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- Week 16 Predictions: Merry Christmas!

Chris Pokorny December 23, 2005
Chris Pokorny
PFC Owner & Writer

Tell Chris your opinion.

Tis' the season to be jolly...especially when it's Week 16 and most of the games fall on Christmas Eve or Christmas itself. It's always nice to receive presents and celebrate the holiday season around this time of the year, but every football fan always asks for one special gift. They want their home team to win that particular week, whether they or contending or not.

Unfortunately, things won't seem so jolly for the Indianapolis Colts and Tony Dungy. There will be a moment of silence before the game in dedication to Dungy's son, but it'll be sixty minutes of intense football after that.

Let's get to the Week 16 games of the week.

(Red = Prediction).

AFC's Best vs. NFC's Best
Indianapolis Colts vs. Seattle Seahawks
I don't want to hear excuses like "the Colts lost because they didn't have to win". The Colts definitely wanted to win that football game last week against the Chargers, and they certainly want to win this week not only for Tony Dungy, but to show the NFC's best that they are the prime contenders for the Super Bowl.

Both of these teams, despite the Colts losing last week, are arguably the best teams in the NFL. The Seahawks are on a 10-game winning streak, while the Colts 13-game winning streak just ended. The Seahawks suffered a scare last week against the Titans, but will bring their A-game this week. The main reason the Colts lost last week is due to the lack of time that Peyton Manning had in the pocket. If he has one extra second for every time he got sacked, I can almost guarantee you that the Colts win that game by a touchdown. Their offensive line will get things together this week and just barely beat the Seahawks in a thriller.

Playoff Preview - Round 1
New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins
While a loss for the Redskins would really hurt their chances at making the postseason, a victory would allow them to have a legitimate chance at facing the Giants in the first round of the playoffs. The Redskins are coming off their best game of the season in which they dismantled the Cowboys. The Giants are also coming off of a big victory after relying on the running of Tiki Barber.

The Redskins had it easy last week, but they will struggle when they have to be more patient against the Giants. The defensive line of the Giants will pressure Mark Brunell into mistakes, as will the defense of the Redskins on Eli Manning. Don't expect this to be an offensive battle, but don't expect the defenses to take over the game either. It'll come down to a last second field goal, and Jay Feely will make it two out of three for game-winners this year.

Emerging From the Pack
Dallas Cowboys vs. Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers are ready to make their final push for the second seed in the NFC, and it begins this week against the Cowboys. Jake Delhomme is starting to build his red-hot connection with Steve Smith again, while DeShaun Foster continues to provide the ground game that they've been looking for. More importantly, their defense is starting to take over games, allowing their offense to run on a more casual basis.

This will be the last stand for the Cowboys. A win for them would put them in excellent shape, especially if the Redskins fall to the Giants as well. With the type of mistakes that Drew Bledsoe has made down the stretch and the struggles this team has had though, I don't see a strong effort against the Panthers. Carolina wins convincingly, showing their strength heading into the playoffs.

It's Here: Frye vs. Roethlisberger
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cleveland Browns
Remember the extra "Christmas gift" I said that fans would be hoping for this week? For me personally, I would love nothing more than for the Cleveland Browns to upset the Pittsburgh Steelers and knock them out of the playoff race. However, not to show favoritism as I have stuck with that philosophy all season, I have to take the Steelers. Although the media is making this game seem like a "walkover" type of game, almost every person on that Steelers roster will be ready for this game.

The Browns almost upset the Jaguars three weeks ago and they almost upset the Bengals two weeks ago. Both of those teams defeated the Steelers. The Steelers have turned it up a notch the past two weeks during must-win situations and have come through with a strong running game. The Browns have been good at not allowing points and managing the game offensively and will keep it close. However, the Steelers will attack the poor run defense of the Browns and use that philosophy to pick up the victory.

And now, the rest of the week...

Atlanta Falcons vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Both of these teams played awful last week, but they'll have a chance to redeem themselves this week in a game that will decide their playoff fate. Neither offense could get it going last week, and the same goes for their defenses. Michael Vick will continue to struggle throwing the football, ultimately being the reason for them not being able to pick up a victory. Tampa Bay's defense can contain Vick in a similar manner that the Bears did last week, while Cadillac Williams will run the Buccaneers to victory.

Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Carson Palmer should have no problem in tearing apart the Bills defense. Buffalo has shown time in and time out this season that they cannot rally after a large deficit, and that will be the same case this week. It'll be interesting to see if Chad Johnson has a special Christmas celebration planned this week, since he'll get in the end zone once or twice at least.

Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints
The sad thing is, even Lions and Saints fans probably don't care about this game. The Saints original fans are still trying to get their lives together, while the Lions fans are still rebelling against team general manager Matt Millen. The Lions have been able to beat some bad teams this year, while Todd Bouman didn't show anything last week. Lions win a snoozer.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Houston Texans
Without a doubt, the Texans have played much better football the second half of the season than they did the first half. They don't have very many wins to show for it, but they're doing better nonetheless. The Jaguars have pulled it together without Byron Leftwich in some close games, but this will be a relaxing blowout for David Garrard.

San Diego Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Just like the Panthers need to make a statement this week, the same goes for the Chargers. After coming off their biggest game of the season last week against the Colts, they face an even tougher challenge this week: a division rival in a must-win situation. This game will be a shootout with back and forth action, and it'll be extremely difficult to win at Arrowhead. That's where the Chargers will make their statement with LaDainian Tomlinson, who will run his team towards the playoffs.

San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams
This is another game with virtually no meaning behind it. It's difficult to make predictions for these type of games, because their really is no motivation behind my pick whatsoever. That means I'll stick with the basics for picking the Rams in this one: playing at home, Steven Jackson, and Torry Holt.

Tennessee Titans vs. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins should be very proud of themselves for reaching the .500 mark this late in the season and winning four in a row. They can be confirmed of a .500 or better season with a home win over the fighting Titans. Tennessee used a lot of energy against the Seahawks last week, meaning they won't be as strong this week. They won't lose badly, but they'll never have control of the game.

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Arizona Cardinals
Kurt Warner had the Arizona Cardinals offense rolling. It's a shame he got injured, because we were starting to get a glimpse of what could have been to come next year. The Eagles, despite being depleted, are playing good football for the talent that they have. It really shows what a great job Andy Reid has done this year, especially when he has a chance to finish the season with a .500 record still.

Oakland Raiders vs. Denver Broncos
This will be a rival game, but the Raiders offense has gone down the tubes the past few weeks. The Broncos are in a must-win situation if they want to obtain the second seed in the AFC, meaning that they won't lay down against the Raiders. LaMont Jordan won't find it easy to run against Denver, meaning that if Kerry Collins is not in rhythm early, the Raiders have no chance.

Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers
The Packers will go back to the drawing board and make sure they don't embarrass themselves on Christmas Day at home. Unfortunately, it'll be too tough to pull out a victory against the Bears mauling defense, who will play similar to way the Ravens did last week. Rex Grossman will showcase his ability to move the offense slightly better than Kyle Orton, an important factor in this game.

Minnesota Vikings vs. Baltimore Ravens
The AFC North will be the demon for the Vikings for the second week in a row. Although the Ravens have not been able to consistently do what they did against the Packers all season, they will be able to build off their momentum. The only way the Vikings will score is based on ball control offense, and that's not easy to do against the Ravens defense unless your real good.

New England Patriots vs. New York Jets
Before the season started, this looked like a great way to end the Monday Night reign on ABC. Unfortunately, it looks like it could be another boring game for the fourth week in a row. Hopefully the Jets will bring their "A" game and not be embarrassed like the Buccaneers were last week, but that'll be hard to do against a red-hot Patriots team.

That's it for this weeks predictions. My survivor winning streak is now at five games after the Panthers defeated the Saints last week. This week, I'm taking the Jacksonville Jaguars to defeat the Houston Texans. The Texans aren't good enough to win two in a row.

Predictions Record to Date: 144-80
Last Week: 10-6
Survivor Streak: Won 5(Sea over SF, SD over Was, Ind over Ten, Den over Bal, Car over NO.)

Have a Merry Christmas everyone and enjoy your fun-filled weekend of NFL football!

-Chris Pokorny

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