The Sports Man Weekly NFL Picks (Week 16)
Week 16 in the NFL is in my opinion the best week of the regular season. There are more playoff scenarios than catch phrases in a 1980s Schwarzenegger movie. Sure, week 17 will have a few but most spots are sewn up by then. Week 16 is where so many teams really fight for their season. So many playoff scenarios and so little space for me to write them in. I’ll try to cover most of them. Even if your team is out of playoff contention (like my NY Giants are) you’re still going to watch. That’s the joy of football. As fans we still need to see who makes it and who wins. Not to mention the fantasy league implications as well as the need to see just how many more games can be accurately predicted by numbskulls that don’t know as much as they think they do about the sport. Numbskulls like myself in fact. Last week I went 10-6 on my picks. Let’s see if I can finish the season over the next two weeks on a high note (insert Mel Brooks “History Of The World” joke here)…
Denver over Houston
The Broncos clearly have so much more to play for here. A win over the Texans and a Chiefs loss would give Denver the AFC West title. The Broncos would love to be able to rest their starters for two weeks so that’s a little added incentive. The bottom line in this one is Denver is a far more talented team. The Texans may hang around for the first half but it will get ugly in the second.
Cincinnati over Minnesota
The Bengals laid a dud last week against the Steelers. They’re at home in this one and need to bounce back. They can clinch the AFC North with a win and a Ravens loss. The Vikings get cybernetic running back Adrian Peterson back this week. That will definitely improve their chances of an upset but in the end the Bengals need the game more.
Cleveland over New York Jets
Both teams are out of the playoff picture here. It should still be a good game as there is potential for a high scoring game given the fact that both teams are pretty weak defensively. The Browns have a great receiving duo of Josh Gordon and tight end Jordan Cameron. That should be the difference here.
Carolina over New Orleans
This one is the game to watch. It in for all intensive purposes the game to decide the NFC South. The Saints are already in the playoffs. The Panthers can get in with a win. It’s about as secretive that the Saints are a poor team outdoors on grass as it is the color of George Washington’s white horse. Carolina wins this one at home and Cam Newton will clinch the first of many playoff berths for the Panthers.
Miami over Buffalo
The Dolphins pulled off a Buster Douglas-type upset last week over the Patriots. Beating the Bills will not be as difficult. The Dolphins can get into the playoffs with a win and losses by the Ravens and Bengals. They will do their part. Miami has been stellar against the run lately giving up not a single rushing TD over the past five weeks. It will be a tough task keeping that going agains the Bills Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller but the ‘Fins should pull off a close victory on the road.
St. Louis over Tampa Bay
Don’t tell the Rams that they aren’t fighting for a playoff spot. Last week they stunned the Saints at home. They have a much easier opponent this week. The Buccaneers have two weeks left of Greg Schiano before he’s eventually fired. St. Louis has a defense that’s too tough for the Bucs and will force the game changing turnovers. Rams in a game no one cares about, even in Tampa Bay.
Kansas City over Indianapolis
Suddenly the Chiefs are an offensive juggernaut. This game isn’t against the Raiders so I don’t expect another 50+ points. Both teams are in the playoffs and the Colts have already won the AFC South. The Chiefs will ride Jaamal Charles another week in hopes of winning the AFC West. The most interesting thing about Charles 5 touchdown performance last week is that four of those scores were receiving. He won’t score that much again but he will score enough to beat the Colts as they haven’t too much to play for over the next two weeks.
Tennessee over Jacksonville
A few weeks ago the Titans lost to the Jaguars ending both the Jags winless season and my perfect season of guarantee picks. Both shall be avenged this week. Chris Johnson had his worst game of the season in the first meeting and Jake locker was hurt during the game. Ryan Fitzpatrick will be the QB for the entire game this week and has a much better grasp of the offense than he did when he took over midway through the last game. The Titans win on the road in a meaningless game.
Dallas over Washington
How great was it for all the Cowboys haters (and there are many of us) to see “Jerry’s Kids” collapse last week in the second half against the Packers. It seems all season that no team wants to win the NFC East. This is more than likely head coach Mike Shannahans last home game with the Redskins. The Cowboys should send him packing nicely and force a winner-take-all showdown with the Eagles next week for the division title. Even with Tony Romo’s tendency to explode in December like a vampire in sunlight the Cowboys are still better than Washington.
Detroit over New York Giants
Victor Cruz is out for the Giants so they officially have no offensive weapons in this one. The Lions can still make the playoffs mathematically. They will need quite a bit of help though. They’ll get some from the Giants as New York will struggle with Lions tough defensive front. Eli Manning should have another multi interception game in this one (not exactly a bold prediction there). Lions win at home.
Seattle over Arizona
This game will not be as ugly as last seasons 58-0 Seahawks victory but will still be a Seattle win nonetheless. The Seahawks can clinch home-field advantage throughout the NFC with a win and that is more than enough incentive to win this game at home. They can also knock the Cardinals out of the playoffs if the 49ers win. That’s just a bonus. Seattle is more talented on both sides of the ball and despite a valiant effort by Larry Fitzgerald the Cardinals will come up short.
San Diego over Oakland
The Raiders have no Terrell Pryor in this one and he is the biggest reason they won the matchup earlier in the year. San Diego will keep their razor thin playoff hopes alive with a home victory. Watch out for Keenan Allen to have big game here and make a case for Offensive rookie of the year.
Pittsburgh over Green Bay
The first meeting between the two teams since Super Bowl XLV (that’s 45 for those of you that can’t decipher Roman Numerals). No Aaron Rodgers in this one is going to be the difference. The Steelers are well balance on both sides of the ball. Big Ben has too many options with Heath Miller, Emmanuel Sanders, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell to choose from. Despite the game being in Green Bay the Packers will falter late in this game. Matt Flynn is no Rodgers and it will show in crunch time.
Baltimore over New England
QB Joe Flacco is questionable for this game but I can’t see any way he misses a game as important as this one. The Ravens give Tom Brady almost as much trouble as the Giants do in Super Bowls. If the Patriots win they would clinch the AFC East. The Ravens would clinch a playoff spot with a win coupled with a Miami and San Diego loss. The game being played in Baltimore is the deciding factor and kicker Justin Tucker will win it late once again for the Ravens.
Chicago over Philadelphia
It is possible that either team could win their respective divisions this week. They would both need a win and some help. Even with the game being in Philly I’m taking the Bears in this one. Maybe it’s because Jay Cutler seemed pretty comfortable in his first game back from injury last week. Maybe it’s because the Bears force turnovers better. Maybe it’s because I hate the Eagles. Take your pick. The Bears win by the skin their teeth in a three point game.
San Francisco over Atlanta
This game seemed a lot sexier before the the season started and the Falcons did a Mark Spitz head dive. The game does still have meaning though. The 49ers can get in the playoffs with a win and a Cardinals loss. It will also be the last home game in Candlestick Park for them. The two factors add up to a San Fran win a game that will get away from the Falcons in the second half.
I think that will just about cover the playoff scenarios for the week. Seattle is the best bet to win this week as they have the most to win for. The Texans should be the best bet to not show up this week as they only they have to look forward to is the first overall pick in draft and a future with Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater running things. Gotta love week 16!!