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Dec. 21, 2012

NFL Week Sixteen Predictions

by Jacob Buchholz, Online Sports Editor, Jack Estrin, Online Editor-in-Chief, Michael Gerbasi, Online Sports Editor and Josh Schmidt, Print Sports Editor
Only two weeks left in the regular season and both local teams are battling it out for playoff spots. The Ravens have been sliding after beginning the season 9-2 they have now lost three in a row and must face the Giants and the Bengals with their playoff hopes on the line. The Redskins on the other hand have turned their season around and are now riding a five game win streak. They finish the year against division opponents Philadelphia and Dallas with control of their own fate.

While Jacob has maintained his lead since week five the rest of the standings have been flipped. Jack has blown an early season lead while Michael and Josh have come back from weak starts as they make a final push.

After Griffin III went down with a knee injury, fellow rookie Kirk Cousins stepped up for the Redskins. Courtesy of AP
After Griffin III went down with a knee injury, fellow rookie Kirk Cousins stepped up for the Redskins.
Standings:
Jacob: 151-73
Josh: 145-79
Michael: 144-80
Jack: 139-85


Saturday, December 22, 2012

Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions
Jacob: Falcons
Jack: Falcons
Michael: Falcons
Josh: Falcons

Jacob says:
The Lions' loss to the Cardinals was inexcusable. They must really be as bad as their record suggests.
Jack says:
With the Falcons looking to lock up the number one seed in the NFC, the Lions really won't have a chance. Atlanta proved that they are no joke when they pounded the Giants last week, and Detroit will surely be a much easier task.
Michael says:
Atlanta should be able to contain the Lions' offense and dominate their weak secondary. The Falcons will win this game, no question.
Josh says:
Atlanta showed last week that theyíre capable of being an elite team in the league. On the other sideline is the most disappointing team in the NFL this year. Sorry, Detroit, maybe next year.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Oakland Raiders at Carolina Panthers
Jacob: Panthers
Jack: Panthers
Michael: Panthers
Josh: Panthers

Jacob says:
The Panthers, unlike the Lions, are much better than their record shows. Riding a two game win streak the Panthers are suddenly looking like a dangerous team. It is too little, too late but at least a couple more wins to finish the season would give them a respectable record to finish the year.
Jack says:
Cam Newton appears to have found his groove, only about 16 weeks too late. But the bottom line is, the Newt is on top of his game. Oakland lacks the offensive firepower to keep up with the second year man out of Auburn.
Michael says:
This is a match up of two less than stellar teams. I like Carolina though; Oakland's quarterback play has been horrible, particularly of late. The half-decent Carolina offense should be able to put up points on the Raiders' D.
Josh says:
Cam Newton should have a field day against this weak Raidersí defense. Itíll be easy.

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
Jacob: Dolphins
Jack: Dolphins
Michael: Dolphins
Josh: Dolphins

Jacob says:
The Dolphins should win this divisional battle easily over the awful Bills.
Jack says:
Playing for their playoff lives, I expect Miami to come out victorious in this one. Ryan Tannehill will deliver a signature performance, and carry the Dolphins to a much needed victory.
Michael says:
Miami has been playing better than the Bills as of late. The Buffalo defense has been one of the worst in the NFL while the Miami defense has been not bad at all. I expect the Dolphins to take this one.
Josh says:
Surprisingly enough, the Dolphins are still in playoff contention if everything falls perfectly for them. While I donít see that one happening, they will be able to beat the reeling Bills.

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers
Jacob: Bengals
Jack: Steelers
Michael: Steelers
Josh: Bengals

Jacob says:
Both teams desperately need to win here but the Bengals have the momentum on their side. While the Steelers have lost four of their last five the Bengals have won five of their last six.
Jack says:
At home, Big Ben will deliver a clutch performance to carry Pittsburgh back into the playoff discussion. Although Cincy has looked like the better team the last few weeks, I just can't see the Steelers missing the playoffs. To get into the playoffs, this is a must win for Pittsburgh.
Michael says:
This is a great game with playoff implications. I like Cincinnati, but I like Pittsburgh a little more right now. Big Ben should be fully healthy now and the Steelers' D, with the return of a few key players, should contain the Bengals' offense.
Josh says:
The Steelers are in dismay. I donít know how. This team confuses me so much.

New England Patriots at Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacob: Patriots
Jack: Patriots
Michael: Patriots
Josh: Patriots

Jacob says:
The Patriots' early struggles against San Francisco were surprising but the Jaguars will be a joke.
Jack says:
This one won't be close. All Jaguars' fans can hope for is that the Jags front office finally makes a good decision this off season and picks up Tim Tebow to be the team's starting quarterback next year.
Michael says:
Not even a question hereÖ
Josh says:
If the Jaguars win itíll be the biggest upset since the Patriots lost to the Giants in the Super Bowl. The first time. In 2008.

Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs
Jacob: Colts
Jack: Colts
Michael: Colts
Josh: Colts

Jacob says:
They can't beat the Texans but the Chiefs? Come on.
Jack says:
The Chiefs will not get lucky in this one. The Colts will roll.
Michael says:
Andrew Luck and the Colts should be able to take care of Kansas City. The Colts are simply a better team and are looking to make that final push to the playoffs.
Josh says:
Thereís no shame in losing to Houston, Andrew Luck. The knowledge that Chuck Pagano will be back with them on Christmas will motivate them to win once more for interim coach Bruce Arians.

New Orleans Saints at Dallas Cowboys
Jacob: Saints
Jack: Saints
Michael: Saints
Josh: Saints

Jacob says:
Every time I discount the Saints they come out big. Their 41-0 win against the Buccaneers showed that this is not a team that is just going to roll over. Time for the Saints to play spoilers.
Jack says:
I expect New Orleans to play the spoiler in this one. After thrashing the Bucs last week, the Saints are eager to finish the season at .500. Although the Cowboys need this one to remain a legit playoff contender, they will not get it. The Cowboys will fall, and this might be their head coach's last year in the big D.
Michael says:
After seeing the Saints manhandle their opponents last week, I can't pick them to lose this game. The Cowboys have won 5 of their last 6 games but the Saints have won 6 of their last 7 against Dallas. It will be tough for the Cowboys' D to hold the explosive Saints' offense in check. I like the Saints on the road in Dallas.
Josh says:
Just the Cowboys being the Cowboys. Get the fans excited, get your team in position to get to the playoffs, and then screw everything up. Typical.

Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles
Jacob: Redskins
Jack: Redskins
Michael: Redskins
Josh: Redskins

Jacob says:
The Redskins have their playoff destiny in their own hands. The only question will be whether those hands are RG3's or Kirk Cousins'. Either way, the Redskins will come out on top.
Jack says:
Kirk Cousins or RG3, the Redskins will get the win.
Michael says:
No way the Philadelphia defense can contain RGIII and Alfred Morris. I like the Redskins to roll as long as their defense holds up.
Josh says:
Whether itís Kirk Cousins or Robert Griffin III, the Redskins will win. Looks like itís going to be RG3, so the Eagles better be prepared. Prepared, that is, for their fans to boo them off the field while shouting obscenities.

St. Louis Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Jacob: Buccaneers
Jack: Rams
Michael: Buccaneers
Josh: Buccaneers

Jacob says:
The Buccaneers were whipped last weekóreally badly. They will bounce back big here.
Jack says:
The Bucs looked awful last week, when they were demolished by the Saints. The Rams are still hopeful they can make the playoffs, and that hope will be enough to propel them to victory. That would be bad news for the 49ers if the Rams were able to sneak into this year's postseason.
Michael says:
Despite all of the recent controversy surrounding the Bucs, I like them to take down St. Louis this week. I expect Doug Martin to scorch the Rams' defense; he'll be the X factor in this game.
Josh says:
The Rams wonít be able to win with Sam Bradford throwing the ball 50 times like he did last week. They need to feed Steven Jackson and Daryl Richardson in order to get the running machine going. Jeff Fisher will have to fix that, but for now, the Bucs will win it at home.

San Diego Chargers at New York Jets
Jacob: Jets
Jack: Chargers
Michael: Chargers
Josh: Chargers

Jacob says:
It is the start of a new era for the Jets Ė one that will not be resting on the flimsy shoulders of Mark Sanchez. Instead they will rely on Greg McElroy to guide the to victory in the first start of his career.
Jack says:
Greg McElroy will get a rude awakening in his first NFL start. Although the youngster will surely do better than the Sanchize, it is not McElroy, but Tebow that the Jets need to be considered relevant.
Michael says:
The Jets' quarterback situation is a disaster. Now that Greg McElroy is getting the start, it should make things that much easier for the San Diego defense. I give the Chargers the edge.
Josh says:
These two teams came into the season with enormous expectations and havenít even been able to accomplish one-fifth of them. Both teams are headed towards regime changes. Lost seasons galore in this game.

Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers
Jacob: Packers
Jack: Packers
Michael: Packers
Josh: Packers

Jacob says:
The Packers have worked their way all the way back from their poor start. Now they are not only the favorite in the NFC North but maybe the entire NFC.
Jack says:
Lucky for my fantasy team, Aaron Rodgers should have a field day picking apart the weak Titans' secondary.
Michael says:
The only way the Titans win this game is if Chris Johnson runs for 300 yards and has multiple TD's. This could happen, but it is unlikely. It is far more likely that Aaron Rodgers lights up the Tennessee defense.
Josh says:
Itís really hard to see Tennessee going into Green Bay in late December and beating Aaron Rodgers.

Minnesota Vikings at Houston Texans
Jacob: Texans
Jack: Texans
Michael: Texans
Josh: Texans

Jacob says:
This should be a good game pitting the top two running backs in the league. While Adrian Peterson is likely to win that battle, the Texans will come out on top.
Jack says:
With the Broncos hot on their heels, the Texans need this one to stay ahead of Denver for the number one seed in the AFC. But don't expect the Vikings to give away this one. Adrian Peterson should continue to dominate, and Christian Ponder will play the role of game manager. That being said, Houston is too good to let this one slip away.
Michael says:
I really hope AP reaches the rushing record, but I still like the Texans in this game. Right now, the Vikings' only weapon is Adrian Peterson and I think the Texans' defense is good enough to at least limit him. It has not been the Texans' front seven that has been the problem; it's been the secondary, but that won't be a problem this game with Minnesota's weak passing attack.
Josh says:
Thereís no doubt in my mind that Adrian Peterson will break Eric Dickersonís record. Unfortunately, it doesnít seem like Minnesota will be able to crack into the playoffs as a Wild Card. Christian Ponder must work hard in the off season to improve his game and then the Vikings will be a real contender with a running game and a strong defense.

Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos
Jacob: Broncos
Jack: Broncos
Michael: Broncos
Josh: Broncos

Jacob says:
The Broncos manhandled the Ravens last week. They can deal with the Browns.
Jack says:
The Broncos will dominate at home. The Browns made Kirk Cousins look like Peyton Manning last week. And now they must face Manning.
Michael says:
Cleveland could put up a fight, but Peyton Manning and the Broncos are rolling right now. How many have they won straight? A lot.
Josh says:
If Kirk Cousins could put up 38 points and throw for 329 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Browns, what can Peyton Manning do?

Chicago Bears at Arizona Cardinals
Jacob: Cardinals
Jack: Bears
Michael: Bears
Josh: Bears

Jacob says:
Honestly, there is no game I would less like to watch. This should truly be awful. The Bears are not a good team regardless of what their record says. With luck, the Cardinals can end the Bears' playoff hopes right here.
Jack says:
Both teams are bad right now, but the Cardinals are worse.
Michael says:
I have no idea how Arizona took down the Lions last week, but I can say for sure that won't happen again this week. Jay Cutler and Chicago won't let that happen.
Josh says:
Two teams that started the season strong will now battle it out. Despite the fact that neither has been too hot of late, Chicago is significantly better than Arizona.

New York Giants at Baltimore Ravens
Jacob: Ravens
Jack: Giants
Michael: Ravens
Josh: Giants

Jacob says:
Both of these teams have fallen apart. The Ravens get the advantage as the home team and as the team that did not lose 34-0 last week.
Jack says:
The Giants need this one, so look for them to follow up a dud last week with a dominant performance in Baltimore. The Ravens offense has been borderline awful lately, and I expect the Giants pass rush to rattle Joe Flacco early and often.
Michael says:
The Giants might be the better team, but I still like Baltimore. The Ravens have been one of the best teams at home this season, but have lost their last few home games. I don't think the Ravens let that happen again. They are desperate and will be playing with an edge to clinch their division. The Ravens win this one.
Josh says:
Oh Joe Flacco. Where art thou?

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks
Jacob: Seahawks
Jack: Seahawks
Michael: 49ers
Josh: 49ers

Jacob says:
The Seahawks haven't lost at home all year. I don't care who it's against, I'm sticking with Seattle.
Jack says:
The Seahawks are dominant at home, plus they have Marshawn Lynch. Not even Darren Sharper, one of the most hard hitting safeties in the league can stop Seattle right now. They are hot. Young Collin Kaepernick has never faced a crowd like the 12th man that Seattle brings to the table. Seattle will get the win.
Michael says:
I was very close to picking the Seahawks in this game. It is in Seattle and they are the best home team in the NFL, but if any team can take down Seattle at home, it's San Francisco. They have the league's best defense and proved that last week. I believe that defense comes into Seattle and quiets the crowd. I like the Niners.
Josh says:
Colin Kaepernick led the 49ers to their best game played in the past few years in their win over New England. While the Seattle defense is better than New England's, what Kaepernick showed last week was amazing. He was able to engineer long drives and simply tear up the Patriots.



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