2010 Weekly Predictions: Week 16

December 23rd, 2010 - 12:46 pm

My hot streak cooled off this past week as I went 10-6 in both straight-up predictions as well as against the spread. Carolina’s victory over Arizona and Detroit’s victory over Tampa Bay were the biggest surprises for me. I also missed on Buffalo-Miami, Baltimore-New Orleans, Tennessee-Houston, and NY Jets-Pittsburgh.

Full predictions will come out later this week. Point spreads for the early games come from Vegas.com as of Thursday afternoon.

Last Week: 10-6
Last Week against the spread: 10-6

This Week: 9-7
This Week against the spread: 11-5

Overall: 160-80
Overall against the spread: 134-99-5

Carolina Panthers (2-12) at Pittsburgh Steelers (10-4)
The Panthers may have been able to sneak past the Cardinals last week but I don’t see any way they pull off the upset on the road on Thursday night against the Steelers. The Steelers are banged up and are licking their wounds after last week’s loss to the Jets, but they should cruise in this one.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 24, Carolina 10
Actual Score: Pittsburgh 27, Carolina 3
Spread Pick: Carolina +14 1/2
Actual Score: Pittsburgh 27, Carolina 3

Dallas Cowboys (5-9) at Arizona Cardinals (4-10)

Every so often the NFL schedules a dud and this happens to be one of them. Everyone with half a football brain knew that Arizona sans Kurt Warner would be a bad football team so I don’t know why the NFL decided to schedule them in multiple prime time games. But the Cowboys were at least expected to make a serious playoff run. The Cowboys have been playing well the past month of the season. The Cardinals just lost to the Panthers. Cowboys win here.
Prediction: Dallas 27, Arizona 20
Actual Score: Arizona 27, Dallas 26
Spread Pick: Dallas -6 1/2
Actual Score: Arizona 27, Dallas 26

New York Jets (10-4) at Chicago Bears (10-4)
The Jets possess the No. 6 rushing offense but only the No. 20 passing offense led by a bad quarterback. Teams who are one dimension, especially those who can’t pass as well, will struggle against this Bears defense. Both teams have Top 5 scoring defenses, so it ought to be a close, low-scoring game that I think the Bears pull off at home.
Prediction: Chicago 20, NY Jets 17
Actual Score: Chicago 38, NY Jets 34
Spread Pick: Chicago -1
Actual Score: Chicago 38, NY Jets 34

Washington Redskins (5-9) at Jacksonville Jaguars (8-6)
Washington is playing for pride at this point and the Jaguars really need this game badly for the playoffs. I think that extra desperation gives Jacksonville the edge.
Prediction: Jacksonville 23, Washington 20
Actual Score: Washington 20, Jacksonville 17
Spread Pick: Washington +7
Actual Score: Washington 20, Jacksonville 17

Detroit Lions (4-10) at Miami Dolphins (7-7)
The Lions picked up their first road victory in about 26 tries last week in overtime against the Bucs. Even though Miami has been eliminated from playoff contention, I don’t think they’re the type of team that won’t lie down and die.
Prediction: Miami 21, Detroit 17
Actual Score: Detroit 34, Miami 27
Spread Pick: Miami -3 1/2
Actual Score: Detroit 34, Miami 27

New England Patriots (12-2) at Buffalo Bills (4-10)
The Patriots have locked up a playoff spot, but they still have the divisional crown and the No. 1 seed in the playoffs to fight for. They should take it to the Bills in this one.
Prediction: New England 28, Buffalo 20
Actual Score: New England 34, Buffalo 3
Spread Pick: New England -7 1/2
Actual Score: New England 34, Buffalo 3

Baltimore Ravens (10-4) at Cleveland Browns (5-9)
This is always a natural rivalry given that the Ravens were the original Cleveland Browns. Although the Ravens are much better, I feel the Browns will put up a fight and could steal a win. But I’m going with the safe pick and taking Baltimore.
Prediction: Baltimore 21, Cleveland 17
Actual Score: Baltimore 20, Cleveland 10
Spread Pick: Baltimore -3 1/2
Actual Score: Baltimore 20, Cleveland 10

