NFL WEEK 16 PREDICTIONS
The Redskins kept their playoff hopes alive with a late field goal in a win over Jacksonville. Now 7-7, Washington heads to Tennessee where the Titans are in a similar situation. The Titans Derrick Henry ran for 170 yards and two TDs. The Titans are 5-1 at home… Tennessee 21, Washington 17.
The Ravens have won four of five but their lone loss was to Kansas City. Now, Baltimore faces the team that beat the Chiefs last week – the Chargers. Los Angeles is playing at home where they have won their last two straight. The Chargers can win the division and get closer to a first-round bye with a win… L.A. Chargers 33, Baltimore 27.
The Browns can actually still make the playoffs. They will have to beat in-state rival Cincinnati this week to begin the process. Cleveland beat the Bengals for the first time in eight games when they met just a few weeks ago. Browns QB Baker Mayfield threw four touchdown passes against the worst pass defense in the NFL. Cleveland has won four of its last five games and they are 4-2-1 at home… Cleveland 24, Cincinnati 22.
Dallas blew a chance to clinch the NFC East last week and got shutout for the first time since 2003 in the process. A win over Tampa Bay all but locks up the division. The Bucs are deadly in the passing game, but the defense is one of the worst in the NFL. The Bucs have won just twice in their last eight games and they have just one win on the road this year. Don’t expect another… Dallas 33, Tampa Bay 27.
The Vikings came out of their shell a week after firing offensive coordinator Joe DeFilippo. They beat Miami 41-17 and remain in control of the NFC’s second wild card spot. With just a half-game lead for the No. 6 seed in the NFC, the only way to guarantee a playoff berth for the Vikings is to win their final two games. Minnesota has beaten the Lions (5-9) once already, 24-9 at home earlier this season. The Vikings defense held Detroit to just 209 yards of offense. The Lions have just one win in their last four…over Arizona… Minnesota 31, Detroit 20.
Since starting the season 1-5, the Colts are 7-1 and in position to earn a playoff berth. They beat Dallas 23-0 last week and can move a step closer to the postseason with a win over the Giants. The Giants have a future star in Saquon Barkley who has rushed for 1,155 yards and has caught 82 passes for another 654. Last week, Tennessee proved that if you stop Barkley, you stop the Giants. The rookie had just 31 rushing yards and the Giants lost 17-0. The Colts defense could do the same and they are 5-2 at home… Indianapolis 27, NY Giants 20.
Miami (7-7) is still alive in the AFC playoff race. Jacksonville…not so much. The Dolphins lost 41-17 to the Vikings last week and apparently have lost leading rusher Frank Gore (722 yards) for the season. The Jags are 4-10 after playing for an AFC title last year. They have won once in their last 10 games. The offense is just awful. The Jags have scored 28 points … in their last three games combined. The Dolphins have had great success at home. They are 6-1 at Hard Rock Stadium… Miami 20, Jacksonville 19.
The Patriots dropped to the third seed in the AFC with Sunday’s loss to Pittsburgh. This could be the first time in nine years that New England does not receive a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Patriots beat the Bills 25-9 earlier this season, have won the last four straight, and have owned the series since 2000. Buffalo is just 5-9 and is coming off a win over Detroit last week. Surprisingly, the Bills last two wins over the Patriots have been in New England (2016 & 2014). New England isn’t losing three in a row… New England 44, Buffalo 27.
The Jets have won once in their last eight games, but they have kept their most recent games close. They lost 29-22 to Houston last week. Now, they face a slumping Green Bay at home in Week 16. The Packers (5-8-1) are eliminated from the postseason and the big question is whether or not QB Aaron Rodgers will play. It won’t matter. Here’s why. Green Bay hasn’t won a road game all year… NY Jets 23, Green Bay 22.
