Editor Stephen Rhodes’ Picks – Week 16

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Fred Taylor
Week 15: 8-7-0
Overall: 96-84-3

I went a shade over .500 during Week 15; expect that to improve this week. Here are your winning picks for Week 16:

Pittsburgh (-7.5) at St. Louis

I expect the Steelers to rebound from the embarrassing loss at home last week. Willie Parker should be able to run through that porous Rams run defense for at least 120 and 2 touchdowns. I’m not convinced that after this loss to Pittsburgh that Rams head coach Scott Linehan’ job is as safe as people make it out to be. Pittsburgh by at least 10.

Dallas at Carolina (+10)

There’s no way that the Cowboys go from losing to the Eagles to losing to the Panthers in consecutive weeks. Despite all that you hear about Jessica Simpson being the reason the Cowboys lost last week, I’ll say this – even Romo can have a bad week. I think Romo will pick it up this week, but at the same time, I like the Panthers’ chances of keeping the game close, with DeAngelo Williams rushing for 90-100 and a TD. Dallas wins but by closer to 7.

Cleveland (-3) at Cincinnati

Cleveland wins this one easily for at least this reason – Jamal Lewis is hungry (read: it’s a contract year). And the Bengals’ offensive line is the buffet table. Look for between 135-150 yards and a TD from Jamal this week. Derek Anderson should do well against the Bengals’ secondary. Cleveland should win by at least 7 and also get a playoff berth, as well (since 10 usually gets you in).

Green Bay (-6.5) at Chicago

I don’t expect this game to be high-scoring at all; if anything it will be a game of attrition. Lots of defense to go around, but I like the chances of the Packers LB corps doing some damage. The Super Bowl hangover has its grip on the Bears’ heads. Green Bay by 7.

Houston at Indianapolis (-7.5)

The RCA Dome in and of itself, gives the Colts at least 3 points to work with. I think the Colts will do what they always do – and that is business as usual. I think the Colts are saving Harrison for the playoffs; fortunately they have a nice replacement in Anthony Gonzalez. Manning should be able to exploit the Texans’ secondary this week. Also expect the Colts pass rush to record at least 4 sacks. Indianapolis by 14.

Kansas City at Detroit (-4.5)

Both teams are sinking fast, so if anything this game is for draft positioning. I expect Kevin Jones to do well against the Chiefs’ D-line this week and the Lions’ defense to intercept 3 passes – at least. The Lions win by 6.

Miami at New England (-21.5)

I don’t think it is a matter of who wins insomuch as what the winning margin will be. It doesn’t help the Fins any that Bill Parcells is in the front office, which should put additional pressure on the team. No matter – the Pats will methodically beat down the Dolphins. This show’s over, run along – nothing to see here. New England by 24.

New York Giants at Buffalo (PICK’EM)

The weather may or may not factor into this game at all; however, I like the Giants’ chances this week as their running game should succeed agaisnt the Bills’ run defense. Also expect 4 or 5 sacks from the Giants D-line, as well. Giants win this one by at least 10.

Oakland at Jacksonville (-13)

The scheduling gods sure don’t like Oakland in the month of December – first they lose to the Colts and now they have to face the Jaguars. Look for efficient passing from quarterback David Garrard and a decent effort from both Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew on the ground this week. Jacksonville wins by the narrowest of point spread margins – 14.

Philadelphia at New Orleans (-3)

A tough game to call, believe it or not. It’s just so hard to say which version of the Saints will show up this week. Despite that, I don’t it will be that high scoring a game as most people would think. But I think that the Saints defense will come up big against McNabb and to a degree, special teams will figure into the outcome. New Orleans wins by 5.

Washington at Minnesota (PICK’EM)

This game, like the Philadelphia-New Orleans game, is tough to gauge. But one thing is for certain, the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson should do well, rushing for around 120-130 yards and a TD. And I also think the Vikings’ secondary will pick it up a notch against the Redskins’ Todd Collins. As I said in one of my previous columns, there is a reason that Collins is a career backup QB in this league. This game will just verify that. Minnesota wins this one easily.

Atlanta at Arizona (-10.5)

The Sominex Game of the Week. The Cards’ Edgerrin James should have a field day against the Falcons’ D-line this week – somewhere around 130-140 and 2 TD’s. QB Kurt Warner will do ok, but then again he won’t have to work as hard this week. Arizona wins by 14.

Baltimore at Seattle (-9)

Baltimore has absolutely nothing to play for this season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Troy Smith once again make an appearance at QB for the Ravens this week. Expect Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck to throw for around 280-295 yards and 2 TD’s. Seattle wins this one handily.

New York Jets at Tennessee (-9)

Tennessee will win this one easily on the arm and legs of Vince Young. The Titans defense will be stout enough to where the Jets will be lucky to score 10 points this week. Note to the Jets – during the 2008 draft, get a running back, ok? Titans win by 13.

Tampa Bay at San Francisco (+7)

My upset pick of the week. If the 49ers could just have a passing game, they’d be players in the NFC West. This week though, expect Frank Gore to do well on the ground and the 49ers’ linebacking corps to blitz early and often. Tampa QB Jeff Garcia will not do that well (maybe because he used to play here?) as he will be lucky to throw for 175 this week. 49ers win by 4 in an upset.

Denver (+9) at San Diego

Now that San Diego has sewn up the AFC Worst West, I, for some reason, expect a slight letdown by the Chargers. Denver will put up a valiant effort, but it probably will not be enough as Philip Rivers should rebound this week. San Diego wins, but by only a TD.

Good luck in your picks and from the staff of NFL GRIDIRON GAB, happy holidays!!

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