In Week 16, there are a few interesting match ups that enable teams to either lock up or move into the first seed in both conferences. There are also a few key match ups that will do more to determine the playoff picture.
Jacksonville vs. Indy: This should be a good game; division rivals, one securing a playoff spot while the other is trying to play spoiler. Indy should win this game because their offense is unstoppable right now. Jacksonville will keep it close for most of the game, but by the end we will all be certain on who the better team was.
Baltimore vs. Dallas: Here are two teams fighting to maintain their current position in the wild card race. Dallas just came off of a big win against the Giants, while the Ravens lost a tough game against the Steelers. Both will come out with something to prove. Look for the Ravens defense to be the difference maker. If they show up, the Ravens should win, but it won't be pretty.
Cincinnati vs. Cleveland: Two teams well out of the playoffs, in the same division, and coached by people fighting to keep their jobs next year. This will be a dirty and sloppy game. It will be on Ken Dorsey to win the game. I don't think he has it in him. Cincinnati for the second time this year goes two weeks without a loss (for clarification: earlier in the year they had a bye, a win, and a tie, meaning three weeks without a loss).
San Diego vs Tampa: Another match up of two teams fighting for the playoffs. Tampa's defense will be the difference. If they show up to play, the Chargers will be knocked out of playoff contention.
Pittsburgh vs. Tennessee: The game of the week is hard to determine this week, but this defensive battle of the likely one and two (or three) on the power rankings wins the award. I see Pittsburgh putting pressure on Collins, forcing him to make mistakes. I expect the Steelers to win big and move closer to the one seed.
San Francisco vs. St. Louis: This will be a messy, poorly executed game. Look for the 49ers to eke out a win, as they are the better team.
New Orleans vs. Detroit: The Lions will not get their first win of the season here. The Saints will use their high-powered offense to run up the score. It may, however, be another game lost by the Lions in the last quarter.
Arizona vs. New England: The Cardinals finally get a big win outside their own division. I was initially leaning toward the Patriots, but the problems in their secondary might be too large against a pass-happy team like Arizona. The game being in New England will give an edge to the Patriots, but the play of their secondary will be the difference.
Miami vs. Kansas City: Miami continues to roll in this one and moves closer to a playoff spot.
Buffalo vs. Denver: Buffalo will continue to ruin their impressive 5-1 start with another loss this weekend. Denver, however, will still have troubles on defense, and that may put the game up for grabs.
New York Jets vs. Seattle: The Jets get their first win on the west coast against a Seattle team trying to play spoiler. Expect the game to play similarly to the Patriots-Seahawks game earlier in the season, with the Jets gaining the lead and closing it out toward the end of the game.
Houston vs. Oakland: After a huge win over the Titans, the Texans will come in with confidence and win big over a struggling Raiders team.
Atlanta vs. Minnesota: The difference maker in this game is the best running back in the league. Adrian Peterson will run all over the Falcons defense. Remember, this game is in Minnesota, and the NFC south struggles on the road.
Philadelphia vs. Washington: The Eagles will come in with renewed life looking to squeeze into the playoffs, and Washington will be caught wondering where their amazing start went. Expect the Eagles to win this one.
Carolina vs. Giants: This is the other game in contention for the game of the week. The Giants will come out with something to prove after losing their last two, and Carolina will be fighting to prove they are the best team in the NFC. I see Carolina running (pun kind of intended) away with this one as their version of smash and dash will carry them to another victory.
Green Bay vs. Chicago: This is a difficult game to call, two division rivals meeting trying to prove themselves. Expect Chicago to use their home-field advantage and get a win.