NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 16

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Minnesota @ New Orleans (-7)

The Saints lost 32-29 to the visiting Chiefs in the Superdome. Drew Brees struggled early before finding his form late in the loss.

"Drew certainly was not anywhere near 100%," Sean Payton said. "Nor was his completion percentage. But neither was Tom Dempsey's right foot, and he made what is arguably the greatest kick in NFL history. My point: Drew can still excel although he may not be at full capacity."

The Vikings lost to the visiting Bears, 33-27, a result that all but ended Minnesota's playoff chances. As has often been the case, Minnesota's offense was effective, but the defense was unable to provide any support.

"I firmly believe," Mike Zimmer said, "that if you combined this offense with a good defense, we'd still have the same record."

Saints win, 30-25.

Tampa Bay @ Detroit (+7½)

The Bucs stormed back in the second half to beat the Falcons 31-27 in Atlanta. Tampa trailed 17-0 at the half, but roared back behind Tom Brady and Leonard Fournette.

"Matt Ryan blowing another lead to Tom Brady?" Brady said. "I guess that would be called 'Deja II.'

"Antonio Brown had his first TD as a Buc. Up until that point, this offense had done something that no one thought possible, which is keeping Antonio Brown quiet. And had we lost in Atlanta, we all would have felt like throwing our furniture onto the street."

The Lions lost 45-29 to the Titans and fell to 5-9. Tennessee got 5 total touchdowns from Ryan Tannehill.

"Our record may not be impressive, Dareell Bevell said, "but our toughness is. Center Frank Ragnow fractured his throat in the first quarter against Green Bay two weeks ago and played the rest of the game. That is impressive. Even more impressive — he's still a better singer than Ted Nugent."

Bucs win, 31-20.

Miami @ Las Vegas (+2½)

The Raiders lost 30-27 to the Chargers in overtime at Allegiant Stadium on Thursday night. Derek Carr left the game in the first quarter with a left groin injury.

"We'll diligently monitor Derek's progress towards recovery," Jon Gruden said. "Trust me, here in Vegas, Derek's is certainly not the inner thigh I'd most like to be viewing, but you've got to do what the job calls for.

"Defensively, we have to be much better. We're getting burned everywhere on the field. I think my guys just need a boost of confidence. So I took them to the Al Davis Memorial Torch and said, 'Now, you've all been 'torched' someplace other than on the field.' I think that should make them feel better."

The Dolphins beat the Patriots, 22-12, as Miami rushed for 208 yards and 3 touchdowns.

"It feels great to beat the Patriots," Brian Flores said. "It doesn't even matter that this is not a Patriot powerhouse. In fact, it's likely Bill Belichick's worst Patriot team. Not to brag, but you could say we 'slayed the dragon,' if the dragon vaped instead of breathing fire.

"We can also take satisfaction in not only beating the Patriots, but in also knowing that we eliminated them from the postseason. New England's reign in the AFC East is over. So, there's a new deputy in town, because the Bills must be the sheriff."

Dolphins win, 27-18.

San Francisco @ Arizona (-3½)

The 49ers lost to the Cowboys 41-33 in Dallas as San Fran suffered its third straight loss. The 49ers were officially eliminated from the postseason.

"We were officially eliminated from the postseason," Kyle Shanahan said. "Honestly, I can't wait for the 'post season.' We've just been decimated by injuries and it's really ruining my holiday spirit. Heck, I sent a list to Santa Claus, but it was our injury list."

The Cardinals beat the visiting Eagles, 33-26, as Kyler Murray accounted for 4 touchdowns.

"What a battle between Kyler and Jalen Hurts," Kliff Kingsbury said. "Hurts matched Kyler with 4 TD's of his own. It looks like the Eagles are pretty well set for the future at QB. I'm sire that's never been said before.

"Kyler may be short by typical NFL quarterback standards, but he succeeds because of his work ethic. Kyle and his 5'10" stature live by the motto of 'Iimpin' ain't easy.'"

Cardinals win, 28-17.

Cleveland @ NY Jets (+10½)

The Jets shocked the Rams 23-20 at SoFi Stadium, winning for the first time this season. The New York defense slowed the potent Rams offense, while the offense had no turnovers.

"We fell from the No. 1 pick in the draft," Adam Gase said. "But I guess that's the price of success.

"Trevor Lawrence was so close I could taste him. And it's statements like that that make it totally understandable why Lawrence would not want to play here.

"Hopefully, we'll eventually have the No. 1 pick and Lawrence will actually agree to play here. In the event he refuses to, we'll have plenty of trade suitors wanting that pick. Luckily, we've already trademarked the 'New York Draft Exchange' name."

The Browns beat the Giants 20-6 on Sunday night to improve to 10-4, one game behind the Steelers in the AFC North. Baker Mayfield passed for 297 yards and 2 touchdowns.

"It was good to see Freddie Kitchens again," Mayfield said. "Especially on the opponent's sideline calling their plays.

"It's starting to look like we may be the best team in the AFC North. The Steelers used to be, but their season is starting to go downhill, and certainly not downfield. Have you seen their offense lately? Neither have they."

Browns win, 27-22.

