Movie Quote of the Day:
“One does not simply walk into Mordor.”
Boromir, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
Week 16 record: 9-7 (56.2 percent)
All-time record: 141-99 (58.7 percent)
New York Jets (10-5) at Buffalo Bills (7-8)
Ralph Wilson Stadium
Line: NYJ -3
The Jets got a nice win against New England and kept their playoff hopes alive. There’s no room for error for them. Buffalo is a tough team to beat, and this will be a tough environment for the Jets. I’m sure Buffalo and Rex Ryan would love nothing more than to ruin the Jets’ season. I’m sure Ryan has something up his sleeve for his former team. I think the Bills will pull off the upset.
Prediction: Bills 21, Jets 17
New England (12-3) vs. Miami (5-10)
Sun Life Stadium
Line: NE -9.5
Miami has been a complete disappointment this season. I don’t think they’re hungry enough to knock off New England, even though the Dolphins have defeated the Patriots in Miami the last two seasons. I’d keep an eye on Miami but I don’t see Tom Brady and New England losing back-to-back division games, especially with a first-round bye on the line. I think the Patriots win.
Prediction: Patriots 30, Dolphins 20
New Orleans (6-9) vs. Atlanta (8-7)
Line: ATL -6
Even though I didn’t pick them, I said Atlanta was capable of knocking off unbeaten Carolina last week, and they did. If the Falcons can stop turning the ball over this team would be in prime position for a playoff spot. I think Atlanta keeps its momentum going and finishes the season strong. I’m going with the Falcons.
Prediction: Falcons 26, Saints 21
Baltimore (5-10) vs. Cincinnati (11-4)
Paul Brown Stadium
Line: CIN -9.5
A.J. McCarron has turned out to be a decent quarterback replacing an injured Andy Dalton for Cincinnati. He’s a better option than any quarterback on Baltimore’s roster. The Bengals are also playing for a first-round bye. Cincinnati is the better team and they have home-field advantage. I expect the Bengals to to win.
Prediction: Bengals 27, Ravens 20
Pittsburgh (9-6) vs. Cleveland (3-12)
First Energy Stadium
Line: PIT -10.5
Pittsburgh is another team fighting for a playoff spot. The Steelers are in need of a win to make that happen. Cleveland is the worst team in the NFL and it looks like the Browns will be down to their third-string quarterback. I expect Pittsburgh to get it done on the road.
Prediction: Steelers 27, Browns 13
Jacksonville (5-10) vs. Houston (8-7)
Line: HOU -6
Houston has been playing very well in recent weeks. The Texans have won six of their last eight games. Jacksonville is capable of winning this game because they have the better quarterback. Blake Bortles has had a great season and has great weapons at receiver, Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson. However, I think Bill O’Brien is the better coach and I think he’s done a great job at Houston this year. I think the Texans are hungry for a division title, and I’m taking them to win.
Prediction: Texans 24, Jaguars 19
Tennessee (3-12) vs. Indianapolis (7-8)
Lucas Oil Stadium
Line: IND -6
Both of these teams will be without their starting quarterbacks. Even with a division title in sight, it seems like Indianapolis is giving up on this season. The Colts are sitting Andrew Luck and it looks like Chuck Pagano will be looking for a job after this game. I think Indianapolis has the better team, and the better option at quarterback with Matt Hasselbeck. I think the Colts notch their eighth win.
Prediction: Colts 20, Titans 16
Washington (8-7) vs. Dallas (4-11)
Line: DAL -4
I have no idea how Dallas is a favorite in this game. I understand that they have home-field advantage and this is a big rivalry, but this team isn’t good. Dallas got away with a win in Washington, and I’m sure the Redskins are pissed off about it. Kirk Cousins has been playing lights out and it’s shown as Washington has won six of its last nine games. I can’t pick against the Redskins right now.
Prediction: Redskins 28, Cowboys 20
Philadelphia (6-9) vs. New York Giants (6-9)
East Rutherford, N.J.
