With the NFL playoff race heating up heading into Week 16, almost every game this weekend will feature massive postseason implications.
Only four teams have clinched playoff berths through Week 15, including three teams in the AFC. And with seven teams currently on the outside looking in at the playoff picture, there are sure to be plenty of surprises in store for fans on Sunday.
Below, I'll predict a winner for all 16 matchups this weekend.
|NFL Week 16 Picks|
|Miami Dolphins (-3)||Buffalo Bills|
|Cincinnati Bengals (-8)||Minnesota Vikings|
|Kansas City Chiefs (-6.5)||Indianapolis Colts|
|St. Louis Rams (-4.5)||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|New York Jets (-2.5)||Cleveland Browns|
|Dallas Cowboys (-3.5)||Washington Redskins|
|Carolina Panthers (-2.5)||New Orleans Saints|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Tennessee Titans (-4)|
|Denver Broncos (-9.5)||Houston Texans|
|Detroit Lions (-9.5)||New York Giants|
|Seattle Seahawks (-9.5)||Arizona Cardinals|
|San Diego Chargers (-9.5)||Oakland Raiders|
|Baltimore Ravens (-1.5)||New England Patriots|
|Green Bay Packers (N/A)||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|Philadelphia Eagles (-4)||Chicago Bears|
|San Francisco (-10)||Atlanta Falcons|
|Lines via VegasInsider.com|
Kansas City Chiefs over Indianapolis Colts
The Kansas City Chiefs have won two in a row and will be 6.5-point favorites at home this weekend when they welcome the Indianapolis Colts into Arrowhead.
Look for the Chiefs to cover the spread en route to their 12th win of the season. While Kansas City has lost two straight at home, they have clearly found their way again after posting blowout wins over Washington and Oakland the past two weeks.
Meanwhile, the Colts have surrendered at least 40 points in each of their past two games on the road, both losses.
Plus, it's unlikely that Indy's defense will have an answer for the dynamic Jamaal Charles, who showed off his versatility in the Week 15 lopsided victory over the Raiders, catching eight passes for 195 yards and four touchdowns to go along with a rushing score, too.
Charles is also the league's fourth-leading rusher heading into Week 16. That's worth noting because the Colts rank 27th against the run this season.
It's also important to remember what's at stake for each side. While the Colts have already clinched their division and a home playoff game next month, the Chiefs are looking to win out and are hoping for a Broncos' loss in order to steal the AFC West at the last minute.
Carolina Panthers over New Orleans Saints
With the Panthers finishing the season at Atlanta in Week 17, and with the Saints wrapping up the year against Tampa Bay next week and having already beaten Carolina once, the NFC South will likely be won in Week 16 when Carolina hosts New Orleans in a pivotal early afternoon matchup.
Despite having been blown out in the Superdome two weeks ago, the Panthers will be 2.5-point favorites on their home field.
Expect Cam Newton and company to cover the spread, though, as they've been dominant at home all year long. Carolina is 6-1 in Charlotte in 2013, last losing there in Week 1, when the Seattle Seahawks squeaked out a narrow 12-7 win on opening weekend.
Meanwhile, the Saints are a mediocre 3-4 on the road this season, mustering up a combined 23 points in recent road losses at St. Louis and Seattle.
Don't expect the Saints' offense to have much success on the road against Carolina's No. 2-ranked defense either. After all, New Orleans is averaging just 4.9 yards per play on the road this season compared to 6.4 yards per play at home.
Defensively, the Saints are sure to struggle against the Panthers' top-10 rushing attack. Carolina rushed for 128 yards on 23 carries against New Orleans in Week 14 and will likely turn in an even more impressive performance at home, where they rushed for more than 130 yards on the Jets' third-ranked run-stopping unit last week.
Seattle Seahawks over Arizona Cardinals
The NFL-best Seattle Seahawks will host division rival Arizona in a pivotal late-afternoon showdown in Week 16. The Seahawks can clinch the NFC West and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a 15th-consecutive home win. Meanwhile, the Cardinals can keep their slim hopes for an NFC wild-card spot alive with an upset win at CenturyLink Field.
Unsurprisingly, the Cards will be 9.5-point underdogs on the road in Week 16. Although Arizona has won on the road three times in 2013, those wins have come against losing teams like Tampa Bay, Jacksonville and, most recently, Tennessee.
Beating the 12-2 Seahawks in a stadium where they haven't lost in two years will be a daunting task in comparison.
Watch for Seattle's No. 1 defense to shut down the Cardinals' offense this weekend and to wear down Arizona's front seven with a steady dose of Marshawn Lynch and the NFL's second-ranked rushing attack.
While there haven't been too many guarantees in the NFL this season, the Seahawks winning at home has certainly been one of them.
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