2016 NFL Predictions

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Cardinals Spread Prediction Following their dismal performance at home versus the Redskins last week, the Arizona Cardinals are double-digit road underdog versus the L. San Francisco 49ers vs. Dallas D looking disruptive.

Eli Manning might now agree wit Rams defense living up to early expectations after shutout. In Week 5 of the regular season, the two teams met at Heinz Field and the Pittsburgh quarterback simply was out of his element.

If Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown is able to go at full speed, the Steelers will have a distinct advantage over Jacksonville. The Jags do not do anything crazy on defense.

The Jags averaged The key for Jacksonville is going to be the play of quarterback Blake Bortles. The fourth-year quarterback ran for 88 yards on 10 carries.

His passing performance, though, left much to be desired. Bortles was just for for 87 yards. The Steelers are still very effective on defense. They are a Top 10 unit in all of the major statistical categories — total defense 5 th , pass defense 5 th , rush defense 10 th , and scoring defense 7 th.

If Bortles is not up to the task in the passing game, it could be a long Sunday afternoon for Jacksonville. The win over Buffalo last week was the Jaguars first playoff victory since Ironically, that victory was a win over Pittsburgh at Heinz Field. The Saints and Vikings met in the regular season opener and both teams are much different now compared to then.

That was the last game Bradford played. Precise, high-effective passing coupled with a powerful running game. New Orleans proved that it could beat a team multiple times in a season. Quarterback Drew Brees was on fire throwing for yards and two touchdowns.

The Saints have relied on the two-headed attack of Mark Ingram 1, yards and rookie Alvin Kamara He has scored a total of 13 touchdowns. Where the Saints have improved the most is on defense. This year has been much different.

That game was in New Orleans. With its win over Jacksonville in the regular season finale, the Tennessee Titans earned a trip to the postseason and will travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs on Saturday. The Chiefs began the season on fire starting but fell into a midseason slump before winning their final four games of the season to finish Chiefs QB Alex Smith is likely the key for the Chiefs who became just the second team in NFL history with a 4,yard quarterback, a 1,yard receiver, a 1,yard rusher, and a 1,yard tight end.

Despite all of the criticism of Smith, he does have 12 career playoff touchdown passes and has thrown just two interceptions in the postseason over his year career.

The Titans are solid against the run, which is why Smith might become more of a factor. Tennessee has given up just five rushing touchdowns all season. They held 11 of their 16 regular season opponents under yards rushing, including Jacksonville in the regular season finale. Leonard Fournette rushed for 69 yards on 19 carries and the Jags totaled just 83 for the game. Tennessee finished the regular season fourth in the league in run defense allowing opponents just The Chiefs have one of the better rushing attacks in the NFL led by Hunt who rushed for 1, yards in his rookie season.

It may be up to the Tennessee offense to make the difference. Quarterback Marcus Mariota has had a decent year — 3, yards and 13 touchdowns — and the running game is solid, but the Titans might be without RB DeMarco Murray due to a sprained knee. Derrick Henry leads the Titans with yards rushing. The two teams have only played each other twice over the past four seasons. The Atlanta Falcons won in Week 17 to earn a return trip to the postseason and a chance at defending their NFC title from a year ago.

Their opponent earned its first NFC West title in 14 years going from worst to first in just one season under new head coach Sean McVay. All Gurley has done is accumulate 2, yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns. He and Goff were held out of the Rams regular season finale. Gurley would likely have been the NFL rushing champ if he had played last week.

He finished with 1, yards on the ground. Goff took a giant leap forward under the guidance of McVay and threw for 3, yards and 28 touchdowns.

The Rams give up The dynamic duo of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman has combined for over 1, yards rushing and 12 touchdowns. Jones finished second in the league with 1, yards receiving. Where Atlanta has excelled more recently is on defense. In their season-ending victory over Carolina, the Falcons held a pretty good offense led by Cam Newton to just total yards, just 87 on the ground. The job for the Falcons defense is pretty simple — slow down Gurley and Goff. Atlanta will have to put some pressure on Goff while at the same time getting an extra defender involved in the run defense.

The Falcons have won six of the last seven games against the Rams dating back to The two teams met last year in Los Angeles. The Falcons won It has been a long time since Jacksonville hosted a home playoff game.

The year was When the two teams meet on Sunday, two of the best defenses in the NFL will tangle. Jacksonville finished at or near the top in most every defensive statistical category. The Jags were second in total defense The Jags had four players in the Top 40 in sacks. The heavy pass rush also helped the Jags lead the league in pass defense as they gave up just under yards per game. It is unlikely that the Bills will have much success throwing the ball against Jacksonville.

