Site Editor Matt Loede’s NFL Picks for Week 16

Aaron Stecker vs the Cards last week 

Last week’s 9-6 mark sits me at 123-88-2 for what’s been an exciting 2007 season. With one week to go, here are my picks for the remainder of the week, starting 1-0 with the Steelers win on Thursday.

Dallas (-10.5) at Carolina

The Cowboys hit a bump in the road last week, losing at home to the Eagles. The bigger problem right now might not be Jessica Simpson, but the thumb of Tony Romo. The Panthers have a slim shot at the playoffs, and kept that alive with a win over the Seahawks Sunday. Look for Dallas to get back to form, as the Panthers simply don’t have the firepower to keep up with them. Hopefully for Dallas they can run better to take the pressure off of Romo. Dallas 27 Carolina 13

New York Giants (-3) at Buffalo

The noose around the Giants neck is getting tighter after another loss last week, this time falling to the Redskins at home to drop to 9-5. After a 6-2 start they have gone 3-3 in their last six, and are falling into that same second half slump they do every year. As for the Bills, they are out of the playoffs, but want to end the season on an up note and can do it with wins over the Giants and Philly. Look for a steady diet of Marshawn Lynch, and some inspired ball as it’s being reported that TE Kevin Everett may be at the game. The Giants appear to be playing not to lose, and that’s not good. Buffalo 17 NY Giants 14

Green Bay (-6.5) at Chicago

Always a high-emotion matchup, the Bears have nothing to play for while the Pack is looking to keep the heat on the Cowboys for the #1 seed. The Bears last week hung in with the Vikings, but as usual a late turnover did them in. The Pack exploded in the second half to punish the Rams, and look for them to do that again this week. Green Bay also wants a little revenge for an earlier 27-20 loss in week five at home. Look for Favre and company to have a big day vs a Bears team that wants forget this season ever happened. Green Bay 28 Chicago 13

Cleveland (-3) at Cincinnati

The Browns can clinch a playoff spot with a win, and they’d like nothing better than to do it in Cincinnati vs the rival Bengals. The Browns have been impressive on the ground as of late, as Jamal Lewis seems to be running better than ever. The Bengals just want to get 2007 over with, as they are 5-9 and lost last week to the awful 49’ers. If Cincy is to keep it close, they need to go downfield and use more Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh vs the Browns secondary. It’ll likely be close, because all Browns game seem that way. Cleveland 27 Cincinnati 23

Kansas City at Detroit (-4.5)

Two of the biggest letdowns of the NFL season meet at Ford Field Sunday, as the 4-10 Chiefs take on the 6-8 Lions. Both teams are mired in bad losing streaks, 7 in a row for KC and 6 in a row for Detroit. Earlier when the Lions were 6-2, they were putting up big days in the air and on the ground, and forcing turnovers. They may be able to do that again vs a Chiefs team that is allowing 324 yards per game. KC led 17-13 last week vs the Titans before falling apart. Look for the Lions to finally get a win in front of what’s left of the home faithful. Detroit 17 Kansas City 13

Houston at Indianapolis (-7)

Interesting game from the standpoint that the Colts really have nothing to play for other than to stay sharp. They have won the South, have the #2 seed locked up, and can’t leap to the #1 seed. So what do you do? Well, you have to play, as Tony Dungy learned two years ago as the #1 seed that to sit guys too long makes them stale for the playoffs. So look for Indy to do what they always do – throw the ball around the field, hit some big plays, and beat a game Texans team that has won two straight. Indianapolis 29 Houston 17

Oakland at Jacksonville (-13)

It’s official – the Jags are good. Last week vs the Steelers they did what they wanted, and despite it being a 22-22 game late, they were able to march right down the field and get the winning score with just over 2 minutes left. Fred Taylor will now have a major chip on his shoulder after the Pro Bowl snub, and against a Raiders team that allows 143 yards per game on the ground, look out. JaMarcus Russell will get the most amount of work he’s seen this season, and he’ll be introduced quickly to the harsh reality of the NFL. Jacksonville 34 Oakland 10

