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RJ’s NFL Picks – Week Sixteen

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I went 13-3 last week, which was my best weekly record all season. That puts me at 138-86 for the year, for a cumulative winning percentage of roughly 62%.

This week offers, by my count, five must-see games, and another two that are worth watching. There are also five ugly mismatches and four pointless games between teams that are already looking toward next season.

Now, on to my NFL picks for Week 16:

Saturday, Dec. 24

Atlanta [8-6] at Tampa Bay [9-5] – 1:00 p.m. (must see)

If Tampa Bay wins, they are very likely to make the playoffs. If Atlanta loses, they are very likely to miss the playoffs. So, both teams will be highly-motivated for this one. This is a tough pick. But Tampa Bay is at home, and I think their defense will be able to handle Vick. TAMPA BAY BY 3

Buffalo [4-10] at Cincinnati [11-3] – 1:00 p.m. (mismatch)

Cincinnati has wrapped up the AFC North, but they are still fighting for a first-round bye. Buffalo has lost five in a row, and is winless on the road this season. BENGALS BY 24

Dallas [8-6] at Carolina [10-4] – 1:00 p.m. (must see)

Carolina needs a win to stay on top in the NFC South. Dallas needs a win to keep their playoff hopes alive, after getting crushed by Washington last week. The Cowboys are only 3-4 on the road, while the Panthers are 5-2 at home. I think it’ll be close, but I’m going with the home team. CAROLINA BY 6

Detroit [4-10] at New Orleans [3-11] (to be played in San Antonio, TX) – 1:00 p.m. (pointless)

The Lions have lost five straight; the Saints have dropped three in a row. Both organizations are in complete disarray. Shrug. I’ll pick my beloved, yet pathetic, Lions in a close one. DETROIT BY 1

Jacksonville [10-4] at Houston [2-12] – 1:00 p.m. (mismatch)

Jacksonville can clinch a Wild Card berth in this one. And they will. JAGUARS BY 10

N.Y. Giants [10-4] at Washington [8-6] – 1:00 p.m. (must see)

Both teams have won three in a row. The Redskins must win this one to remain in the playoff hunt. They are 5-2 at home, while the Giants are 3-3 on the road. This is not an easy pick to make. But I’ll go with my gut, and choose the home team. REDSKINS BY 3

Pittsburgh [9-5] at Cleveland [5-9] – 1:00 p.m. (worth watching)

This is pretty much a must-win game for the Steelers. If they win, they have a good shot at playing in the postseason. But if they lose, their playoff hopes are in big trouble. I think they’ll get the win here, but don’t expect division rival Cleveland to just roll over for them. STEELERS BY 4

San Diego [9-5] at Kansas City [8-6] – 1:00 p.m. (must see)

San Diego lost to Pittsburgh earlier in the season, so they must finish ahead of the Steelers in the standings in order to make the playoffs as a Wild Card. And if they lose here, that becomes mathematically-impossible (assuming the Steelers win in Cleveland). Kansas City is tough at home, where they are 5-1 this year. But San Diego is 5-2 on the road. This should be an epic battle. CHARGERS BY 3

San Francisco [2-12] at St. Louis [5-9] – 1:00 p.m. (pointless)

I think San Francisco wants Reggie Bush more than they want the win. Also, they are 0-7 on the road this year. RAMS BY 13

Tennessee [4-10] at Miami [7-7] – 1:00 p.m. (pointless)

Miami has won four in a row, but they are now officially out of playoff contention. However, they still have a shot at finishing the season with a winning record. DOLPHINS BY 9

Philadelphia [6-8] at Arizona [4-10] – 4:05 p.m. (pointless)

Philly can still go .500 for the year by beating Arizona in this one, and division rival Washington in Week 17. EAGLES BY 11

Indianapolis [13-1] at Seattle [12-2] – 4:15 p.m. (must see)

This could very well be a Super Bowl preview. But Dungy is expected to rest his starters for most of the game, meaning that a Seattle victory would not provide meaningful evidence that they are actually the better team. SEAHAWKS BY 8

Oakland [4-10] at Denver [11-3] – 4:15 p.m. (mismatch)

Denver can clinch the AFC West with a win, and become the only team in the AFC to go undefeated this season at home. And, they will. BRONCOS BY 14