Buffalo is 31 st in the NFL is passing offense. The Bills offense revolves around a ground game led by LeSean McCoy who rushed for 1, yards this season and has passed 10, for his career. Jags head coach Doug Marrone left Buffalo after the season.

The Bills have beaten Jacksonville three of the last four times the two teams have played. The only Buffalo loss was in in a game in London. Buffalo won in Jacksonville in It is hard enough beating a team twice in one season. The Saints high-powered offense put up 34 and 31 points on the Panthers, who are not all that bad of a defense.

Quarterback Drew Brees and running backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara have been too much for most any defense to handle this season. Carolina will need to keep those three in check all game if they are going to have a shot at pulling the upset.

Both teams finished the regular season with losses. To beat the Panthers again, New Orleans will need to run the football as it did in both previous victories. Mark Ingram has rushed for yards against Carolina this season and rookie Alvin Kamara got more involved in the offense as the season progressed. In the second meeting with the Panthers, Kamara totaled yards on 14 touches and scored twice.

The New Orleans defense has been a big key and will be once again. In the first game, New Orleans sacked Newton four times and forced three interceptions. In Game 2, New Orleans held Carolina to just total yards. Prior to the season-ending loss to Atlanta, the Panthers had won seven of eight games. The only loss was to New Orleans. It is no secret what Carolina must do in order to win. It is all on the line on Sunday in Atlanta. Sunday, the Falcons will face a Carolina team that has won seven of its last eight games including a victory over Atlanta back in early November.

What the Falcons can bank on is that they do play well at home against Carolina. Atlanta has won the last two against the Panthers at home and seven of the last nine dating back to This year, however, the Falcons are playing in a brand new home — Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Atlanta needs its running game to heat up and, on the other side of the ball, the Falcons cannot let the Panthers run wild as they did in the first meeting this year.

The Panthers ran for yards in the victory. Falcons QB Matt Ryan threw for yards and Julio Jones caught eight of those passes for , but the Falcons had problems running the football. Atlanta ran for a total of 53 yards and the usually prolific tandem of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman combined for just If Atlanta loses on Sunday, they can still get into the playoffs if Seattle loses to Arizona.

The Bills beat the Dolphins earlier this season and they have won two of their last three games. Buffalo lost to New England after a controversial call at the end of the first half took the wind out of the Bills.

The two teams were tied at the end of the half. Still, the Bills can back into the postseason if they beat Miami and both the Chargers and the Titans lose on Sunday. Tennessee faces the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Chargers face Oakland. The Bills can also get in if they win and Baltimore loses to the Bengals, though that is not likely. The Bills, who lost to Miami on the road last year, will rely heavily on RB LeSean McCoy who has 1, yards rushing this season and surpassed the 10,yard mark in his career recently.

If there has been a model of inconsistency the entire NFL season, it is the Dolphins After three straight wins early in the season, the Dolphins, who made the postseason last year, were After a win over an ailing Denver team, the Dolphins pulled the biggest upset of the season knocking off New England Quarterback Jay Cutler has done what he has done his entire career. He outplayed Tom Brady in the win over the Patriots then completed just of passes last week in a loss to Kansas City.

The Miami running game has improved over the final quarter of the season. Kenyan Drake has emerged as the Dolphins leading rusher yards. Still, Miami averages just Buffalo has struggled against the run and is 30 th giving up After losing the first four games of the season, the Los Angeles Chargers still have a chance at making the postseason heading in to the final week of play.

Los Angeles has won five of its last six games and has a victory over Oakland already this season. In order to make the playoffs, the Chargers will need some help.

In addition to beating the Raiders, L. If all of that happens, the Chargers will claim the final AFC wild card. The Chargers are tied for fifth in the NFL with 41 total sacks. The team is also third in the NFL in points allowed per game giving up just On offense, the Chargers have a wealth of talent that has managed to stay pretty healthy throughout the year.

Quarterback Philip Rivers is second in the league with 4, passing yards and the Chargers have a 1,yard back in Melvin Gordon 1, and a 1,yard receiver in Keenan Allen 1, The Raiders disappointed in after making the postseason last year. The once powerful running game is just 25 th in the league The offense averages less than 20 points a game The Jags will take on division rival Tennessee on Sunday and regardless of the outcome have secured the No.

The Titans beat the Jags in Week 2 of the season. The two teams have split the season series for the last eight years. The Titans have lost their last three in a row but still have hopes of making the postseason. At the moment, Tennessee controls the sixth and final AFC playoff spot.

