We’re down to the last week of the NFL’s regular season, which means it’s the last chance for teams to clinch a playoff spot or divisional title as there’s two of each still up for grabs. There were several upsets in week 16 and some teams played dearly for it by finding themselves eliminated from the postseason. In addition, Cleveland finally won its first game of the season. The final 16 games will all be played on Sunday, January 1st. Check out our weekly predictions below to see how each of the 32 clubs will fare in week 16 of the season.
Sunday, January 1st
Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals
Baltimore was eliminated from the playoff race on Christmas Day after blowing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter to Pittsburgh and losing 31-27. They’re 8-7 on the year, so will finish at .500 at the worst and will end up in second position in the AFC North. The Bengals are also out of the postseason as they were knocked out a couple of weeks ago. They’re 5-9-1 on the year and will finish in third spot in the AFC North. The Bengals are coming off a 12-10 loss in Houston last week. These two teams met on November 27th with Baltimore winning 19-14 at home.
Prediction: Baltimore wins by six points, 27-21
Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans
The Houston Texans managed to beat Cincinnati 12-10 at home last week and clinched their second straight AFC South title and they’re guaranteed the fourth seed in the They enter the game at 9-6 on the year. Quarterback Tom Savage started for Houston again as Brock Osweiler has been benched for now. However, Savage hasn’t managed to toss a touchdown pass in the one and a half games he’s played. He’ll probably start against the Titans though. Tennessee blew their chance at the playoffs by losing 38-17 in Jacksonville last weekend. As well as losing the game the Titans also lost their first string quarterback Marcus Mariota as he suffered a broken leg. Matt Cassel took over for Mariota and threw 124 yards by going 13 for 24. He’ll be facing a Houston defence which has surrendered only 15.7 points on average in their past three contests. The Titans enter the game in second place in the AFC South at 8-7. The two teams played in October with Houston winning 27-20 at home.
Prediction: Houston wins by seven points, 27-20
Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Carolina Panthers will miss the playoffs this season after reaching and losing the Super Bowl last year. The Panthers were beaten 33-16 at home by Atlanta last week to 6-9 on the campaign and remain in last place in the NFC South. Quarterback Cam Newton threw for just 198 yards last week as he went 18 for 43. Tampa enters the game in second place in the NFC South at 8-7 after losing a crucial game 31-24 in New Orleans. Tampa has the slimmest of chances at making the playoffs as they need to win and hope that the results of half a dozen other games fall in their favour. It’s almost certain they won’t make the season, but at least they’ll be motivated to win. These teams met October 10th in Carolina with Tampa taking a 17-14 decision.
Prediction: Tampa wins by 11 points, 28-17
Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts
Both Jacksonville and Indianapolis are out of the playoff race. The Jaguars upset Tennessee 38-17 in Florida last week in Doug Marrone’s first game in charge as interim head coach. Quarterback Blake Bortles went 26 for 38 in passing for 325 yards last week, but the Jags are just 3-12 on the year and own the basement of the AFC South. Indianapolis enters the game one spot ahead of them in the division at 7-8 after losing 33-25 in Oakland last week. Quarterback Andrew Luck struggled by going 19 for 29 in passing for 288 yards. He tossed for a pair of touchdowns, but was also picked off twice. The Colts haven’t lost two games in a row since the first two weeks of the season. The teams met in early October with the Jags winning 30-27 at home.
Prediction: Indianapolis wins by 14 points, 38-24
New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins
New England will get a bye in the first round of the playoffs as they enter the game at 13-2 and have clinched the AFC East. They smoked The New York Jets to the tune of 41-3 at home last week and have clinched the divisional title. However, they haven’t clinched the first seed in the AFC as Oakland could pass them if the Patriots lose and the Raiders win on Sunday. There’s a chance that New England may rest some of the teams top players though. The Dolphins are one spot behind the Pats in the division at 10-5 and can take the fifth seed in the AFC if they beat New England and Kansas City loses. Miami enters the game after downing the Bills 34-31 in overtime in Buffalo last week. These teams last played each other in September with the Pats winning 31-24 at home. Miami has won nine of their last 10 games this season.
