NFL Picks Week 16: Teams That Will Score Big Wins

Jason MarcumCorrespondent IIIDecember 20, 2013

Nov 19, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree (15) flexes his biceps in celebration after a reception against the Chicago Bears at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL playoffs are just two weeks away now, and several teams will be fighting for their postseason lives in Week 16.

Only 13 teams have been eliminated from postseason contention, according to CBS Sports, meaning more than half of the teams in the NFL are still alive for a potential playoff berth heading into the final two weeks.

That all but guarantees the final two weeks of the 2013 regular season will be one of the most memorable in recent years.

With that being said, here's a look at three teams who will score critical wins this weekend to keep their postseason dreams alive.


Miami Dolphins

On November 11, the Dolphins were 4-5, coming off of a loss to the previously winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They were marred in an NFL investigation due to the alleged bullying of offensive lineman Jonathan Martin.

It looked like their season was lost, but since then, the team has gone 4-1 and is now in the thick of the playoff race.

With an 8-6 record, they are tied with the Baltimore Ravens for the final Wild Card spot in the AFC, but the Ravens hold a head-to-head win over Miami.

That means the Dolphins need to finish with a better record than the Ravens in order to be the No. 6 seed in the AFC, and they've got a golden opportunity to pull ahead of them this weekend.

The Ravens will play the New England Patriots, a game that could easily go either way, while the Dolphins will play the Buffalo Bills, a team they should beat.

Bills head coach Doug Marrone announced that the team will be without starting quarterback E.J. Manuel, leaving Thad Lewis to get the start versus a Dolphins defense that has allowed just 19 points per game in their last four home games.

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 20:  Quarterback Thad Lewis #9 of the Buffalo Bills is tackled by Philip Wheeler #52 of the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on October 20, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

That being said, the Dolphins did lose at home to Lewis and the Bills during their four-game losing streak earlier this year. Miami has improved significantly since then, and ironically enough, the Bills have gone 2-5 since beating the Dolphins in Week 7. 

It is as if the two teams have gone in opposite directions since then, and now with a berth in the playoffs on the line, the Dolphins will dispatch the Bills and potentially climb into the No. 6 seed.


Philadelphia Eagles

After an upset-loss at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings last week, Eagles cornerback and captain Cary Williams admitted his team wasn't playing with the amount of energy needed to win an NFL game. He told Brandon Lee Gowton of that defeat will actually help them in the long run.

We thought we were good. We thought we were going to just go into Minnesota and win. That those guys were going to lay down. It definitely showed us. It was kind of bittersweet at the same time. I think it was sad that we lost. And it was sweet that we lost at the end of the day because it helped humble us. I'm glad we lost. It was what it was. We needed to get knocked off so that we could reevaluate what we’ve got going on in my perspective. And we need to get better.

Prior to the loss, the Eagles had won five-straight games, including three against potential playoff teams in the Arizona Cardinals, Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions.

They'll host another potential playoff team in the Chicago Bears this weekend, and being that the game is on Sunday Night Football, if the Packers, Lions and Dallas Cowboys lose earlier in the day, the winner of this game will win their respective division.

Regardless, the Eagles are poised to win at home—where they are undefeatedwhen quarterback Nick Foles starts and finishes a game.

Not only that, but their MVP candidate in running back LeSean McCoy will get to face a Bears' defense ranked dead-last in the NFL in rushing yards (152.4) allowed per game.

McCoy leads the NFL with 1,343 rushing yards, and he will gash the Bears while carrying the Eagles to a win that could crown the NFC East champions a year after winning just four games.


San Francisco 49ers 

The 49ers not only hope to close out Candlestick Park with a win over the same Atlanta Falcons team they beat to go to the Super Bowl last year, but a win against them on Monday Night Football would also clinch a playoff berth.  

As of now, the 49ers are leading the Arizona Cardinals by just one game for the final Wild Card spot in the NFC, and the Cards will host San Fran in Week 17.

Needless to say, the 49ers need to win now and they'll do so easily against a Falcons team that's limping toward the end of the season.

ATLANTA, GA - JANUARY 20:  Running back Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers runs the ball in the third quarter against the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC Championship game at the Georgia Dome on January 20, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Mike Ehrm
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

San Francisco once again is among the league's best in running the ball, at 137 rushing yards per game, which is good for fifth in the NFL.

Meanwhile, Atlanta surrenders 134 rushing yards per game, and the 49ers should run away with this game easily to clinch a berth in the NFL playoffs.