At 10-1 in their last 11 games, the Houston Texans are the NFL’s hottest team. They face a Philadelphia team that can still earn a playoff bid in Week 16.Backup QB Nick Foles, last year’s Super Bowl MVP, led the Eagles to an upset of the Rams last week. Could it happen again? The Texans are one of the better road teams in the NFL. They also run the ball better… Houston 17, Philadelphia 14.
In year’s past, a Falcons-Panthers late-season game usually had some kind of playoff implications. Not this time around. It’s hard to say which team – the 5-9 Falcons or 6-7 Panthers – is more disappointing. Carolina appeared headed to at least a wild card when they were 6-2. They haven’t won since. Atlanta won for the first time in six games last week with a win over Arizona. Can both teams lose? Carolina 23, Atlanta 20.
Can the Cardinals get any worse? They definitely won’t get any better against the Rams on Sunday. Arizona is just 3-11 on the season and has what is likely the NFL’s worst offense. The Cardinals average 13.7 points a game. The Rams? Despite an upset loss to Philadelphia last week, they are headed to a first-round playoff bye… L.A. Rams 44, Arizona 20.
The Bears clinched the NFC North for the first time since 2010 with a win over Green Bay last week. This week, it’s a trap game. San Francisco is just 4-10, but the 49ers pulled a huge upset over Seattle last week. QB Nick Mullens and TE George Kittle are hot. Playing away from home with a division title locked up, this could be a prime upset… San Francisco 23, Chicago 20.
As if the Steelers’ schedule couldn’t get any rougher. Pittsburgh had to beat New England last week at home to get their first win in four weeks. Now, they head to New Orleans, which has already clinched the NFC South. The Saints are 5-1 at home, but the Steelers really need a win to solidify the AFC North. How about an upset… Pittsburgh 38, New Orleans 35.
The Chiefs (11-3) need a win over Seattle to maintain a hold on the AFC West title and the AFC’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Winning at CenturyLink Field can be difficult, but Seattle has lost two home games this season and they were upset by San Francisco last week. The Chiefs are awful against the pass, but the Seahawks rely on the running game which will keep the ball away from Patrick Mahomes (45 TD passes) and the Chiefs offense…. Seattle 30, Kansas City 28.
It’s one of the oldest of AFC rivalries. Denver heads to Oakland to face the Raiders, a team they beat in their first matchup this season. Denver let a playoff berth get away with a loss to Cleveland last week. The Raiders are playing for positioning in next year’s NFL Draft. They are simply not that good, even at home… Denver 24, Oakland 16.
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2018 NFL Football Season
Tampa Bay @ St. Louis
The Bucs didn’t do themselves any favors when they lost to New Orleans last week. At 6-7, Tampa Bay’s playoff hopes are all but gone. They travel to St. Louis where the Rams are coming off a win over Detroit, their first after five straight losses. Running backs Todd Gurley and Tre Mason give the Rams a powerful one-two punch… St. Louis 20, Tampa Bay 17.
NY Jets @ Dallas
It’s a special Saturday night edition of the NFL featuring two teams headed in opposite directions. The 8-5 Jets are right in the thick of the AFC playoff hunt while the Cowboys are watching their season go right into the tank. Dallas has still not won a game without Tony Romo, who is out for the rest of the season. Jets head coach Todd Bowles needs this win. New York plays Buffalo and New England to close the regular season… NY Jets 33, Dallas 19.
Chicago @ Minnesota
The Vikings cannot afford to lose ground in the NFC North. Minnesota lost a close game to 11-2 Arizona last week but is still a legitimate contender. The Vikings defense is solid and RB Adrian Peterson leads the NFL in rushing. Teddy Bridgewater continues to improve at quarterback, but the Bears Jay Cutler (19-of-31 for 315 yards and two TDs) can be dangerous. At home, the Vikings take care of business… Minnesota 27, Chicago 24.
