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- Week 16 Predictions: Vikings Battle Redskins on Sunday Night

Chris Pokorny December 23, 2007
Chris Pokorny
PFC Owner & Writer

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I didn't get my picks down in words for the Thursday and Saturday games, but I was officially correct in both contests. The Steelers inched closer to the AFC North title, while the Cowboys inched closer to the No. 1 seed in the NFC. However, both teams that they defeated -- the Rams and the Panthers -- gave it their all on gameday. Let's get to the Week 16 picks now, starting with this week's games of the week...



Washington Redskins vs. Minnesota Vikings. In terms of playoff hopes, it's interesting that this is the only game this week that has significant playoff implications for both teams. The Vikings currently have their foot in the door for the NFC's final wildcard spot, and could even creep ahead of the New York Giants since they own the head-to-head tiebreaker over them. Todd Collins has led the Redskins to two straight victories out of no where. His key has been not turning the football over, which is the Redskins' ideal way of winning football games. A negative does exist for the Redskins if they win though. A Redskins win, coupled with a Saints win, would actually put the Saints into the sixth seed heading into Week 17. Either way, Washington will bring their A-game, but they'll have a hard time running the football against the Minnesota Vikings defense. Todd Collins will have to execute more often than he did last week, but it's hard to see that happening. The Vikings will find success in their running game en route to victory. Vikings 20, Redskins 16


Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals. All of the remaining seeds in the AFC really come down to what the Cleveland Browns do this week. With a Browns win, Cleveland clinches the playoffs and makes it very difficult for the Titans to catch the Jaguars or Steelers. With a Browns loss, the Titans would in theory be ahead of the Browns heading into Week 17, and the Steelers would clinch their division. The Bengals have looked down and out often this season, but they have been "fired up" during the week because they feel the Browns set them on the negative trend that they are currently on. It takes more than being "fired up" to win though -- it'll take a good defense and solid pass protection up front. Without those two elements, the Browns will pull out a tough road win in a shootout. Browns 31, Bengals 28


Houston Texans vs. Indianapolis Colts. I still have to believe that the Colts will rest their starters in the second half of this game after the injury setbacks they've had all season. Especially considering that the Patriots are an undefeated team, the Colts know that having people healthy in the postseason against them will be more important than the outcome of the next two games. With that said, I think Peyton Manning is going to hit several quick strike scores in the first half against the red-hot Houston Texans. Sage Rosenfels has looked good the past two weeks, but his success will be limited for at least a half against the Colts' starters. The Texans may make it close in the second half, but the Colts will be able to run the clock down enough to hang on.Colts 27, Texans 20


Philadelphia Eagles vs. New Orleans Saints. The Saints have had so many chances to get back in the race this season, but always seem to lose then. This week, if the Saints beat the Eagles and the Redskins beat the Vikings, the Saints will control their own destiny heading into the final week of the season. I think the difference maker for the Saints this time around is that they are confident in the ability of Aaron Stecker to be used as more of a traditional running back. Reggie Bush can be explosive, but not in the ways that Brian Westbrook on the Eagles can be. Donovan McNabb used his legs to lead the Eagles to a tough win last week, but overall his performance was not the most effective yet again. McNabb should find success against the Saints' porous defense, but just as he has done all season, he will come out and disappoint. Saints 28, Eagles 17


New York Giants vs. Buffalo Bills. The Giants are in trouble -- not only this week, but next week. It seems hard to believe that the Giants could miss the postseason, but with the way things have gone in the Tom Coughlin era, it wouldn't be a surprise if that's what happened. It's not like the Giants utilized Jeremy Shockey much this season, but his season-ending injury certainly won't help Eli Manning move the ball down the field. Manning's struggles need to be helped by an efficient running game, because his most effective passes come off of playaction. The Bills failed to come through on offense last week with their playoff hopes on the line, as Trent Edwards didn't put any points on the board. The Giants' defense can still keep them in games, and the Giants will be able to pull out a tough win with a fourth quarter rallying drive. Giants 19, Bills 16

Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears. One of the blemishes on the Packers' two-loss season came against the Chicago Bears. If you think back though, that game seemed to be more of a game in which the Packers ran a poor gameplan rather than the Bears coming through. The Packers did not have a solid running game with Ryan Grant at the time, and after passing the ball effectively in the first half, they tried to establish what they didn't have for the remainder of the game until they found themselves losing. Kyle Orton didn't show he could do any better than Rex Grossman or Brian Griese could last week against the Vikings, so in theory, the only way the Packers can lose this week is if they shoot themselves in the foot again. They won't. Packers 30, Bears 13

