We are now in Week 16 of the 2010-11 NFL season, with the playoffs just around the corner. With teams desperately fighting for a postseason berth, this week will be one of the most thrilling yet.
At this point in the season teams realize that every game is absolutely crucial to their hopes of a playoff appearance. So the following questions arise:
Will the Patriots beat out the Bills in Buffalo, securing the AFC East title?
Can the New York Jets come away with a win against the rough and tough Chicago Bears on the road?
Will the 49ers defeat the St. Louis Rams, ending up tied for first place in the NFC West?
The following slides preview and predict the NFL games of Week 16.
Take a look, and enjoy the games this weekend...
With the playoffs out of sight for both teams, this Week 16 matchup will be nothing more than a morale booster for the winner and a dagger dug deeper for the loser.
The next two games of the season will not mean much for the Dallas Cowboys' players, but for Jason Garrett they may mean everything for his head coaching future. Since becoming the interim head coach, Garrett has changed this team for the better switching the tempo and atmosphere of the Cowboys while earning a 4-2 record. It makes you think, if Jerry Jones had made the coaching move earlier, the Cowboys could possibly still be in the playoff hunt.
Against the 24th overall ranked passing defense of the Arizona Cardinals, expect Jon Kitna to record his third three touchdown game of the season coming out of Christmas Day with their sixth win of the season.
Predicted Outcome: Dallas Cowboys 27—Arizona Cardinals 13
The New England Patriots have won their last six games and now look to win their seventh straight against the Buffalo Bills on the road, to clinch the AFC East title.
Buffalo, on the other hand lost, their first eight games of the season, having since won four out of their last six contests. Expect BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead to have big games against the 32nd overall ranked rushing defense in the National Football League.
This game will be a close one until the Patriots begin to pull away in the beginning of the second half.
Predicted Outcome: New England Patriots 34—Buffalo Bills 20
The Chicago Bears have now won six out of their last seven games after defeating the Minnesota Vikings in Week 15's Monday Night game.
Against the Vikings Jay Cutler went 14-24 for 194 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and a 106.6 QB rating. Cutler will have to have a similar performance this week against the tough New York Jets defense, if the Bears want to come away with a W in this game.
This game means a lot for the New York Jets because if they win then they're in. With a victory against the Bears, the Jets would clinch their third playoff birth in the last five years.
In a very close and exciting game, Mark Sanchez will lead his team to victory over Jay Cutler and the Chicago Bears.
Predicted Outcome: New York Jets 20—Chicago Bears 17
With a win this Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, Baltimore will keep its hopes alive of winning the AFC North title and will clinch a playoff spot for the fourth time in the last five years.
Ray Rice should have an explosive performance, going up against the 25th overall rushing defense of the Cleveland Browns.
After a solid outing last week against the Bengals, despite the loss, Colt McCoy will experience the dominance of the Baltimore Ravens defense, and will have one of his worst games this season.
Predicted Outcome: Baltimore Ravens 27—Cleveland Browns 13
After losing six of their last seven games, the Tennessee Titans now travel to Kansas City to take on Matt Cassel and the Chiefs.
Cassel has been absolutely solid of late, recording a total of 12 touchdowns and one interception in the last five games with a 4-1 record.
Cassel should have a field day against the 26th overall passing defense of the Tennessee Titans, giving up an average of 247.8 yards per game.
Predicted Outcome: Tennessee Titans 20—Kansas City Chiefs 27
Alex Smith took over the starting quarterback role, yet again, in a Week 14 win over the Seattle Seahawks, completing 17 of 27 passes for 255 yards, three touchdowns and a 130.9 QB rating.
Smith wasn't as successful last week against the San Diego Chargers, throwing an interception and not reaching the endzone once.
Week 16 will be a better one for Smith, going up against the 19th overall ranked passing defense of the St. Louis Rams in a must-win game. If the Niners are to beat the Rams, they would be tied atop the NFC West standings, pending how the Seahawks fare against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Predicted Outcome: San Francisco 49ers 20—St. Louis Rams 17
Drew Stanton has led the Detroit Lions to a two-game winning streak, after defeating two of the NFL's best teams in the Green Bay Packers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In Week 16 they'll look to extend that streak against the Miami Dolphins who have won a game every other week for the past 10 weeks.
Stanton will be tested on Sunday, facing the sixth overall defense in the National Football League. Expect the four-year pro to have his first multiple throwing touchdown game of the season, despite a shoulder injury which has him listed as questionable.
Predicted Outcome: Detroit Lions 20—Miami Dolphins 17
David Garrard has led the Jacksonville Jaguars to five wins out of the last seven games. In his last two outings Garrard has thrown for a total of five touchdowns and two interceptions.
Garrard has been fantastic all season, averaging a completion percentage of 65.2 and a QB rating of 93.2
The nine year pro out of East Carolina should have another fantastic outing against the 31st overall passing defense of the Washington Redskins, which gives up an average of 263.3 yards per game.
