Wednesday, December 21, 2011
NFL - Week Sixteen Preview
The Chicago Bears travel north to Green Bay to take on the Packers on the Sunday Night Game, which will be the only game played on Christmas Day.
There are some intriguing games this week as the season winds down to the final two games and this week, Heftyinfo will provide a little more depth with the bigger games along with the capsules and the predictions for all the action.
Jets (8-6) vs. Giants (7-7)
The battle of New York as the Jets and Giants go at it on Saturday with both teams needing a win to maintain a shot at the playoffs.
The Jets (8-6) need a big game from quarterback Mark Sanchez against the depleted Giants secondary, which has been injury riddled since training camp.
Meanwhile, Eli Manning will look to shake off his worst game this season when he was intercepted three times in the loss against the Washington Redskins.
The drama will be there as Jets head Coach Rex Ryan has already put up bulletin board material at the press conference, saying the Jets are not the "little brothers" in New York and basically challenging the Giants to show they are the better team than the Jets.
Denver (8-6) at Buffalo (5-9)
Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos (8-6) will travel to Buffalo to face the Bills, losers of seven straight games. The Broncos lead the league in rushing (averaging 163 yards per game) and will present a big challenge to the Buffalo defense, which struggles against the run, allowing 140 yards a game on the ground.
The Broncos need a win to avoid a Week 17 showdown with Kansas City and former quarterback Kyle Orton, so this is definitely a MUST WIN for the Broncos.
Oakland (7-7) at Kansas City (6-8)
Believe it or not, the Chiefs are still alive for the AFC West title as all four teams in the division can win it in the final two weeks.
The Raiders blew a 13-point lead (at home) last week against the Detroit Lions in the final five minutes of the game while the Chiefs knocked Green Bay off and ended the Packers run at a perfect season with a 19-14 decision.
Quarterback Kyle Orton had 299 yards passing and led the offense on a key fourth quarter drive to ensure that Aaron Rodgers and the Packers would not pull off any late game heroics.
Kansas City shut out Oakland, 28-0 back in late October and will be riding high after last week's big win, while trying to continue to show that interim Head Coach Romeo Crennel deserves to get the job full time.
Philadelphia (6-8) at Dallas (8-6)
The Eagles tore the New York Jets a new one last week, winning 45-19 and now face the Cowboys, a team they beat 34-7 back in Week Eight.
Dallas is coming off a 31-15 triumph at Tampa Bay where Tony Romo had a big game, throwing for three touchdowns while running back Felix Jones stepped up big (over 100 yards on the ground) in DeMarco Murray's absence.
The Eagles will look to exploit the Cowboys' suddenly vulnerable defense as they did two months ago with Michael Vick on the move and looking to hit targets Jeremy Maclin and Brent Celek while running back LeSean McCoy (20 touchdowns and 1,274 yards rushing) looks to continue to do damage against the defense.
Philadelphia comes into this game a very confident team knowing they still have a chance to win the NFC East if they win out and get some help.
San Diego (7-7) at Detroit (9-5)
It's December, here come the Chargers.
The San Diego Chargers are making their annual late season run as the playoffs near, winning three straight as they head to Motown to take on the Lions, who will be looking to clinch their first playoff appearance since the 1999 season.
Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford had a huge game last week in the comeback win at Oakland, hooking up with wide receiver Calvin Johnson for two scores, including the game winner in the final minute.
The duo will need to be ready as the Chargers' defense has been stellar the last three games, including last week when the 'Bolts smacked the Baltimore Ravens, 34-14 on the Sunday Night Football game.
San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers has been on fire in the three wins, throwing seven touchdowns and no interceptions while running back Ryan Mathews has helped to balance the offense on the ground. The second year back topped the 1,000 yard mark last week.
This game should go down to the wire in a high scoring affair that may be decided by who has the football last.
Atlanta (9-5) at New Orleans (11-3)
The Monday Night matchup featuring the NFC South rivals with the division title on the line.
The Saints have been as good as any team in the NFL the past month and QB Drew Brees may set a new passing record in this game, needing 305 yards to break Dan Marino's record of 5,084 passing yards in single season set back in 1984.
The Falcons have been playing well on both sides of the ball and QB Matt Ryan has been steady with Michael Turner churning out the yardage on the ground.
The last time these two teams faced each other, the Saints won in overtime, 26-23 following the Falcons being stopped after going for it on fourth down at their own 29-yard line.
Atlanta Head Coach Mike Smith knows better after that and will have the Falcons ready in the Super Dome as they look to not only clinch a playoff spot with a victory, but also deny the Saints a division title.
The rest of the action follows...
Houston (10-4) at Indianapolis (1-13) - The Thursday Night game ... the Colts looking to make it two in a row on national television. You never know.
Cleveland (4-10) at Baltimore (10-4) - After being blown out on national TV and then getting new life in the AFC North title race with Pittsburgh, look for the Ravens to roll big time in this one.
Tampa Bay (4-10) at Carolina (5-9) - What has happened to the Tampa Bay Bucs? Panthers roll!
Arizona (7-7) at Cincinnati (8-6) - The Bengals really need this one, but the Cards have been rolling hot, knocking off Dallas and San Francisco in their four-game win streak.
Miami (5-9) at New England (11-3) - The Patriots are in the AFC driver's seat going into this game. Look for Brady and company to stay on a roll, despite their weak defense.
St. Louis (2-12) at Pittsburgh (10-4) - Get some rest and take care of that ankle sprain Big Ben.
Jacksonville (4-10) at Tennessee (7-7) - The Titans' playoff chances really took a hit last week, they MUST win this game.
Minnesota (2-12) at Washington (5-9) - Rex Grossman can carve up the Vikings paltry secondary in this one.
San Francisco (11-3) at Seattle (7-7) - Two hot teams facing each other in the Great Northwest... expect a low scoring game with the 49ers winning a close one.
Chicago (7-7) at Green Bay (13-1) - The Packers should win this game rather handily you would think... but this is the NFL's oldest rivalry.
Heftyinfo picks for the week ... (Home teams are listed in BOLD)
Houston over Indianapolis
Baltimore over Cleveland
Buffalo over Denver
Carolina over Tampa Bay
Cincinnati over Arizona
Oakland over Kansas City
New England over Miami
NY Giants over NY Jets
Pittsburgh over St. Louis
Tennessee over Jacksonville
Washington over Minnesota
San Diego over Detroit
Philadelphia over Dallas
San Francisco over Seattle
Green Bay over Chicago
New Orleans over Atlanta
Last Week's Record: 9-7
SEASON RECORD: 140-84