WEEK 16 predictions
By: Grant Poarch
12/24: Indianapolis Colts @ Atlanta Falcons, (-3, O/U 44.5), 1:00PM EST, FOX
If Atlanta plays anything like they did a week ago, they are going to get run out of their own building. The Colts impressed me last week as they handled the Steelers. Sure, they were a slight home favorite, but they made Pittsburgh look awful.
The key in this game is going to be the play of Taylor Heinicke. He is starting for the Falcons at QB today over Desmond Ridder. Atlanta fans should be happy with that decision but Heinicke will be challenged this afternoon as the Indy defense has been prone to takeaways as of late.
Indianapolis isn’t a team that is going to make a deep playoff run (if they get in) but they are a team that is coached well and beats the teams they are supposed to. Give me the Colts in a close one.
Prediction: Indianapolis wins, Indianapolis covers +3
12/24: Seattle Seahawks (-2.5) @ Tennessee Titans, O/U 42.5, 1:00PM EST, CBS
How about them Seahawks? That upset over the Eagles they just had was insane. Drew Lock not only started for Seattle, but he also threw the game-winning touchdown pass with less than a minute to go.
Intuition is telling me Seattle should win this one. The Titans aren’t very good and they are going back to starting Ryan Tannehill this week. Beyond that, Derrick Henry was held to just nine yards rushing last game against the Texans.
On the other side of the ball, I’m not sure who the Titans have that can slow down D.K. Metcalf. He has been a beast recently and if the Titans don’t slow him down, he could easily go for 150 yards today.
Prediction: Seattle wins, Seattle covers -3
12/24: Detroit Lions (-2.5) @ Minnesota Vikings, O/U 46.5, 1:00PM EST, FOX
The Lions bounced back last week as they took care of business against the Broncos. For most of the year, the Lions have looked like the caliber team they were a week ago. I see that continuing this afternoon as the Vikings defense allowed Jake Browning to have a good game against them last week. Jared Goff is going to have a field day and prove why Detroit is a contender.
On the other side, Minnesota is starting Nick Mullens. He did have a solid game against the Bengals. However, they were able to keep up with the Bengals because Joe Burrow is out for the year and Jamaar Chase was injured during the game.
This one might be competitive for a little bit as most divisional games are but don’t get it twisted about who is the better team.
Prediction: Detroit wins, Detroit covers -2.5
12/24: Washington Commanders @ New York Jets (-3, O/U 38.5), 1:00PM EST, CBS
This one will probably be a very ugly game. Washington has had issues all year long on defense and the Jets have scored less than 14 points in seven of their last eight games. I’m not sure the New York offensive woes will subside this game as they are starting Trevor Semien at quarterback. The fact I just had to write out that he is a quarterback should tell you all you need to know about his play style.
Even so, Washington struggles on defense and will have issues getting things going against an underrated Jets’ defense. On top of that, I feel a least a little better in picking the Jets since they are at home. Regardless, if you aren’t a fan of either team, you would be a madman to watch this travesty.
Prediction: New York wins, New York covers -3
12/24: Green Bay Packers (-4) @ Carolina Panthers, O/U 36.5, 1:00PM EST, FOX
If Jordan Love shows any sense of a pulse, the Packers will win this game. In the Panthers two wins on the year, they have scored 15 and 9 points respectively. A huge reason why the defenses won the day last week in the Atlanta-Carolina game was the weather. Today, things will be clear skies so expect Love to keep the Green Bay offense above water enough to win the game. Despite the loss to Tampa a week ago, Love still had a great game with 284 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. If he can do that against Tampa, Carolina is cooked.
Prediction: Green Bay wins, Green Bay covers -4
12/24: Cleveland Browns (-3) @ Houston Texans, O/U 42.5, 1:00PM EST, CBS
Is Joe Flacco elite once again? He has lead the Browns to two straight wins and has Cleveland in the dance if the playoffs started today. Another reason for Cleveland’s success is their defense. They are first in the league against the pass and are going to face Case Keenum as C.J. Stroud will miss this game due to a concussion.
The way I see it, Cleveland will win this game as long as they don’t give the ball away. Keenum will struggle against the Browns’ defense. Flacco should be able to game manage this one enough as he likely won’t have to keep up with Houston’s offense. Cleveland wins a close one.
Prediction: Cleveland wins, Cleveland covers -3
12/24: Jacksonville Jaguars (-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers, O/U 43.5, 4:05PM EST, CBS
The balance of this game depends on the health of Trevor Lawrence. He has been dealing with a concussion and an ankle injury all week. If he can’t go, C.J. Beathard will be forced to start. There are reports that Lawrence cleared concussion protocol yesterday, so I would assume he’s good to go. On top of that, the Jaguars need to win this game desperately as the Colts and Texans are both 8-6 as well.
On the other side, Tampa seems to be better than their record indicates. They beat up the Packers a week ago and are a team that will beat you if you’re taking them lightly. I don’t see Jacksonville fooling around this game as Tampa has won three in a row while they have lost their last three.