Miami at New England (-21.5)

The Dolphins hang over from their win last week will quickly be forgotten this week as they meet a team that is headed for 16-0. The Pats should be able to do what they want, build a big lead and then be able to play some of the backups by the fourth quarter. The Dolphins will not have much of an answer for what the Pats want to do. Look for very little offense from the Fins, and plenty of it from New England. New England 37 Miami 6

Philadelphia at New Orleans (-3.5)

The Saints have turned the season around as best they could, and they still have a shot at the postseason with two games left. They started 0-4, and since have gone 7-3 to make it interesting down the stretch. The Eagles are done, as the Vikings win Monday night eliminates them from any shot at the postseason. They did play inspired ball last week vs the Cowboys, but may have a letdown here. Look for the Saints to continue to keep marching, as they do what they can to try and squeeze out the last NFC wild card. New Orleans 23 Philadelphia 16

Atlanta at Arizona (-10.5)

Two teams that will be out of the postseason do battle in Glendale. The Cards were at one point 5-5, but since have dropped 3 of 4 to end any postseason hopes. They will get their 7th win here though, as the Falcons are just awful. The team will be imploded this offseason with a new coach coming in, and likely lots of new players. The Cardinals should have success throwing the football, and even though they have dropped their last two, they have scored 21 and 24 points in those games. That would be more than enough here. Arizona 31 Atlanta 16

Baltimore at Seattle (-9)

The Ravens broke the hearts of those that wanted to see the Fins go winless last week with their OT loss to the Dolphins. They have dropped 8 straight, and this week in Seattle, a tough place to win, they will go with rookie QB Troy Smith. The Hawks had a setback in Carolina last week, but really shouldn’t have many problems solving what the Ravens throw at them. Look for Matt Hasslebeck and the running game to get back on track. Seattle 27 Baltimore 10

New York Jets at Tennessee (-9)

Chad Pennington back under center for the Titans, and while Eric Mangini wants Kellen Clemens in there, Pennington may give the Jets the best shot to win this week. The Titans by the time the game kicks off may know if they have anything to play for, as a Browns win in the early game and they are done for the postseason. Tennessee at home usually plays it close to the vest, and should here against a Jets team that last week hung in with the Pats losing 20-10. Look for a few more plays from the Titans D, and for them to win if they need it or not. Tennessee 19 NY Jets 13

Tampa Bay (-7) at San Francisco

The Bucs have won the NFC South, wrapping up a worst to first story in 2007. They should be able to move to 10-5 here, as the 49’ers, coming off a win vs Cincy, will not have the same degree of success on offense they did a week ago. Shaun Hill is a nice story, and he will get a shot to show what he can do the last two weeks of the season. Look for Tampa Bay to do what they do best, run the ball and use plenty of play action. The difference here is the Bucs defense, as they should hold Frank Gore and Hill in check. Tampa Bay 17 San Francisco 7

Washington at Minnesota (-6.5)

How could you not love how the young Vikings have turned their season around?! This gritty team is doing it any way they can, as last week they struggled, but pulled out a win vs the Bears at home. This week the Skins are in town, and both teams are still in the NFC Playoff picture. The Vikings boast a great 1-2 running attack, putting up 169.6 yards per game, while allowing 69 yards per contest. The story will be if the Skins can stop them, and I just don’t see it. Sure the Skins stopped the Giants, but the weather was a huge factor. Won’t be here, as the Vikings continue their march to the postseason. Minnesota 24 Washington 20

Denver at San Diego (-9)

The Chargers want to stay in that #3 slot in the playoffs, getting a home game and a likely first round game vs either the Browns or Steelers. They won’t hurt their chances here, as they will be able to take care of business on Christmas Eve vs Denver. The Broncos, losers in Houston last Thursday, have too many holes on defense, and scored just 13 at Houston last week on offense. Look for another Chargers win, as they look to rest easy with the #3 seed in the AFC. San Diego 31 Denver 20

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