Playoffs are two weeks away now, as we have reached week 16! With only two divisions left open, the Lions and Steelers/Browns will look to close in on division titles. With a win or Vikings loss, the Lions clinch, while the Steelers and Browns won’t be decided until their matchup next week. Moving along, last week, I went an above average 12-4, moving the season record to 52-28. But enough looking in the past and the future, lets look toward the present and dive in and learn what Sklamberg Seez for the week!
San Francisco 49ers (5-9) at Baltimore Ravens (6-8): After only scoring 3 points in their last outing, the Ravens responded by scoring 45 points. However, since there bye week, they have not been able to repeat a good performance, alternating wins since their Week 8 Bye. The Niners have quietly won 2 straight late in the season, as they work to improve the morale for the upcoming season. Due to the lack of consistency from the Ravens, the 49ers will make it three in a row with a big road win for this franchise. QB Arsenio Sapp will continue to make good decisions with the football. 49ers win 24-21.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-12) at Cleveland Browns (12-2): Nothing has really went right for the Bengals this season, while the Browns have had a completely opposite season. The Browns got a quality win over the Texans last week. However, they can’t overlook this Bengals team, as this is a classic trap game, due to their matchup next week with the Steelers. Losing this game would be devastating to their chances to win the division. Although they have had a tough season, the Bengals did beat the Cardinals last week for their second win of the season, but the win streak will not extend to two games. The Browns defense will dominate the Bengals offense. Browns win 27-3.
Denver Broncos (12-2) at New England Patriots (7-7): On the outside looking in, the Patriots look to keep their playoff hopes alive when they play the Broncos. Last week, the Patriots held the Dolphins to 3 points, mainly due to the play by the front seven. The Dolphins only managed 8 rushing yards and allowed 7 sacks. It’s not good when a team sacks your QB more times than you can score points. Unlike the Dolphins, the Broncos can really run the ball well, averaging over 100 yards per game, and they limit their opponents to 17 PPG. Broncos QB Julius Stewart had a terrific game last week against the Chargers, throwing for 3 TDs and 295 yards. This was a good bounce back game for him after playing awfully the previous week against the Chiefs. He’ll have a tough go of it this week, as his Broncos will face the 6th best pass defense. And I see the Broncos having a tough go of it offensively, as the Patriots will play well, keeping their playoff hopes alive for one more week. Patriots win 20-17.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-9) at Chicago Bears (1-13): The Bears were dominated in their 13th straight loss to the Saints. The defense has just not played enough this season and it really showed last week. The Bucs have a terrific passing offense, and I see their QB, Stephen Greenway, having no trouble this week against the Bears, after throwing for 4 TDs in the win over the Titans last week. My bold prediction for this game: the Bucs will rush for more than their year’s average of 37.6 yards per game. Keep an eye on Bucs Receiver, Derek Tanner, has he has 12 receiving TDs to go along with 72 catches for 1,380 yards. He is playing really well on this struggling Bucs squad. Bucs win 42-28.
Arizona Cardinals (2-12) at Washington Redskins (6-8): The collapse in DC is on, as the Redskins have lost 4 of their past 6 games. The playoffs are looking less and less likely for this team, as the Cards come into town. The struggles on defense have been apparent in their past 3 games, as their opponents have scored over 27 points in each game. But they are playing a Cardinals squad that averages less than 10 points per game, so this is a game the Redskins defense will look to get back to playing better as a unit. Part of their defensive woes is the lack of turnovers. They have only forced 1 turnover in the past 2 games, while only forcing 3 in their last 3. I foresee the Redskins getting multiple turnovers in this game, but if the offense fails to get anything going against this defensive Cardinals team, the away team may be able to squeak out a victory. Redskins win 24-9.
Kansas City Chiefs (8-6) at Houston Texans (8-5-1): The Chiefs are playing terrific football as of late, winning their past 4 games, putting them right in the thick of the AFC playoff race. They are surging at the right time, and got a huge victory of the Buffalo Bills last week. With the tiebreaker over the Bills secured, they now have to play a tough Texans squad on the road. The Texans are coming off a difficult loss to the Browns, but don’t count this team out, as they have not lost 2 in a row all season. They really know how to rebound, but they will fail to do that this week, as the Chiefs will be too much for them to handle. The Chiefs defense will again step up and help out the offense that is without their starting QB due to injury. They forced the Bills into 3 TOs and they will again pester the Texans, forcing them into multiple turnovers, which will give the undermanned offense good starting field position. Chiefs win 31-19.