Prediction: Miami wins by six points, 24-18
Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings
The Bears have no shot at the playoffs as they’re at the bottom of the NFC North after being thumped 41-21 at home by Washington last week. Quarterback Matt Barkley was picked off a total of five times in the contest. The Vikings are in third place in the division at 7-8 after they dropped a 38-25 decision in Green Bay. Chicago has covered the spread in their past two divisional showdowns, but they’re still a woeful team. Minnesota had a flying start to the campaign and then collapsed, missing the playoffs. Minnesota and Chicago clashed with each other on Halloween night in the Windy City with the Bears frightening the life out of the Vikings 20-10.
Prediction: Minnesota wins by 10 points, 31-21
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets
The Jets were thoroughly embarrassed last week when they were drilled 41-3 in New England. The loss dropped them to 4-11 on the season and they still occupy the cellar of the AFC East. There was reportedly some harsh words between some of the squad’s top players after the humiliation. The Bills will also miss the playoffs though after coming out on the wrong end of a 34-31 decision at home to Miami in overtime last week. They enter the weekend in third place in the division at 7-8. The Bills fired head coach Rex Ryan and his twin brother Rob Ryan on Tuesday and Anthony Lynn will be in charge of the team on Sunday. Ryan had three years to go on his five-year contract. The Jets beat Buffalo 37-31 on the road back in September.
Prediction: Buffalo wins by 13 points, 31-18
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles
Dallas keeps rolling along as they beat Detroit 42-21 at home last Monday. The Cowboys get a playoff bye as they’re 13-2 on the season and have clinched the NFC East as well as the NFC’s top seed. However, their top players may be rested against the Eagles since the game really means nothing to either team. Therefore we may see Tony Romo start at quarterback for Dallas in place of rookie Dak Prescott. The Eagles downed the New York Giants 24-19 at home last Thursday to improve to 6-9 on the season, but they’re still in last place in the division. Dallas beat Philly 29-23 at home in October.
Prediction: Philadelphia wins by six points, 24-18
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Cleveland Browns gave their fans a Christmas present last week by beating San Diego 20-17 at home for their first victory of the season. They’re still the worst team in the league though at 1-14 and sit in the basement of the AFC North. They’ll be facing the division champs at the Steelers fought back from a 10-point deficit at home in the fourth quarter last week to beat Baltimore 31-27 to take the crown. Pittsburgh has nothing to gain really as they’re the third-seed in the AFC so they might rest a few players. But does Cleveland really want to win and blow their chance at the first-overall draft pick? Pittsburgh won 24-9 in Cleveland in November.
Prediction: Pittsburgh wins by four points 24-20
New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta clinched the NFC South Division last week with their 33-16 win in Carolina and because Tampa Bay was beaten 31-24 by the Saints in New Orleans. The Falcons are still in the hunt for the second seed in the NFC as they’re 10-5 on the season. Meanwhile, the Saints are 7-8 on the year and in third place in the division despite their win over Tampa. The Saints and Falcons met back on September 26th with Atlanta winning 45-32 in a shootout in New Orleans.
Prediction: Atlanta wins by seven points four points 31-27
New York Giants at Washington Redskins
The Giants were downed 24-19 in Philadelphia last week, but are still in the playoffs. They’re 10-5 on the season and in second place in the NFC East and have a wildcard spot locked up as the fifth seed in the NFC East. The Giants have several injuries at the moment and head coach Ben McAdoo will probably rest his best players this weekend. Washington drilled the Bears 41-21 on the road last week and still have a shot at the postseason. They enter the game in third place in the division with their record of 8-6-1. They have to beat the Giants and pray that Detroit and Green Bay don’t play to a rare tie game. If Green Bay or Detroit should happen to lose ad Washington wins then the Redskins are in the playoffs. Washington edged the Giants 29-27 on the road in September.