Predicted Outcome: Washington Redskins 20—Jacksonville Jaguars 24
The Phillip Rivers-led San Diego Chargers have won six out of their last seven games. Last week against the 49ers, Rivers completed 19 of 25 passes for 273 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 150.5 QB rating.
Over the course of the season, Rivers has thrown a total of 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, with an average QB rating of 105.7.
The Cincinnati Bengals finally snapped their 10-game losing streak in Week 15 against the Cleveland Browns. Cedric Benson had a huge game, carrying the ball 31 times for 150 yards and one touchdown. Don't expect them to finish the season with any kind of winning streak, as they will lose a competitive game against the San Diego Chargers.
Predicted Outcome: San Diego Chargers 30—Cincinnati Bengals 20
Tim Tebow received his first NFL start against the Oakland Raiders. He didn't earn the win but played with some intelligence by not throwing an interception. Tebow's overall stat's this season are 9-17 for 141 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 120.0 QB rating.
After going 8-16 for 138 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions and a 100.5 QB rating, against the Oakland Raiders, Tebow deserves to start out the rest of the year to see if he can really be the quarterback of the future.
But, Houston will deliver another loss to Tebow's starting record. Schaub has been quite impressive of late, despite the losing, recording 12 touchdowns and four interceptions in his last six performances.
Predicted Outcome: Houston Texans 23—Denver Broncos 17
As the Raiders desperately fight to reach a post-season berth, they came away with a huge win in Week 15 against the Denver Broncos. In order for the playoffs to be a possibility, Oakland must continue to win against some tough competition in the Indianapolis Colts and the Kansas City Chiefs.
After losing to the Patriots, Chargers and Cowboys three weeks in a row, Peyton Manning and the Colts have bounced back winning their last two games.
In those last two performances, Manning has thrown a total of 548 yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions, and an average QB rating of 112.0.
In a extremely competitive battle between two playoff hungry teams, the Oakland Raiders shall prevail winning in the final seconds of the game.
Predicted Outcome: Indianapolis Colts 23—Oakland Raiders 24
In Matt Flynn's first start in the NFL, he was quite successful against an extremely tough opponent in the New England Patriots. Flynn completed 24 of 37 passes for 251 yards, three touchdowns, an interception and a 100.2 QB rating. Rodgers is listed as probable, and will most likely see the start. No matter who lines up at quarterback for the Packers, the Giants will come away with the win in this battle between two of the NFC's best teams.
After going on a three-game winning streak, the Giants went into Week 15 playing extremely well against the Philadelphia Eagles, until Michael Vick decided to take over.
In what was a crucial game, the Giants let a large lead slip away in a heartbreaking loss to their NFC East rival. Expect the Giants to enter this game against the Packers with an enormous passion for victory.
Predicted Outcome: New York Giants 27—Green Bay Packers 23
The Buccaneers are beginning to fade out of the playoff hunt after dropping three of their last four games. Josh Freeman has been quite productive over the last six games, throwing for a total of eight touchdowns and only one interception. If the Buccaneers want any chance at the playoffs they must win their next two games.
Pete Carroll's future in Seattle would most likely be in question after losing four of the last five games, but since the Seahawks are in the struggling NFC West, the organization is still in the playoff race. Seattle will keep its playoff hopes alive, will crushing Tampa Bay's aspirations of a post-season berth.
Predicted Outcome: Seattle Seahawks 27—Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21
It is very likely that the almighty legend Brett Favre has finally played his last down after leaving Week 15's loss to the Chicago Bears early in the game.
Once Favre exited the game, Joe Webb took over and completed 15 of 26 passes for 129 yards, zero touchdowns, two interceptions and a lousy 38.8 QB rating. Webb also had one meaningless rushing touchdown.
The future doesn't look too bright in Minnesota, and it will continue to get worse this season with a Week 16 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles have been one of the hottest teams in the NFL this season, winning six of their last seven games against some grueling competitors.
LeSean McCoy has now eclipsed 1000 yards rushing this season, with Michael Vick earning his 20th touchdown. Vick has only thrown five interceptions so far this season, with an average QB rating of 103.6.
Predicted Outcome: Minnesota Vikings 24—Philadelphia Eagles 30
The New Orleans Saints entered Baltimore in Week 15 on a six-game winning streak to face Joe Flacco and the Ravens, but suffered a 30-24 loss. The loss dropped them two games behind the Atlanta Falcons in the NFC South.
With the Falcons on the slate for this week, Drew Brees and the Saints will be entering an intense playoff scenario when they travel to Atlanta.
The Atlanta Falcons are riding on an eight-game winning streak, heading into a crucial game against the Saints in Week 16. The Falcons have already clinched the playoffs but if they can come away with a win against the Saints than they will claim first place for the NFC South.
Last week against the Seahawks, Matt Ryan had an excellent performance completing 20 of 35 passes for 174 yards, three touchdowns, one interception and a QB rating of 87.1.
Ryan and the Falcons will shatter the defending Super Bowl Champs' postseason hopes, in a tight game that will come down to the final minutes.
Predicted Outcome: New Orleans Saints 20—Atlanta Falcons 27