially complicate his injury as the Packers has been eliminated from playoff contention. Minnesota is still fighting for a first round BYE, so there is no need for them to take their foot off the gas here. They should smack the Pack on the road here.
Minnesota 37, Green Bay 16
Sunday, December 24th, 1:00 e.t.
Atlanta Falcons (9-5) @ New Orleans Saints (10-4)
This contest seems to be the best game on the Week 16 docket and it is a rematch of just two weeks ago when the Falcons stunned New Orleans at home with a thrilling win. Atlanta does not have to win both games in order to qualify for the playoffs and that is lucky for them because I do not think they will win here. I don’t trust that defense to make plays on the road against a Saint team that will be much healthier this go-round.
New Orleans 29, Atlanta 21
Los Angeles Chargers (7-7) @ New York Jets (5-9)
Bryce Petty and the Jets kept things close on the road in New Orleans surprisingly enough but in the end their offense could not keep up and they lost 31-19. This time Petty will have to deliver some good balls under pressure, which I don’t think he will, and that does not bode well for New York. The Chargers still have a good shot at the playoffs if they win out and that will start here on the road against the Jets.
Los Angeles 42, New York 20
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10) @ Carolina Panthers (10-4)
The Buccaneers probably turned in their best effort of the season with their narrow home loss to Atlanta on Monday night but now they will hit the road against a Panther team that is clicking right now. Cam Newton is on fire and I like this team to roll at home. Easy final score prediction: Tampa has lost two straight games by the count of 24-21 while Carolina has won two straight of 31-24. Thus the 31-21 final.
Carolina 31, Tampa Bay 21
Detroit Lions (8-6) @ Cincinatti Bengals (5-9)
No team has looked worse than the Bengals have over the past two weeks and now they have come to terms with the fact that these final two games of the season will be the last for Marvin Lewis. The Lions will really need to find a running game if they want to go anywhere any time soon but the secondary of Cincy has been atrocious of late and that is not going to bode well at all here.
Detroit 33, Cincinnati 13
Miami Dolphins (6-8) @ Kansas City Chiefs (8-6)
Call me crazy but I really never fell of the Kansas City bandwagon and I think this is a fun team to watch at this point in time. The same cannot be said for the Dolphins whose defining moment was a couple of weeks ago when they beat the Patriots. KC’s offense is clicking right now and if it can get back to where it was at the beginning of this year then they are a scary bunch to handle. That will start right here.
Kansas City 39, Miami 14
Cleveland Browns (0-14) @ Chicago Bears (4-10)
Can the Browns win a game this season? This is likely their last shot at it as they will draw the Steelers next week on the road. I really wanted to pick them to win their first game for the second straight year on Christmas Eve, but I can’t. Chicago’s defense is too good right now and this game will possibly see some snowfall. The advantage there will go to the team with the better running game and that is definitely the Bears.
Chicago 17, Cleveland 13
Denver Broncos (5-9) @ Washington Redskins (6-8)
The Redskins held on for a tight home win over the Arizona Cardinals last week while the Broncos defense played well for their second straight contest en route to a 25-13 beatdown of the Colts. On the road against a really beat up team I think the Broncos can pull off another win leaning heavily on their defense and that unit alone. Although i don’t feel super confident with this pick, I do think Denver’s pass rush will be an issue.
Denver 20, Washington 16 ***UPSET OF THE WEEK***
Los Angeles Rams (10-4) @ Tennessee Titans (8-6)
On paper this should be a good game with two teams with solid records, however I really think that the Titans are a paper tiger and back-to-back road losses to inferior NFC West opponents proves this point. Their offense has been bad and they still cannot get the running game going. In comes the Rams who are on fire after destroying Seattle on the road. There is nothing that has me thinking they won’t blow out the Titans on the road here.
Los Angeles 41, Tennessee 17 ***LOCK OF THE WEEK***
Buffalo Bills (8-6) @ New England Patriots (11-3)
Say what you want about the catch rule and how it is broken, but the Patriots did rally from 11 down to beat the Steelers on the road last week which is quite the impressive accomplishment. In doing so they locked up the AFC East for the 9th straight season and have their sights set on yet another #1 seed. There should be no let down at home against a Bills team that does not have the talent on offense to keep up.
New England 30, Buffalo 16
Sunday, December 24th, 4:05 e.t.
Jacksonville Jaguars (10-4) @ San Francisco 49ers (4-10)
This is actually one of the more intriguing games of the week and one of my favorites. Let’s forget that the Niners are 4-10 and focus on the fact that they are 3-0 with Jimmy Garoppolo under center. This game against the Jaguars is a real test and the team will play a road game for the first time in a while, but good defense tends to travel. This one could be tight throughout but Blake Bortles has elevated his game lately and that could be a big reason why the Jags win this game on the road.
Jacksonvile 27, San Francisco 24
Sunday, December 24th, 4:25 e.t.
Seattle Seahawks (8-6) @ Dallas Cowboys (8-6)
The late afternoon slobberknocker between the Seahawks and Cowboys should be a good one and it is essentially a playoff game with the loser all but cooked. Dallas gets Ezekiel Elliot back and that is really going to help them out against a Seattle team that is really crippled on defense. Coupled with the fact that this will be a road game I really like the Cowboys to get the job done and continue hope for their 2017 season.
Dallas 31, Seattle 23
New York Giants (2-11) @ Arizona Cardinals (6-8)
The Giants nearly pulled off a massive upset of the Eagles at home last week but in the end they came up a bit short. Their offense looked good as Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram had huge games but I do think that effort was a flash in the pan. They now have to travel across country to face the Cardinals who have an opportunistic defense that can get after the QB. The Giants won’t fare as well this time around as the revert back to their old selves.
Arizona 21, New York 3
Monday, December 25th, 4:30 e.t.
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3) @ Houston Texans (4-10)
A little Christmas football is going to take place in Houston and for the second straight season the Steelers will be competing on the 25th of December. They are coming off of a very frustrating loss last week against New England and should not have much trouble knocking off the Texans here even without Antonio Brown but Pittsburgh does tend to play down in these types of games. That might happen, but they should still win.
Pittsburgh 24, Houston 14
Monday, December 25th, 8:30 e.t.
Oakland Raiders (6-8) @ Philadelphia Eagles (12-2)
Week 16 concludes at Lincoln Financial Field as the Eagles host the Raiders. Philly has a first round BYE wrapped up and they can clinch the #1 seed in the playoffs with a win here over Oakland, which they will. Nick Foles played well filling in for Carson Wentz last week but the defense did not. Returning home will really help that out here. Also, the Raiders will likely not be too inspired to play here seeing as how their season was essentially ended when Derek Carr fumbled the ball through the end zone at the end of last week’s game against the Cowboys.
Philadelphia 34, Oakland 16