NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 16

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

San Francisco @ Tennessee (+3½)

The Titans fell 19-13 to the Steelers at Heinz Field and dropped to 9-5, just one game ahead of the Colts in the AFC South.

"We committed 4 turnovers," Mike Vrabel said. "Two of those were by Ryan Tannehill. Ryan has to be better. He has to lead this team, and I think he can. Ryan is fully capable of putting this team on his back, but only if his back is attached to Derrick Henry's legs."

The 49ers rushed for 162 yards and 3 touchdowns in a resounding 31-13 win over the visiting Falcons.

"People assume that I don't trust Jimmy Garoppolo to throw the ball," Kyle Shanahan said. "That is totally not true. I, in fact, don't want to take the ball out of Jimmy's hands. I want my running backs to."

Titans win, 23-20.

Cleveland @ Green Bay (-7½)

With both Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum out due to COVID protocols, the Browns lost 16-14 on a field goal as time expired to the visiting Raiders.

"Both Case and I contracted COVID," Mayfield said. "Honestly, it's the first time in a while there's been any 'positive' news about a Cleveland quarterback in quite a while."

The Packers edged the Ravens 31-30 in Baltimore as the Ravens' 2-point conversion for the win failed. Aaron Rodgers passed for 268 yards and 3 touchdowns, and is now tied with Brett Favre for the most TD passes in team history at 442.

"Taking into account Brett's penchant for throwing the ball to the other team," Rodgers said, "I think it's only fitting to say I'm one TD away from 'intercepting' Brett in the record book.

"We clinched the NFC North, which is something we had a name for back before the season started. That name was not 'goal'; it was 'foregone conclusion.'"

Packers win, 28-17.

Indianapolis @ Arizona (-2½)

The Colts whipped the visiting Patriots 27-17 on Saturday night. Indy raced to a 20-0 lead, and sealed the win with Jonathan Taylor's 67-yard touchdown run with 2:01 remaining.

"We wanted to find how we stacked up against arguably the AFC's best team," Frank Reich said. "The Patriots are the real 'measuring stick' in the NFL. There was a time in Patriots' lore when 'measuring stick' meant that Zeke Mowatt was hanging around in the New England locker room.

"We carried out our game plan, and that was to run the ball and play defense.We may be a dome team, but we are built to play outside. Unfortunately, we have a quarterback in Carson Wentz who makes us built to play outside the playoffs."

The Lions stunned the Cardinals 30-12 at Ford Field as Arizona failed to score a touchdown until well after the outcome was decided.

"I got outplayed by Jared Goff," Kyler Murray said. "Saying that makes me ashamed of myself, as well as our defense."

Arizona wins, 27-24.

Detroit @ Atlanta (-3½)

The Falcons struggles in the red zone contributed to a 31-13 loss to the 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Atlanta ran 13 plays inside the 49ers 10-yard line without scoring a touchdown, the most since 1991.

"I hear we had a starring role on the NFL Network's 'Red Zone Channel,'" Arthur Smith said. "I also hear we were named 'Best Actor' in the red zone, for pretending to be a team that can score from our opponent's one yard line.

"But I'm counting on Matt Ryan to make us better in the red zone. He's the leader this team has and needs. Matt's become synonymous with Atlanta. He's been here so long, he's practically mentioned in the same breath with strip clubs and Waffle House."

The Lions shocked the visiting Cardinals 30-12 at Ford Field. Jared Goff passed for 216 yards and 3 touchdowns to lead Detroit.

"We sent the Cardinals back to Arizona with an 'L,'" Dan Campbell said. "We also sent them back to the drawing board."

Atlanta wins, 24-21.

Baltimore @ Cincinnati (-2½)

With Lamar Jackson out with an ankle injury, the Ravens nearly upset the visiting Packers. After a late TD, the Ravens went for two for the win, but the attempt failed and the Packers escaped 31-30.

"Hey," John Harbaugh said, "I'm not afraid to gamble. But maybe I should have gambled not on a two-point conversion, and instead the coin toss, since I had an offense that had just scored 30 points on a pretty good Packers defense."

The Bengals beat the Broncos 15-10 in Denver and moved into a tie for the division lead in the AFC North.

"I think most people are underestimating us as a playoff team," Joe Burrow said. "But let's not get ahead of ourselves. We have to make the playoffs first, then we can talk playoffs. In short, we're not going to read Marvin Lewis' book 'How to Win in the Playoffs' before we actually get there. Then, if we do get to the playoffs, heck, we still probably won't read that book."

