Jan’s Week 16 NFL Preview
I can’t believe it’s week 16 already. Where has the time gone?! We have two weeks left of the regular season and many teams’ seasons are on the line. Last week four teams clinched playoff berths and three teams sealed division tittles. The Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, and Indianapolis Colts all won their divisions, while the Arizona Cardinals clinched a playoff spot. Let’s take a dive into week 16.
Tennessee Titans (2-12) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)
EverBank Field, Thursday 8:25 PM ET – NFL Network
I’ve been so mean to Titans fans all year long and I’m not stopping just because the NFL has this rule where all 32 teams have to be on Thursday Night Football. Jake Locker got hurt again last week and is likely not going to be playing for Tennessee anymore. Both of these teams are terrible. So if you feel like this is all you have to entertain yourself Thursday night, tune in to 630thefan.com to watch a live steam of Eagle High vs. Mountain View for our Game of the Week. I promise it’ll likely be more entertaining than this game.
Jan’s pick: Eagle Mustangs, my Alma Mater – oh, uh Jacksonville
Oh hey! I forgot, we have Saturday games this week! That’ll be a nice treat to have a choice between mediocre bowl games and mediocre NFL games!
Philadelphia Eagles (9-5) at Washington Redskins (3-11)
FedEx Field, Saturday 4:30 PM ET – NFL Network
The Redskins are still in QB turmoil, as Colt McCoy was place on injured reserve this week. So I guess it’s RGIII time in DC. The Redskins have been eliminated from playoff contention and I’m really not sure they even have pride to play for at this point in time. The Eagles however, still have a shot at the NFC East title and a shot at making the playoffs. They’ll need some help though. The Cowboys have to lose either one of their last two games (Indy and Washington) for the Eagles to win the NFC East. There are more scenarios, but you can read those here.
Jan’s pick: Eagles
San Diego Chargers (8-6) at San Francisco 49ers (7-7)
Levi’s Stadium, Saturday 8:25 PM ET – CBS
The Chargers can still mathematically make the playoffs. The Broncos snagged their fourth-consecutive AFC West division title, so the Chargers can’t get in that way. They can get in if they win out AND get some help from other teams. You can read all those scenarios here. The Seattle Seahawks eliminated the 49ers last week, so they’re playing because they’re obligated to play two more games. Some guys are probably playing for jobs next year and Kaepernick should be playing to prove that they weren’t wrong in granting him that giant contract.
Jan’s pick: Chargers
Minnesota Vikings (6-8) at Miami Dolphins (7-7)
Sun Life Stadium, 1:00 PM ET – FOX
Believe it or not, the Dolphins are STILL in the playoff hunt. The Vikings are out of the hunt, but they’ve shown many signs of improvement over the last few weeks of the season. So Vikings fans should be encouraged going into the offseason. The Dolphins can’t win the AFC East, as New England wrapped that up last week. So the Dolphins really need to win the last two games, which is definitely doable as they are both at home and against the Vikings and the Jets. Dolphin’s blog The Phinsider has a great post about scenarios here. With the way the Vikings have been playing, this game may be a little more of a fight than many would expect.
Jan’s pick: Dolphins
Detroit Lions (10-4) at Chicago Bears (5-9)
Soldier Field, 1:00 PM ET – FOX
Holy crap the Bears are a freaking mess. If you wasted your Monday night watching the Saints pummel the Bears, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Meanwhile, the Lions must not have turned their calendars to December because they haven’t collapsed yet. They can win their first division title in 21 years with a win, but also a Green Bay loss. Unfortunately, Green Bay is playing at Tampa Bay, which is the much lesser of the two Bays. It’s more likely the NFC North division will be decided in week 17 when the Lions visit Lambeau.
BREAKING! As I was writing this, I got an alert that the Bears are benching Jay Cutler. Jimmy Clausen will start for the Bears on Sunday according to Adam Schefter. This game might have gained a bit more intrigue but I'm not too sure that the outcome will change.
Jan’s pick: Lions
Cleveland Browns (7-7) at Carolina Panthers (5-8-1)
Bank of America Stadium, 1:00 PM ET – CBS
Johnny Manziel tanked it last week and I was so wrong. However, he’s going to get another chance to prove himself this week against the Panthers. As far as quarterback for the Panthers, it still remains to be seen if Cam Newton will be back after a car accident and two fractures in his back sidelined him last week. The Panthers and the Browns are both in still in the playoff hunt, though. They’ll need to win out and get a lot of help from teams. The Panthers are still in the running for the NFC South crown and must win to keep those hopes alive.
Jan’s pick: Browns (maybe Money Manziel will shine this time?)
Atlanta Falcons (5-9) at New Orleans Saints (6-8)
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, 1:00 PM ET – FOX
The Falcons and the Saints are both very much so in the NFC South/playoff picture. The Saints took over first place with a win over the Bears on Monday and the Falcons are behind them by one game. If Carolina loses to the Browns and the Saints win, they’ll clinch the NFC South and the right to host a playoff game. The Falcons obviously must win this week, but also must win in Carolina next week to claim the crown. That’s the only way these two teams will be able to make the playoffs, as someone from the division is obligated to make the playoffs. Both teams have been on the upswing though, so this may turn out to be a better game than many would think given their records.
