Week 16 - NFL Picks

By Andrew Brand on Saturday, December 22nd 2012
Week 16 - NFL Picks

Well the NFL regular season is coming to a close as we enter the second to last week of action. This is crunch time for playoff bubble teams as the inter-divisional games go down in the last two weeks of the season. Week 16 brings us two compelling matchups with deep playoff implications; Cincinnati versus Pittsburgh and San Francisco versus Seattle with the winners going a long way in punching their playoff ticket.

On the flip side, one must be weary of teams that have already guaranteed themselves a division title, playoff spot or first-round bye; you never know if these teams will ease off the gas a bit here or maybe even rest some key players. In years past we have seen head coaches rest some starters heading into the playoffs only to have them come out flat in playoff games and give their team an early exit.

Last week I went 11-5. Really should have been a better week; however, I got both the SNF game and the MNF game wrong. I did come through with my upset pick of the week in Washington winning while my lock pick in Detroit stunk up the joint against Arizona and took home a bad road beat.

Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions

I’m sincerely hoping that the Falcons don’t just lay down in this one as they have already procured a division title and a first round bye. They are primed for a let-down game here on the road in Detroit. The Lions on the other hand have stunk it out lately with six consecutive losses, including last week’s 28 point thrashing at the hands of the lowly Arizona Cardinals. I think Matt Ryan and the offense keep the pedal down and roll the Lions in their house. PICK: FALCONS

Oakland Raiders at Carolina Panthers

Have things in Oakland sunk to new lows? I mean they did get the win last week but Terrelle Pryor took a series under center in hopes of jumpstarting the offense; that is not a good sign. The Raiders somehow still managed to snap a six game losing streak; Kansas City is usually good for that. The Raiders offense is clearly terrible and the defense is even worse. Cam Newton and the Panthers will be looking to shred the porous Raiders defense en route to what could be a colossally huge fantasy day for Newton. PICK: PANTHERS

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins

Boy did Buffalo ever look terrible last week against Seattle; I saw nothing to indicate that they are capable of finishing out the season on any kind of a high note. The Bills were bad on offense and worse still on defense; these last two games for Bills fans are going to be painful. Miami on the other hand looked solid in dispatching Jacksonville last week. Ryan Tannehill has played well at times this season, while at others looked like the rookie that he is. Despite some offensive growing pains in Miami their defense continues to stand strong and must still be considered a top-tier unit. Miami at home with their defense will get the job done. PICK: DOLPHINS

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers

This is probably the game of the week on the schedule as the playoff implications here are massive. Cincinnati continues to find ways to win games as they have won five of their last six games while Pittsburgh has lost four of its last five games. Upside for Pittsburgh is that after this game they finish out the season with a matchup against Cleveland while the Bengals must play host to the Baltimore Ravens. It’s a pretty simple philosophy here for both teams; win to get in. I would really like to see the Bengals get the road win here; however, I think Pittsburgh ekes out a close one here. PICK: STEELERS

New England Patriots at Jacksonville Jaguars

This game isn’t even going to be close. Patriots = GOOD, Jaguars = TERRIBLE. Pats are currently favored by two touchdowns and to be honest that line is not generous enough. If Miami can lay 21 point licking on the Jaguars then the NFL rules committee might need to invoke a half-time mercy rule here in this one. PICK: PATRIOTS

Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs

At 9-5 on the season and with a final week matchup against the Houston Texans, the Indianapolis Colts are battling for their playoff livelihood. They absolutely must win this game on the road to remain in the running for a wildcard spot. There is no reason why Andrew Luck and Co. can’t get the job done as Kansas City has shown their ineptness all season long. The Chiefs only really came out to play in the game following Jovan Belcher's murder – suicide knowing that the entire Nation was watching. The Chiefs have won two games on the season; I don’t see that number changing. PICK: COLTS

New Orleans Saints at Dallas Cowboys

New Orleans came out last week and laid beating on Tampa Bay as they posted 41 points and the defense pitched a shutout; pretty impressive for a Saints squad that has been bleeding points all season. This week they must travel into Dallas, where thanks to a last second field goal last week against Pittsburgh, the Cowboys are still fighting for a playoff spot. This is a big game for the Cowboys and we all have seen how Tony Romo handles himself in big games. I’m going to give a slight edge to Dallas here, mostly because I’d like to see the Romo fall on his face next week in Washington and walk off the field knowing their season is done. PICK: COWBOYS

Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles

Kirk Cousins guided the Redskins to an earned victory last week over Cleveland, not only did the ‘Skins get a win but Cousins probably parlayed that start into a nice fat contract somewhere next season. Robert Griffin III is healthy enough to go in this one and hopefully has recuperated enough to not have his mobility limited. Redskins can clinch a playoff spot here so this game has serious implications given the Dallas matchup in week 17. Eagles aren’t about to roll over to their division rival here; however, they just don’t have the horses to win this race. PICK: REDSKINS

