NFL Week 16 Predictions: Christmas Edition

For family reasons, I’m not too much into the Christmas spirit this year, so I welcome a weekend of important NFL action as a distraction.

San Diego at Cleveland

No one wants to lose to an 0-14 team on Christmas Eve, but I’d put an upset alert on San Diego here. Traveling across the country for an early game against a team trying to finally win a game at home in its last opportunity this season. We’ve seen Philip Rivers and the Chargers lose an ugly 7-6 game in Cleveland in 2012. A pick parade is never out of the question, and it’s a tough game to not have Melvin Gordon for, because he would have had a huge fantasy day most likely. I’m still going to pick San Diego, but this game is a little more interesting to me than the last few Cleveland massacres. I’m saying there’s a chance…

It’s not like Jets at New England where the Jets really have no chance.

Atlanta at Carolina

I think the “Ron Rivera and Cam Newton know how to finish strong in December” thing is overblown, and it begs the question why their Sept-Nov. seasons are usually poor. But this is going to be a tough game for Atlanta, which lost 38-0 in Carolina a season ago. In Week 4, Matt Ryan kind of put a stamp on the 2016 Panthers in showing it was going to be a long year with a 500-yard passing game, including 300 yards for Julio Jones, who should be back from injury this week. The Falcons have the No. 1 offense, Luke Kuechly is still out with a concussion, but I think you’ll see the Falcons struggle on the road here. Hopefully one so-so or even bad game from Ryan doesn’t detract away from the outstanding MVP season he’s had to this point, but you know how moronic voters can be with this stuff. The Panthers are the last real challenge from Ryan finishing strong and leading the Falcons to a division title. This is my top game for the 1 p.m. slot. MIN/GB isn’t bad, but not really that interested in seeing those teams again.

Indianapolis at Oakland

I’m probably going to jinx them, but you know what hasn’t been happening this year? The Colts haven’t been getting blown out early and losing games by huge margins like they usually do several times a season under Chuck Pagano. In fact, the Colts have won four road games in a row, two blowouts, and scored 31+ points each time. They’ve even won in Green Bay and Minnesota in impressive fashion. So can Andrew Luck outduel Derek Carr in Oakland? I don’t see why not. You could argue that Luck has been better overall than Carr this season, but the Colts have still lost to the Jaguars and swept by the Texans to be at 7-7 instead of in first place. Meanwhile, just about every fourth-down decision (and penalty call) has gone Oakland’s way late in games this year, and the Raiders are the only team in 2016 not to have blown a fourth-quarter lead. From Twitter, I’m a bit scared that multiple people have thought that an 11-3 team hasn’t had many fourth-quarter leads to blow, but common sense should tell you they have. They just make the necessary plays to end games, and have seven 4QC wins now (one shy of Detroit’s new record). This should be a fun, high-scoring game, but I’ll take Oakland just because of Khalil Mack’s potential to wreck damage against the offensive line whereas Carr should have better protection. But an Indy win would come as no surprise, obviously.

Baltimore at Pittsburgh

The AFC North is basically going to be decided on Christmas afternoon in Pittsburgh, making this low-key one of the biggest games of Mike Tomlin’s career. Because if the Steelers lose this one at home to drop a fifth straight game to Baltimore, then the playoffs are likely not happening. And this is a season where just about anything could happen in the playoffs due to the down year in competition. So I’m a little surprised that the Steelers are a 6-point favorite. Baltimore usually plays them tough, and it’s going to come down to if the offensive line for Pittsburgh can play at a high level. The Ravens tend to contain Le’Veon Bell, and do a good job on Antonio Brown. They also seem to get a deflected pick from Ben Roethlisberger every contest now, and Terrell Suggs has a long history of sacking him in this rivalry. On the other side, the Pittsburgh defense has not allowed more than 20 points during this five-game winning streak, but check the offensive competition: Browns, Colts (no Andrew Luck), Giants, Bills and Bengals (no A.J. Green). Not exactly a bunch of juggernauts, or even average offenses there. Of course, you could say Baltimore fits right into that this year, but I wouldn’t discount Joe Flacco from playing well in this one. I’m going to pick the Steelers, obviously, but I don’t feel confident about it. If they look flat early, look for Baltimore to win and go on to take the division.

