NFL Weekly Predictions: Week 16

Note: the quotes in this article are fictional.

Jacksonville @ NY Jets (+1½)

The Jaguars came back from a 27-10 deficit and eventually overcame the Cowboys 40-34 in overtime. Trevor Lawrence threw 4 touchdown passes, and Rayshawn Jenkins' 52-yard interception return gave Jacksonville the win.

"Trevor played an outstanding game," Doug Pederson said. "His total quarterback rating was 60.1. That's also his 'Madison Avenue Charisma Rating,' but that's out of 1,000.

"Have you seen Trevor in that Gatorade commercial? Trevor didn't win the Heisman Trophy, but if he were a basketball player, he definitely would have won the 'Wooden' award for that Gatorade performance.

"But kudos to our defense, as well. They made the plays when it mattered. Actually, that's giving them too much credit; they made one play when it mattered. All the other plays resulted in 34 Cowboy points."

The Jets lost 20-17 to the Lions at MetLife Stadium. New York held a 17-13 lead late, but surrendered a 51-yard TD pass on fourth down.

"Zach Wilson was practically written off for dead," Robert Saleh said. "Mostly by me.

"But he sprinkled some pretty decent plays amongst a flurry of incompletions. And I say this quite often in reference to Zach, but 'I've seen enough.' Only this time, I follow that with ' make Zach the starter, especially since Mike White hasn't been medically cleared to play.'"

Jets win, 23-21.

Buffalo @ Chicago (+8½)

The Bills clinched a playoff spot with a 32-29 win over the Dolphins in wintry conditions at Highmark Stadium. Josh Allen passed for 4 touchdowns and added 77 yards rushing, and Tyler Bass' 25-yard field goal as time expired won.

"It was a tight game," Allen said, "and I know a 'close shave' when I see one, or when Gillette pays me to say it. The margins between winning and losing in this league are razor-thin, much like Gillette's blades. And while I'm not contractually obligated to say 'whisker biscuit,' I'm going to anyway, because it's such a cool term.

"We feel good about avenging our September 25th loss to the Dolphins. It just goes to show you that no one circles a revenge game date on the calendar like the Buffalo Bills."

Justin Fields passed for two scores, but the Bears defense couldn't contain Jalen Hurts, who rushed for 3 touchdowns and passed for 315 yards. Chicago lost 25-20 and fell to 3-11.

"Justin became the first quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards and at least 8 touchdowns in a season," Matt Eberflus said. "Justin is happy to say he's done something that Michael Vick never did. Justin is also happy to say he hasn't done many things that Vick has."

Buffalo wins, 24-17.

New Orleans @ Cleveland (-3)

The Browns swamped the visiting Ravens 13-3 on Saturday, forcing 2 Baltimore turnovers and sacking Tyler Huntley 3 times. Deshaun Watson passed for a TD and won his home debut for the Browns.

"Our defense is keeping us in games," Kevin Stefanski said. "They're making opposing offenses look practically inept, or like our offense.

"Deshaun is getting more and more comfortable here. He's doing everything we've asked of him. Here's hoping he doesn't get too comfortable here. Otherwise, he might start asking us to do things for him."

The Saints beat the Falcons 21-18 and are now 5-9, in a three-way tie for second behind the 6-8 Buccaneers in the NFC South.

"Teams in the NFC South continue to surprise on a weekly and a weakly basis," Dennis Allen said. "It's a shame that only one South team will make the playoffs. Let me rephrase that: It's a shame that one South team will make the playoffs."

Browns win, 22-12.

Houston @ Tennessee (-7)

The Texans took the visiting Chiefs to overtime, but Davis Mills' fumble on Houston's first play in overtime led to Jerrick McKinnon's 26-yard TD run on the next play. The Texans fell to 1-12-1.

"I told my guys they should be angry that they lost," Lovie Smith said, "and they are. In fact, they're fit to be 'tied.' Heck, they're even more fit to be beaten."

The Chargers nipped Tennessee 17-14 at SoFi Stadium, handing the Titans their fourth straight loss. Tennessee leads the AFC South by only one game over the surging Jaguars.

"If Bum Phillips could be here," Mike Vrabel said, "he'd fill his 10-gallon hat with crap and call it 'Titans' football over the last four weeks.