St. Louis Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Rams had a nice little three game win streak a while back that seemed to get folks a bit excited about what Jeff Fisher was accomplishing. One needs to look and see that the wins were against Arizona, Buffalo and a very fortuitous fumble return for a touchdown got the win against San Francisco. For Tampa Bay all of their wins, except for one against Minnesota, have come against teams with losing records. St. Louis has a losing record and this is the final home game of the season for the Bucs, hopefully they want to at least give their fans something to cheer about at home this week. PICK: BUCCANEERS

San Diego Chargers at NY Jets

Chargers were long done for the playoffs and in reality so were the Jets. Although it took some mathematics to officially rule the Jets out with their loss last week to Tennessee. Jets are a mess and they should be booed soundly at home all game long with chants of “We want Vick” resonating throughout the stadium. Neither team has a running attack; Chargers have slight edge on defense and quarterback so I’ll give the slight edge to the Bolts. PICK: CHARGERS

Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers

Tennessee got a nice win last week against the woeful Jets; however, that isn’t going to help them much heading into this week’s matchup in Green Bay. The Packers have a playoff spot all sewn up but that is no reason for them to get beat at home by the Titans. Another hugely lopsided victory this week on the schedule will go down here in Green Bay. PICK: PACKERS

Minnesota Vikings at Houston Texans

I have high hopes for a good game here. Minnesota is a playoff bubble teams and it needs wins to stay in the hunt. Unfortunately the Vikings need wins against two of the best teams around in Houston and then Green Bay. Of course a sub plot to this is the Adrian Peterson watch that has him closing in on Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record. Houston’s defense is too good to cede a ton of yardage to one back and Matt Schaub and the offense will do enough to pull out the win. I see Peterson going off for maybe 125 yards and one score. PICK: TEXANS

Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos

The third such lopsided affair this weekend goes down in Denver where the overmatched Cleveland Browns will get steamrolled by Peyton Manning and the hungry Broncos. For the Bronco’s they are fighting for a first-round bye and need to win out the year for that to become realistic. Cleveland is a double digit underdog going into this game and could realistically lose by at least two touchdowns. PICK: BRONCOS

Chicago Bears at Arizona Cardinals

The Chicago Bears are in desperate need of a win, make that two wins. The playoff dream is not yet dead in the water for the Bears; with two wins coupled with some other teams losses the Bears could just back their way into a wildcard spot. I have to think that the team rallies around Lovie Smith and perhaps Brian Urlacher's comments will fire them up. It really comes down to Jay Cutler protecting the football and making sound decisions on his throws. The Cardinals shouldn’t be taken too lightly here as they just throttled the Detroit Lions last week in dominating the defensive side of the ball. In the end the Bears team is more talented and should win this game. PICK: BEARS

NY Giants at Baltimore Ravens

Both teams enter this contest needing to get back into the win column. For the Giants it seems as though everyone just expects them to turn it on and make another run to a title; however, their once proud pass rush defense has been non-existent of late and they just aren’t forcing opposing quarterbacks into turnovers and rushed pass attempts. The defensive take-aways haven’t been consistent and they are flat out getting bullied defensively. For the Ravens they too need to figure it out quickly, but their woes are on offense. Joe Flacco seems to have lost his confidence out there and the growing pains of having a new offensive coordinator calling the plays seems to be taking a toll. Tough game to call here, I’m very torn on this call. I going with the desperate team here. PICK: GIANTS

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

This one should be a slugfest in Seattle come Monday night. Century Link Field in Seattle is going to be rocking and the home crowd will be as loud as it can be. The last Monday night marquee matchup in Seattle was marred by idiotic replacement referees, this go round hopefully we can avoid such controversy. Colin Kaepernick is going to present some problems for Seattle as will Russell Wilson for the 49ers. Both defenses are superb yet each is susceptible this week to giving up the big play down the field. Another truly tough game to call here; Vegas has the 49ers as only one point favorites coming in to the hostile and rainy environment. Given that San Francisco is familiar with the West coast weather; the rain and wind shouldn’t play too much of a deciding factor here. Seattle has yet to lose at home this season and are fighting for a playoff spot, San Fran has the playoff spot sewn up and are looking to clinch the division title here; so both teams have something to play for. In the end I’m going to go against the odds and take the ‘Hawks to get it done. PICK: SEATTLE

UPSET PICK OF THE WEEK: SAN DIEGO CHARGERS to snap out of their funk and take the road win


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