Sunday, Dec. 25

Chicago [10-4] at Green Bay [3-11] – 5:00 p.m. (mismatch)

Grossman is now the starting QB for Chicago. I suspect Chicago will no longer be winning games by just three or four points; they’ll win by five or six! BEARS BY 6

Minnesota [8-6] at Baltimore [5-9] – 8:30 p.m. (worth watching)

The Vikings desperately need a win to stay alive in their quest for the postseason. But Baltimore is coming off an impressive win against Green Bay, and they are 5-2 at home this season. Minnesota is only 3-4 on the road. RAVENS BY 2

Monday, Dec. 26

New England [9-5] at N.Y. Jets [3-11] – 9:00 p.m. (mismatch)

New England has won three in a row, and they are getting healthier. This is the perfect time of the season to be peaking. I’m certain that no team is looking forward to playing the two-time defending Super Bowl champs in the playoffs. PATRIOTS BY 16

– – –

ESPN’s “expert” picks

– – –

Danny Sheridan’s odds

– – –

The Great Maxim Football Challenge

– – –

RJ’s results in previous weeks:

Week One – 8-8
Week Two – 6-10
Week Three – 10-4
Week Four – 7-7
Week Five – 9-5
Week Six – 11-3
Week Seven – 8-6
Week Eight – 9-5
Week Nine – 11-3
Week Ten – 10-4
Week Eleven – 9-7
Week Twelve – 8-8
Week Thirteen – 9-7
Week Fourteen – 10-6
Week Fifteen – 13-3

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About RJ

  • The Theory

    Atlanta [8-6] at Tampa Bay [9-5]… I learned last year that I don’t like Atlanta at all. I learned this year that Atlanta is overachieving. Expect TB to handle Vick and, thus, win with relative ease.

    Buffalo [4-10] at Cincinnati [11-3]… Cincy. I mean, they want that first round bye… and Buffalo has already gone bye-bye.

    Dallas [8-6] at Carolina [10-4]… Dallas has been less than convincing lately. They folded on Sunday in a game they absolutely needed to win. Carolina will take care of them.

    Detroit [4-10] at New Orleans [3-11]… Detroit has metally packed up and is not going to win another game all year. Even the poor Saints will look decent compared to them.

    Jacksonville [10-4] at Houston [2-12]… Jacksonville. I don’t have anything else to say.

    N.Y. Giants [10-4] at Washington [8-6]… New York is obviously the best team in the division. Washington either looks really really good or really really horrid. It’s about time they cracked, and I want them to miss the playoffs. Just to shut the Redskin fans up who feel like somehow the whole NFL revolves around them. Giants.

    Pittsburgh [9-5] at Cleveland [5-9]… Pitts vs Cleve is always a great game, even when the Browns are horrid (which is most of the time). The fact that this game is at Cleveland should make it even more tense. The hatred between the two cities is great. But the Steelers will get booed when they shut down Cleveland and win.

    San Diego [9-5] at Kansas City [8-6]… This is a hard hard pick. Kansas City often disappoints me, regardless which way I pick them. But the same can be said of San Diego. I think I’ll pick KC, but it’ll be close.

    San Francisco [2-12] at St. Louis [5-9]… St Louis.

    Tennessee [4-10] at Miami [7-7]… Miami. To give the crowd something to get excited about.

    Philadelphia [6-8] at Arizona [4-10]… Eagles.

    Indianapolis [13-1] at Seattle [12-2]… Seattle. But don’t expect the Colts to get torn to shreds like they did last week.

    Oakland [4-10] at Denver [11-3]… Denver.

    Chicago [10-4] at Green Bay [3-11]… Chicago. I think that in the first half Favre will throw three picks, each resulting in points for Chicago. The second half will have GB’s back up quarterback who will perform sleightly better… but not good enough.

    Minnesota [8-6] at Baltimore [5-9]… An impressive win against Green Bay is still not very impressive. Minnesota.

    New England [9-5] at N.Y. Jets [3-11]… Patriots. Looks like another yawn inspiring Monday Night Football. Maybe it won’t be very crippling for me next year to not be able to watch MNF when it moves to cable. I mean, the last three or four weeks have been horrid.

