LOS ANGELES, December 21, 2013 — Big players make big plays in big games. John Randall reminds us that “this is when the big dogs come out.” Week 16 features a pair of games where some of the biggest dogs in this quarterback driven league face off.
The rematch of the last two AFC title games takes place when the Patriots take on the Ravens. New England with Tom Brady still has a shot at home field throughout the playoffs, but has struggled the last couple of weeks. Defending champion Baltimore was 4-6, but Joe Flacco has led them to four straight wins. The Ravens can even win their division again. Baltimore got last year’s playoff win in New England, and now the tables are turned.
Meanwhile, the NFC South Division is on the line. Two weeks ago the New Orleans Saints and Drew Brees thrashed the Carolina Panthers and Cam Newton. That game was in the Superdome, and now fans have the rematch in Charlotte. If the Saints win, they win the division and lock up a first round playoff bye. If Carolina wins and wins again next week, they get the division and the bye. The loser of this game will settle for a wildcard and road travel, and even have a slim chance of missing the playoffs altogether.
Tom. Joe. Drew. Cam. Everything on the line, and this is before even mentioning Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson. Here is the NFL 2013 week 16 preview, with point spreads provided by “The Linemakers” and all times EST.
Miami Dolphins (-2.5) at Buffalo Bills—The Dolphins are clinging to playoff life while the Bills are playing for pride. Let’s see how hard Miami plays for Joe Philbin. Dolphins cover
New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers (-3)—Both teams are 10-4, and these teams both play far better at home. Panthers cover
Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals (-7)—The Bengals are slumping and have yet to wrap up the AFC North. Minnesota s fighting hard but Cincinnati should be at home. Bengals win but fail to cover
Denver Broncos (-10.5) at Houston Texans—The Wade Phillips Bowl sees the Broncos still on pace for home field throughout the playoffs and the Texans on pace for the top pick in the 2014 Draft. First meets worst. Broncos win but fail to cover
Tennessee Titans (-5.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars—Neither team is going to the playoffs, but the 0-8 Jaguars won in Tennessee. Seeing them an underdog at home is surprising. Upset special, Jaguars win outright
Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs (-7)—The Colts will in their division while the Chiefs still have a shot at home field throughout the playoffs. The Colts have been unimpressive in recent weeks, and the Chiefs at home are very tough. Chiefs win but fail to cover
Dallas Cowboys (-3) at Washington Redskins—Dallas suffered their biggest collapse in team history, while the Redskins are just miserable. Dallas still can win their division. Jerry Jones and Daniel Snyder may fire coaches and players as part of the halftime ceremony. Cowboys cover
Cleveland Browns at New York Jets (-2.5)—Neither team is going to the playoffs, and outside of Cleveland or New York this game could be unwatchable. Jets cover
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at St. Louis Rams (4.5)—Neither team is going to the playoffs, and the Rams have a nasty defense at home under Jeff Fisher. Rams cover
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks (-11)—Arizona is vastly improved under Bruce Arians and can still make the playoffs, but Seattle is playing for home field throughout the playoffs. Expect Carson Palmer to throw a touchdown pass to the Legion of Boom Seattle defense. Seattle won this game 58-0 in recent years, but this should be closer. Seahawks win but fail to cover
New York Giants at Detroit Lions (-9)—The Lions still have a shot at winning their division, and expect to take it out on the eliminated Giants. Tom Coughlin is all about discipline while Jim Schwartz has an undisciplined team, but the Lions have far more talent. Lions win but fail to cover
New England Patriots at Baltimore Ravens (-2.5)—The Patriots are better, but the Ravens are desperate, on a roll and at home. Even with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed not playing, this will be hard hitting and gritty. Ravens cover
Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers (-10)—San Diego has slim playoff hopes while the Raiders for some reason allow Dennis Allen to keep coaching this team. San Diego could win 100-0, as the Raider Nation is told to be patient. Chargers cover
Pittsburgh Steelers at Green Bay Packers (Pick ‘em)—Aaron Rodgers is still out, but Matt Flynn seems to have found the one stadium in which he can play well enough to win. Green Bay has a shot at the NFC North and will not blow it this week. Packers win
Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles (-3) is the Sunday night game. Both teams have a razor thin lead in their respective divisions. Jay Cutler is back, but Nick Foles should right the ship for the Eagles after a setback last week. Eagles cover
Atlanta Falcons at San Francisco 49ers (-12.5) is the Monday night game. A few years ago these teams were both terrible and playing on Monday Night Football in Week 17. The NFL responded by eliminating MNF in the final week altogether. Sadly this game cannot be canceled, as awful Atlanta travels to get destroyed by a San Francisco team looking for a playoff spot. This was last year’s NFC Title Game in Atlanta, and revenge will not be coming. 49ers cover
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