Gerry Dulac's NFL Forecast: Week 16
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Pigskin picks from the PG's gridiron guru ...
Last week: 10-6 (.625)
Season record: 132-92 (.589)
Carolina Panthers (2-12) at Steelers (10-4), 8:20 p.m., Thursday
The Skinny: Too much is at stake for the Steelers to look past the Panthers, especially after a loss to the Jets that ended their four-game winning streak. Jimmy Clausen will be getting his first look at Dick LeBeau's defense and that is never a good thing for any quarterback, let alone a rookie.
Prediction: Steelers, 34-6
Dallas Cowboys (5-9) at Arizona Cardinals (4-10), 7:30 p.m., Saturday
The Skinny: This was not the season envisioned by the Dallas Cowboys, who had hopes of playing the Super Bowl in their own stadium. But their problems began even before they lost their quarterback. The Cardinals' problems began after they lost their quarterback. Kurt Warner.
Prediction: Cowboys, 34-28
Baltimore Ravens (10-4) at Cleveland Browns (5-9), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The Ravens are like gum on the Steelers' shoe because, no matter how hard you try, you just can't get rid of them. They have a chance to finish 12-4, too, because they get the Bengals after the Browns.
Prediction: Ravens, 20-17
New York Jets (10-4) at Chicago Bears (10-4), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The Bears clinched the NFC North title with their Monday night victory against the Jets, but still have a shot at a first-round bye. The Jets are tied with the Steelers for the best road record in the league (6-1) after their win at Heinz Field.
Prediction: Bears, 17-14
New England Patriots (12-2) at Buffalo Bills (4-10), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: The Bills have won two in a row for the second time this season after ending Miami's wild-card hopes. But that won't matter against the Patriots, who still haven't clinched anything more than a wild-card spot despite the AFC's best record.
Prediction: Patriots, 30-20
Tennessee Titans (6-8) at Kansas City Chiefs (9-5), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: If Mike Tomlin isn't coach of the year, Todd Haley of the Chiefs should be. And don't snicker when someone votes for Chiefs QB Matt Cassel as offensive player of the year. The Chiefs play their final two at home, where they are unbeaten (6-0).
Prediction: Chiefs, 34-20
Washington Redskins (5-9) at Jacksonville Jaguars (8-6), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: There won't be any wild-card spots coming out of the AFC South, which is why the Jaguars' loss to the Colts last week was so debilitating. They could have clinched the division title with a win. Now they need help from the Raiders.
Prediction: Jaguars, 30-17
Detroit Lions (4-10) at Miami Dolphins (7-7), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: Gads, a team that couldn't win on the road for three years against a team that can't win at home. The Lions ended their 26-game road skid with a victory in Tampa. Can they do it again in Florida against the Dolphins, who are a league-worst 1-6 at home?
Prediction: Lions, 24-23
San Francisco 49ers (5-9) at St. Louis Rams (6-8), 1 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: It is almost incredulous, perhaps embarrassing, to think the 49ers can still win the division title despite their record. But, to do so, they have to overcome their problems on the road (1-6) and beat the Rams. Nah.
Prediction: Rams, 31-21
Houston Texans (5-9) at Denver Broncos (3-11), 4:05 p.m., Sunday
The Texans once had their eye on a division title before a three-game losing streak ended that silly notion. The Broncos never did, and we offer their current five-game losing streak as proof.
Prediction: Broncos, 9-5
San Diego Chargers (8-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-11), 4:05 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: It will be difficult for the Chargers to catch the Chiefs, who play their final two games at home. And the Chargers play their final two on the road, where they are 2-4.
Prediction: Chargers, 24-17
Indianapolis Colts (8-6) at Oakland Raiders (7-7), 4:05 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: Despite all the injuries, the Colts can win the AFC South title with victories in their final two games. But that's easier said than done against the Raiders, who are 5-2 at home and can do the very thing the Colts can't stop -- run the ball.
Prediction: Raiders, 31-28
Seattle Seahawks (6-8) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6), 4:15 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: With parity rampant around the NFL, mediocrity exists in the NFC West. Imagine if the 49ers beat the Rams and the 'Hawks lose in Tampa, three 6-9 teams will be tied for the division lead.
Prediction: Buccaneers, 28-17
New York Giants (9-5) at Green Bay Packers (8-6), 4:15 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: It will be difficult, and highly unlikely, if the Giants recover from blowing that 31-10 fourth-quarter lead against the Eagles. That was a whole lot worse than the Packers failing to hold on to their 17-7 lead in New England.
Prediction: Packers, 31-24
Minnesota Vikings (5-9) at Philadelphia Eagles (10-4), 8:20 p.m., Sunday
The Skinny: Anyone who doesn't think the Vikings have quit on their season because of Brett Favre is either terribly na??ve or president of the Brett Favre fan club. That's what happens when one player is given preferential treatment. Prediction: Eagles, 51-9
New Orleans Saints (10-4) at Atlanta Falcons (12-2), 8:30 p.m., Monday
The Skinny: This game would have had even more sugar if the Saints didn't lose to the Ravens, giving the Falcons a two-game cushion in the NFC South. The Saints still have a chance to win the division, but the Falcons have their final two games at home, where they are 6-0.
Prediction: Falcons, 34-31
First Published December 23, 2010 12:00 am