    Oh, and let me just say that I am very disappointed that most games this week are on Saturday, since I work all day saturday. Football isn’t cool if I can’t watch it…

  • Bennett

    Tampa – not sure why, but RJ’s reasons are as good as any
    Cincinnati – mismatch
    Dallas – will they let me down two weeks in a row?
    New Orleans – I just can’t pick Detroit
    Jacksonville – not a tough pick
    New York Giants – gut, mine not RJ’s
    Pittsburg – what RJ said
    San Diego – yeah
    St. Louis – ditto
    Tennessee – no real reason here, bad idea I’m sure…
    Philly – gut
    Seattle – What RJ and Theory said
    Denver – mismatch indeed!
    Chicago – …
    Minnesotta – go Vikings!
    New England – no brainer

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    I tried to hard to dig myself out of last place in my company pool, and I did it.

    I moved from 78th (last) to 76th. Eat it.

    Falcons
    Bengals
    Panthers
    Saints
    Jaguars
    Giants
    Steelers
    Chargers
    49ers
    Dolphins
    Eagles
    Colts
    Broncos
    Bears
    Vikings

  • http://www.templestark.com Temple Stark

    Week 16

    Can I first say, it very much saddens me that Tony Dungy’s son James has died, apparently by his own hand. Why is once-in-a-lifetime joy so often tempered with once-in-a-lifetime despair. I haven’t really followed the whys and wherefors of the 18-year-old’s death; I just saw it as a front page headline in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and didn’t read the article.

    Speaking of football only, what was once set to be an epic battle of potentially mythic proportions is now Indy and the team sitting this one out mentally and physically. Perhaps they were going to do so already, but this isn’t the type of action that motivates a team to go “get one for the Gipper.”

    I’m sad and I’m pissed off that James Dungy died, but obviously my emotion is detached by definition since I know nothing of the family; it is but the smallest of a fraction from the sadness and level of anger.

    — Tampa Bay should win, they are the better team though both teams have stunk up the stadium in recent weeks. TAMPA BAY by 12

    — Cincinnati. First-round byes are all the rage these days. BENGALS by 3.

    – Dallas. Too good this year to go out like dat. COWBOYS by 1 (since they’ve had close games (almost, 7-35 ahem) all season.

    — New Orleans is burning and they don’t know what to do. Yet, they’ll still beat the hapless Lions. SAINTS by 9
    — JAGUARS by 21
    — A really good game on paper which probably won’t turnout that way. Few have this season. Close your eyes and I’m sure you’d say Washington has the better record (;-) ). Mine are open and I pick GIANTS by 18.
    — PITTSBURGH by 10
    — Pittsburgh [9-5] at Cleveland [5-9] – 1:00 p.m. (worth watching)
    — I’d pick Kansas City in a heartbeat – if I hadn’t watched them play these last few weeks. Chargers should win, but they’ll still miss the play-offs. If you pick the Steelers to win you have to pick the chargers to lose if you think they’re going to make the play-offs. SAN DIEGO by 24.
    — I think everyone thinks the 49ers want Bush more than the win; however if they have an opportunity they’ll take it. Everyone may include the Rams defense, but I still think the Rams will take it.

    — Titans played Seattle close last week. That was embarrassing. Was it a flicker of Seattle past or are the Tits better than their record would indicate? TITANS by 3 in overtime.
    — EAGLES by 17.
    — Being in Seattle at the moment, I have seen a lot of Seahawk pride- if that can be gauged in terms of clothing. These are Seattlites we’re talking about here and we / they are a bunch of nervous nellies – with every right to be. This team IS different, it would be nice to convince a few more people of this. But now this is not the game to do it. Caldwell will play it safe ALL the wayaround; probably safer than if Dungy had been coaching. Caldwell does not want to be the one to eff up the season by injuring someone. SEATTLE by 19.
    — Broncos by 20.
    Sunday, Dec. 25
    — The Bears desire to whack the packers is greater than Green Bay’s desire to try and convince themselves they don’t suck. BEARS by 20.
    — VIKINGS by 6.
    Monday, Dec. 26
    — PATRIOTS. They are a better team. As I missed before, and others here said, injuries are mostly past them now. I still don’t think they’re the team they were and won’t make the Superbowl. PATRIOTS by 13. (Once up, they’ll be resting some people, too).