They will clinch that spot with a win over Jacksonville. The Titans can also back into the playoffs if they lose on Sunday. If both Buffalo and the Chargers lose in Week 17, Tennessee gets the wild card berth. The Jags had won seven of eight before losing last week to San Francisco. Jacksonville gave up a season-high 44 points in the loss to the 49ers. Tennessee was sitting pretty at just a month ago and had a shot at winning the division.

The Titans are about as pedestrian as a team can get. Quarterback Marcus Mariota has 3, yards passing but just 12 touchdown passes. The offense averages It is going to take a monster effort by the Titans to gain a victory and clinch a playoff berth on Sunday. After consecutive losses to Jacksonville and the Rams, the Seahawks are now in danger of missing the postseason.

Head coach Pete Carroll and company failed miserably last Sunday losing to the Rams at home, which in essence ended the Seahawks playoff hopes. Now, Seattle heads to Dallas to take on the Cowboys who are also but have won three straight and welcome back RB Ezekiel Elliott from a six-game suspension. Playing at home on Christmas Eve with their star running back, the Cowboys are going to be tough to beat.

Like Seattle, Dallas must win to have any chance at making the postseason. The Cowboys must win out and need serious help as they must pass by three teams to gain the final seed in the NFC. The Dallas run game has finally returned to some semblance of what it was with Elliott.

The Cowboys ran for yards in a win over Oakland last week. The ground game has helped the Cowboys score 98 points in its last three games, wins over Washington, the Giants, and Oakland. Seattle won on a late field goal by K Stephen Hauschka.

Prior to that win, the Seahawks had not won in Dallas since Wilson has been virtually the entire Seahawks offense this season. Carroll and the Seahawks need to beat Dallas and then close the season with a win over Arizona to have a shot at the postseason. The more difficult part of the equation involves the Rams.

Instead, they need the Rams to lose their remaining two games to make it to the playoffs. The Steelers cannot afford another loss with Jacksonville close on its heels as they head to Houston to face the Texans on Christmas Day. The Jags are just a game behind the Steelers and would own a tiebreaker having beat Pittsburgh earlier in the season.

Pittsburgh , which lost for the first time in nine games last week, will play without NFL-leading wide receiver Antonio Brown. The veteran receiver suffered a high ankle sprain in the loss to the Patriots. Brown has 1, receiving yards and set an NFL record with plus receptions in five consecutive seasons. He will be out until the playoffs. He also has 80 catches for yards. Houston will have its share of challenges in facing Pittsburgh.

Then, the offense lost rookie quarterback sensation Deshaun Watson. The season pretty much fell apart after that. Houston has dropped four straight and has won only once in its past eight games.

The Houston pass defense is not good. The Texans rank 27 th in the NFL and also rank 25 th in total defense. With Watson out at quarterback, backup Tom Savage took over but he was hurt also and T.

Yates stepped in last week. Yates was for for yards as the Texans offense generated just total yards in a loss to Jacksonville. In their first game without Carson Wentz at quarterback, the Philadelphia Eagles and backup Nick Foles proved that they can still score. Foles threw for four touchdowns in a win over the New York Giants. Now, the Eagles can continue their quest for home-field advantage when they welcome Oakland to Lincoln Financial Field on Christmas night.

The Raiders enter the game and somehow still alive in the AFC playoff race. Oakland is not mathematically eliminated, but for all intents and purposes, head coach Jack Del Rio and company will not be returning to the postseason in With back-to-back losses to Kansas City and Dallas last week, Oakland relegated itself to thinking about Foles must continue to perform at quarterback.

The question for Philadelphia is the play of their defense. The Eagles are still one of the top defenses in the league. They are eighth in scoring defense yielding He will miss the game with the Eagles. The Raiders run game, one of the best in the NFL a year ago, averages just Philadelphia is guaranteed a first-round bye in NFC playoffs. The Eagles can finish no lower than the No. Sitting Rodgers might send the wrong message, but playing him risks another injury. Rodgers was hurt in the first meeting with Minnesota, the team that the Packers will face on Saturday night.

He returned last week but failed in an attempt to beat the Carolina Panthers. Green Bay lost The Vikings are second in the NFL in points against giving up just In three of their last four wins, Minnesota has given up nine points or less.

In the first meeting between the two teams earlier this season, the Vikings won Minnesota quarterback Case Keenum has had a brilliant season throwing for 3, yards and 20 touchdowns. The running game is in capable hands with Latavius Murray yards and Jerick McKinnon who have taken over for first-round draft pick Dalvin Cook who suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier in the year.