Jan’s pick: Saints (Drew Brees is 7-1 against Atlanta in the Superdome)
Green Bay Packers (10-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-12)
Raymond James Stadium, 1:00 PM ET
Well who saw that Packers loss coming last week?! Oh wait, I did. Anyway, that Packers loss shook up the NFC seedings and all kinds of playoff things. Packers are probably, most likely, going to win this game. Obviously the Buccaneers are eliminated from the playoffs and are playing for draft position. Not much to see here.
Jan’s pick: Packers
Kansas City Chiefs (8-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5)
Heinz Field, 1:00 PM ET – CBS
The Steelers can clinch a playoff spot with a win this week. The Chiefs are technically still in for a wild card spot, as again, the Broncos took the AFC West. The Chiefs need to win out and get help from other teams. The AFC was surprisingly a bit more competitive than it usually is, but the Steelers have kept that inconsistency going throughout the season. You could say they were consistent in something at least. This will probably be one of the better games of the week, as you have both teams still alive for playoff spots. It’ll come down to the team that wants it more.
Jan’s pick: Steelers
New England Patriots (11-3) at New York Jets (3-11)
MetLife Stadium, 1:00 PM ET – CBS
The Patriots won their millionth-consecutive AFC East title last week and can clinch a first-round bye with a win. Let’s be honest, they’re going to win this game. The Jets are hot garbage. I think we have a live look-in:
Patriots can clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs if they win and the Broncos lose.
Jan’s pick: Patriots
New York Giants (5-9) at St. Louis Rams (6-8)
Edward Jones Dome, 4:05 PM ET – FOX
Here’s my dilemma: I managed to make the fantasy championship in one of my leagues even with Odell Beckham Jr. on my bench the last two weeks. How? I don’t know. I’d like to start him this week, but the Giants are going up against a Rams defense that hasn’t allowed a touchdown in three games. Both teams are eliminated from the playoffs, so there’s not a whole lot of draw in this game except fantasy purposes. If the fantasy gods are real, please let OBJ score at least one touchdown this week.
Jan’s pick: Rams
Buffalo Bills (8-6) at Oakland Raiders (2-12)
O.co Coliseum, 4:25 PM ET – CBS
The Bills are technically still alive for the playoffs, but their chances aren’t very high of making the playoffs for the first time since 1999. They definitely need to beat the Raiders, something they haven’t done since 1966, to keep their wildcard hopes alive. This Bills defense is insanely good, but their offense has been lacking. Luckily for the Bills, the Raiders haven’t magically gotten good at football overnight.
Jan’s pick: Bills
Indianapolis Colts (10-4) at Dallas Cowboys (10-4)
AT&T Stadium, 4:25 PM ET – CBS
DeMarco Murray had surgery on his hand but he practiced today, so there’s a good chance he’ll be playing anyway on Sunday. The Cowboys are in sole possession of first place in the NFC East, but with all the technicalities they could miss the playoffs. The Colts grabbed the AFC South last week, so they’re going to make another trip back to the playoffs. In fact, Andrew Luck hasn’t missed the playoffs since he’s entered the league, but he’s still turning the ball over and people are still ignoring that. The Cowboys can win the NFC East this week if they win and the Eagles lose or tie. Basically the Cowboys really need to win out to really cement their playoff hopes. This is probably the best game that’s on in the afternoon.
Jan’s pick: Colts (I don’t like the Cowboys very much)
Seattle Seahawks (10-4) at Arizona Cardinals (11-3)
University of Phoenix Stadium, 8:30 PM ET – NBC
I might be a bit biased here, but finally we have a Sunday night game that is not garbage and I’m really excited about that as a football fan. As a Seahawks fan, I am way too excited for this game. The Seahawks need to win out to win the NFC West. They can clinch a playoff berth with a win and help from other teams, though too. Arizona clinched last week, but the seeding remains to be seen. If the Cardinals do win, they’ll win the NFC West and get home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The way Seattle’s defense has been playing, I’m not too sure they’re ready to allow that to happen. Arizona is also down to their third quarterback, as Drew Stanton went down last week. Ryan Lindley has some NFL experience, but it’s not very good. The last time Lindley played the Seahawks, he went 8-for-17 and 59 yards. The Seahawks won 58-0. This is truly the main event of the week.
Jan’s pick: Seahawks
Denver Broncos (11-3) at Cincinnati Bengals (9-4-1)
Paul Brown Stadium, Monday 8:30 PM ET – ESPN
The Broncos clinched the AFC West last week with a win, but can clinch a first-round bye with a win on Monday Night Football. The Bengals are still in the running and can clinch the AFC North with a win plus a Steelers loss, and a Ravens loss or tie. The Bengals can clinch a playoff spot though with a win. The Broncos haven’t been the high scoring machine that they are usually known to be since acquiring Peyton Manning. They’ve really gotten the running game going with C.J. Anderson, which adds a whole new element to the Denver attack. How we as NFL fans were able to get two great games on Sunday and Monday, I’ll never know but it is truly a Christmas miracle.
Jan’s pick: Broncos
Good luck to everyone in their fantasy playoffs this week and good luck in getting everything ready for the holidays! Till next week!
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