Friday, December 25, 2009

NFL Week 16 Picks

Santa Clause AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Merry Christmas!

Santa has brought us all a great Christmas day game between the Chargers and Titans, two of the hottest teams in football.

Also, a lot of teams in the AFC are squaring off for playoff position. Those games are Dolphins-Texans, Steelers-Ravens, and Patriots-Jaguars, not to mention that the Jets, right in the thick of things, also will try to be the first team to knock off the Colts.

Who will win this weekend? Will the Colts remain undefeated? What teams will get into the playoffs?

Enjoy these picks and your holiday.

San Diego (11-3) at Tennessee (7-7)

Tennessee has won seven of their last eight games while the Chargers have won nine in a row.

San Diego’s run defense is not very good and face a tough task against Chris Johnson, the NFL’s rushing leader. Tennessee does have a horrid pass defense this year though, while Phillip Rivers, Vincent Jackson, and Antonio Gates are playing great.

Tennessee’s run has been impressive but the wins have come against mainly average teams, with their one loss in the past eight against the Colts.

San Diego wins.

Buffalo (5-9) at Atlanta (7-7)

Matt Ryan is expected to return Sunday and Atlanta really needs him. While Michael Turner missed practice again and is looking less likely by the day. Still Ryan’s return should be enough to get them past Buffalo, who has only won twice in their past seven games.

Atlanta wins.

Kansas City (3-11) at Cincinnati (9-5)

It was a very tough week for the Bengals community last week with the passing of Chris Henry and coming so close to overcoming all those emotions and coming away with a victory, only to lose by three points.

However this week they are at home, and while it will still be very emotional, the whole place will be rocking for Henry.

Facing a weak Chiefs opponent expect Cincy to pay real tribute to Henry with a big win.

Cincinnati wins.

Oakland (5-9) at Cleveland (3-11)

After starting the game as the backup, who would have thought that JaMarcus Russell would lead a last minute, game-winning drive against the Denver Broncos?
Cleveland has been a tough opponent the past few weeks. They have won two in a row and the three losses before hand, while still losses, were only single-digit deficits, and respectable because the team still played hard.

Last week Browns’ running back Jerome Harris exploded for a day he’ll never forget in the team’s victory over Kansas City, rushing for 286 yards and three touchdowns.
Cleveland wide receiver/kick returner Joshua Cribbs was also very impressive, returning two kickoffs for 100 yard touchdowns.

Oakland’s win was impressive, but Cleveland over a stretch of a few weeks now has played tough football.

Cleveland wins.

Seattle (5-9) at Green Bay (9-5)

Green Bay lost a high scoring battle with the Steelers last week, but it should only serve as a minor bump in the road.

Seattle lost last week to the Buccaneers, who only had one win coming into the game. It just has been that bad a season for the franchise.

Green Bay wins.

Baltimore (8-6) at Pittsburgh (7-7)

Pittsburgh got off their five-game slide with a big win over the Packers. Just in time to stay in the hunt for a Wild Card spot.

Baltimore leads the chase and won in overtime the last time these two teams squared off.

What tips the scales in favor of the Steelers this weekend however is that the game will be played at Heinz Field. At home, the Steelers are 5-2, while the Ravens are only 2-4 on the road.

Pittsburgh wins.

Houston (7-7) at Miami (7-7)

Houston picked up a win last week to vault themselves back into the playoff picture, partially at the expense of the Dolphins.

A pass heavy team against a run-oriented squad with the loser missing out on the playoffs.

Miami routinely gets the job done at home with a 4-2 record.

Houston also does not pick off many passes. In Dolphins’ quarterback Chad Henne’s 11 starts this season, the Dolphins are 7-1 when he throws one interception or less (0-3 when he throws more than one). The Texans are also near the bottom of the league in sacks.

Henne won’t feel pressure and will be able to get the ball to possession receivers Davone Bess and Greg Camarillo, who have made big plays the past few weeks.

Miami wins

Jacksonville (7-7) at New England (9-5)

New England: 7-0 at home. Jacksonville: 2-4 on the road.

Two straight losses and three out of the past four have really plagued the Jaguars.

New England wins.

Tampa Bay (2-12) at New Orleans (13-1)

The Saints suffered their first loss last week, but it isn’t the worst thing in the world. They still hold the number one seed in the NFC and the pressure of their first loss meaning the end of their season is now lifted.

Expect them to come out strong against a bad Tampa Bay team.

New Orleans wins.

Carolina (6-8) at NY Giants (8-6)

Matt Moore has been pretty impressive since replacing Jake Delhomme, who finally was placed on the IR. In three games he has 657 yards passing, four touchdowns, only one interception, and two wins—one of which came against Minnesota last week.

Still, the Giants are at home and are still in the playoff hunt. Last week’s demolishing of Washington was a message to the rest of the NFL that they mean business.

Ahmad Bradhsaw ran for two touchdowns last week, and the team compiled 114 yards on the ground. The key for the Giants all year has been getting the running game going, and they should be able to do so against a leaky Carolina rush defense, ranked 26th based on yards allowed.

Giants win.

Detroit (2-12) at San Francisco (6-8)

San Francisco had trouble keeping up with the Eagles last week, as expected. Detroit’s offense will be lead by quarterback Drew Stanton—meaning that the 49’ers tough defense should be able to keep them in check.

Detroit is also winless on the road, while San Francisco is 5-2 at home.

San Francisco wins.

St. Louis (1-13) at Arizona (9-5)

I could mention St. Louis’ poor records against the NFC West, the NFC, and on the road, but it would all be really obvious because they only have one win.

They won’t get their second against the division-leading Cardinals.

Arizona wins.

NY Jets (7-7) at Indianapolis (14-0)

Jets coach Rex Ryan wants the Colts to rest their starters. If the Colts do, the Jets have a chance, especially if Peyton Manning sits.

No word has been made yet, but, while players may rotate more often, why would you rest guys for essentially three weeks going into the playoffs?

On the idea that starters will play, the Colts are obviously a much better team overall.

Indianapolis wins.

Denver (8-6) at Philadelphia (10-4)

Brian Dawkins plays in his first game at Philly not an Eagle. He’ll have his hands full as he and the rest of the defense attempt to slow down one of the NFL’s high powered offenses. Since their bye in week 7 (a span of eight games) the Broncos have only scored over 20 points twice. Is it any coincidence those are they only two wins they have in that timeframe after starting the season 6-0?

Both defenses are good, but Denver has proven time and time again they struggle from time to time putting the ball in the end zone.

At home, the Eagles should be able to pull away, and they still have the chance of getting the second seed in the NFC playoffs.

Philadelphia wins.

Dallas (9-5) at Washington (4-10)

Dallas finally won a game in December and knocking off the previously unbeaten Saints in New Orleans was very impressive. They should have no problems against a Washington team that was embarrassed last week against another NFC East rival.

Dallas wins.

Minnesota (11-3) at Chicago (5-9)

Is the December Brett Favre swoon in effect? This month The Vikings have lost twice and he has thrown four interceptions, compared to three the first eleven games of the season.

Chicago is on an even worse slide. They have only won one game in their last seven. In two straight losses Cutler has five interceptions and only two touchdowns.

Chicago’s quarterback is performing a lot worse and the rest of the Vikings team is performing better than Cutler’s supporting cast.

Minnesota wins.

Last week: 8-8

Season: 127-65

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