Saturday, December 22, 2012

NFL - Week Sixteen Preview

With four spots in the AFC playoffs race and three more in the NFC race already determined, there really isn't too much drama in store this weekend as the Christmas Holiday relegates the NFL action to just one game on Saturday night (Atlanta at Detroit) and the rest of the action on Sunday.
The Monday Night Football games are over with for the 2012 season, which is different from back in 2007 when there was one on Christmas Eve that season featuring the infamous game between San Diego and Denver when Chargers' quarterback Philip Rivers and several other teammates taunted then Broncos' QB Jay Cutler from the sidelines late in the game with the Chargers well ahead and on their way to clinching the AFC West division crown.
My how things have changed since then as the Broncos now have Peyton Manning at quarterback and have run away with the division title this year. Cutler of course, now plays with the Chicago Bears as they seek to claim a "wild card" spot in the NFC playoffs.
The Broncos (11-3) are looking to earn a first round bye with their tenth straight win as they host the Cleveland Browns. They have no doubt been the hottest AFC team going this season. In the NFC, the Seattle Seahawks have suddenly caught fire and are 9-5 behind rookie QB Russell Wilson, who has been largely ignored in Rookie of the Year talk behind RG3 (Robert Griffin III of Washington) and Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts.
These three rookie signal callers have their respective teams on target for the playoffs.
Some of the other intriguing things of the 2012 season have been the disappointments of teams such as the New York Jets (6-8) and San Diego Chargers (5-9), who face each other in a "who cares" game this weekend.
The game was scheduled to be the prime time Sunday Night Football matchup, but with these two squads stinking it up the game was bumped and "flexed" in will be the huge NFC West division matchup between the San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1) and the Seattle Seahawks (9-5)  in the great Northwest.
Along with the big game in Seattle will be the Pittsburgh Steelers hosting the Cincinnati Bengals for a shot at the wild card in the AFC playoffs. The Steelers are 7-7 and MUST WIN this one while the Bengals (8-6) will attempt to lock down the sixth and final playoff seed if they can get the win.
The following offers a capsule style look at the action  for Week 16 with the Heftyinfo picks following.

Atlanta (12-2) at Detroit (4-10) -  The Falcons lock up "home field" advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a win. Enough said.

Chicago (8-6) at Arizona (5-9) - The Bears are who we thought they were.

Tennessee (5-9) at Green Bay (10-4) - If the Packers lose this one, they ought to just pack it in and go home 'til next year.

Indianapolis (9-5) at Kansas City (2-12) - When the schedule was released, most people would have thought these two teams records would be reversed coming into this game. Surprise!

New Orleans (6-8) at Dallas (8-6) - Saints playing the spoiler role this weekend.

Minnesota (8-6) at Houston (12-2) - Two teams vying for post-season positioning as the Texans D attempts to slow down Vikes' RB Adrian Peterson.

Oakland (4-10) at Carolina (5-9) - Who cares?

Buffalo (5-9) at Miami (6-8) - The Dolphins are still "mathematically" alive for the AFC playoffs. Yeah, right!

Cincinnati (8-6) at Pittsburgh (7-7) - The game of the week in the AFC. Take the Steelers.

New England (10-4) at Jacksonville (2-12) - Sometimes games like this can be a total surprise. The Patriots don't like surprises.

Washington (8-6) at Philadelphia (4-10) - RG3 is expected back this week Redskins fans.

St. Louis (6-7-1) at Tampa Bay (6-8) - Yawn.

San Diego (5-9) at New York Jets (6-8) - See above comment.

Cleveland (5-9) at Denver (11-3) - Peyton Manning and company will not be denied their tenth consecutive win.

New York Giants (8-6) at Baltimore (9-5) - Both of these teams are reeling at this point of the season. What gives?

San Francisco (10-3-1) at Seattle (9-5) - The game of the week in the NFC. It's a toss up that will feature two very good defenses.

The Heftyinfo predictions for this week's games  . . .     (Home teams are listed in BOLD)

Atlanta over Detroit
Chicago over Arizona
Green Bay over Tennessee
Indianapolis over Kansas City
New Orleans over Dallas
Houston over Minnesota
Carolina over Oakland
Miami over Buffalo
Pittsburgh over Cincinnati
New England over Jacksonville
Washington over Philadelphia
Tampa Bay over St. Louis
San Diego over New York Jets
Denver over Cleveland
New York Giants over Baltimore 
San Francisco over Seattle 

Last Week's Record:  10-6

SEASON RECORD:  136-87-1

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