NFL Week 16 Picks - Early Games

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NFL Week 16 Early Games

All times Eastern

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Week 15 Results: Rick: 8-8; Coin: 12-4
Cumulative: Rick: 103-119-2; Coin: 104-118-2


Thursday, December 23

San Francisco 49ers (-3 1/2, 44 1/2) at Tennessee Titans 8:20 pm - Titans really stank up the place, blowing a 10-0 and 13-3 lead at Pittsburgh by turning the ball over four times. Very un-Titan like. Pittsburgh had only 168 total yards yet still won, 19-13.

Not wanting to look over their shoulders at the surging Colts, the Titans will have fans howling. Their defense should be good enough to keep them in it. SF has won five of the last six, pounding Atlanta last week, 31-13. 49ers are in the second wild card spot and won't want to lose that position. Looking for a close outcome.

Coin Flip: Tennessee

Prediction: Titans 24 49ers 22


Saturday, December 25

Cleveland Browns at Green Bay Packers (-7, 44 1/2) 4:30 pm - Five of Cleveland's seven losses have been by six points or fewer, which bodes ill for them in Green Bay, as the Packers have won four of five games decided by six or fewer, including last week's 31-30 nail-biter at Baltimore. Bonehead move by coach Harbaugh going for two at end of game.

With their backs to the wall, the Browns are very likely to stay involved until the end, maybe lose by four or win by three.

Coin Flip: Green Bay

Prediction: Packers 27 Browns 23


Indianapolis Colts at Arizona Cardinals (-1, 49 1/2) 8:15 pm - Excellent game for a Saturday night. Losers of two straight and three of their last five, the Cardinals are reeling, having given up the top spot in the NFC with their untimely, 30-12, loss to the Lions.

Meanwhile, the Colts are red hot, winner of five of the last six, threatening the Titans for supremacy in the AFC South, just one game back. Carson Went, with ample assistance from RB Jonathan Taylor, has brought the Colts back into the playoff picture from 3-5 at the end of October to 8-6 now. With five AFC teams at 8-6, the Colts need this game more than do the Cardinals. They should be amply motivated and are playing better than Arizona.

Coin Flip: Arizona

Prediction: Colts 31 Cardinals 20


Sunday, December 26

Detroit Lions at Atlanta Falcons (-6, 44) 1:00 pm - After topping the Cardinals, will the Lions be able to win back-to-back games, something that hasn't happened to this franchise since weeks 6-7 of 2020, when the Lions went on the road to beat Jacksonville, 34-16, and Atlanta, 23-22.

History may not always repeat, though it usually rhymes, and in this case, after being blown away at San Francisco, 31-13, the Falcons are ready to be shot down and out of the playoff race.

Coin Flip: Atlanta

Prediction: Lions 23 Falcons 13


Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-10 1/2, 44) at Carolina Panthers 1:00 pm - Speaking of history repeating, before Sunday's 9-0 goose egg against the Saints the last time the Buccaneers were shut out was in week 15 of 2012, when they lost, 41-0 at New Orleans.

Tom Brady and his offense is likely to encounter less resistance from the Panthers, but not by much. Carolina isn't likely to score many points, but they're probably not going to give up many unless Cam Newton's Panthers turn the ball over. At 5-9, Carolina isn't going to the playoffs, so they may be loose enough to just go out and give a good effort.

Coin Flip: Carolina

Prediction: Buccaneers 31 Panthers 23


Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (-2 1/2, 44 1/2) 1:00 pm - Both teams atop the AFC North with 8-6 records, though the Bengals hold a tie-breaker with a 41-17 win over the Ravens back in week seven. Lamar Jackson is still listed as OUT, which may be a blessing in disguise, as healthy backup, Tyler Huntley has played well in his stead and may have more mobility than Jackson at this point.

Both squads are eager for a win and a division lead as there are no less than nine AFC teams at 7-7 or better, including the 7-6-1 Steelers. While the Ravens have dropped three straight, the bengals avoided that fate by winning at Denver, 15-10. This one is likely to be closer, but the Bengals can hold serve at home.

Coin Flip: Cincinnati

Prediction: Bengals 23 Ravens 19


LA Chargers (-9 1/2, 45 1/2) at Houston Texans 1:00 pm - Those in the "dogs" camp will relish the thought of the Texans getting almost ten points at home, especially right on the heels of dusting Jacksonville and their make-believe offense, 30-16.

Bearing in mind that the Texans are 3-11, and the Chargers are 8-6 and looking very much like a playoff-bound team, Justin Herbert and the Charger offense will probably put a 40-spot on them and the defense will do just fine.

Coin Flip: Houston

Prediction: Chargers 42 Texans 17



LA Rams (-3, 49) at Minnesota Vikings 1:00 pm - The Rams struggled with Seattle in their Tuesday night, 20-10, victory and will have a short turnaround against a team with momentum in the Vikings.

Minnesota has come up on the short end five times in games decided by five or fewer points. They've also won three of the same. Lately, however, they've managed to win by wider margins, topping Pittsburgh, 36-28, and Chicago, 17-9, but nobody can deny that getting three points from the Rams at home is a serious gift. Hey, it's Christmas. Vikes win going away.

Coin Flip: Minnesota

Prediction: Vikings 27 Rams 20


Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots (-2 1/2, 43 1/2) 1:00 pm - These same two met on December 6, with New England coming out on top, 14-10. The Bills couldn't stop the Patriots' ground attack, so they just kept doing it, to the tune of 222 yards on 46 carries, chewing up a lot of clock while throwing only three passes, completing two for a whopping 19 yards. The same tactics are unlikely to work again for New England. Mac Jones will have to throw more, and he'll be fine.

The Bills are really up against it on the road. A loss would put them at 8-7, a spot that could be occupied by four other AFC teams by week's end, and put the Patriots up two games with a tie-breaker. Buffalo's defense is probably good enough to hold New England to fewer than 14 points. Their offense should manage at least 17.

Coin Flip: Buffalo

Prediction: Bills 17 Patriots 13


Jacksonville Jaguars at NY Jets (-2 1/2, 42) 1:00 pm - Hard to believe, but the Jets are the better team here, having lost just their last three, as opposed to six straight for the Jags.

Jacksonville's offense is the league's worst. They are the only team that hasn't scored 200 points this season (196). Trevor Lawrence. Big paycheck. Bad throws.

Coin Flip: Jacksonville

Prediction: Jets 28 Jaguars 10


NY Giants at Philadelphia Eagles (-10, 41 1/2) 1:00 pm - Since Daniel Jones went on IR for the rest of the season, the Giants have relied upon Mike Glennon at QB, and the lanky guy has shown the world why he's a permanent backup. New Yorkers not only have to deal with vaccine passports and other virus-related issues, but they have two of the worst teams in the league to support (or not).

The Eagles overcame some early miscues in their 27-17 win over the Washington Football Team, but their run game is as good as it gets in the NFL. Giants don't stand a chance against the potentially playoff-bound Eagles. It should be noted that the Giants beat the Eagles just a month ago, 13-7, but NY had Jones at QB then and Eagles' QB Jalen Hurts tossed three picks. This one is going to be vastly different.

Coin Flip: NY Giants

Prediction: Eagles 31 Giants 16


Click here for late games.


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