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Detroit Lions. Do the Chiefs even exist in the NFL anymore? After Larry Johnson went out with an injury earlier this season, the Chiefs have basically been an automatic victory for anyone that has faced them. The opposite can be said for the Detroit Lions -- they've lost just as many in a row as the Chiefs have, but people have recognized them because of the red-hot start to the season they got off to. Someone's streak has to end here, and the wiser choice would be Jon Kitna and the Lions' potent offense. Lions 21, Chiefs 9

Oakland Raiders vs. Jacksonville Jaguars. With one more win, the Jaguars will officially clinch a postseason berth. For being the fifth best football team in the league at this point in my opinion, it's a shame that the Jaguars have no shot at winning a division as long as Peyton Manning is still playing this game. The Raiders gave the Colts a battle last week, and JaMarcus Russell may be scheduled to get some more playing time this week. Jacksonville's formula to success begins and ends with the running game, and until teams stop shutting the duo of Maurice-Jones Drew and Fred Taylor down, this team is going to win week in and week out. Jaguars 27, Raiders 14

Atlanta Falcons vs. Arizona Cardinals. The Falcons are done -- toast. The Cardinals have nothing to play for either, but finishing the season off with a .500 record would be a positive sign heading into next season. I'm expecting a blowout. Cardinals 38, Falcons 7

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. San Francisco 49ers. The Buccaneers tore apart the Falcons in every way imaginable last week, but things may not be so easy against the 49ers all of a sudden. Shaun Hill has been one of the most efficient quarterbacks in football the past two weeks all of a sudden. If for nothing more, the 49ers can win and know that they are giving the New England Patriots a lower first-round draft pick. The problem I see for Hill in this game is the fact that the Buccaneers' defense is designed to take away some of the tendencies an everyday quarterback has. Hill won't be able to make the proper adjustments in his third game, and the Buccaneers will come away with the win. Buccaneers 20, 49ers 10

Miami Dolphins vs. New England Patriots. We didn't get the 0-14 vs. 14-0 matchup we were hoping for, but the overall vibe of the worst team vs. the best team still exists. The Dolphins were fortunate to run into a beaten Ravens team last week. They won't stand a chance against the Patriots, who seemed to want to emphasize the fact that they could run the football last week against the Jets after Tom Brady wasn't having his day. Brady will be back to throwing this week, enough so that he can tie Peyton Manning's touchdown record at 49. Patriots 31, Dolphins 6

Baltimore Ravens vs. Seattle Seahawks. The Ravens were the embarrassment of the league last week for being the team to fall to the Dolphins. All of a sudden, the Ravens' injuries are making them look like the minor-league NFL team. Who wants to see the Ravens without their starting corners, and without Ray Lewis? Opposing offenses. The Seahawks would be wise to get Matt Hasselbeck throwing the football early, because that's the only way the Seahawks will remain a legitimate threat this season. Troy Smith's first NFL start may not be bad personally, but as a team, the Ravens don't stand a chance. Seahawks 28, Ravens 14

New York Jets vs. Tennessee Titans. Even if the Browns win in the morning contest, the Titans will still have something to play for. Two wins to close out the season, along with a Steelers loss in Week 17, could put the Titans in the postseason. Vince Young threw the ball last week for one of the first times this season, but don't expect the Titans to start hitting on all cylinders all of a sudden. The Jets have been very competitive the past month or so, and even gave the Patriots a serious run for their money last week. The Titans need this week, and they'll get it with some Vince Young magic late. Titans 20, Jets 16


Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers. The Chargers and the Broncos are in different leagues right now. Some weeks, you believe the Broncos can still be a postseason team. Other weeks, you wonder how the Broncos have even come close to winning six games. LaDainian Tomlinson is piling on the 100-yard contests again, and by the end of his career, people will look back at his stats this season and never know that there was a time when the Chargers stopped feeding him the football. Chargers 24, Broncos 20


Last week, I extended my survivor streak to a season-high six straight wins as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers decimated the Atlanta Falcons. I know this particular pick is a little late, but I took the Dallas Cowboys over the Carolina Panthers as my Week 16 survivor pick. The Cowboys won last night, so my streak now stands at seven straight wins.

Predictions Record to Date: 148-76 (I'm thrilled that I'm not even close to 100 losses this season.)
This Week: 2-0
Last Week: 11-5 (Not bad, although a step back from 15 wins in Week 15.)
Survivor Streak: Won 7 (Min over Atl, Den over Oak, Car over Atl, [NYJ over Buf], Ari over StL, Cle over Mia, Cin over NYJ, NYG over Mia, [SD over Min], Sea over SF, Ind over KC, Pit over Mia, NE over Bal, GB over OAK, TB over ATL, and DAL over CAR.)
Survivor Record: 14-2

By the end of the day, based on my predictions, the Cleveland Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, and New York Giants will all clinch a postseason berth. That means that NBC's best choice for a Week 17 prime time game could feature the Browns, Steelers, or Titans, since each of those games could have some meaning.

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