Gerry Dulac's NFL Forecast: Week 16

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Last week: 9-7 (.563)

Season record: 141-83 (.629)

SUNDAY

Steelers (6-8) at Green Bay Packers (7-6-1), 4:25 p.m.

The Skinny: The Packers have managed to stay relevant in the NFC North despite not having Aaron Rodgers for six games because of a broken collarbone. The Steelers will know before the game if they are still mathematically alive for any wild-card possibility, though the reality of the situation set in with the loss to the Dolphins.

Prediction: Packers, 24-21

Miami Dolphins (8-6) at Buffalo Bills (5-9), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The Dolphins have won three in a row and look like a team capable of, if not ready to, take that second wild-card spot. The schedule is in their favor, too, with the Bills and Jets in the final two games.

Prediction: Dolphins, 30-20

New Orleans Saints (10-4) at Carolina Panthers (10-4), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The Saints won the first meeting, 31-13, a couple weeks ago to end the Panthers’ eight-game winning streak and can clinch the NFC South with a victory. Either way, both teams are in a decent spot for the postseason.

Prediction: Panthers, 23-21

Minnesota Vikings (4-9-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (9-5), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The Vikings are 2-1-1 and averaging nearly 31 points in their last four games, but they are the only team in the league without a road victory (0-6-1). The Bengals are unbeaten at home (6-0) and need a win because the Ravens are closing like Alydar in the race for the division title.

Prediction: Bengals, 34-28

Denver Broncos (11-3) at Houston Texans (2-12), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: Did the Chargers expose the Broncos and Peyton Manning last week? Or did Manning just have a bad game at home in the cold? The Broncos still have control of the AFC’s No. 1 seed, while the Texans still have control of the NFL’s worst record and longest losing streak (12).

Prediction: Broncos, 31-20

Tennessee Titans (5-9) at Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The Jaguars have won four of their past six games to escape the AFC basement. The streak included a two-point victory in Tennessee last month. Another loss to the Jaguars and the Titans will occupy the AFC South basement.

Prediction: Jaguars, 28-25

Indianapolis Colts (9-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (11-3), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: The Colts own early-season victories against the league’s best teams – Seahawks, Broncos and 49ers. But, if they want to reclaim their swagger, they need to beat the Chiefs and tighten a defense that has allowed 82 points in the last two road games.

Prediction: Chiefs, 31-28

Cleveland Browns (4-10) at New York Jets (6-8), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: After a 3-2 start, the Browns are staring hard at losing at least 11 games for the sixth year in a row. Ugh. The Jets have lost four of their past five games, but they actually have one of the best home records in the NFL (5-2).

Prediction: Jets, 23-21

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-10) at St. Louis Rams (6-8), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: These are two of the upstart teams in the league. The Rams have scored 42 points against Chicago, 40 against Indy and beat the Saints last week, 27-16. The Bucs have won three of their last five games, but they are 1-5 on the road.

Prediction: Rams, 31-20

Dallas Cowboys (7-7) at Washington Redskins (3-11), 1 p.m.

The Skinny: No team in the league has allowed more points than the Redskins (434)….and they aren’t even the worst defense on the field. The Cowboys rank last against the pass and total defense and are 28th against the run. No lead is safe in this game.

Prediction: Cowboys, 54-51

New York Giants (5-9) at Detroit Lions (7-7), 4:05 p.m.

The Skinny: If the Lions miss the playoffs, and it looks more and more as though they will, they will look back and kick themselves for a second-half collapse at Heinz Field and a 61-yard field goal by the Ravens. Drat those AFC North teams.

Prediction: Lions, 24-21

New England Patriots (9-5) at Baltimore Ravens (8-6), 4:25 p.m.

The Skinny: No team in recent memory has such an uncanny knack for finding ways to win as the Ravens. And they are at it again after beating the Lions with a 61-yard field goal. Consider it done: They will win out and beat the Bengals for the AFC North title.

Prediction: Ravens, 20-17

Arizona Cardinals (9-5) at Seattle Seahawks (12-2), 4:05 p.m.

The Skinny: The Cardinals are one of the surprise teams in the NFC, going from 5-11 to a team in the hunt for a wild-card spot. But that opportunity will take a major hit in Seattle, where the Seahawks are unbeaten and have an average margin of victory of 33-16.

Prediction: Seahawks, 33-16

Oakland Raiders (4-10) at San Diego Chargers (7-7), 4:25 p.m.

The Skinny: The Chargers might run out of games in their bid to grab a wild-card spot, but they certainly appear qualified for the postseason after beating the Broncos, 27-20 – their third victory in the past five games. And their last two games are at home.

Prediction: Chargers, 34-19

Chicago Bears (8-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (8-6), 8:30 p.m.

The Skinny: The Eagles are among the schizophrenic teams in the NFL. How else do you explain winning five in a row then giving up 48 points to the Adrian Peterson-less Vikings? The Bears have won two in a row by averaging 41.5 points.

Prediction: Bears, 34-33

MONDAY

Atlanta Falcons (4-10) at San Francisco 49ers (10-4), 8:30 p.m.

The Skinny: This looked like a good matchup a long time ago, a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship game. But, instead of contending for the Super Bowl, the Falcons are contending for the conference’s worst record.. Don’t look now, but here comes the 49ers.

Prediction: 49ers, 27-9


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