Prediction: Washington wins by 13 points, 31-18
Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams
This is basically a nothing game for both teams as they’re both out of the playoffs. The Rams are in third place in the NFC West at 4-11 while the Cardinals are in second place at 6-8-1. The Rams were edged 22-21 at home by San Francisco last week while the Cardinals downed Seattle 34-31 on the road. Los Angeles gained just 177 yards in the entire game against the 49ers, but still managed 21 points against a weak San Francisco defence. These two teams met back on October 2nd with the Rams winning 17-13 on the road I the desert.
Prediction: Arizona wins by 10 points, 24-14
Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos
The Oakland Raiders could pass by the New England Patriots and take the AFC’s top seed if they can win in Denver and the Pats lose to Miami. But a loss could see the Raiders fall into a wildcard spot and lose the AFC West to Kansas if the Chiefs win over San Diego. Oakland currently owns first place in their division at 12-3 after beating Indianapolis 33-25 at home in their last outing. Denver, the reigning Super Bowl champions, won’t get the chance to defend their crown as they’re out of the postseason following their 33-10 defeat in Kansas. The Broncos are 8-7 this year and in third position in the division. Oakland and Denver played on November 6th in Oakland with the Raiders coming out on top 30-20. The bad news for the Raiders is that starting quarterback Derek Carr is out for the season with a broken fibula and will be replaced by Matt McGloin.
Prediction: Oakland wins by three points, 21-18
Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers
The Chiefs can still win the AFC West if they beat San Diego and Oakland loses to Denver. Kansas sits in second place in the division at 11-4, one game behind Oakland, after their 33-10 demolition at home over Denver last weekend. San Diego head coach Mike McCoy may be looking for a new job soon after losing 20-17 to the hapless Browns in Cleveland last weekend. The Chargers enter the game at 5-10 on the year and in last place in the AFC West. Kansas will be highly motivated for this game with the division title a possibility. The two teams met back on September 11th with Kansas City winning 33-27 at home.
Prediction: Kansas wins by 14 points, 28-14
Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers
Seattle blew their chance at a first-round playoff bye when they lost 34-31 at home to Arizona last week. The defeat saw them fall to 9-5-1 on the season, but they’ve still clinched the NFC West Division. However, it was a costly loss since both Thomas Rawls and Tyler Lockett were injured in the game. Meanwhile, San Francisco may have damaged their hopes of drafting first overall next year as they edged the Rams 22-21 in Los Angeles. The 49ers are 2-13 on the season and in the basement of the division. If they lose to Seattle and the Cleveland Browns (1-14) beat the Steelers then San Francisco will have a chance at the number one draft pick as both teams will finish at 2-14. San Francisco and Seattle met on September 25th with Seattle winning 37-18 at home.
Prediction: Seattle wins by 14 points, 31-17
Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions
The biggest game of the weekend is between Green Bay and Detroit as they fight it out for the NFC North title as well as a spot in the postseason. Both Green Bay and Detroit sport records of 9-6 this campaign. Detroit had a chance to earn a wildcard spot last Monday, but were hammered 42-21 by the Cowboys in Texas. Meanwhile, Green Bay beat Minnesota 38-25 at home for their fifth consecutive triumph. Whoever wins this game will take the division while the loser will miss the playoffs if Washington beats the New York Giants. However, the loser of this game will make the playoffs as a wildcard team if Washington doesn’t win. There’s another twist in the tale though as both Detroit and Green Bay can make the playoffs if this game ends in a tie. If it does, then the Packers will win the division and Detroit will knockout Washington for the final wildcard spot. Detroit and Green Bay faced off in Green Bay in September with the Packers taking a 34-27 decision.
Prediction: Green Bay wins by five points, 28-23