Denver @ L.A. Chargers (-3)

The Bills demolished the Broncos 48-19 in Denver on Saturday night. Josh Allen torched the Broncos for 359 yards and 2 passing scores, and also added 2 rushing scores.

"Allen is a once in a lifetime quarterback," Vic Fangio said. "Drew Lock is the same, because I'd only want to experience a quarterback like him once in my lifetime."

The Chargers knocked off the Raiders 30-27 in overtime on Thursday. Justin Herbert passed for 2 touchdowns, and won the game with a one-yard plunge with 1:29 left in overtime.

"Justin set a rookie record with his seventh 300-yard passing game," Anthony Lynn said. "And he tied Baker Mayfield's rookie record of 27 TD passes. Justin will surely break that record. Does that mean he'll get his own insurance commercial series co-starring his wife/girlfriend and groundskeeper/sidekick?

"Now, Justin has a very bright future. Unfortunately, I probably won't be around to see it. But I'll depart knowing my pain and suffering had a lot to do with Justin's success. In short, Marty Schottenheimer invented 'Marty Ball.' I invented 'Martyr Ball.'"

Chargers win, 31-20.

Atlanta @ Kansas City (-11)

The Falcons blew a 17-0 halftime lead to the Bucs in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and eventually lost., 31-27.

"You can make all the jokes you want about us blowing leads," Matt Ryan said, "and all we can do is take it. Why? Because we never have a good comeback.

"Julio Jones was out again with a nagging hamstring injury. That hamstring's been nagging him for 10 years now."

The Chiefs beat the Saints 32-29 in the Superdome in what many called a preview of Super Bowl 55. Patrick Mahomes passed for 3 touchdowns as K.C. improved to 13-1.

"We moved closer to securing that all-important No. 1 seed for the playoffs," Mahomes said. "So, when we left New Orleans, we graciously waved farewell and said 'bye you.'"

Chiefs win, 30-23.

Indianapolis @ Pittsburgh (-2½)

The Colts beat the visiting Texans 27-20 as Phillip Rivers hooked up twice with Zach Pascal for TD strikes.

"This may be Phillip's best chance to reach a Super Bowl," Frank Reich said. "He's been to the playoffs many times, but the football gods just haven't been kind to him. Maybe they, unlike Phillip, believe in 'berth' control."

The reeling Steelers flopped on Monday night, losing 27-17 to the lowly Bengals in Cincinnati. Pittsburgh has now lost three in a row, and seen its lead in the AFC North evaporate.

"This team has faced adversity before," Mike Tomlin said, "and I'll handle it like I always have — with a cleverly-worded adage that sounds profound but is actually bush league motivational gibberish.

"As I said after the Bengals loss, we're 'pissed.' So, we certainly know how other teams feel when one of our players dances on their logo. I had a talk with JuJu Smith-Schuster and told him that dancing should be confined only to the end zone, or over the unconscious body of Vontaze Burfict."

Colts win, 24-21.

Carolina @ Washington (-2)

The Redskins slowed the Seattle offense but fell short in a 20-15 loss at FedEx Stadium.

"Dwayne Haskins did his best," Ron Rivera said. "But sometimes, your best isn't good enough. Sometimes, your best is 'the worst.' Like, being photographed in a strip club maskless. Dwayne was also photographed in our team picture; maybe he should be photoshopped out.

"I can't wait to play my old team. At the end of the game, after we've secured the victory, I'll shake Matt Rhule's hand, tell him 'Thank you,' add that 'your services are no longer needed here,' and encourage him to 'Have a safe trip home.' It's exactly how I was treated when I was Panthers coach."

The Panthers slowed the high-powered Green Bay offense but fell short in a 24-16 loss at Lambeau Field on Saturday night. Carolina held Aaron Rodgers to just 143 passing yards and sacked him 5 times.

"We may have lost the game," Matt Rhule said, "but we won the physical battle. We went in there and punched them in the mouth. Unlike when Steve Smith was doing it, we punched the opponent."

Washington wins, 24-17.

Chicago @ Jacksonville (+7½)

The Ravens walloped the Jaguars, 40-14, handing Jacksonville their 13th consecutive loss. Jacksonville's offense struggled, and on defense could not stop Lamar Jackson, who had 4 touchdowns.

"To say we were 'manhandled' would be an insult to men," Doug Marrone said.

"Thanks to the Jets win, we're now in the driver's seat for the first pick in the draft. And if you look at our history of drafting quarterbacks, you can see why we would need a quarterback. That statement should both excite and terrify Trevor Lawrence.

"As for me, I'm going to continue to coach like there's no tomorrow. That's a kind way of saying I'm going to continue coaching like there's no future."

The Bears avenged a Week 10 loss and beat the Vikings, 33-27, in Minnesota. David Montgomery rushed for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Bears improved to 7-7.

"We've been searching for a franchise running back," Matt Nagy said. "It turns out, we drafted him, and not like the Chiefs and Texans did with our franchise quarterback."

Bears win, 34-17.

NY Giants @ Baltimore (-9½)

The Giants lost to the visiting Browns 20-6 on Sunday night.

