Week 16 – There is finally a week without a Thursday night game, which gives many survivor hopefuls a few extra days to make a selection. However, there is Saturday Night Football this weekend for the only time this season. There are plenty of big favorites, but who is vulnerable in Week 16. Check out the analyses and selections for this upcoming week.
SATURDAY NIGHT GAME
Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions – What a disappointment Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions have been this season. Atlanta still needs to win to clinch the top seed in the NFC so they will still be playing for something. However, it is likely you are without the Falcons in Week 16.
SUNDAY AFTERNOON GAMES
Green Bay (-13) vs. Tennessee
Carolina (-8.5) vs. Oakland
New England (-14.5) at Jacksonville
Indianapolis (-6.5) at Kansas City
Houston (-7.5) vs. Minnesota
Denver (-13) vs. Cleveland
Chicago (-5.5) at Arizona
Clearly you are using the Green Bay Packers if you have them available. It looks like Jordy Nelson could be out again, but Green Bay can get by without him. The same goes for New England and Denver. I would pass on the road teams (Indianapolis and Chicago) if I was able to.
Houston still needs a win to wrap up the No. 1 seed, and this seems like a good week, but Adrian Peterson can put doubt into anyone’s mind. It is probably a non-issue as the Texans shouldn’t be available to you this late in the season.
Lastly, we have the Carolina Panthers playing red-hot football led by Cam Newton. It has not been mentioned post-game, or early this week, about how Newton was banged up with a knee injury during the game. He fought through it, but was noticeably grimacing in pain at times. This would also explain his low rushing totals last week. However, unless you hear something on the injury report after Wednesday, it would be suggested that all systems are full go. Carolina should take care of Oakland at home and should be atop your list of options for Week 16.
After the bigger favorites, there are games that include the Washington Redskins heading into Philadelphia for a game that has a huge impact on the NFC East for everyone except the home team. Kirk Cousins was able to lead Washington to a win in Cleveland, but Philadelphia should fight hard to play spoiler. I would guess Robert Griffin III is going to play this week, but things have been pretty quiet in D.C. Lay off this game.
The New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens are struggling and faceoff in Baltimore this week.
Buffalo at Miami is another close call while San Diego at the New York Jets should be unwatchable.
Dallas has a tough task hosting the New Orleans Saints at home, but it looks like Dez Bryant will still be on the field.
The St. Louis at Tampa Bay game is a tough game to pick as the Buccaneers were slashed on the road last week and Adrian Peterson shredded St. Louis in the Edward Jones Dome. I like teams coming home after getting embarrassed on the road, but I also like Jeff Fisher to regroup his team, especially with Danny Amendola back on the field. Avoid.
Pittsburgh hosts Cincinnati, which in my opinion, is the biggest playoff-like game of the week. A.J. Green had problems last game as Ike Taylor shut him down, but it looks as if Ike will not suit up Sunday. I’ll pick the home team, but hold off.
SUNDAY NIGHT GAME
San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks – San Francisco finds themselves in another Sunday night football game on the road. This is probably the two toughest road tests in the league. A game in New England against Tom Brady in December and another in arguably the toughest place to play in the NFL at Qwest Field. There is not as much juice in this game since the 49ers took care of the Patriots last week, but it will still be fun to watch.
I warned you last week about Detroit going into Arizona. I think Chicago is a bit different as the Bears defense should give Arizona’s offense problems. It was tough to envision Arizona starting 4-0 and then losing 12 straight. The Cardinals avoided that last week so I think the Bears will not have a tough time. However, I am recommending going with the red hot Cam Newton, as long as he is 100 percent (see analysis above), against the Oakland Raiders on the east coast. If you are searching for options other than the big choices (Green Bay, Denver, New England, Houston), then try your luck with the Indianapolis Colts on the road.
Here are my picks for each game (in order of game time):
Carolina* – top pick
New York Giants