The Jaguars played decently well against the Ravens and they held Lamar down for the most part in the passing game. With their own passing game, they will be facing a Tampa defense that got shredded by Jordan Love. Was most of that because Tampa was leading nearly the entire game? Maybe so but here’s to finding out.
Prediction: Jacksonville wins, Jacksonville covers -1
12/24: Arizona Cardinals @ Chicago Bears (-4, O/U 44.5), 4:25PM EST, FOX
This one could be an interesting one. Kyler Murray against Justin Fields should be a solid matchup but both teams would benefit more from losing so they can keep their high draft picks.
Regardless, someone has to win this. I’d imagine the Bears are going to take care of business at home as they need to continue to see what they can do with Justin Fields. On the other hand, Arizona needs a complete overhaul. They only got to Brock Purdy once a week ago against the 49ers. That won’t be good enough to keep Fields down. He will have a good day and lead the Bears to a win.
Prediction: Chicago wins, Arizona covers +4
12/24: Dallas Cowboys @ Miami Dolphins (-1, O/U 51.5), 4:25PM EST, FOX
I can’t wait to watch this game. Both teams have a reputation for beating bad teams but losing to good ones without fail. So, what happens when they play each other?
I originally figured the Cowboys would win this game when I found out they were playing this week a few weeks ago. However, Dallas is a much worse team on the road and their defensive performance last week concerned me. Beyond that, Dak Prescott stunk a week ago. Are those two things a sign of things to come or do they bounce back?
They will have a hard time doing so this week as the Miami defense has allowed under 16 points in four of their last five contests. On offense for Miami, Tyreek Hill should be a go for this game. I see Miami winning this one but if they were to play again I’m not sure I would be comfortable fading Dallas again.
Prediction: Miami wins, Miami covers -1
12/24 (SNF): New England Patriots @ Denver Broncos (-6, O/U 34.5), 8:15PM EST, NFL Network
Just when you thought the Broncos were back on the right track they go and get destroyed by the Lions. Good for them, though, the Patriots aren’t nearly the same competition.
New England won’t be able to do anything offensively in this one as they are last in the league in points per game. They do face a below average Broncos’ defense as they gave up 185 yards on the ground a week ago combined with a Jared Goff masterclass. Still, that doesn’t matter because the Patriots are piss poor.
Look for a very conservative game plan on offense for Denver because the only way you lose to this year’s Patriots team is to beat yourselves. Denver will win this one in a low-scoring game.
Prediction: Denver wins, New England covers +7.5
12/25 (Christmas Day Game): Las Vegas Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs (-10, O/U 41.5), 1:00PM EST, CBS
The Chiefs certainly haven’t had things go the way they had planned so far this year. Not to worry KC fans. You are still two games ahead in your division and this one will likely be another Chief victory in the division. With a win, the Chiefs would win the AFC West for the eighth year in a row. Wouldn’t that be a nice Christmas present for Chiefs Kingdom?
Kansas City got back in the win column last week with a 27-17 win over the Patriots. Sure, it was ugly. However, a win is a win in the NFL.
The Chiefs are used to winning and that will happen again once more as the Raiders are nowhere near the level of Kansas City despite their recent huge victory over the Chargers.
Prediction: Kansas City wins, Kansas City covers -10
12/25 (Christmas Mid-Afternoon Game): New York Giants @ Philadelphia Eagles (-10.5, O/U 43.5), 4:30PM EST, FOX
Philadelphia finds themselves in unfamiliar territory as they have lost three games in a row. Thankfully for Philly, they play the Giants twice and the Cardinals once to end the season. Sure, the Eagles have shown to have flaws. However, those won’t be prominent in the next three weeks as they will easily take care of business in their last three games.
I know the Giants suck when the Saints handled them last week. How in the world are you going to let Derek Carr look good on top of losing to New Orleans by 18 without scoring a touchdown?
Let’s face it. The Tommy Devito magic run is over. The Eagles are going to get this week right on the way to clinching a playoff seed.
Prediction; Philadelphia wins, Philadelphia covers -10.5
12/25 (Christmas Night Game): Baltimore Ravens @ San Francisco 49ers (-6, O/U 45.5), 8:15PM EST, ABC
Whoever made the schedule was absolutely cooking with this matchup. This could be a potential Super Bowl preview. Now, I’m much more confident in San Francisco’s ability to get there over Baltimore’s but that’s why you play the games.
The key in this game is going to be the quarterback play. Both Lamar Jackson and Brock Purdy are in the MVP conversation. A win here might just gift the MVP to the victorious side.
In my eyes, the 49ers are the best team in the league. Their defense and offense are aesily top fove and their array of weapons is beyond impressive. I see that being the difference in allowing Purdy to have an easier time managing the game versus Lamar Jackson. Lamar is going to struggle as his weapons will have a hard time getting open and the running game won’t be what it needs to be in order to keep up. Get your popcorn ready for this one.
Prediction: San Francisco wins, Baltimore covers +6