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Prisco's Picks: Week 16

 
 
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WEEK
16
 
PETE PRISCO
Senior NFL Columnist
Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and can be seen throughout the week on CBS Sports' NFL shows. When he's not watching game tape you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
MATCHUP SCORE ANALYSIS
Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014
 
Jacksonville
Jaguars
24
This isn't exactly a marquee Thursday night game, but features teams with a lot of young players trying to build for next season. The Jaguars have made strides on defense, while the Titans have not. That's the difference here, no matter who's playing quarterback for these two.
Result: Jacksonville Jaguars 21, Tennessee Titans 13
Tennessee
Titans
17
 
Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014
 
Philadelphia
Eagles
30
The Eagles need this game to have a chance to win the division, while the Redskins are playing out the string. Robert Griffin III looked much better in his return last week. He is starting again, and will have some chances against a leaky Philadelphia secondary. The problem is containing the Eagles' offense. I think Philadelphia gets back on track.
Result: Philadelphia Eagles 24, Washington Redskins 27
Washington
Redskins
20
 
 
San Francisco
49ers
20
This is not as big a game as we expected with the 49ers out of the playoffs. But the Chargers are still alive after two consecutive losses. Can they keep it that way? The 49ers aren't playing for anything, but I think they will find a way to win this one behind their defense.
San Diego
Chargers
17
 
Sunday, Dec. 21, 2014
 
Carolina
Panthers
21
This could be Johnny Manziel against Cam Newton if Newton is cleared. The Browns are basically out of contention, but the Panthers are still alive to win the division. Manziel was terrible in his first start, but he will be better here. I think the Browns hang around.
Cleveland
Browns
20
 
 
Detroit
Lions
31
The Bears were horrible in losing to the Saints on Monday night, but the Lions have to be careful. If they are flat ... uh, no. The Bears look like they've packed it in, especially on offense. The Lions' defense eats that line up. Jay Cutler has another rough day.
Chicago
Bears
17
 
 
Baltimore
Ravens
24
The Texans are down to their third quarterback in Case Keenum or Thad Lewis. Oh, boy. The Ravens are in the thick of the division race. They lollygagged through their game last week vs. Jacksonville, but I think they will be more focused. The defensive front will get after whoever plays quarterback.
Houston
Texans
17
 
 
Miami
Dolphins
23
The Vikings, especially Teddy Bridgewater, have made strides in the second half. The Dolphins have lost two straight and their playoff hopes are nearly done. But they are at home and I think they reverse the December swoon. It's just too late.
Minnesota
Vikings
14
 
 
Atlanta
Falcons
31
I think the Falcons have made strides the past two weeks, even though both are losses. The Saints showed life at Chicago on Monday night. But I still don't trust either defense. This will be a shootout, and in the end Matt Ryan will make the big play to win it.
New Orleans
Saints
30
 
 
New England
Patriots
27
The Patriots have clinched the division, but need to win the final two to secure the AFC's No. 1 seed. So they will be focused. You know the Jets would love to knock off the Patriots in what should be Rex Ryan's final chance to do so with this team. They will hang around for a while, but the Patriots are too good and will pull away.
New York
Jets
13
 
 
Pittsburgh
Steelers
27
Huge game for both teams. The Steelers have won two straight road games and return home, where they have struggled. The battle: Pittsburgh's prolific offense against the Kansas City front. I don't think the Chiefs threaten down the field enough, and the Steelers take it.
Kansas City
Chiefs
20
 
 
Green Bay
Packers
33
This is a second straight road game for the Packers, and normally that can be challenging. But the Bucs aren't good right now, and that loss at Buffalo will re-focus the Packers. I think Aaron Rodgers will light up the Bucs.
Tampa Bay
Buccaneers
17
 
 
New York
Giants
24
Both teams have shown life down the stretch, which likely will save Giants coach Tom Coughlin's job. The Giants have showed a lively pass rush the past three weeks. That will slow the St. Louis offense and Eli Manning will find a way to win it with a big throw to Odell Beckham Jr.
St. Louis
Rams
21
 
 
Dallas
Cowboys
31
The Cowboys are riding high after beating the Eagles last Sunday night, but this is a tough game and the Cowboys have not been good at home. Even so, I think the physical offensive line will control the ball and help keep Andrew Luck on the sideline. The Cowboys win it, even if DeMarco Murray doesn't play.
Indianapolis
Colts
24
 
 
Oakland
Raiders
20
This is a long trip for the Bills after an impressive victory over Green Bay. Can they keep the momentum? That pass rush will help, but I it's natural to come down a bit. The Raiders have pulled off a few upsets at home, and I think this is the perfect spot for another.
Buffalo
Bills
17
 
 
Seattle
Seahawks
17
This will be a defensive war. These two will get after each other. It's going to be a tough challenge, though, for the Arizona offense with Ryan Lindley. The Cardinals hit Russell Wilson a lot in the past two games. That won't change, but the Seattle offense has a big edge here. Seahawks take it.
Arizona
Cardinals
13
 
Monday, Dec. 22, 2014
 
Denver
Broncos
23
The Bengals found their defense against last week against the Browns, but this is a huge step up in terms of offensive class. Do they rush the passer well enough to influence Peyton Manning? I don't think so, and that will be the difference. It's close, but Denver finds a way.
Cincinnati
Bengals
21
 
 
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