Line: NYG -5
Philadelphia just fired Chip Kelly and I’m sure the locker room has been a total distraction for this team. The Giants have been struggling recently. The Giants aren’t a great team but they at least have a head coach. I don’t think Philadelphia will be prepared for this game without Kelly. I think the Giants win this game.
Prediction: Giants 27, Eagles 24
Detroit (6-9) vs. Chicago (6-9)
Line: CHI -1
Chicago has been in a slump recently. The Bears have lost four of their last five games and have not played well. Chicago just placed wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey on injured reserve. It’s going to be hard for Jay Cutler and the Bears to score points without Jeffrey for this game. Detroit has won five of its last seven games. Detroit has been the better team. I think they win this game.
Prediction: Lions 30, Bears 21
Tampa Bay (6-9) vs. Carolina (14-1)
Bank of America Stadium
Line: CAR -11.5
Carolina finally suffered its first loss of the season last week to Atlanta. Now that they’ve lost, they still can’t rest their starters because home-field advantage is on the line in the playoffs. If Carolina was still unbeaten I think the Buccaneers would have a decent chance to beat them. However, I think Tampa Bay is catching Carolina at the wrong time on the schedule. I think the Panthers will be pissed off after last week and will win this game comfortably.
Prediction: Panthers 35, Buccaneers 17
Oakland (7-8) vs. Kansas City (10-5)
Kansas City, Mo.
Line: KC -7
Oakland has been an up and down team all season. Kansas City has been on a roll ever since week seven. I can’t see Oakland going into Arrowhead Stadium and coming away with a victory. Kansas City has already clinched a playoff spot but they still have something to play for. The Chiefs are still fighting for a division title. I think Kansas City keeps its win streak going.
Prediction: Chiefs 26, Raiders 17
San Diego (4-11) vs. Denver (11-4)
Sports Authority Field
Line: DEN -9
Denver finally clinched a playoff spot last week in a win against Cincinnati. The Broncos still have a chance of achieving home-field advantage in the postseason. They have something to play for whereas San Diego doesn’t. The Chargers are one of the league’s worst teams. I think Denver wins, but I think San Diego keeps it fairly close.
Prediction: Broncos 21, Chargers 9
Seattle (9-6) vs. Arizona (13-2)
U of Phoenix Stadium
Line: ARI -6
Seattle looked like they were back to being one of the league’s best teams prior to last week. Then the Seahawks choked a a game away against a mediocre St. Louis team. That loss confirmed what I believed was the case with Seattle: They had become a product of an easy schedule. During their five-game win streak, the Seahawks had played teams with a combined record of 31-44. Arizona is looking like the best team in the NFL. I have to take the Cardinals in this matchup.
Prediction: Cardinals 34, Seahawks 24
St. Louis (7-8) vs. San Francisco (4-11)
Santa Clara, Calif.
Line: STL -3.5
Battle of the NFC West cellar dwellers. A lot of people will probably think St. Louis will hand it to San Francisco. I’m not so sure. The Rams don’t have a quarterback and have struggled to get Todd Gurley back to his mid-season form. Blaine Gabbert has been surprisingly good for the 49ers. San Francisco has a good defense, plus they have home-field advantage. I’m picking another upset.
Prediction: 49ers 22, Rams 17
Game of the Week:
Minnesota (10-5) vs. Green Bay (10-5)
Green Bay, Wis.
Line: GB -3
Minnesota is the sexy pick to win this game because they handed it to a mediocre Giants team last week. The Packers were awful last week against Arizona and that’s why a lot of people want to take the Vikings. People forget that Green Bay destroyed Minnesota a few weeks ago when its back was against the wall. I’ve learned to never doubt the Packers when their backs are against the wall and they’re coming off a bad loss. I think Green Bay wins and keeps its NFC North division title for a fifth straight season.
Prediction: Packers 27, Vikings 21
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