Thielen has 83 receptions for 1, yards and is currently fourth in the league in receiving yards. Minnesota has won three of the last four in the series. Green Bay did beat the Vikings last year at Lambeau Field. Rodgers threw for yards and four touchdowns in the win.

The Vikings are still in the hunt for the No. They must win both of their remaining games and Philadelphia, the current top seed, must lose both of its remaining games. Both teams have had quarterback issues. Andrew Luck had offseason shoulder surgery, missed training camp, and then was held out of the preseason. It was an absolute disaster. Tolzien threw two pick-sixes and the Colts lost to the Rams.

Jacoby Brissett has replaced Tolzien and has played well at times, but he still has a long way to go. The Colts defense is also part of the problem. They are 31 st in points against giving up Scoring seems to be a problem too.

Indy scores just The Broncos, who lost eight in a row before beating the New York Jets last week , used to be synonymous with great defense.

This year, Denver is giving up Osweiler then gave way to Paxton Lynch who subsequently returned the job back to Trevor Siemian. It was Siemian who threw for yards and a touchdown to lead the way against the Jets. He will have an opportunity to shine again against a very poor Indianapolis defense. Rewind 10 weeks to Week 5 of the NFL season. The Chiefs were on fire with an offense that was averaging Under new head coach Anthony Lynn, the Chargers were close.

They had lost three of their first four games by a combined seven points. What a difference 10 weeks makes. Rivers has thrown for 3, yards and 23 touchdowns. Wide receiver Keenan Allen is having as good a year as any receiver in the NFL with 1, yards on 83 receptions. Melvin Gordon has rushed for yards 8 th in the league and the Chargers average On defense, the Chargers give up just That number is second in the NFL.

The pass rush is as good as it gets. Bosa is a star in just his second season. He leads the team with Kansas City headed in the opposite direction after Week 5. The Chiefs have won just two of their last eight games. They beat West division rival Oakland last week to snap a four-game losing streak. Kareem Hunt 1, yards rushing ran for yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Alex Smith has thrown for 3, yards, 23 touchdowns, and has tossed just five interceptions. The Dallas Cowboys still have a shot at the postseason.

Their three-game run to the playoffs begins with the Raiders in Oakland on Sunday night. After losing three in a row, Dallas has found some semblance of their old running game and found a way to beat both Washington and the New York Giants in consecutive weeks. Dallas rushed for and yards in the two wins. The running game has been silent since losing Ezekiel Elliott to a six-game suspension. The Raiders dropped to with a loss to Kansas City last week, a defeat that all but ruined their chances at the postseason.

Quarterback Derek Carr placed most of the blame squarely on his shoulders. The vaunted running game of a year ago produces just The two teams have only played twice since Dallas won both games. The two games, one in and the other in , were both played in Texas.

The last two times that the teams have played in Oakland and , the Raiders were victorious. The Raiders have won their last two games at home, a win over Denver and a victory over the New York Giants. The Cowboys are actually better on the road, , this year than they are at home where they are just Atlanta owns one victory over the Bucs already beating Tampa Bay on the Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan completed of passes for yards and a touchdown, but it was WR Julio Jones who the Bucs could not stop. Jones caught 12 passes for yards and two scores. Atlanta rolled up yards of total offense in the win. The Falcons have won four of their last five games and will need a win on Monday night to stay alive in the postseason race. Seattle, also , is hot on their tail for the second and final wild card in the NFC.

Atlanta has beaten the Bucs the last two times the teams have played that includes a victory last November in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. For the Bucs, they have dropped three in a row even though starting quarterback Jameis Winston has returned after an injury. There is talk of a rift between Winston and Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter. Whatever it is, Tampa Bay needs to figure it out fast. The Bucs are dead last in the NFL against the pass giving up Tampa Bay also gives up its share of points, 24 per game which is 22 nd overall in the league.

Their first opportunity comes on Thursday night when they meet the division leader New Orleans at home in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. It is the first of two games between the two teams in a span of 17 days. They are two games that will also likely determine the postseason fate of the defending NFC champion Falcons. Coming of a loss to Minnesota last week, the Falcons are now , a game behind second-place Carolina and two games behinds the Saints Atlanta will have to improve on third down, an area where they were weak in the loss to the Vikings.

Head coach Dan Quinn certainly has the weapons to score points. Quarterback Matt Ryan has thrown for 3, yards and 16 touchdowns. Where the Saints have really improved this season is on defense where New Orleans gives up just over 20 points a game. Atlanta won both games in the series last season. Both were high-scoring affairs, in New Orleans and in Atlanta.

