NFL: Peering Into the Week 16 Crystal Ball

Happy Holidays NFL fans. Week 16 is upon us. Plenty of playoff implications abound. How will your team play? Are they fighting to get into the tournament? Here is a look at hoe this week may play out.

Friday, December 25th

(6-8)Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints(10-4) at 4:30 PM ET on FOX

With Tampa Bay only one game back, the Saints feel pressure after a less than ideal performance offensively Sunday. One in which they narrowly lost to Kansas City. There is also the revenge factor from last year’s wild-card match-up versus Minnesota. New Orleans gets the result, 34-24.

Saturday, December 26th

(9-5)Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Detroit Lions(5-9) at 1:00 PM ET on NFL Network

Tampa Bay may still be trying to put a complete effort together on both sides of the ball for sixty minutes, but they have the know-how. They will not struggle here with Mike Evans and Antonio Brown putting in another good day at the office. The final score from Detroit will be the Buccaneers 38 and the Lions 17. 

(5-9)San Francisco 49ers at Arizona Cardinals(8-6) at 4:30 PM ET on Amazon

Because it’s an NFL divisional game, I expect San Francisco to get it to the fourth quarter. The Cardinals will have the refuse to lose attitude in the critical stages. I look for DeAndre Hopkins to turn it on with two touchdowns. Arizona takes another step towards reaching playoff status, 38-27. 

(9-5)Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders(7-7) at 8:15 PM ET on NFL Network

Miami knows they cannot catch Buffalo for the AFC East and they likely need to win and hope the Bills are resting their key starters the following week in Orchard Park, New York. The Raiders have not been able to match the form from earlier this season. The Dolphins apply pressure to the other AFC teams vying for the postseason, 35-17. 

Sunday, December 27th

(10-4)Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers(11-3) at 1:00 PM ET on CBS

It is hard to believe that Pittsburgh cannot find their GPS with a limited offense, but now the Steelers’ status to win the AFC North is not officially secured if they don’t win and Cleveland beats the New York Jets in the early window of games. The Colts are still playing for the NFL’s AFC South or a wild-card spot. Confidence is very important, but Philip Rivers usually does no fare will in Pittsburgh. Indianapolis has only won two of the last fifteen regular-season encounters. Somehow, I still think the Steelers get out of this funk to win 28-24. 

(4-10)Atlanta Falcons at Kansas City Chiefs(13-1) at 1:00 PM ET on FOX

Kansas City is in great shape to take home-field advantage but will need to sharpen themselves up for the third weekend in January, the scheduled time for the Divisional Round of the playoffs. On Sunday, Atlanta will stay close until the third quarter, but they are out of the NFL playoff hunt and have trouble finishing. The Chiefs beat the Falcons 45-28. 

(7-7)Chicago Bears at Jacksonville Jaguars(1-13) at 1:00 PM ET on CBS

The Bears struggle through this game but will win to hold their end of the bargain for a chance at a wild-card spot on a 37-yard field goal by Cairo Santos as time expired. It keeps Jacksonville on the inside track for the first overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The Bears 23 and the Jaguars 20 in Florida. 

(3-10-1)Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans(4-10) at 1:00 PM ET on FOX

After a great defensive performance, one that produced three first-half turnovers and a stop on downs late, the Bengals come back down to earth. The Texans put together a solid performance together with a balanced offense and two takeaways. Texans 20 Bengals 10 is how it finishes. 

(5-9)New York Giants at Baltimore Ravens(9-5) at 1:00 PM ET on FOX

The Giants need to summon up another strong defensive performance similar to what they did against the Seahawks if they want to stay connected. I cannot see it because Baltimore is hitting their stride. The Ravens win by a fair margin, 35-16. 

(10-4)Cleveland Browns at New York Jets(1-13) at 1:00 PM ET on CBS

I expect the Jets to be very competitive coming off what was a high point last week. Still, Cleveland has a plethora of players in the skill positions and Baker Mayfield is playing his best football at the right time. The final score reads the Browns 30 and the Jets 13. 

(4-10)Carolina Panthers at Washington Football Team(6-8) at 4:05 PM ET on CBS

In the Ron Rivera bowl, there will be a defensive touchdown by both teams. J.D. McKissic will continue to have an impact both rushing and receiving. It will not be easy, but Washington will prevail 27-20.

(5-9)Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers(5-9) at 4:05 PM ET on CBS

Justin Herbert has played well all year and was excellent in Las Vegas the last time he was on the field. He has a score to settle with the Broncos after failing to close them out in the reverse fixture. Chargers 38 Broncos 24 by 4:30 local time when the players and coaches leave the field. 

(4-9-1)Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys(5-9) at 4:25 PM ET on FOX

Both teams have looked better of late. I think the Eagles look better with Jalen Hurts at the helm. Down the stretch, he will make the key plays in a fourth-quarter where the lead shifts hands multiple times. Philadelphia 31 and Dallas 27 in the Lone Star State. 

(9-5)Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks(10-4) at 4:25 PM ET on FOX

Seattle will avenge their defeat from earlier this season and at this stage, I trust them more than the Rams. It should be pretty tight, and at times, the Los Angeles defensive line will have its way. Still, I expect the Seahawks to win yet another one-score game, a situation they thrive in, 27-24.

(10-4)Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers(11-3) at 8:20 PM ET on NBC

This is a fascinating NFL matchup. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will have a great day against what is usually a stout Tennessee defense. Derrick Henry will do his best to keep it close, but I think Green Bay will outscore them, 35-28. 

Monday, December 28th

(11-3)Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots(6-8) at 8:15 PM ET on ESPN

Even though Buffalo has clinched, they have a great chance to go for the two seed. The incentive is not just for the possibility of having two home games should they get out of the wild-card round, but to avoid the Chiefs as long as possible. The Patriots do not offer much resistance offensively, so 31-9 Bills when all is said and done Sunday.

How do you see week 16 in the NFL playing out? Leave a comment below.

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Follow Michael on Twitter @MJBolesta2.

Works cited: The Dan Patrick Show, NFL, FOX and NBC Sports YouTube channels, Twitter, FOX, NBC, CBS, ESPN, NFL Network, NFL website, and apps

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