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Week 16 Game Picks: Teams Move to Desperation Mode as Playoffs Near

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Sep 7, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) scores a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons during the fourth quarter at the Georgia Dome. The Falcons defeated the Saints 37-34 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Pick’em only has two weeks left in regular season action, and the race is intense for our staff! After a 13-3 showing this week, I’ve now moved into first place ahead of Barry! Overall, the staff did extremely well once again. For the year, we have a couple of staff members flirting with 70 percent accuracy!

Let’s look at the standings after Week 15 action:

  1. John (@JohnJHendrix), 154-69-1
  2. Barry (@HarahanWhoDat), 153-70-1
  3. Andrew (@ShootsMcGavin), 151-72-1
  4. Simon (@Daugulis), 151-72-1
  5. Federico (@FedeFerrari10), 146-77-1
  6. Ryne (@RHancock19), 138-85-1
  7. Ian (@IDear_Sports), 136-87-1
  8. MacGyver (@SaintsTailgate), 131-92-1

Week 16 features some key matchups, as we inch nearer to the playoffs. The Cardinals, Patriots, Colts, and Broncos all secured playoff spots last week. I’m sure your heads will start to spin with the thousands of (not really) possible playoff scenarios that can transpire from this weekend.

Here’s how our Week Sixteen picks look:

Tennessee (2-12) at Jacksonville (2-12)

I think the bigger question is if you’re actually going to watch this game. This is as bad of a Thursday Night Football matchup as they come. I’d rather watch water boil. The Jags have won three out of the last four, so there.

Philadelphia (9-5) at Washington (3-11)

The Eagles definitely need to win this game to keep pace with the Cowboys. Luckily, a hapless Redskins team is just what the doctor ordered for Chip Kelly and company. At this point, RGIII may be auditioning for his next team.

San Diego (8-6) at San Francisco (7-7)

The 49ers season is over, as they will miss the postseason for the first time in three years (all of which they went to the NFC Championship). Jim Harbaugh is likely out as head coach, and this team has major question marks for next season. The sad part is they still have two games left in the year. The Chargers have lost their last two to tough opponents. While they don’t automatically control their own destiny, their first priority is winning.

Dec 14, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel (2) eludes the tackle of Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle Brandon Thompson (98) at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Bengals won 30-0. Mandatory Credit: Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland (7-7) at Carolina (5-8-1)

If you’re a Saints fan, then you’re obviously rooting for the Browns. Johnny Manziel had one of the roughest outings for a rookie quarterback in recent memory, as he and the Browns were blanked 30-0 at home against the Bengals. The Panthers escaped the Bucs last week to stay afloat in the NFC South race. Cam Newton is said to be on pace to start, but we wonder which Cam will show up? Bias aside, I think Johnny Football is ready for a rebound. If not, then what a wasted pick.

Detroit (10-4) at Chicago (5-9)

So the top FOX announcing crew of Joe Buck and Troy Aikman will have tons of fun with this one, as Jimmy Clausen (who’s just as surprised as the rest of us to be relevant again) takes over for Jay Cutler. If you watched the Bears on Monday Night Football, you already know how terrible this team is. Don’t expect a pretty game.

Baltimore (9-5) at Houston (7-7)

The Ravens have to be motivated by the fact the teams ahead of them, Pittsburgh and Cincy, both have their hands full this week. The Texans cling to a playoff hope by a mere thread, and at this point it seems like it’s more of a pipe dream. The Ravens are 7-1 against the Texans in their lifetime, with the only loss coming to the Texans in 2012 at Reliant Stadium. Can magic strike again? Doubtful. The Ravens have a much stronger team.

Minnesota (6-8) at Miami (7-7)

Like the Texans, the Dolphins don’t exactly control their fate in the AFC Wild Card race. The Vikings aren’t exactly a pushover, but I figure this to be an underrated contest of two teams that might change their tune in 2015. Of course, I’ve been wrong before.

Atlanta (5-9) at New Orleans (6-8)

We could spend days looking at the ins and outs of this matchups, but I’ll just go this route: The Saints could be swept by the Falcons and lose their fifth straight game at home. Something has to give. Getting off to a good start in front of the Superdome faithful is imperative.

New England (11-3) at New York Jets (3-11)

A win’s a win, but it was the Titans of all teams that the Jets got their victory against. This game boils down to New England playing at such a strong level, and they have aspirations of having the AFC go through New England in the playoffs. Look for a big win.

Kansas City (8-6) at Pittsburgh (9-5)

Had this game been at Arrowhead, I would have been more inclined to side with the Chiefs. However, the Steelers are sitting high and mighty with the fifth spot in the AFC Playoffs right now. This promises to be a huge battle of top-tier running backs, as Le’Veon Bell is likely to go stride for stride with Jamaal Charles. In the end, Big Ben is a much better quarterback than Alex Smith, and it’ll show for the Steelers.

Dec 14, 2014; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Buffalo Bills defensive end Mario Williams (94) celebrates with defensive end Jerry Hughes (55) after causing a fumble against the Green Bay Packers during the second half at Ralph Wilson Stadium. The Bills beat the Packers 21-13. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay (10-4) at Tampa Bay (2-12)

Will the Packers return to form after their lack of offensive showing last week against the Bills? For starters, they couldn’t have played the Bucs at a better time in the season. As of now, they trail the Lions, so a win is needed to change their Wild Card fortune. Nothing has went right for the Bucs this season, what makes you think it’s going to magically start now?

New York Giants (5-9) at St. Louis (6-8)

The Rams defense may not contain Odell Beckham Jr. on the night, but they’ll still get under Eli Manning’s skin plenty in this contest. Assuming that happens, there’s not much else to say on this game. I’ll take the home guys.

Indianapolis (10-4) at Dallas (10-4)

It’s by far the game of the week in the NFL, in my opinion. Dallas is riding a major high after their huge road victory over the Eagles. A Tony Romo and Andrew Luck shootout sounds perfectly fitting in this contest, and I expect nothing less. I like Luck’s weapon assortment much better, and the fact that DeMarco Murray isn’t remotely 100 percent can’t make me side with the Cowboys.

Buffalo (8-6) at Oakland (2-12)

Buffalo is on upset alert after knocking off the heavily favored Packers last week. I won’t say that they’ll roll to victory, but that defense is playing very strong at the right time. I have a soft spot for the Bills, I think it’s time to break the playoff drought.

Seattle (10-4) at Arizona (11-3)

I know Seattle is good. I know many are going to pick them because of Ryan Lindley. I mean, what chance does this guy have against the Legion of Boom? I’ve picked the Cardinals at home in every single contest, because University of Phoenix Stadium is just a different place than many people give it credit. The team just has a different atmosphere and energy when they play in front of the home crowd. They did lose last year’s matchup, but prior to that they won two in a row over the Seahawks at home, both matches being very close. Call me crazy, I smell an upset (if you even call it that). It’s likely more of siding with the underdog.

Denver (11-3) at Cincinnati (9-4-1)

You might think that the Broncos don’t really care whether they win or lose, but a lot remains at stake with the home field advantage throughout the playoffs being at stake. Did you know the Bengals haven’t beat the Broncos since 2004? Yeah, it’s been that long. Granted, there have only been four matchups since that time period, but Manning and company rallied the last time these two played to win in 2012. The Broncos just pose too many problems offensively, and despite some recent struggles, I believe they’ll turn things back on to remind the Patriots that they are in for a fight in the postseason.

Agree or disagree with our picks? Who do you have as a ‘upset of the week’ candidate?

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