Ramblin’ Fan’s NFL Picks and Predictions: Week 16


Week 16 is highlighted by several divisional matchups that will likely determine who does, or does not, make the postseason. This week is filled with question marks, especially at the quarterback position. Jay Cutler has been benched, RGIII is now the defacto starter in Washington and “Clipboard Jesus” is back in the fray for the Titans.

What is the spread? In the gambling world, a “spread’ is a term used to handicap games by allowing a team to lose or win by a certain number of points while still winning for a bettor. If the Rams are +3 against the Seahawks, that means that the Rams could win outright or they could lose by two points and still be a victory for a bettor. In the same situation as above, the spread could also read as the Seahawks -3 which again would mean they have to win by three or more points to cover the spread.


Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars (-3)

Times are tough in Tennessee. As if the loss to the New York Jets was not bad enough, injuries have forced Charlie Whitehurst back into the starting lineup. Whitehurst performed well in his four starts this season, completing 60 percent of his passes with five touchdowns with two interceptions. Though Blake Bortles is likely to start for the Jaguars, it might be best for him to just sit out. Jacksonville’s offensive line was terrible last week, getting the rookie quarterback sacked eight times. Neither of these teams is going to make for an interesting matchup, but the Jags have more offensive weapons than the Titans. Jaguars win 16-10 (Jaguars cover)


Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins (+7.5)

The Eagles may not be exactly who we thought. The past two weeks saw Philly face top tier NFC teams only to lose both by double-digits. It seems that the running game has reverted back to the form that had so many scratching their heads about LeSean McCoy earlier this season. Things are going from bad to worse in Washington. After Jay Gruden was forced to play RGIII after Colt McCoy’s injury, the difficult quarterback threw and ran the ball well. Gruden insists that he wants to work with Griffin, but there is a chance Daniel Snyder performs another poor decision and lets the coach go. The Redskins are looking like a soap opera and the Eagles defense should have a field day hitting a running RGIII. Eagles win 28-24 (Redskins cover)

San Diego Chargers at San Francisco 49ers (-1.5)

The Chargers are likely one loss away from not making an appearance in the postseason and with their remaining games against the 49ers and Chiefs, which looks likely. Over the past two weeks the Chargers faced off with the elite AFC teams and they were not in the same league. Offense continues to be a lost point in San Francisco, as the team has scored a combined 23 points in their last three outings. At this point, San Fran is lost and not playing with any motive. The Chargers should be hungry and ready to roll over the overrated 49ers. Chargers win 24-13 (Chargers cover)


Minnesota Vikings at Miami Dolphins (-7)

Teddy Bridgewater is progressing nicely despite two picks last week, one that should have been called pass interference. The young Vikes roster is not expected to win right now, so staying close with the strong Lions was a good sign for the future. Sometimes football goes full circle and that happened to the Dolphins last week. After upsetting the Pats in Week 1, the team looked completely outmatched in their second meeting. The offense simply could not keep pace with the Patriots despite Mike Wallace netting 104 yards and a touchdown. The ‘Fins playoff hopes are on life support, but they will be finished after the young Vikes defense continues to grow. Vikings win 19-17 (Vikings cover)

Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans (+5.5)

Week in and week out, the Ravens secondary is leaking. This past week, Blake Bortles threw for 210 yards and he would have torched them more if not for an impressive eight sacks from the front seven. It’s hard to evaluate the Texans without knowing for sure who will be the teams quarterback this week. Tom Savage and Thad Lewis are not starting a caliber talent, which means teams are going to throw as much as they can at Arian Foster. This could play into the Texans favor with the poor Ravens secondary against them. Expect a bigger game than you should from whoever is leading the Texans, but in the end it won’t be enough. Ravens win 28-24 (Texans cover)

Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears (+7)

Few outside of Detroit seem to know this, but the Lions can still win the NFC North. A win against the Bears puts them in a showdown with the Packers for the division crown in the last Sunday of the season. The Lions defense has been stellar all season long and that is the type of football that wins in the playoffs. Marc Trestman has thrown his hail mary and has benched Jay Cutler in favor of Jimmy Clausen. Cutler has been far from fantastic, and it seems that his time in Chicago is over, but turning to Clausen seems confusing. If Trestman was expecting to be in Chicago next year no matter what, he would turn to a younger David Fales. The Lions will absolutely destroy an overmatched Clausen. Lions win 28-10 (Lions cover)

Cleveland Browns at Carolina Panthers (OTB)

Man, Johnny Manziel did not look impressive. ‘Johnny Football’ took the helm of a competent football team and made them look atrocious. It was already clear that the coaching staff did not overly trust Manziel, who only threw the ball 18 times. The Panthers decision on who will start will come down on Friday, but both Derek Anderson and Cam Newton have proven to be a solid quarterback. Panthers win 28-10

