Steelers Will Win AFC North; Texans and Titans will Stay Tied in AFC South
Fikkle Fame’s NFL Predictions for December 22nd to 26th, 2016
Ho Ho Ho! It’s Christmas Weekend, and there’s plenty of NFL action mixed in with all the other festivities. While most of the games are on Christmas Eve, Saturday, there are two important matchups on Christmas Day afternoon and evening to keep Santa entertained after he makes his rounds.
Game of Thursday December 22nd
New York Giants (10-4) at Philadelphia (5-9). Giants favored by 2 ½. A win here will clinch the top Wild Card in the NFC for the Giants. The Eagles are 4-2 at home, but overall they’ve fallen over a cliff the last month and have lost five in a row. Giants 23 Eagles 14.
Games of Saturday December 24th
Miami (9-5) at Buffalo (7-7). Bills favored by 3 ½. Buffalo has only one victory over a team with a winning record, and the Bills have lost once already to Miami. Dolphins 26 Bills 21.
New York Jets (4-10) at New England (12-2). Patriots favored by 16 ½. That’s an enormous spread by NFL standards, but the Patriots are playing very well and have won five in a row, and are on a mission for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Jets are the Jets. Patriots 35 Jets 17.
Tennessee (8-6) at Jacksonville (2-12). Titans favored by 4 ½. Tennessee is tied with Houston for the AFC South lead and is coming off a huge win at Kansas City, while Jacksonville lost by just one point to the Texans. The Titans are playing with confidence now and will top the Jaguars, setting up a huge regular season finale vs. the Texans in Nashville next week. Titans 24 Jaguars 16.
Cincinnati (5-8-1) at Houston (8-6). Texans favored by 1. Houston’s expensive Brock Osweiler experiment at quarterback is coming to a close, at least for now. He was replaced by Tom Savage during last week’s win over Jacksonville, and the team announced Savage will be starting this Saturday. Houston will keep pace with the Titans by beating the Bengals, who have been eliminated from post season contention in a very disappointing year for Cincinnati. Texans 26 Bengals 23.
Minnesota (7-7) at Green Bay (8-6). Packers favored by 6 ½. With the score tied last Sunday in Green Bay’s game at Chicago, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers wrote another chapter in his legacy by firing a 60 yard pass completion to Jordy Nelson with seconds remaining, setting up the winning field goal. The Vikings lost big at home to Indianapolis last Sunday (34-6), and the Lions lost to the Giants. What this means is that Green Bay wins the NFC North if the Packers beat the Vikings and Lions in the final two games of the regular season. Green Bay has won four in a row, and a victory here would eliminate the Vikings from the NFC North championship, and all but eliminate them from a post season berth of any kind. Packers 27 Vikings 17.
San Diego (5-9) at Cleveland (0-14). Chargers favored by 6. Maybe the winter weather in Cleveland will be the edge the Browns need to beat the guys from Southern California and get that first win of the season. We’re kidding of course. San Diego 42 Cleveland 21.
Washington (7-6-1) at Chicago (3-11). Redskins favored by 3. Washington is fighting for a Wild Card berth and should beat the Bears. However, Chicago made a nice, though ultimately unsuccessful comeback against the Packers, and is adjusting well to Matt Barkley at quarterback. All three Bears victories have come at Soldier Field, and we think Chicago can close out the home schedule with an upset. Bears 24 Redskins 21.
Atlanta (9-5) at Carolina (6-8). Falcons favored by 2 ½. With the Panthers playing fairly well the last two weeks, we could see this one as an upset, but Atlanta is also playing well, and beat the Panthers earlier this year. The Falcons are also 5-2 on the road, and will pick up another road victory here. Falcons 34 Panthers 28.
Indianapolis (7-7) at Oakland (11-3). Raiders favored by 3 ½. Indianapolis was impressive in its win at Minnesota, but the Raiders are on a quest to get a first round bye in the playoffs. Raiders 31 Colts 24.
Tampa Bay (8-6) at New Orleans (6-8). Saints favored by 3. The Buccaneers have a 5-2 road record and need this one to have a reasonable shot at the playoffs, though they still have a chance even w with a loss. Tampa Bay beat the Saints just two weeks ago at home, and will win again. Buccaneers 33 Saints 28.
Arizona (5-8-1) at Seattle (9-4-1). Seahawks favored by 8 ½. The Seahawks, who have clinched the NFC West, have been inconsistent this season but they are undefeated at home, and are the only team with a perfect home record. They’ll keep that record intact. Seahawks 31 Cardinals 21.
San Francisco (1-13) at Los Angeles (4-10). Rams favored by 3 ½. San Francisco shutout Los Angeles 28-0 in Week 1 of the season, but the 49ers haven’t won since. The Rams haven’t been much better lately and have lost nine of ten. Both teams are not only losing, they’re getting blown out in the process. Normally, with all things being equal we’d go with the home team in one of these battles of futility, but the Rams are just 1-5 at home, so we’ll take the 49ers to beat L.A. a second time. (Actually, if we really were in Vegas betting on football, we’d run away from a game like this one). 49ers 24 Rams 14.
Games of Sunday December 25th
Baltimore (8-6) at Pittsburgh (9-5). Steelers favored by 4 ½. Pittsburgh has won five in a row, and the Ravens are just 2-4 on the road. The Steelers will win the AFC North title with a victory over the Ravens, and so it shall be. Steelers 28 Ravens 20.
Denver (8-6) at Kansas City (10-4). Chiefs favored by 4. The Chiefs were upset at home by the Colts last week, but that won’t happen again this week as the fading Broncos’ post season hopes are essentially crushed. Chiefs 24 Broncos 20.
Game of Monday December 26th
Detroit (9-5) at Dallas (12-2). Cowboys favored by 7. Detroit has beaten just one team (Washington) that currently has a .500 record. Dallas has handled everyone not named the Giants, and although QB Dak Prescott has cooled down a bit, the Cowboys will beat the Lions anyway. Cowboys 27 Lions 17.