"But ultimately, I'm the head coach, and our troubles fall squarely on me, now that I've got no general manager to blame."

Titans win, 20-16.

Seattle @ Kansas City (-9½)

The Seahawks lost 21-13 at Lumen Field to the 49ers, who handed Seattle its fourth defeat in their last five games. Seattle is 7-7 and in the hunt for a playoff wild card spot.

"That means we were 6-3 at one point," Pete Carroll said. "Since then, we've 'Russell Wilson'd,' because we've gone 'downhill fast.'

"My Christmas wish is for us to make the playoffs. But if we don't, I'll be just fine, because when I sing the '12 Days of Christmas,' I replace 'five golden rings' with 'five Broncos draft picks.'"

The Chiefs struggled against the Texans, and needed overtime to turn back the one-win Texans. Jerrick McKinnon burst through for a 26-yard touchdown run after the Chiefs forced a Davis Mills' fumble.

"We're happy to get the win," Andy Reid said, "but it's nothing to be very proud of. It's like if a 12-year-old man-child won a 'Punt, Pass, and Kick' competition against a group of malnourished 12-year-olds."

Chiefs win, 27-20.

NY Giants @ Minnesota (-3½)

The Vikings erased a 33-0 deficit to the visiting Colts and stormed back to take an unlikely 39-36 overtime win and clinch the NFC North title. The win set a record for biggest comeback in NFL history.

"I think this qualifies us as a 'team of destiny,'" Kevin O'Connell said. "More specifically, we're a 'team of Jeff Saturday's destiny,' because there's no way he remains head coach of Indy after this.

"I really feel for Matt Ryan. He's been on the losing end of the greatest Super Bowl comeback and greatest regular season comeback. It may be the first time someone said to themselves, 'Hold my beer.'"

The Giants won a critical division matchup against the Commanders, winning 20-12 at FedEx Field to move ahead of Washington in the playoff race. Defensive lineman Kayvon Thibodeaux set the tone early, with a sack-fumble-touchdown early in the second quarter.

"That was Kayvon's coming out party," Brian Daboll said. "No Giant in jersey No. 5 has impacted the outcome of a game like that since Kerry Collins in Super Bowl XXXV."

Vikings win, 30-27.

Cincinnati @ New England (+3½)

The Bengals spotted Tom Brady and the Buccaneers a 17-0 lead, but Joe Burrow took over afterwards, throwing 4 TD passes to power Cincy to a 34-23 lead. The Bengals lead the AFC North with a 10-4 record, a game ahead of the Ravens.

"I always wanted to be Tom Brady," Burrow said, "until he divorced Giselle.

"It'll be cool to face Bill Belichick. I consider him the greatest coach on earth. And his son Steve is also a coach. I consider him the greatest coach on 'Middle-earth.' That's an example of me 'trolling' Steve.

"In most weeks of the season, I'm known as 'Joe Cool.' But for the week of Christmas, you can call me 'Joe Coal,' because that's what I'm leaving in the Patriots stockings."

New England met a disastrous, self-inflicted end to their matchup against the Raiders when Jakobi Myers' cross-field lateral was intercepted by Chandler Jones, who raced 48-yards for the game-winning score. The Pats lost 30-24 and fell to 7-7.

"That's a play that's going to live in infamy for us," Bill Belichick said. "And there's very little we can do about it. But Robert Kraft is going to open up his wallet, because as he knows better than anyone, if you pay enough money, you can have video of anything eliminated, which, in his eyes, means it didn't even happen."

Patriots win, 24-22.

Detroit @ Carolina (+2½)

Detroit's bold fourth down gamble late in the fourth quarter resulted in Jared Goff's 51-yard touchdown pass to Brock Wright, and Detroit held on for a 20-17 win, their third win in a row, and sixth in their last seven games.

"It was a gritty win," Dan Campbell said. "But that shouldn't be a surprise. This team is well-equipped to win ugly, just as I'm well-equipped to coach ugly.

"I think we're the team that no one wants to face in the playoffs. And they may very well get their wish."

The Panthers lost 24-16 to the Steelers at Bank of America Stadium. Pittsburgh held Carolina to only 21 yards rushing on 16 attempts, and 209 total yards.

"Once again," Steve Wilkes said, "Sam Darnold was seeing 'ghosts.' Only this time, it was our running game, because the Steelers saw right through it.

