Week 16 is upon us and the holidays are here, so it’s time to get festive! Last week I went 14-2 with my game picks which brings up my total to 146-78. This week, brings several division matchups starting with the Minnesota Vikings traveling to Green Bay to take on Brett Hundley and Packers, while the Atlanta Falcons travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints in what could be a key factor in determining the NFC South champions, and the Buffalo Bills will travel to New England to take on the Patriots to keep their playoff hopes alive. With all of this said, enjoy time with your family, drink some hot cocoa on your couch and have a happy holidays!
Ravens 24, Colts 20; 4:30pm NFL Network
The Colts will be playing the first game of the week for the 2nd week in row and recently got shredded by Brock Osweiler on Thursday Night Football. This Ravens defense will pose a problem for the Colts passing game. This means Frank Gore and Marlon Mack will get a lot of carries against the Ravens which could keep the Colts in the game. Joe Flacco and the offense should get the job done against one of the worst defenses in the league. The only way the Colts could win is if their defense creates multiple turnovers, which is highly unlikely.
Vikings 27, Packers 16; 8:30pm NBC
A battle of two NFC North teams. However, no Aaron Rodgers in this game means no win for the Packers on Saturday. He has been placed on IR after the Falcons defeated the Bucs on Monday Night Football, which eliminated the Packers from playoff contention. Brett Hundley will be taking over at quarterback and will struggle mightily against the Vikings who allowed 7 points to the Bengals last week. The Packers defense will struggle against Case Keenum and the Vikings offense which could lead to another appearance for Teddy Bridgewater and could lead to coaching changes at the end of the season for the Green Bay staff.
Saints 27, Falcons 24; 1:00pm FOX
This game is another divisional matchup and these teams played just two weeks ago on Thursday Night where Drew Brees threw a back-breaking interception inside the red zone that ended the game. The Saints will be looking for revenge against the Falcons on Sunday and should expect Alvin Kamara to play for the whole game compared to the first game where he was knocked out of the game because of a concussion. With this said, Alvin Kamara could be the player that wins the Saints the game. As for the Falcons, they’re coming off a narrow victory against the Bucs is the Falcons have some good momentum going into this game against the Saints. Since this game is in the New Orleans, the Saints should pull out a victory and the division title.
Chiefs 23, Dolphins 20; 1:00pm CBS
The Chiefs are coming off a monster win against the L.A. Chargers and could clinch the AFC West with a win against the Dolphins which is what Andy Reid is looking for. Alex Smith has Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, and Kareem Hunt at his disposal and could have big games if the Dolphins don’t figure out how to defend them. With Jay Cutler’s recent performance of throwing three interceptions against the Bills, Cutler should have a bounce back game but not a big enough bounce back in Kansas City. Since the Dolphins are essentially eliminated from the playoffs, the game means more to the Chiefs and should be enough for the Chiefs to be motivated for a win. An upset is very possible though so pay attention to that.
Browns 20, Bears 19; 1:00pm CBS
This could be the game that the Browns win and it will be the only chance of winning this season. This upset could be pulled off by the defense creating several turnovers especially since Mitch Trubisky is the quarterback. If the Browns can stop the Bears run game, they’ll have a legitimate chance of winning the game as long as Kizer doesn’t turn the ball over more than the Bears. The motivation to win their first game is there for the Browns. The real question is, can they pull it off? The Bears won’t make it easy for the Browns especially since they have a solid defense of their own. Trubisky isn’t as turnover prone as Kizer which is another case against the Browns. This game will come down to the quarterback that turns the ball over the least.
Chargers 23, Jets 17; 1:00pm CBS
The Chargers are coming off a tough loss against the Chiefs and will be motivated for a win especially since they desperately need one and no longer control their own destiny. The Chargers can pull off a win if the defense shuts down Bryce Petty and the offense which is doable. As for the Jets, they’ll need their run game to carry them to a victory along with forcing Philip Rivers into couple turnovers to keep the game from getting out of reach. However seeing as Philip Rivers is the more capable quarterback, expect Rivers to pull out a win at MetLife.
Rams 28, Titans 20; 1:00pm CBS
The Rams are coming off of their most dominant win to memory where they crushed the Seahawks by more than 30 points. They made the Seahawks look weaker than ever before. They should keep this momentum going against the Titans especially since the offense is very explosive and Marcus Mariota is having a disappointing season especially with turnovers. The Rams defense should be capable of keeping the passing game in check, but their run defense will be what lets the Rams down. This is the reason the game should be closer than people expect but the Rams should still pull off a win and clinch the NFC West title on Sunday.
Panthers 24, Bucs 20; 1:00pm FOX
The Panthers are coming off a great win against the rusty Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Cam Newton should be able to keep the Bucs defense in a funk especially since the Bucs have one of the worst defenses in the league. The offense should be able to perform well especially with the likes of Christian McCafferey, Jonathon Stewart, Greg Olsen, and Devin Funchess. As for the Bucs and Jameis Winston, they key for him will be to not turn the ball over, which will be difficult against a defense that intercepted Aaron Rodgers three times last weekend. The Bucs will simply be hoping to win another game this season, but don’t expect them to get it against the Panthers on Sunday.