2016 Week 16 Predictions

I even knew I should have picked the Eagles on TNF, but still trusted the Giants defense. Well, the Giants did allow fewer points (17) than the Eagles (19), but that early pick-six was a killer, as was the final interception of the night for Eli Manning.

Winners in bold:

  • Jets at Patriots
  • Titans at Jaguars
  • Chargers at Browns
  • Falcons at Panthers
  • Redskins at Bears
  • Dolphins at Bills
  • Vikings at Packers
  • Colts at Raiders
  • 49ers at Rams
  • Buccaneers at Saints
  • Cardinals at Seahawks
  • Bengals at Texans
  • Ravens at Steelers
  • Broncos at Chiefs
  • Lions at Cowboys

Looks like another big week for the home teams, or a very wrong week for me coming up.

  • Week 1: 7-9
  • Week 2: 10-6
  • Week 3: 8-8
  • Week 4: 8-7
  • Week 5: 7-7
  • Week 6: 12-3
  • Week 7: 10-5
  • Week 8: 7-6
  • Week 9: 8-5
  • Week 10: 7-7
  • Week 11: 12-2
  • Week 12: 12-4
  • Week 13: 10-5
  • Week 14: 9-7
  • Week 15: 12-4
  • Season: 139-85

NFL Week 1 Predictions

The 2013 NFL season opener would make for a good source of SAT questions.

The Baltimore Ravens are the defending Super Bowl champions. Dallas Clark, Brandon Stokley, Marlon Brown, Ricky Wagner, Chris Canty and Elvis Dumervil are Baltimore Ravens. Which of the following statements are true?

That may be the reason no defending champion has won even a playoff game since the 2005 Patriots. It’s a much different team just seven months later. Many of the key Ravens on Thursday night — Clark and Stokley combined for 22 targets — had nothing to do with the team’s 2012 season.

Meanwhile the Broncos could supply the math questions as Peyton Manning had one of the most prolific passing games with 462 yards and 7 TD. Finally a post-merger QB hit the 7 TD mark and it took an absurdly stupid play by linebacker Danny Trifflin’ Trevathan to set up the situation for it to happen.

Manning (42) and Flacco (62) combined for 104 pass attempts, which set a record for the most combined pass attempts in a non-OT game in NFL history. In fact, it’s the second-most pass attempts ever in regulation as only these overtime games had as many or more attempts:

  • 11/13/1994 New England vs. Minnesota (OT) – 112 attempts (106 in regulation)
  • 11/22/2012 Detroit vs. Houston (OT) – 109 attempts (90 in regulation)
  • 10/18/1987 Miami vs. NY Jets (OT; replacement game) – 104 attempts (82 in regulation)
  • 9/6/1998 NY Jets vs. San Francisco (OT) – 104 attempts (95 in regulation)

If we included playoff games, then the 2011 NFC Divisional between the 49ers and Saints would be second with 105 attempts in regulation. This is probably a sign of things to come.

Manning now sits comfortably in this list that shows the leaders for having the most games with a certain number of TD passes (including playoffs):

SGTD

A historic opener indeed, and a good start to my “year of the Broncos” prediction.

I will no longer be doing a writing recap in my weekly predictions as I am not writing for as many sites this season (though I did appear three places this week). Instead I will do a weekly update in the archives, so be sure to check that section out. It was the reason I started this blog.

2013 NFL Week 1 Predictions

Last season I went 168-87-1 (.658). Let’s shoot for better since I’ll have even more data to crunch this season. It’s a 1-0 start as I obviously had Denver beating Baltimore.

Winners in bold:

  • Buccaneers at Jets
  • Patriots at Bills
  • Vikings at Lions
  • Raiders at Colts
  • Titans at Steelers
  • Chiefs at Jaguars
  • Seahawks at Panthers
  • Bengals at Bears
  • Falcons at Saints
  • Dolphins at Browns
  • Packers at 49ers
  • Cardinals at Rams
  • Giants at Cowboys
  • Eagles at Redskins
  • Texans at Chargers

I am not brave enough to pick it, but do not be surprised if the Chargers give Houston all it can handle late Monday night. Also it would not shock me if the Jets win and Rex Ryan can have a “shut the frack up!” week to the media.

Be sure to enjoy Sunday Week 1 as we only get to experience a finite number of these in our lifetime.