"I took over for this mess that Matt Rhule left me, and I have my team one game out of the division lead in the NFC South. I should be 'Coach of the Year.' Rhule didn't even qualify for 'Coach of the Year Three' award."

Lions win, 22-21.

Atlanta @ Baltimore (-7)

The Ravens lost 13-3 in Cleveland, as Tyler Huntley struggled to move the ball through the air. Baltimore dropped to 9-5 and fell out of a tie for first with the Bengals in the AFC North.

"I have no intentions of firing offensive coordinator Greg Roman," John Harbaugh said, "no matter how many flyers asking for such I find in front of the team facility.

"With Devin Duvernay injured, we claimed Sammy Watkins after he was released by the Packers. I'm surprised Sammy didn't pull a hamstring 'clearing' waivers."

The Falcons lost 21-18 to the Saints in New Orleans in Desmond Ridder's first start at quarterback.

"Desmond struggled," Arthur Smith said. "He only passed for 97 yards. Trust me, I know what it's like when a quarterback simply 'disappears.' Marcus Mariota may be the first NFL player in history to take the 'bye' week way too seriously."

Ravens win, 23-9.

Washington @ San Francisco (-7½)

Brock Purdy connected with George Kittle for two long touchdowns, and the 49ers defense held the Seahawks to under 300 yards offense in a 21-13 San Fran win on Thursday night.

"Brock is no longer 'Mr. Irrelevant,'" Kyle Shanahan said. "But just give me time; I'll make him that again.

"Our defense is playing at a really high level. They could actually be the best unit in the NFL. They're a blue-collar defense in a white-collar town. I'm not sure these vaping hipsters in the city of San Francisco truly appreciate our defense."

The Commanders lost 20-12 to the Giants at FedEx Field, a result that dealt a blow to Washington's playoff hopes. The Commanders had a late touchdown nullified by a questionable offensive procedure penalty, and a no-call on what looked like defensive pass interference on the Giants ended the game.

"Of all the questionable things happening in the District Of Columbia," Ron Rivera said, "those calls may be the most egregious. 'It needs to be investigated' is a phrase you hear around here quite often.

"I'm sticking with Taylor Heinicke at quarterback, but if he struggles, I know I've got Carson Wentz on the bench. Just saying 'I know I have Carson Wentz on the bench' makes me feel so much better."

49ers win, 21-15.

Philadelphia @ Dallas (-6)

Jalen Hurts rushed for three touchdowns, and the Eagles overcame a sluggish first half to beat the Bears 25-20 in Chicago. Philly can clinch the NFC East and a first-round playoff bye with a win in Dallas.

"Jalen sprained his shoulder in the third quarter," Nick Sirianni said. "That means Gardner Minshew may get his first start of the season. We're totally confident in Gardner, because he's gonna pull up his big boy panties, and trust me, Gardner's man enough to wear panties, and lead us like a champ."

The Cowboys squandered a 27-10 lead in the third quarter, and Rayshawn Jenkins' 52-yard interception TD return off of Dak Prescott in overtime gave the Jaguars a 40-34 win. Dallas fell to 10-4, three games behind the Eagles.

"We obviously took our foot off the gas," Prescott said, "geared down to neutral, and tried to coast to the finish.

"We have the talent to win it all, and a head coach who cancels all that out."

Dallas wins, 27-24.

Las Vegas @ Pittsburgh (-2½)

The Steelers' defense dominated the trenches, limiting Carolina to 21 yards rushing, and rushed for 156 yards and 2 scores in a 24-16 win over the Panthers.

"I find myself in quite a quandary every week," Mike Tomlin said. "I have three quarterbacks capable of starting for my team, and no quarterbacks capable of starting for any other team. Our quarterback situation is hazier than the inside of the car that Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount blazed in back in the day.

"That being said, I've named Kenny Pickett the starter. Kenny's passed the necessary concussion tests, and on that note, if I ever choose to start Mitch Trubisky again, please have my head examined."

The Raiders pulled off an unlikely 30-24 win over the visiting Raiders. Derek Carr's 30-yard touchdown pass with 32 seconds left tied the game, and Chandler Jones' snatched an errant Patriots lateral on the ensuing possession and returned it for the game-winning score.