Redskins 22, Broncos 20; 1:00pm CBS
This could be another sloppy game for the Redskins and could prove to be a low-scoring affair against the “No Fly Zone”. The key for Kirk Cousins is to not turn the ball over, which is something he does well. The key for the Redskins defense is to force whichever quarterback is playing for the Broncos into some turnovers which they can do against a leaky Denver offensive line. The only way the Broncos could end up winning this game is if Kirk Cousins turns the ball over more than their own quarterback. The quarterback situation will let the Broncos down and with a run game that doesn’t exist along with a leaky offensive line, the Broncos could be in for a long day.
Lions 26, Bengals 19; 1:00pm FOX
The Lions are in desperate need of winning this game and winning out especially since the Falcons are in control of their own destiny. The Lions will need Matt Stafford to carry the team as usual against a banged up Bengals defensw. As for the Bengals, Andy Dalton is playing for to keep his job as the starter and perhaps remain with the Bengals in the future. The Bengals looked feeble against the Vikings last week but could bounce back against a defense that is not as good as the Vikings. Even though the Bengals are at home, the Lions should be able to win against a team that has struggled all season long.
Patriots 27, Bills 17; 1:00pm CBS
The Patriots are coming off a very narrow victory against the Steelers but should be more than capable of winning this game against the Bills. As long as the Patriots have Tom Brady and Gronk, the Pats will be fine. The only concern for the Patriots is the defense which isn’t a much of a concern as the first four games of the season. As for the Bills, they will need to exploit this defense and pressure early and often so that he doesn’t have time to throw in the pocket. If the Bills can do this, they will pull off the upset, but it is unlikely because Tom Brady is arguably the best quarterback that has ever played in the NFL.
Jaguars 26, 49ers 16; 4:05pm CBS
The Jaguars are coming off a dominating performance against the Texans where they allowed only 7 points against the Texans. The Jaguars are strong favorites in this game because of the defense. Also, Blake Bortles hasn’t thrown an interception in the last 4 games which is very encouraging for Jaguars fans. Though, the case for the 49ers is that Jimmy Garropolo is still undefeated in all of his starts (5-0) but that has to come to an end eventually. He’ll have a very tough throwing against the Jags no matter what kind of gameplan Kyle Shanahan comes up with. The Jaguars should win this one as long as Blake Bortles plays a clean game.
Cowboys 24, Seahawks 22; 4:25pm FOX
This will be a battle between to heavyweights fighting for a playoff spot. The loser will be eliminated while the other will hang onto a playoff chance. The Cowboys will be getting Ezekiel Elliott back from a 6-game suspension against the Seahawks which could speed trouble for the Seahawks especially since they allowed Todd Gurley to rack up 186 scrimmage yards. If the run game for the Cowboys performs well, Dak Prescott could have a big game especially with the play-action game. As for the Seahawks, they know they have to stop Zeke to have any sort of chance of winning the game and Russell Wilson will need to exploit the defense to keep the Seahawks in the game. Even with this,the Cowboys should end up winning this game.
Cardinals 20, Giants 17; 4:25pm FOX
This will certainly be a low-scoring affair even though the Giants are coming off a game where they put up 29 points and 500 yard season on the Eagles defense last Sunday. The Cardinals defense should keep the Giants offense in check because of how aggressive Bruce Arians’ defense is. Also, Drew Stanton will be returning to the starting lineup as Blaine Gabbert has struggled tremendously with the Cardinals. The Giants will most likely have a similar gameplan if not the same one against the Cardinals using quick passes and run-pass options to neutralize the Cardinals pass rush. Even with this, the Cardinals should end up winning the game in front of their home crowd.
Steelers 20, Texans 16; 4:30pm NFL Network/NBC
The Steelers are coming off a heartbreaking loss against the Patriots last week which saw the Big Ben throwing a game-ending interception inside the 10 yard line with 20 seconds left on the clock. The Steelers should have enough firepower to defeat the Texans on Christmas even without Antonio Brown because he still has Le’Veon Bell, Martavus Bryant, and Juju Smith-Schuster. The Texans, on the other hand, will have tough time throwing the back against the Steelers defense especially since T.J. Yates only managed to score 7 points on the Jaguars last week. Even with this said, the Steelers have a tendency of playing down to bad team’s level which could make the closer much closer than people expect.
Eagles 28, Raiders 24; 8:30pm ESPN
The final game of Week 16 will end on Christmas night in Philly with the Eagles hoping to clinch homefield advantage throughout the playoffs with a win on Monday. Nick Foles should just do well enough to win this game because the Philly defense has been underperforming as of the last three weeks which could lead to an untidy game for them yet again. As for the Raiders, they’ll be looking to play spoiler and steal the win to keep their playoff hopes alive. Derek Carr may be getting Amari Cooper back in the lineup after he suffered an ankle injury a few weeks ago. Even with this in mind, Derek Carr could struggle without Donald Penn protecting his blind side which could lead to a sackfest in Philly on Monday Night Football.