Week 16 means its crunchtime in the NFL. Four teams have clinched playoff berths and more are at stake this weekend.
The highlight of the week: Atlanta against New Orleans on Monday Night Football. Last year's Super Bowl champion goes up against the current division leader. The game is a great chance for the Falcons to show that they are a legitimate contender for the Super Bowl this year.
Who else will win?
Carolina (2-12) at Pittsburgh (10-4)
Thursday on Twitter I picked Pittsburgh to win.
Dallas (5-9) at Arizona (4-10)
Instead of building some momentum off a big win against the Broncos in Week 14, they scored only 12 points and lost to the then one-win Panthers.
The Cowboys have played much better and much more competitive since Wade Phillips was fired.
New England (12-2) at Buffalo (4-10)
New England has beaten almost all the top teams in the NFL this season. They’ve won six in a row, including games against the Steelers, Colts, Jets and Bears.
The Bills aren’t one of those teams, but they are competitive. The Patriots won’t take them lightly, especially a divisional match on the road. But can the Patriots play at that high a level every week? Especially that patchwork defense?
New York Jets (10-4) at Chicago (10-4)
The Jets had a big win against Pittsburgh last week and if they can beat the Bears they’ll make the playoffs.
Outside of the NFC West, the Bears have the worst home record of any division leader in the NFL.
New York wins.
Baltimore (10-4) at Cleveland (5-9)
The Browns are on a two-game losing streak coming at the hands that have fewer wins combined than the Ravens do.
Tennessee (6-8) at Kansas City (9-5)
The Titans really came out and stuck it to the Texans last weekend, but the Chiefs are 6-0 at home.
Kansas City wins.
San Francisco (5-9) at St. Louis (6-8)
They hype of the division before the season was how the Niners would finally put it all together this season and win the division. They started out 1-6 but are within striking distance. They are 3-1 against the division.
San Francisco wins.
Detroit (4-10) at Miami (7-7)
The Dolphins, namely Dan Carpenter, blew it last week. Their defense has done their job though and a Lions’ offense led by Drew Stanton is not that potent.
Washington (5-9) at Jacksonville (8-6)
The Jaguars are still tied for first in the division, but not clinching when they had the chance could come back to hurt them. They should be able to take out their frustrations on the Redskins, who are coming apart at the seams.
Indianapolis (8-6) at Oakland (7-7)
The Colts were able keep Maurice Jones-Drew in check last week, holding the Jags to only 67 yards rushing. The Raiders strength all season has been their running game, but no one is as good as Jones-Drew.
People have been casting the Colts out all season, but as long as Peyton is behind center they still have a chance. They’ve been in pressure situations before and have done well.
Houston (5-9) at Denver (3-11)
The Texans have lost three games in a row, giving up 30-plus in each of them. The Broncos, however, have lost five in a row and given up 30-plus in four of them. They also have had their own troubles at scoring, something that wasn’t the case in the beginning of the season.
San Diego (8-6) at Cincinnati (3-11)
The Chargers are performing their usual late-season surge, winning six of their last seven games. They should make quick work of a bad Bengals team that will be without Terrell Owens, their leading receiver.
San Diego wins.
New York Giants (9-5) at Green Bay (8-6)
The Giants defense has been destorying quarterbacks all season and either a woozy Aaron Rodgers or an inexperienced Matt Flynn will have a long day.
New York wins.
Seattle (6-8) at Tampa Bay (8-6)
Seattle is stronger at home than on the road, and west-coast teams have a hard team travelling east.
The Bucs may be without a number of players, but LeGarrette Blount is playing and playing extremely well. Tampa is eighth in the NFL in rushing yards per game.
Tampa Bay wins.
Minnesota (5-9) at Philadelphia (10-4)
The Vikings quarterback situation has been disastrous all season, while the Eagles’ has been magnificent. Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin and LeSean McCoy (with a sprinkling of Brent Celek) have combined for an electric offense.
New Orleans (10-4) at Atlanta (12-2)
Atlanta is seventh in the NFL in rushing yards per game, is in the top five in turnover differential and has given up the fewest penalties. The team is undefeated at home this season and Matt Ryan is 19-1 in Atlanta throughout his career.
New Orleans is a good team, but Atlanta has been the most consistent.
This week: 1-0
Last Week: 9-7