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (-5.5)

The Falcons are no longer in first place in the NFC South and if they want to make it to the playoff, Matt Ryan will need to be on his game. When ‘Matty Ice’ does not throw an interception the Falcons are 4-1. The Saints passing game looked on point last week, but it was against the horrible Bears. Momentum will mean a lot in the battle for the NFC South and right now, it is on the Saints side. Saints win 28-21 (Saints cover)

Green Bay Packers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+10.5)

The Bills defense had Aaron Rodgers running for his life and caused the unbeatable looking Packers to falter. In the grand scheme of things, Green Bay is still an elite team in the NFC, but they are far from flawless on the road. Home field advantage will mean a lot of the cheeseheads heading into the playoffs. The best thing to be said about the Buccaneers…they will likely have a good quarterback next season. Packers win 45-13 (Packers cover)

Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers (-3)

It seems that the Chiefs are playoff bound this season, but they will be hard pressed to go deep into the postseason. With a dink-and-dunk offense that offers no downfield threat and they are completely one-dimensional. The Steelers are in a great position with their final two games at the friendly confines of Heinz Field. The offense can be great, when at home, but that secondary is still subpar. Luckily for the Steelers, they are facing a Chiefs team with no real passing threat. Steelers win 28-20 (Steelers cover)

New England Patriots at New York Jets (+10.5)

Another year, another AFC East crown for the New England Patriots. Tom Brady has not completed less than 60 percent of his passes in the seven games, while the defense is only allowing 19 ppg in the past 10. The New York Jets managed to pull out a come from behind victory last week, but are drifting further and further away from landing a top quarterback in the draft. Patriots win 38-20 (Patriots cover)

New York Giants at St. Louis Rams (-5)

The Giants are riding a two-game winning streak, but those teams were the Titans and Redskins. The team looks underwhelming and even if they win out, a 7-9 record might spell some turnover in the Big Apple. For once this season, the Rams needed to lean on their offense to simply be okay to win a game last week. The offense sputtered and tallied a whooping six points. With the ball, the Rams seemed out of place and uncomfortable all night long last Thursday. Though the sack happy Rams defense only mustered one quarterback takedown, they have yet to allow a single touchdown in over three games. The Giants are a team floundering and with the Rams aggressive secondary and blitz happy Gregg Williams at the helm, this should be a victory of St. Louis. Rams win 23-13 (Rams cover)

Buffalo Bills at Oakland Raiders (+5.5)

Jim Swartz has the Bills defense clicking and that was evident last week when the team upset the Packers. The defense may have only registered one sack, but Aaron Rodgers was running for his life thanks to a fantastic defensive line. The offense still leaves much to be desired, but things are looking up in Buffalo. Consistency is the biggest issue in Oakland right now, but the future looks bright. This past draft class may be turn out to be the best of any team five years from now. The Raiders are going to have difficulties protecting Derek Carr and he will make the mistakes the Bills defense needs for the team to win. Bills win 17-10 (Bills cover)

Indianapolis Colts at Dallas Cowboys (-3)

The Colts have won the AFC South again and are likely just riding out the final two games of the season at this point. However, the play of Andrew Luck and the offense is quickly becoming a problem in Indy. Luck has thrown for less in the past two weeks than any other two games this season, while throwing three interceptions. The Colts have only won by a combined eight points in the past two weeks and need to settle themselves down if they wish to go far in the playoffs. The Cowboys continue to silence any doubters after their revenge victory over the Eagles last week. The Cowboys have been remarkably strong this year, but could be without DeMarco Murray. Dallas will likely get the offense going quick, which means Luck and the Colts will need to answer. Offensively, Indy is still not clicking. Cowboys win 34-24 (Cowboys cover)

Seattle Seahawks at Arizona Cardinals (+8)

The only thing that could be a concern for the Seahawks is a passing game that ranks 31st in the NFL, but you can’t have everything. Besides, Russell Wilson threw his first interception since Nov. 9 last week. Despite the NFL being a quarterback-driven league, the Cardinals have somehow managed to keep winning. But can the Cards win with Ryan Lindley completing 40 percent of his passes? No they can’t and the Seahawks will prove that this week. Seahawks win 17-9 (Seahawks cover)


Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals (+3)

The Broncos are going to host at least one playoff game this year. Denver’s evolution has been remarkable to watch, as the team no longer needs to rely 100 percent on Peyton Manning. The elder statesman has only averaged 210 yards passing the past three weeks, but the running game has picked up the slack. The Broncos depth is going to scare anyone come the playoffs. It’s amazing what a game against Johnny Manziel can make your team look like. Though the Bengals dismantled the Browns last week, the team is still horribly inconsistent. Broncos win 35-24 (Broncos cover)