Dallas Cowboys (6-8) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-10): The defensive Cowboys have not played that way the last 3 weeks. They have given up 23 or more points during that stretch. However, in their first matchup a few weeks ago, the Cowboys played a great game defensively against the Eagles. They allowed less than 200 yards of offense, while forcing 2 turnovers. With the struggles on defense being apparent the last three weeks, they’ll need a similar offensive output in this game for them to win, because the Eagles have been playing decent offensively. Look for the Eagles to try and get more than 26 rushing yards in this game, as that will not be enough to beat the Cowboys. Although they struggled in their last bout, the Eagles will play better beating the Cowboys at home by holding Prescott to another poor game. Interestingly, he has only thrown for 148 yards combined in the past 2 games. That will be something to keep an eye on in this game. Eagles win 17-14.
Miami Dolphins (5-9) at Buffalo Bills (8-6): Although third string RB DeShaun Gore played well last week since taking over the starting role, QB Withrow threw the game away. Is another collapse upon the Buffalo Bills and their faithful fans? Only my predictions and time will tell. The Dolphins are a tough team to predict, as you never know which Dolphins team will come out to play. Last week, they scored 3 points, while the week before, they scored 37. The one glaring weakness for this Phins squad is their offensive line. They have given up 57 sacks this season, and the team averages 52.6 yards per game. It’s hard to win games if you do not dominate in the trenches. This is something the Bills seem to specialize in, as their QB has only been sacked 30 times, while they average 94.8 rushing yards per game. They could improve on their rush defense, but fear not, they will this week. The Bills will get back in the win column, as they look to keep pressure on the Chiefs. Bills win 27-10.
Atlanta Falcons (8-5-1) at Tennessee Titans (5-9):The disappointing season continues for the Titans, as they were officially eliminated from the playoffs. However, they still have something to compete for, play hard the last two weeks and hope to take the Falcons with them. Some of their struggles can due to the inconsistent play from Jameis Winston, while their rush defense has been questionable at times this season. Similar to the Titans, the Falcons have played pretty good offensively, but the one difference, their QB Brody Denton has only thrown 14 INTs. The one intriguing matchup of the game: LE Takkarist McKinley vs. the Titans O-Line and LOLB Deron Enunwa vs. the Falcons O-Line. Both are legit pass rushing threats who need to be accounted for at all times. The team that gets more pressure and sacks will win this game. The Falcons will accomplish this, as the pressure will get to Winston. Falcons win 31-17.
New York Giants (10-4) at Los Angeles Rams (5-9): The Division champ Giants will travel across the country to take on the Rams. Davis Webb torched the Eagles last week for 275 yards and 3 TDs, while the Rams continue to play well offensively. In his past 5 games, Rams QB AJ Baggs has struggled, throwing 2 TDs and 8 INTs, while only throwing over 200 yards once. One thing that has been noticeable this season for the Giants, is the absence of Marlin Pettway. He has been absent since Week 11, but according to reports, he may play a little this week. This is a good sign for the Giants, as he can use these next two weeks to get up to speed and ready for playoffs. Moreover, this is a perfect game for him to return and get his legs back underneath him, as the Rams are not that strong against the run, giving up almost 88 yards per game. The Giants will dominate this game in all facets. Giants win 33-14.
Jacksonville Jaguars (8-6) at Indianapolis Colts (5-9): Having losing control of the division, the Jags will look to take back the division lead as they go into Indianapolis. The matchup to watch in this game is the Jags top ranked run game against the Colts thirtieth ranked run defense. Although over the past 4 games, his yards per carry has been over 5 yards, Fournette has not scored during that stretch. That is something to watch, as the MVP contender needs to find the end zone if his team wishes to win. When he rushes for a TD, his team is 6-1 and they are 2-5 when he does not. I see Fournette scoring multiple rushing TDs against this weak Colts run defense. However, the Colts will not go down without a fight, as their QB, Josh Dobbs will make his presence felt, dissecting the 31st ranked pass defense. Jags win 34-30.