The last time the Saints won in Atlanta was the final game of the season, a low-scoring victory. For the first time since Week 3 of the season, the Eagles will come into a game having lost the week before. The Eagles dropped a decision to the Seahawks in Seattle last Sunday night. That will have to change against a very good Rams defense.

A victory over Philadelphia could go a long way in helping the Rams secure home-field advantage in the postseason. Goff has matured by leaps and bounds from a year ago. Last week, the second-year quarterback completed for passes for yards and two touchdowns.

Gurley rushed for 74 yards and caught six passes for 84 more. While the offense leads the NFL in points per game Los Angeles holds opponents to just Philadelphia also relies on its second-year quarterback Carson Wentz. While he did throw for yards against Seattle last week, Wentz was sacked three times, threw an interception, and fumbled the ball away once.

Those types of mistakes cannot happen against a team as good as Los Angeles. The two teams have not played each other since Philadelphia has won each of the last four meetings dating back to The game will be physical.

It is normally one of the most physical games in the NFL year-in and year-out. The Ravens travel to Pittsburgh on the heels of a three-game winning streak. Beating Pittsburgh is something easier said than done and the Steelers have won the last two games in the series. Bell had yards rushing and two touchdowns. The Pittsburgh defense held Baltimore to just yards of total offense and forced three turnovers, but the Ravens appear to be a much different team this late in the season.

The Ravens, always known as a strong defensive team, have watched their offense transform somewhat over the past few weeks. The Ravens will need that kind of output against the Steelers. The Steelers are fourth in the league in points allowed per game Prior to the previous two meetings, Baltimore had beaten Pittsburgh in six of seven games.

The Ravens last won at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh in winning in overtime. It seems like they just played each other. The Patriots and Dolphins will meet for a second time in 15 days when they face each other on Monday night.

New England won the first matchup thanks to four touchdown passes from quarterback Tom Brady. Miami has struggled all year to run the ball and to score points. Even after the point outburst and yards rushing total against Denver, the Dolphins are still 26 th in the NFL in scoring Since giving up 33 points in consecutive weeks early in the season, the Patriots defense has given up just Last week, New England did not surrender a touchdown beating Buffalo The victory also likely locked up a ninth straight AFC East crown.

For Miami to have any amount of success, they will need to control the football. That is something they do not do very well given their lack of a running game. New England has won the past three games in the series and five of the last six. One week after Thanksgiving and both Washington and Dallas are still alive in the playoff race albeit just barely.

The Giants were so bad they managed just yards and did not score an offensive touchdown in a Redskins win. The offense has managed a three-game total of 22 points. The defense has fared even worse. Dallas is now 24 th in the NFL in points allowed per game The team that is 25 th in points allowed just happens to be Washington Prior to the win over the Giants, the Redskins gave up 72 points in two weeks, 38 to Minnesota and 34 to New Orleans.

Luckily, Washington will face its second straight opponent that is struggling offensively. Dallas has more problems than just Elliott, who will miss three more games before his return. If the Cowboys fail to score in double digits against Washington, they will find themselves in a four-game losing skid that will all but derail any hopes of a playoff berth.

Elliott rushed 33 times for yards and two touchdowns. Dallas has won the last three straight over Washington and five of the last six, but Elliott was a key in each of those wins. The best team in the NFL continues to roll and faces what may be its toughest test of the regular season over the next two weeks. The Philadelphia Eagles will commence a two-game West Coast road trip this week when they face the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night.

The Seahawks will do it without two-fourths of its Legion of Boom secondary. Both Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor are out for the season. Seattle got a win last week, but it was against now San Francisco. The Seahawks struggle in the running game and have been ever since Marshawn Lynch left the franchise. Philadelphia held Chicago to just six yards rushing last week and are holding opponents to an average of just 65 per game.

The last time the Eagles beat the Seahawks was in , a win in Seattle, one of the tougher places to play in the NFL. Philadelphia leads the league in scoring averaging Its defense is third in points allowed per game Philadelphia running backs average It is one of the ugliest rivals in the NFL. Every time the Steelers and Bengals get together, the game is physical and there are usually some fines levied. Expect it again as the Steelers travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals who, believe it or not, still have a shot at the postseason.

Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati the first time around this season and has, in fact, defeated the Bengals the last five times the two teams have played. Earlier this season, the Pittsburgh defense held the Bengals to just total yards including just 71 on the ground. Bell has yards rushing and Brown has caught 80 passes for 1, yards and eight touchdowns.

The Steelers offense can beat you a number of ways and the defense, though it had trouble last week against Green Bay, is still one of the better units in the NFL. The Steelers give up just The Bengals average only Cincinnati is 31 st in the league in rushing averaging







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