Week 16 is already upon us. After the realization that there are only two weeks left of the 2013 NFL regular season, it’s time to enjoy the action even more by picking the winners in the biggest potential blowouts.
All of the following games have the earmarks of a lopsided final score, and this is how each important Week 16 matchup shakes out.
|Week 16 NFL Predicted Winners|
|Away Team||Home Team||Proj. Winner|
|Miami Dolphins||Buffalo Bills||Dolphins|
|New Orleans Saints||Carolina Panthers||Panthers|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||St. Louis Rams||Rams|
|Chicago Bears||Philadelphia Eagles||Eagles|
|Cleveland Browns||N.Y. Jets||Browns|
|Indianapolis Colts||Kansas City Chiefs||Chiefs|
|Minnesota Vikings||Cincinnati Bengals||Bengals|
|Denver Broncos||Houston Texans||Broncos|
|Tennessee Titans||Jacksonville Jaguars||Titans|
|Arizona Cardinals||Seattle Seahawks||Seahawks|
|N.Y. Giants||Detroit Lions||Lions|
|Oakland Raiders||San Diego Chargers||Chargers|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Green Bay Packers||Packers|
|New England Patriots||Baltimore Ravens||Ravens|
|Atlanta Falcons||San Francisco 49ers||49ers|
Dallas Cowboys (7-7) at Washington Redskins (3-11)
The Dallas Cowboys are coming off a devastating 37-36 loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 15. Dallas was firmly in control of last Sunday’s game but took its foot off the throttle and paid the ultimate price by choking away the lead and the win.
That will not be the case against the lowly Washington Redskins.
As poor as the Cowboys defense played in the second half against Green Bay, allowing five touchdowns in two quarters, the Redskins have lost six games in a row, and backup Kirk Cousins will be getting his second consecutive start in the place of Robert Griffin III.
Dallas has the talent and experience on the defensive side of the ball to give Cousins trouble as he continues to build a rapport with his weapons. While there is genuine concern about the Cowboys defense, there are no worries about how Tony Romo and the offensive unit will perform this week.
Costly turnovers have plagued the team in key moments, but Sunday’s game will be the opportunity Dallas needs to get back on the right track. After racking up 466 yards of total offense against the Packers, the Cowboys should expect more of the same against a Redskins defense that allows an average of over 360 yards per game.
As long as Dallas feeds the ball to running back DeMarco Murray in the second half of the game to control the clock, something the team failed to do against the Packers, the Cowboys will walk away with a dominant victory.
Predicted Final Score: Dallas 41, Washington 17
Denver Broncos (11-3) at Houston Texans (2-12)
After losing to the San Diego Chargers on Dec. 12, the Denver Broncos will be well rested for the meeting against the Houston Texans this Sunday. With the best offensive unit in the NFL, the Broncos will bounce back with a huge performance.
Houston has been terrible this season. Despite being preseason Super Bowl contenders, the franchise has lost 12 games in a row and only managed three points against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 15.
Add in the injury to quarterback Case Keenum that will keep him out for this week’s matchup, according to Mike Klis of The Denver Post, and the door has been left wide open for Peyton Manning and the entire Denver roster to regain its elite form heading toward the postseason.
Manning had an average day against San Diego by his standards, totaling only 289 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, but the real issues arose in the rushing attack. Instead of complementing the air assault, Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball amassed only 18 yards on the ground.
With Houston ranking second in the NFL against the pass, allowing only 183.3 yards per game, the Broncos must focus on exploiting the 24th-ranked run defense of the Texans by feeding the ball to Moreno and Ball early and often.
Once the run game is chugging along, Manning will find the windows he needs to make big plays down the field and lead the team to victory.
Predicted Final Score: Denver 45, Houston 24
Oakland Raiders (4-10) at San Diego Chargers (7-7)
The San Diego Chargers have been inconsistent all season, but a pivotal win over the Denver Broncos in Week 15 and a favorable matchup against the Oakland Raiders is the perfect recipe for a lopsided victory.
After Oakland lost four games in a row and six of the last seven, it is clear the stage has been set for Philip Rivers and the Chargers to dominate this AFC West divisional battle.
San Diego stiffened up on the defensive side of the ball to only allow Manning and the vaunted Broncos offense to score 20 points. Accomplishing the same feat against the lackluster quarterback combination of Matt McGloin and Terrelle Pryor shouldn’t be an issue for San Diego.
The home team has not run the ball very well this season. Back Ryan Mathews is coming off his best overall game of the season with 127 rushing yards and one touchdown against Denver, though, and the meeting with an Oakland team that gave up 215 all-purpose yards and five touchdowns to Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs is a dream come true.
As long as Rivers continues to protect the football, throwing only two interceptions over the last six games, the Raiders will be outclassed on both sides of the ball.
Predicted Final Score: San Diego 34, Oakland 10
*Stats via NFL.com.