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NFL Pro Football 2013 Week 16 Picks

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Fearless Rick's NFL Week 16 Picks - Early Games

Welcome to the very best in winning NFL and College Football picks.
Rick Gagliano | December 22, 2013

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Sunday, December 22

Miami Dolphins (-2 1/2, 43) at Buffalo Bills, 1:00 pm - Even with their win at Jacksonville last week, the Bills have no playoff possibilities, but the Dolphins - at 8-6 - not only have a chance at the one remaining wild card (the first will go to either Kansas City or Denver), but, also, by winning out and two New England losses, could snatch the AFC East from the Patriots.

Due to their 26-23 loss to Baltimore in week five, the Dolphins are still behind the Ravens in the wild card hunt, but they have an easier schedule, with the Jets next week to close out the regular season.

Miami has won three straight and will be looking to avenge their sloppily-played, 23-21, loss to the Bills in week seven. Weather, often tricky in Buffalo this time of year, appears to be on track to be moderate, though rain, snow or a mix of the two could pop up off Lake Erie. Miami beat the Steelers in bad weather two weeks ago, and they are 4-3 overall on the road, so climate concerns should be minimal.

Prediction: Dolphins 24 Bills 16

New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers (-3, 47), 1:00 pm - Both teams have proven abilities, though the Saints are one of the league's worst road teams, as evidenced by their 27-16 loss at St. Louis last week and their 3-4 road record overall.

After beating the Panthers, 31-13, just two weeks ago, it would be easy to assume that the Saints will simply shrug off last week's defeat and take it to Carolina again, but that kind of thinking doesn't jive with the realities of home field advantage in the NFL.

Without a doubt, the Panthers will open up the playbook and make some adjustments on defense, but that may not be enough to slow down Drew Brees and his offensive-minded teammates. More probably, turnovers and/or special teams will decide this contest, two areas in which neither team can claim superiority. The Panthers are 6-1 at home and should upend the Saints, though it will likely be a close call.

Prediction: Panthers 28 Saints 24

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Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals (-7, 48), 1:00 pm - The Bengals have had multiple opportunities to put away the competition in the AFC North, but now find themselves in a precarious situation, with the Ravens just a game back and on the schedule next week, in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati was badly outplayed in the first half in their showcase game with the Steelers last Sunday night, losing 30-20 after falling behind 24-0. Sure, the Bengals held the Steelers to just three points in the second half, but the game, by then, was pretty much over, so the Bengals need to get off to a better start against the Vikings, surprising, 48-30, winners over the Eagles last week.

The Vikings will have Adrian Peterson back after a one-week absence, posing problems for the Cincy defense. Despite their 4-9-1 record, the Vikings have been solid of late, going 3-2-1 over their last six, the only blowout a 41-20 loss at Seattle in week 11. The line seems excessive, and the pressure is on Andy Dalton, who thus far has yet to silence critics.

Prediction: Vikings 31 Bengals 28

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Denver Broncos (-10 1/2, 51 1/2) at Houston Texans, 1:00 pm - The losing streak for Houston long ago reached panic stage, and with 12 straight defeats, the team is probably looking forward to the off-season and the draft than playing the playoff-bound Broncos.

The Texans basically mailed in their 25-3 loss at Indy last week and should be expected to do roughly the same against Payton Manning and the record-setting Denver offense. Don't expect Denver to lay off the gas at all here. A blowout is almost a certainty.

Prediction: Broncos 42 Texans 13

Tennessee Titans (-5 1/2, 47) at Jacksonville Jaguars, 1:00 pm - In week 10, Jacksonville won their first game of the season, whipping the Titans, 29-27. Since then, the Titans have gone on to lose three of their last four and three straight, but all to quality teams - Indy, Denver and Arizona, the last loss coming in overtime to the Cardinals, 37-34.

Jacksonville looked just good enough to stay on the field against the Bills, losing, 27-20, and they will be without receiver Cecil Shorts for the remainder of the season, and RB Maurice Jones-Drew is still listed as questionable and may not be 100% if he plays at all. With those deficiencies noted, look for the Titans to roll it up against their AFC South rivals.

Prediction: Titans 30 Jaguars 17

Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs (-6 1/2, 43 1/2), 1:00 pm - Even though the Colts have clinched their division, this is still a big game as Indy still has an opportunity to earn a bye in the first round of the playoffs if evrything falls their way. A win here would be paramount to that end, but the Chiefs are also looking to snatch the AFC West away from the Broncos, who are at Houston this week and at Oakland in week 17.

Realistically, the Chiefs can't count on Denver losing either of those games, so the quandary for this game is determining which team is going to be all out and which might just hold back a starter or three. It would make sense that the Colts would be the team more interested in winning, though that's by no means a certainty. Getting points is a big plus for Indianapolis, but tread lightly here.

Prediction: Chiefs 23 Colts 20

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Cleveland Browns at New York Jets (-2 1/2, 40 1/2), 1:00 pm - No playoff hopes for Cleveland, but overall, the Jets appear more capable of winning, especially if Miami is playing close with the Bills and the Jets are scoreboard-watching. The Jets have not been entirely eliminated from playoff contention, though a win by either Miami or Baltimore, or a Jets loss would be the final nail in the 2013 coffin.

Cleveland has lost five straight, so the trend is in place, plus, they are 1-5 on the road this season and the Jets are 5-2 at MetLife Stadium. New York hung on to just barely cover the line in last week's 30-20 loss at Carolina, and should put forth a good effort here, whether it is ultimately in vain or not. A .500 season is within the Jets' grasp, which might secure coach Rex Ryan's future, which may be in some jeopardy.

Prediction: Jets 30 Browns 26

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at St. Louis Rams (-5, 42 1/2), 1:00 pm - After a 3-6 start, the Rams have won three of their last five, including last week's 27-16 victory over the Saints. St. Louis is a pretty good team at home indoors, where they have won four and lost three.

This is their last home game of the season and they could probably not have asked for a better opponent to face than the hopeless Buccaneers, a team which started 0-8, won three in a row, but have now dropped two of their last three, including last week's 33-14 blowout by the 49ers.

The Rams' defense should get off early against the Bucs, who have the NFL's 30th-ranked offense, scoring just 18.1 points per game.

Prediction: Rams 31 Buccaneers 14

Dallas Cowboys (-2 1/2, 53 1/2) at Washington Redskins, 1:00 pm - After last week's second half meltdown against Green Bay, is there anything that Dallas can do to quiet those who believe they are simply not a team of playoff caliber?

Beating the Redskins on the road would be a nice start, even though Washington is working with Kirk Cousins at QB, replacing the ineffective Robert Griffin III. Cousins threw for 381 yards last week against the Falcons, and the Redskins could have tied the score late, but opted to go for the win with a two--point conversion and failed, losing, 27-26, at Atlanta.

With Cousins getting his second straight start, expect him to be even sharper, especially since Dallas has not produced a pass rush all season. Stick a fork in the Cowboys here. They're done.

Prediction: Redskins 38 Cowboys 28

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2013, 2014, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.


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