Atlanta @ Jacksonville
The Falcons’ season continues to spiral out of control. They were 6-1 after a 10-7 win over Tennessee in late October. Atlanta has not won since. To make matters worse, their seventh loss in a row last week was a 38-0 demolishing by the unbeaten Carolina Panthers. The Jags, on the other hand, erupted for 51 points in a win over Indianapolis. It seems hard to believe that Atlanta could lose eight in a row, but Jacksonville is getting better…and they are at home… Jacksonville 28, Atlanta 27.
Houston @ Indianapolis
The Colts have fallen apart. A 51-16 loss last week to Jacksonville puts their playoff hopes in peril. Without starting QB Andrew Luck, the Indianapolis offense is not the same. The Texans were on a roll, a four-game win streak until they ran into Buffalo and New England. The winner of this game takes control of the AFC South. Houston DE J.J. Watt has a broken hand, but Jadeveon Clowney doesn’t… Houston 24, Indianapolis 17.
Carolina @ NY Giants
Can anyone beat Carolina? Three more weeks to an unbeaten regular season. The Giants can’t seem to win a close game. QB Eli Manning and WR Odell Beckham Jr are one of the league’s best passing combinations, but they have not faced a defense like Carolina’s. The Panthers have stifled receiver after receiver this season. Expect them to do it again… Carolina 37, NY Giants 24.
Denver @ Pittsburgh
The Steelers can’t afford another loss. QB Big Ben Roethlisberger and company took down AFC North Division leading Cincinnati last week. Now, they face AFC West leader Denver. The Broncos are coming off a 15-12 loss to Oakland, the first with Brock Osweiler at quarterback. Osweiler was pressured heavily by the Raiders. Pittsburgh will do the same… Pittsburgh 33, Denver 30.
Kansas City @ Baltimore
The hottest team in the NFL is the Kansas City Chiefs. You know things are going well when you don’t play well and still beat San Diego 10-3. Last week’s win over the Chargers was the Chiefs seventh in a row. They will take on a Baltimore team that cannot wait for the offseason. The Ravens (4-9) lost to Seattle last week 35-6. Without QB Joe Flacco, Baltimore’s offense is listless… Kansas City 24, Baltimore 10.
Green Bay @ Oakland
Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary touchdown pass to defeat Detroit has recharged the Packers, who defeated Dallas 28-7 last week. Green Bay is now in first place in the NFC North and in control of its spot in the postseason. They will visit Oakland, which pulled a big upset of Denver last week. The Packers need a win before facing Arizona and Minnesota to close the season… Green Bay 31, Oakland 27.
Cincinnati @ San Francisco
The Bengals will play with A.J. McCarron at quarterback after Andy Dalton fractured a thumb in last week’s loss to the Steelers. The good thing for Cincinnati is that they play the 49ers. San Francisco has a hard time scoring and isn’t very good on defense either. Even though he is a backup, expect McCarron to do just enough to give the Bengals a win… Cincinnati 23, San Francisco 17.
Buffalo @ Washington
After an ugly win over Chicago last week, the 6-7 Redskins are now in control of the NFC East, a division that no one seems to want to win. QB Kirk Cousins is playing very well and will have to do so again against a pretty stout Buffalo defense. Can the Washington defense slow down Buffalo RB LeSean McCoy? The Bills will make this one very interesting… Washington 24, Buffalo 23.
Arizona @ Philadelphia
The Eagles can still win the NFC East. They will have to beat Arizona on Sunday night if they are to keep pace with Washington and the Giants. That may be too tough a task. The Cardinals have the league’s best offense and are playing very well on defense. Even at home, the Eagles won’t be able to overcome… Arizona 34, Philadelphia 27.
Detroit @ New Orleans
After three straight wins, the Lions thought they might have a shot at the playoffs. Then, the Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary hit, and that was on a Monday night. The Lions lost last week to the Rams and are now 4-9. The Saints beat Tampa Bay last week to end a four-game losing streak. Detroit doesn’t fare too well on Monday night… New Orleans 33, Detroit 27.