Bengals win, 28-24.

L.A. Rams @ Minnesota (+3½)

The Vikings handled the Bears 17-9 in Chicago on Monday night to improve to 7-7. Kirk Cousins threw 2 touchdowns passes while passing for only 87 yards.

"That's pretty much Kirk in a nutshell," Mike Zimmer said. "You get the good, and you get the bad, over and over again. By the way, one of the 'goods' from the Chicago game was that Kirk lined up correctly under center perfectly all night."

Rams win, 30-28.

Buffalo @ New England (-2½)

The Bills beat the visiting Panthers, 31-14, as Josh Allen passed for 3 touchdowns.

"Josh completed only 19-of-34 passes," Sean McDermott said. "That doesn't seem that great until you compare it to Cam Newton's 18-for-38. Then it still doesn't seem that great. In fact, it sucks."

The Colts throttled the visiting Patriots 27-17 on Thursday night. New England struggled offensively for three quarters before mounting a comeback in the fourth that fell short.

"Frank Reich deserves credit for a great game plan," Bill Belichick said. "So he deserves my praise, and as most people know, my praise comes in the form of an insincere congratulatory post-game handshake.

"The weather in Foxboro on Sunday is forecast to be cold and not too windy, with a 100% chance of more than three Mac Jones passes."

Bills win, 27-24.

Jacksonville @ NY Jets (-2½)

In their first game without Urban Meyer, the Jaguars lost 30-16 to the visiting Texans. With Detroit's win over the Cardinals, the 2-12 Jags are in line for the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

"Without Urban," interim coach Darrell Bevell said, "the vibe in the locker room was much like that of a smoky, bar/restaurant where you can expect a semi-lap dance to materialize at any minute. The vibe wasn't quite what I'd call 'laid back'; it was more like 'sit back,' much like the position you're in when you find yourself in a smoky, bar/restaurant where you can expect a semi-lap dance to materialize at any minute.

"If we learned one thing in this whole Urban Meyer saga, it's that Urban Meyer is even less equipped to handle professional athletes than spousal abusers."

The Jets held an early 10-0 at Miami, but couldn't close the deal in a 31-24 loss to the Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.

"Believe it or not," Robert Saleh said, "that was the first halftime lead we've held all season. My guess is you can believe it."

Jets win, 20-17.

NY Giants @ Philadelphia (-9½)

The Giants lost 21-6 to the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. Mike Glennon struggled against the Dallas defense, throwing 3 interceptions.

"Mike looked confused out there," Joe Judge said. "Conversely, Mike confuses opposing defenses. They see him and wonder, 'How is this guy an NFL quarterback?' That's a question I can't even answer.

"But we're shutting Daniel Jones down for the year due to his lingering neck issue. Glennon also has a similar condition to a lingering neck issue; it's called a 'longering neck issue.'"

Eagles win, 28-17.

Tampa Bay @ Carolina (+11½)

The Saints defense completely shut down the Buccaneers offense in a stunning 9-0 victory at Raymond James Stadium. Tom Brady was held to just 214 yards passing, had 2 turnovers, and was sacked 4 times.

"I don't think I've ever been more frustrated in my life," Brady said. "You probably saw me destroy a tablet on the sidelines. Patriots fans hold me in such high regard that they would compare me to destroying a tablet to Moses doing the same at the foot of the mountain.

"And speaking of 'Exodus,' Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Leonard Fournette all left the game due to injuries. But help is on the way. Antonio Brown is coming back from a three-game suspension for using a fake vaccine card. Let's face it, A.B. is a card, and that card is the 'Joker.'"

The Panthers lost 31-14 in Buffalo and fell to 5-9. Cam Newton accounted for 2 touchdowns, but completed only 18-of-38 passes. Newton has now lost his last 12 starts as a Panther.

"It seemed like just yesterday," Matt Rhule said, "that Cam was celebrating a touchdown by saying, 'I'm back!' Pretty soon, Cam might be saying, 'I'm back, from where I came from.' Even sooner, I could be saying the same thing.

"But seriously, Cam may be the most inaccurate passer of all time. If you take the mechanics of Charles Barkley's golf swing, and apply it to a quarterback's throwing motion, you get Cam Newton's."

Buccaneers win, 27-16.

L.A. Chargers @ Houston (+13)

The Chargers lost 34-28 to the visiting Chiefs on Thursday night and fell two games behind K.C. in the AFC West. Los Angeles failed to convert on three of four fourth downs.