Tennessee Titans (6-8) at Kansas City Chiefs (9-5)
The Chiefs are inching their way into the playoffs and they can claim the division with a victory here. Kansas City will use the same formula they’ve used all season and that’s riding the league’s No. 1 rushing offense to victory.
Prediction: Kansas City 21, Tennessee 16
Actual Score: Kansas City 34, Tennessee 14
Spread Pick: Kansas City -5 (would be a push by my prediction)
Actual Score: Kansas City 34, Tennessee 14

San Francisco 49ers (5-9) at St. Louis Rams (6-8)
Just one game separates these two teams for the NFC West division lead. Pathetic. The Rams ought to win this one at home led by Sam Bradford and a hungry young defense.
Prediction: St. Louis 20, San Francisco 17
Actual Score: St. Louis 25, San Francisco 17
Spread Pick: St. Louis -2 1/2
Actual Score: St. Louis 25, San Francisco 17

Houston Texans (5-9) at Denver Broncos (3-11)
Both of these teams are heading in the wrong direction and have their good games but more often bad ones. That makes it a difficult one to predict. Houston has the No. 5 offense, including the No. 5 passing attack in the league. Denver is near the bottom of the barrel in defense, so I’ll give the edge to the Texans.
Prediction: Houston 27, Denver 24
Actual Score: Denver 24, Houston 23
Spread Pick: Houston -2 1/2
Actual Score: Denver 24, Houston 23

Indianapolis Colts (8-6) at Oakland Raiders (7-7)
It would seem fitting if the Colts somehow lost to the Raiders given the way both of these teams have played this season — the Colts, much worse than normal, and the Raiders, much better. But I can’t see Indianapolis losing this one with the division title in grasp.
Prediction: Indianapolis 24, Oakland 20
Actual Score: Indianapolis 31, Oakland 26
Spread Pick: Indianapolis -3
Actual Score: Indianapolis 31, Oakland 26

San Diego Chargers (8-6) at Cincinnati Bengals (3-11)
The Chargers have their backs against the wall and need a lot of help to make the playoffs. I think they’ll help themselves by knocking off a woeful Bengals team.
Prediction: San Diego 27, Cincinnati 20
Actual Score: Cincinnati 34, San Diego 20
Spread Pick: Cincinnati +7 1/2
Actual Score: Cincinnati 34, San Diego 20

Seattle Seahawks (6-8) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6)
The Buccaneers are still very much alive and in the hunt for a wild card spot but can’t afford to lose to a bad Seahawks team. I think they get the job done with defense and the run game.
Prediction: Tampa Bay 24, Seattle 17
Actual Score: Tampa Bay 38, Seattle 15
Spread Pick: Tampa Bay -6 1/2
Actual Score: Tampa Bay 38, Seattle 15

New York Giants (9-5) at Green Bay Packers (8-6)
It’s playoffs or bust for these teams. New Orleans is most likely going to wrap up the No. 1 wild card spot which means the winner of this game will probably get the second wild card and the loser will head home for January. A week ago, I would have said the Giants would probably win this game. But after the Giants’ fourth-quarter collapse to the Eagles and how well I saw the Packers play against the Patriots without Aaron Rodgers, I have a strong feeling Green Bay will win this game at home.
Prediction: Green Bay 24, NY Giants 21
Actual Score: Green Bay 45, NY Giants 17
Spread Pick: Green Bay -3 (would be a push by my prediction)
Actual Score: Green Bay 45, NY Giants 17

Minnesota Vikings (5-9) at Philadelphia Eagles (10-4)
It’s too bad Brett Favre and the Vikings collapsed this season because this would have been an enjoyable Sunday night game. Actually, it’s not too bad at all. I’m enjoying the demise even more. Eagles win big.
Prediction: Philadelphia 27, Minnesota 16
Actual Score: Minnesota 24, Philadelphia 14
Spread Pick: Minnesota +14 1/2
Actual Score: Minnesota 24, Philadelphia 14

New Orleans Saints (10-4) at Atlanta Falcons (12-2)
This should be a great Monday night game between two of the NFC’s best. The Falcons can clinch the division with a win in either of their final two games. The Saints have to win out and hope for two Falcons losses, but they could wrap up a playoff spot with just one win. Atlanta is a tough team to beat at home and I think they get it done with defense in this one.
Prediction: Atlanta 27, New Orleans 24
Actual Score: New Orleans 17, Atlanta 14
Spread Pick: Atlanta -2 1/2
Actual Score: New Orleans 17, Atlanta 14

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