"I wasn't expecting any Christmas gift from Bill Belichick," Josh McDaniels said, "much less an early one. But if he's gonna throw one to me, I'll catch it."

The fired-up Steelers win one for the late Franco Harris, and Najee Harris scores on an amazing designed "Immaculate Reception" trick play.

Steelers win, 22-15.

Green Bay @ Miami (-4)

The Packers beat the Rams 24-12 on Monday night, led by A.J. Dillon's 2 rushing touchdowns. Green Bay remains in the playoff hunt, but will have to win out and get help to qualify.

"I think it's perfectly okay to ask for help," Aaron Rodgers said, "unless you're Brett Favre.

"People have asked if we're out of playoff contention, would I step aside and let Jordan Love get some playing time. Well, the answer is, I would do anything for Love, but I won't do that."

The Dolphins held a 29-21 lead over the Bills early in the fourth quarter, but went scoreless in the last 11:56 and lost 32-29 in Buffalo.

"We were in great shape up 29-21," Mike McDaniel said. "Then, we got careless, and things just 'snowballed.'

"Luckily, the weather in Miami will be nothing like it was in Buffalo. If there's white stuff flying around in South Beach, then someone must have lost control or their hair dryer in the powder room."

Miami wins, 30-28.

Denver @ L.A. Rams (-1)

The Rams lost 24-12 to the Packers on Monday night at Lambeau Field. Baker Mayfield was sacked five times and passed for only 111 yards.

"I think the Packers contacted a charismatic former head coach via a seance to get a scouting report on Baker," Sean McVay said. "And the spirit of Dennis Green said, 'Baker Mayfield is who you thought he was.'"

With Russell Wilson out, Brett Rypien passed 1 touchdown and the Broncos rushed for 168 yards and 2 scores to beat the Cardinals 24-15.

"Brett's father is Super Bowl-winning quarterback Mark Rypien," Nathaniel Hackett said. "And as long as he's Russell Wilson's backup, that's the closest Brett will ever get to a Super Bowl ring.

"You've probably noticed that Russell loves tweeting about his relationship with God. Still, it doesn't change the way he plays. So, he's pretty much guilty of using God's name in vain."

Broncos win, 22-13.

Tampa Bay @ Arizona (+4½)

Tampa raced to a 17-0 lead at home over the Bengals, but scored only a meaningless garbage time touchdown the rest of the way in a 34-23 loss to Cincy. Tom Brady had 4 turnovers, as the Bucs fell to 6-8.

"I'd like to apologize," Brady said, "to my coaches, my teammates, my fans, and to the four Bengals who got my turnovers, because I didn't have time to autograph those balls.

"We're still leading the NFC South. With a 6-8 record, mind you. I'm not sure the NFC South champion could win a playoff game, much less a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors."

The Cardinals lost 24-15 to the Broncos in Denver. Colt McCoy left the game in the third quarter with a concussion, and third-string quarterback Trace McSorley took over.

"This has really been a disastrous season for us," Kliff Kingsbury said. "But I believe things could have been different, if, for example, DeAndre Hopkins didn't get suspended, or Kyler Murray didn't get injured, or we were in the NFC South, or I was never head coach."

Buccaneers win, 24-21.

L.A. Chargers @ Indianapolis (+2)

Justin Herbert engineered a late drive that culminated in Cameron Dicker's 42-yard game-winning field goal, giving the Chargers a 17-14 win over the Titans at SoFi Stadium.

"Justin is well on his way to achieving legendary status as a Chargers quarterback," Brandon Staley said. "He would join Charger greats Dan Fouts and Philip Rivers. Just imagine if you took the best of all three and formed one super-quarterback. You'd get a Jesus-loving trash talker with a cannon for an arm and a lumberjack beard who can't win a Super Bowl."

The Colts monumentally collapsed in Minnesota, blowing a 33-0 halftime lead and eventually losing 39-36 in overtime to the Vikings. It was the biggest comeback in NFL history.

"That was a disaster," Jeff Saturday said. "I might have just blown my chance at returning as head coach. So, unlike the Vikings, there will be no comeback.

"We're still alive in the playoff hunt. Of course, we'll need to win all our games, then pray for a series of miracles the likes not seen since biblical times. I've named Nick Foles starter, and if Matt Ryan plays another down for us, it will be a miracle."

Colts win, 26-24.

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