Detroit Lions (12-2) at Seattle Seahawks (12-2): In my GOTW, this game will decide who gets the top seed in the NFC. It is also a likely preview of the NFC Championship. The Lions have been all offense this season, leading the league in offensive yards at nearly 400 per game. Although the offense has been carrying this team, Rodgers has been pretty careless this season, playing like his old Packers mentor. This season he has already thrown 18 INTs, while he only threw 10 all of last season. Fortunately for Rodgers and the Lions, they are going up against the Seahawks, who have struggled to stop the pass some weeks. However, they do have the second ranked rushing attack, behind great play from Deric Bradford. He currently has a 5 game TD streak. I see Bradford keeping this streak alive, but he will not be enough to keep up with the Lions prolific offense, as Kizer will not have a great game. Rodgers will dissect the Seahawks defense and lead his Lions to their eighth straight win and number 1 seed in the NFC. Lions win 40-17.
Green Bay Packers (3-11) at New Orleans Saints (10-4): With a win this week, the Saints will clinch the division, which is quite a feat after starting 0-3. However, the Packers will have something to say about that. They come into this game with a decent offense that just seems to struggle to put up points. The Packers did just score 31 points against the Lions, which is something that may help boost their confidence this week. Unfortunately for them, the Saints defense is much better than the Lions. They defend the entire field very well, and do a great job playing good overall team defense, as their pass and rush defense rank amongst the top 12 teams. In addition to great defense, their QB Ross Bonham as played tremendously in their past 7 games, throwing 18 TDs to only 1 INT. He is playing his best football of his career at just the right point of the season. And, I think he will continue the good play, as the Packers are not a strong defensive team. Saints win 36-11.
Oakland Raiders (6-8) at New York Jets (12-2): No Bussey, no problem for these Jets, as they still have a top 6 rushing attack. They have dominated in the trenches this season, as they also have the best run defense in the league. This is one of the main reasons they have done so well this season. The Raiders will come into this game with something to prove, after falling out of the playoff race recently. RB Sherman Lucas is having a great season, leading the Raiders 8th ranked rush offense. As one would expect, teams have been preparing for him well, as he has not rushed for over 100 yards in 3 games. Teams have been forcing Mariota to beat them and he has failed in the recent weeks, only throwing 1 TD in his past 4 games. Will his fortune change in this game? Yes and no, as I expect him to throw for a TD, as the Raiders run game will be mostly ineffective, but he will not do enough to get them the victory. Jets backup RB Tarik Cohen will again be a spark plug for the Jets, as he will rush for over 100 yards and help the Jets get their 13th win of the season. Jets win 30-20.
Pittsburg Steelers (12-2) at Los Angeles Chargers (6-8): Chargers faithful were hoping for a micraculous playoff run, but their fortune has seemingly run out. After losing their last two games, they still have a very slim chance, that will turn to 0 after this week. The Steelers are a super bowl contender and have been playing like it recently. Their defense has been stellar, while Stafford continues to play efficiently. The one weakness of this Steelers team is their offensive line, as Stafford has been sacked 50 times this season and the team only averages 63 rushing yards per game. Bosa and company will do their best to apply pressure, but they will not be enough, as the Steelers defense will be too much for the Chargers. They will force multiple turnovers, sealing another 13 win season for the Steelers. Steelers win 34-15.
Minnesota Vikings (10-4) at Carolina Panthers (2-12): The Vikings kept their slim hopes of taking home the division title alive last week with a win over the Raiders, and will now take on the Panthers on the road. This is also a trap game for the Panthers, as they may be scoreboard watching, hoping for a Seahawks victory over the Lions to force a crucial matchup next week in Detroit. Without a consistent running game, the Panthers QB Heath Joyce has felt all the pressure, as he has been forced to carry the team. Although he has had to carry the team, two of his receivers are having terrific seasons. Curtis Samuel and Scottie Levitre have combined for over 130 receptions and just over 2,500 yards and 15 TDs. If McCaffrey could have stayed healthy this season and contributed, who knows where this team would have been. But it is hard to win with a defense that gives up 389 yards per game, worst in the league. Thus, the losing will continue, as the Vikings will cruise to a victory. Vikings win 29-6