  • Bennett

    Don’t bet MY picks. 3-6 with Tampa/Atlanta in overtime…

  • http://hrhlisa.typepad.com Lisa Hoover

    Holy CRAP!!!! I think I almost had a heart attack during that Tampa game. I’m practically twitching now from nerves but, god, it was worth every minute. The Bucs kick ass.

  • The Theory

    c’mon now! Where is RJ and why isn’t he keeping us updated??

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    I’m fairly certain RJ is in shock that he called the Lions to win by 1 and they won by 2.

    I’d be in shock too.

    Then again, one of the few games I got right was calling San Francisco to win on the road. Eat it.

  • Bennett

    Yeah dammit! X-Mas Eve or no, he has a certain responsibility…

    Ack, I suck! 5-6 and it doesn’t look good for my Philly pick, so I’ll be 7-7 after today.

    As long as NE whups ass on Monday night, I could care less.

  • Bennett

    Make that 6-7 after Saturday’s games… How are the rest of you doing?

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    5-8

  • Bennett

    RJ 8-6
    Theory 7-6
    Temple 6-7
    Bennett 6-7
    Matthew 5-8

    A tough week so far.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Sorry for my absence. I was in the mountains of Northern Georgia for a few days. No Internet access up there.

    I’m presently stuck at a hotel in Macon, Georgia with a car that needs repairs…and of course no one is open on a Christmas Sunday… :-/

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Final Scores:

    Steelers 41, Browns 0 – RJ 1-0

    Bills 37, Bengals 27 – RJ 1-1

    Cowboys 24, Carolina 20 – RJ 1-2

    Redskins 35, Giants 20 – RJ 2-2

    Bucs 27, Falcons 24 (in OT) – RJ 3-2 (and I nailed the spread!)

    San Fran 24, Rams 20 – RJ 3-3

    Lions 13, Saints 12 – RJ 4-3 (and I guessed the spread again!)

    Miami 24, Titans 10 – RJ 5-3

    KC 20, SD 7 – RJ 5-4

    Jacksonville 38, Houston 20 – RJ 6-4

    Arizona 27, Philly 21 – RJ 6-5

    Seattle 28, Indy 13 – RJ 7-5

    Denver 22, Oakland 3 – RJ 8-5

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Here is how the ESPN.com “experts” are doing 13 games into Week 16:

    Theismann 8-5
    Salisbury 7-6
    Hoge 7-6
    Jaworski 8-5
    Schlereth 7-6
    Allen 7-6
    Mortensen 5-8
    Golic 7-6

  • Bennett

    RJ – Best of luck with the car repairs! Goofed on your record in my report, where the hell did my math skills get to today?

    You’re doing well, equal to the best of the pros. A tough week for those guys too.

    Enjoy today’s games!

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Final Score:

    Bears 24, Packers 17 – RJ 9-5

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Here are the ESPN.com “experts” after 14 games:

    Theismann 9-5
    Salisbury 8-6
    Hoge 8-6
    Jaworski 9-5
    Schlereth 8-6
    Allen 8-6
    Mortensen 6-8
    Golic 8-6

  • The Theory

    9-6, if I calculated correctly… and if the Ravens won last night like I think I saw in the paper.

    Which normally would be a vaguely decent week… but considering all the weirdness, I feel pretty good about that. Especially if NE wins tonight.

  • MCH

    “I was in the mountains of Northern Georgia for a few days.”

    Those aren’t mountains, those are molehills.

  • MCH

    “Chicago will be truly terrible this season.”
    – Sep. 10, 2005

    **The Bears, 11-4, clinch the ’05 conference championship.

    “Denver will suck (this season)…”
    – Sep. 5, 2005

    “Let me say this again: Denver will NOT make the playoffs this year.”
    – Sep. 13, 2005

    **The Broncos, 12-3, clinched the ’05 conference title.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Final Score:

    Baltimore 30, Vikings 23 – RJ 10-5

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Here is where ESPN’s “experts” stand after 15 games:

    Theismann 9-5 (doesn’t pick the Sunday Night game)

    Salisbury 9-6

    Hoge 9-6

    Jaworski 10-5

    Schlereth 9-6

    Allen 9-6

    Mortensen 7-8

    Golic 8-7

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ Elliott

    Final Score:

    New England 31, Jets 21 – RJ 11-5

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