I expect a close, hard fought battles between these two AFC East rivals, but the Dolphins are on a roll right now, and needing a win to keep their playoff hopes alive will be enough to push them towards the victory in chilly Buffalo.
Minnesota Vikings 17 Cincinnati Bengals 24
The Vikings boast the 30th ranked pass defense in the NFL, which makes for a big day for Andy Dalton and company. The Bengals are still in a fight with the Ravens for the AFC North crown, and much like the Dolphins, this will push them enough to get the win today.
Both of these teams have already clinched a spot in the playoffs, but there is still a lot to play for as the regular season winds down. Kansas City is a talented team, and I don’t think the Colts want to face them again in the first round of the playoffs. But the Chiefs are on an offensive roll right now, and the combination of that, and being at home, will propel them to the narrow victory.
Tampa Bay Bucs 17 St. Louis Rams 20
The Bucs have won four of their last six, while the Rams have lost five of eight. This will be an ugly game, as both of these two teams rank in the bottom half of the league in offense. But St. Louis’ ferocious pass rush will be too much for Mike Glennon’s offense, and the Rams squeak by on a late field goal.
Despite being 4-10, the Browns are a solid football team. They are in a five game slide, but pretty much every single one of those games have been tight contests. They have a top 10 defense, a decent cast of playmakers on offense, and a coach that has instilled a new energy into this team. I think they will air it out against the 26th ranked Jets pass defense, and that will net them a much needed win.
This game has been one of the most talked about tilts of week 16, largely because of Dallas’ epic collapse last week against the Packers. Tony Romo needs to win this game to keep their playoff hopes alive, and while Romo generally struggles in these types of games, the Skins defense is just too porous for him not to take advantage. The Cowboys rack up over 500 yards of offense in this one, and roll over Washington.
Common sense says to pick against the Saints whenever they are on the road, but I have a feeling that Drew Brees will come up big in what is one of the biggest games of the year for his Saints. Cam Newton hasn’t played in a game of this magnitude in his brief NFL career, and I don’t know if he is up to the task of taking down one of the best quarterbacks in the game today. My money is on Brees in a situation like this, even if he is away from his precious home stadium.
Tennessee Titans 20 Jacksonville Jaguars 16
Chris Johnson will go wild against the 30th ranked run defense in the league, putting the Titans up big in a hurry. Chad Henne makes a valiant effort to comeback and get the win, but he falls just short, and the Jags fall to 4-11.
As a Patriots fan, I would love nothing more than to see the Broncos fall to Houston. But Peyton Manning won’t be getting outscored by Case Keenum at any time in the near future, even without Wes Welker at his side. Denver’s struggling defense continue their bad play, but Manning does enough to overcome it, and inch closer to clinching that number one seed in the AFC.
The Lions are coming off of a bad loss to the Ravens last Monday Night, in which that potent offense of theirs totaled only 349 yards, and turned the football over three times. Luckily they now have the luxury of facing the 5-9 Giants, and not even the Lions can screw this one up. Calvin Johnson had quite a few drops last week against Baltimore, and he will bounce back in a big way this week versus New York.
If this game were in any other place but Seattle, I would probably pick the rolling Cardinals. But it’s not, and the Seahawks simply don’t lose at home. If you love defensive football, you probably should tune into this game, as Seattle comes in with the best defense in the NFL, while the Cardinals boast the seventh best defensive unit.
The Packers will most likely be without starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers today, and I just don’t see Matt Flynn producing against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers won’t be going to this years’ playoffs, which allows them to play loose, and free. Meanwhile the Packers are still in the thick of it in the NFC, and the pressure will get to Flynn, and he will struggle trying to take Green Bay to the playoffs.
Phillip Rivers has had an MVP-esque 2013 season, and I don’t think the Oakland Raiders will be able to slow him down. San Diego also found a running game last week in Denver, and if they can get Ryan Matthews going again, the Raiders will be in for a long day on the defensive side of the ball.
Nick Foles has had a terrific season thus far, and now that Philly needs him to deliver in a huge game, he will really prove his worth, as he gets it done in a big way. Not only him, but LeSean McCoy and the top ranked Eagles rushing attack will run all over the Bears 32nd ranked run defense, and the Eagles run away with this one.
Atlanta Falcons 17 San Francisco 49ers 34
The last game at Candlestick Park will be a good one for Niner fans, as their beloved team will obliterate the Falcons. Nothing has gone right for Atlanta this year, and I don’t expect them to turn it around against a group as talented as San Francisco is. Matt Ryan will be abused by the 49er pass rush, because of his lack of a running game, and Colin Kaepernick will carry the Niner offense to victory.