"I'm a big believer in analytics," Brandon Staley said. "In fact, I have been since I was a nerdy high school kid in Perry, Ohio, and my classmates commemorated my love of analytics by placing a bumper sticker that said 'I Love Anal.' on my Buick Regal. I still wonder how they knew."

The Texans beat the Jaguars 30-16 in Jacksonville as Houston snapped a three-game losing streak.

"Davis Mills looks like our quarterback of the future," David Culley said. "Luckily, no one's going to mistake him for Deshaun Watson, especially defense lawyers or masseuses."

Chargers win, 31-20.

Chicago @ Seattle (-6½)

The Bears lost 17-9 to the visiting Vikings on Monday night at Soldier Field. Chicago out-gained Minnesota 370 to 193, but were done in by 9 penalties for 91 yards.

"I myself was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for arguing a call," Matt Nagy said. "I don't think Bears fans have seen me so 'animated,' except for in cartoons making fun of me."

Seattle lost 20-10 to the Rams at SoFi Stadium on Tuesday. Russell Wilson was held to just 156 yards passing with 1 interception, and was sacked 3 times.

"The Rams have historically been a problem for me," Wilson said. "Obviously, they have my number, and keep using it to make harassing phone calls."

Seahawks win, 27-17.

Pittsburgh @ Kansas City (-9½)

The Chiefs took control of the AFC West with a thrilling 34-28 overtime win over the Chargers at SoFi Stadium. Patrick Mahomes passed for 410 yards and 3 touchdowns, and Travis Kelce had 10 catches for 191 yards and 2 TDs, including the game winner.

"Travis is like my brother from a different mother," Mahomes said. "I wish he was my brother from the same mother, and my real brother Jackson was never born."

The Steelers beat the visiting Titans 19-13, powered by a defense that forced 4 turnovers. T.J. Watt broke the Steelers single-season sack record, while Ben Roethlisberger moved into 5th for NFL all-time passing yardage.

"Those two guys are definitely gonna have busts in Canton one day," Mike Tomlin said. "I think making it to the Hall of Fame was always a goal of Ben's. If you could go back and see his Internet search history from 20 years ago, I'm pretty sure 'Busts in Canton' would show up."

Chiefs win 30-24.

Denver @ Las Vegas (-1½)

The Raiders beat the Browns 16-14 on Tuesday, winning on Daniel Carlson's 48-yard field goal as time expired.

"The Browns were missing a lot of players due to COVID," Derek Carr said. "I don't know how rigorously they're following COVID protocols, but it's definitely not as rigorous as us. We wear face masks and an eye patch.

"I passed for only 236 yards and 1 touchdown against that Browns defense lacking several starters. In case you didn't know, my last name is 'Carr.' It rhymes with 'superstar,' and that's where the similarities to that word end."

Raiders win, 27-17.

Washington @ Dallas (-10½)

The Cowboys beat the Giants 21-6 at MetLife Stadium and completed the season sweep of New York. Dallas' defense controlled the game, forcing 4 turnovers.

"Our defense is winning games for us," Mike McCarthy said. "It may not be the 'Doomsday Defense' of the 1970s, but it's a 'Doomsday Defense' nonetheless, as in, 'If it wasn't for this defense, it would be doomsday for the offense.'"

Washington lost 27-17 to the Eagles in Philadelphia on Tuesday night. Washington was without several players on the COVID list, including quarterbacks Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen.

"COVID was flying through this organization like Dan Snyder's lawyers to employees with harassment accusations," Ron Rivera said. "And trust me, if Dan could 'cover up' harassment accusations with a mask, everybody would be wearing them."

Dallas wins, 26-21.

Miami @ New Orleans (-3½)

The Saints defense stymied Tom Brady all night and New Orleans picked up an impressive 9-0 win at Raymond James Stadium, preventing Tampa from clinching the NFC North.

"Tom Brady is 44-years-old," Dennis Allen said. "I hesitate to say he looked his age against us; he looked more like his quarterback rating, which was 57. That, of course, is a bit of hyperbole, but look at it this way: Tom Brady is as close to 57 as Zach Wilson is to 9. I'm talking about age and quarterback rating."

The Dolphins battled back from a 10-0 deficit to beat the Jets 31-24 at Hard Rock Stadium. Miami has won six straight games, and are 7-7, two games behind the Bills in the AFC East.

"When you find yourself down 10-0 to the Jets," Brain Flores said, "you get angry, but not until you overcome the initial embarrassment, which is extensive."

Saints win, 24-17.

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