"We were without offensive coordinator Jason Garrett," Joe Judge said. "He tested positive for COVID-19. And just as it wasn't a cure for sucking in Dallas, some encouraging hand clapping won't cure COVID."

The Ravens crushed the Jaguars 40-14 in Jacksonville. Lamar Jackson had 3 passing TDs and one rushing as Baltimore won its third straight game.

"Even Dez Bryant got in on the fun," Jackson said. "He had one of my TD catches and celebrated by flashing the Dez 'X.' Take that, all you doubters. When we signed Dez, a lot of people flashed the 'Y.'

"Marcus Peters was fined $12,500 for spitting on Jarvis Landry. Interestingly enough, that's the same price you pay to be mentioned in the same breath as Bill Romanowski."

Ravens win, 27-15.

Cincinnati @ Houston (-9)

The Texans lost 27-20 to the Colts in Indianapolis, as another late fumble killed any chance of a last-second comeback. Houston is 4-10.

"This has been a season we'd like to forget," Deshaun Watson said. "Trust me, we're trying. It's the most effort we've expended all year.

"Our team interviewed Jim Caldwell for the head coaching job. I'd be totally against it if we named Jim Caldwell head coach. I'd be totally for a head coach named 'Eric Bieniemy.'"

Texans win, 29-24.

L.A. Rams @ Seattle (-2½)

The Jets stunned the heavily-favored Rams 23-20, handing L.A. a painful loss that knocked them out of a tie for first in the NFC West.

"Suffice it to say we weren't expecting this," Sean McVay said. "By 'this,' I mean a thank you note from Trevor Lawrence.

"And speaking of 'franchise quarterbacks,' Jared Goff is only one of those words."

The Seahawks held on to beat the Redskins 20-15 at FedEx Field. Seattle rushed for 181 yards while their defense battered Dwayne Haskins, with 2 interceptions and 4 sacks.

"We are so much more than a passing team," Pete Carroll said. "I've been telling myself that since Super Bowl LIV."

Rams win, 24-23.

Philadelphia @ Dallas (+1)

The Cowboys beat the visiting 49ers 41-33 to improve to 5-9 and only one game behind Washington in the NFC East.

"This is one of the most resilient squads I've ever coached," Mike McCarthy said. "There have been a lot of instances this year in which we could have packed it in and folded. In most cases, we did.

"But we're still alive in the playoff hunt. We were 3-9 at one point this season. It would be an amazing comeback if we somehow won the division and made the playoffs. I know a lot of people are pulling for us, especially the NFC's fifth seed."

The Eagles fell short in a 33-26 loss to the Cardinals in Arizona. Jalen Hurts accounted for 401 yards and 4 touchdowns in the loss.

"Jalen Hurts will be the starter in Dallas," Doug Pederson said. "By now, it would seem there would be no need for an official announcement stating such. But while I'm at it: 'Doug Pederson will be the head coach in Dallas this Sunday.'

"Carson Wentz is not interested in being a permanent backup here in Philly. I guess the one thing we should 'start' are trade talks."

Philadelphia wins, 27-23.

Tennessee @ Green Bay (-4)

The Titans crushed the Lions, 46-25, led by Ryan Tannehill, who passed for 3 touchdowns and rushed for 2 more.

"Ryan has put an end to our franchise quarterback search," Mike Vrabel said. "He's also put an end to the long line of quarterback mediocrity here. Ryan can run like Vince Young and Marcus Mariota, but, thank goodness, passes nothing like them.

"Derrick Henry stiff-armed another player, so now Detroit's Alex Myers can join Buffalo's Josh Norman in oblivion. Understandably, Myers and Norman are not head over heels about it."

The Packers built an early 21-3 lead over the Panthers and withstood a Panthers surge to escape with a 24-16 win on Saturday night. Aaron Rodgers struggled against a tough Panthers defense, which held him to just 149 yards passing.

"The Panthers knocked that chip off my shoulder," Rodgers said. "Then, they picked it up, put it back on my shoulder, and knocked it off again. They'll regret that whenever we see them again, which won't be in the playoffs."

Packers win, 32-30.

Buffalo @ New England (+6½)

The Bills clinched the AFC East crown with a 48-19 win over the Broncos in Denver. Josh Allen had 392 total yards and 4 total touchdowns.

"Josh was unstoppable," Sean McDermott said. "The Broncos' defense was unstartable.

"We're not going to get too excited about winning the division. And we certainly won't get too excited if we win the AFC championship. I can promise you this — if we reach the Super Bowl and it's against an NFC East team, I promise you it won't end as it did in Buffalo's four previous trips to the big one."

The Patriots lost 22-12 to the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami worked over the Pats on the ground to the tune of 209 yards. New England will miss the playoffs for the first time in 12 years.

"We may not be division champions," Bill Belichick said, "but that doesn't mean we can't make a final statement on Monday night. In fact, we'll make so many statements, they will all combine to form the paragraphs of a concession speech.

"Cam Newton says he has a lot of football left in him. And we're more than willing to welcome Cam back next year. If there's anything less than a one-year contract that we could offer him, we'd definitely have him back."

Bills win, 28-17.

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