NFL Week 16 Blazing 5

2 weeks left of the regular season and every game matters as teams push to make the playoffs

  • Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers (MINN -9)

QB Aaron Rogers will missing another game this week, as I write this, news came out that Rogers will be placed on IR. But His First game back didn't go so well last week against the Carolina Panthers, throwing for 3 TD's and 3 INT with QBR of just about 50. Not only did Rogers and Packers lose, they now have no chance to get in the playoffs this year. The Packers aren't playing for much but QB Brett Hundley will be looking to play spoiler on the Vikings chances of getting home field advantage in the playoffs. To be honest I was a bit surprised the betting line was a coin flip when it first came out. Before the line came out, I would've guessed the Vikings would be around 2 point favorites. But now that news of Rogers will be out, the Packers are in trouble.

The Packers defense is not very good. Last week against the Panthers they allowed inconsistent QB Cam Newton to throw for 4 TD's and a QB rating of 90. You can argue that Cam is a better QB than what the Packers will face this week in Case Keenum. Newton is definitely more explosive but Keenum has been more accurate this year. So look for the Packers defense to struggle again as they rank 26th in overall defense. The Vikings have a better receiving core than the Panthers and could exploit the terrible Green Bay secondary.

Brett Hundley and this weak offense will be crushed against this superior defense. The Vikings rank 2nd in overall defense this year. Green Bay has a bad running game ranking 20th and their receivers aren't getting any better. Jordy Nelson has struggled this year and the Packers could be without leading reciever Devante Adams who suffered a head injury after a ugly cheap shot by Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis.

The Packers cannot and will not win this game. The Vikings are to good and without Aaron Rogers, the Pack have no chance.

  • Prediction: Vikings 28 - Packers 9

 

  • Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys (DAL -5)

If you havent heard by now, Cowboys star running back Ezekiel Elliot is returning after serving a 6 game suspension. And expectations are very high. Late last week, former hall of fame running back Erik Dickerson went on Fox Sports 1 show Undisputed to say Elliot bet him he would have over 200 rushing yards. You can watch the clip on youtube here. It could happen, 200 is a lot but after Todd Gurley ran for over 150 yards and 4 TD's in Seattle last week, the bet looks promising for Elliot. and with Elliot coming back, Cowboys QB Dak Prescott will probably improve a lot.

The Cowboys open up as 5 point favorites at home against a Seattle team who just got steam rolled against the Rams 42-7 in Seattle. I dont think the same will happen this week, but Seattle will have hill to climb against a Cowboys team who is at full health in a game in Dallas. Seattle gave up about 250 Rushing yards last week to the Rams and struggled against their QB which finished with a passer rating of 93.4 for QB Jared Goff.

Not only did Seattle's defense play terrible, the offense played bad as well. Russel Wilson was sacked 7 times and had a QBR of 7.4.. thats not a typo, 7.4 quarterback rating. Granted, The Cowboys defense isn't as good as the Rams but the Seahawks offensive line has allowed the 22nd most sacks allowed this year (1.5 a game) and will be going against a good Dallas pass rush which has Demarcus Lawrence who is ranked 3rd in sacks this season. A reason why the Seahawks allow so many sacks is because they don't have a good balance on offense with the Run game. QB Russel Wilson is the teams leading rusher. Without Wilson, the team would average just over 64 yards of rushing per game which would be DEAD LAST. The only thing the Seahawks have going for them against Dallas is the pass game. The Cowboys secondary is young and pretty bad. If the Seahawks offensive line can keep Wilson protected, the Seahawks might have a chance. 

Both teams are fighting for a playoff spot. Lose your out. This Seattle team is the worst we have seen in years. Russel Wilson continues to carry this team and outside of him there really isn't anyone else good on this team that's at-least healthy. Yeah you can say the defense has played pretty good this year and still has some good to great players, but without their key pro bowlers Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor. They are just average, maybe worse after the show they put on against the Rams. Dallas gets the win here, keeping their playoff hopes alive while knocking Seattle out.

  • Prediction: Cowboys 30 - Seahawks 17

 

  • Los Angeles Rams at Tennessee Titans (LAR -6.5)

After a huge win in Seattle, the Rams travel cross country to face the Titans. The Titans are coming off 2 terrible losses to bad teams (Cardinals and 49ers) but somehow they are still in the playoff hunt. The Titans problems in those 2 games as well as all season has been their offense. Before the season started the Titans were my dark horse favorite to make a run at the Superbowl. I thought QB Marcus Mariota would have his breakout year, he has the offensive weapons to do it, especially in the running game. But the Titans look far from a contender and could be loosing a 3rd straight time this weekend. Good thing the Titans are at home where there record is 5-1 in Tennessee. At home, its like night and day for the Titans. Good at home, terrible on the road. at home they pass for over over 225 yards which is 40 more than they do on the road. Not great but above average. Their rushing attack averages over 150 yards at home which is 60 yards better than on the road. Also not great but pretty good. The biggest difference on offense between home and away is Mariota. Mariota averages a 90.5 passer rating at home compared to 66.5 on the road. See, night and day. 

Nevertheless, this Rams defense can play, They rank 12th in overall defense and is coming off a 7 sack performance last week versus Russel Wilson. They could struggle somewhat though against a good home offense of the Titans. Especially because the Rams will be traveling cross country.

The only thing consistent on this Titan team is there run defense. Their run defense has played phenomenal this year ranking 3rd overall holding teams to around 87 yards a game. This could be trouble for Todd Gurley and the Rams running attack which just came off a very good performance. So the Rams may be forced to throw the ball more with their QB Jared Goff. The Titans pass defense is not so good. They rank well below average at 25th in the league and allowing over 260 passing yards a game. Good thing for the Titans though. The rams rank 12th in passing, averaging over 140 yards a game. So not to much difference and at home the Titans may have the edge in that category. 

Dont be surprised if the Titans can pull out the upset here. I know it seems crazy, especially after Tennessee lost to two bad teams. But this team is legit at home and with the Rams traveling cross country, it could cause problems. But I still think the Rams are better team and their 6-1 record on the road has me to believe that the travel wont be a problem for LA.

  • Prediction: Rams 23 - Titans 20

 

  • Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints (NO -5.5)

A huge divisional match up will take place in New Orleans this week, both teams are still not guaranteed in the playoffs but a win here would put them strongly in front, not only to make playoffs but to win the Division.

Both teams posses a dynamic duo in the backfield. The Saints more notably with possible rookie of the year Alvin Kamara who is a Pro Bowler and Mark Ingram also a Pro Bowler. This Saints running attack on offense has been one of the best stories this season and for good reason. The Saints offense is ranked number 1 overall averaging just over 400 yards a game. and scoring over 28 points a game. This offense can light it up. The Falcons defense will have a tough game to play going into New Orleans. The Falcons defense had played pretty well this year, ranking 9th overall and possesses on of the best defenses this team has had in years. The Falcons defense may struggle a little bit on the road facing the #1 offense. 

Now for the Falcons offense they have played pretty well this year as well, ranking 9th in both rushing and passing this year. The biggest story on the Falcons offense is red zone troubles. They currently rank 19th in scoring touchdowns in the redzone, 55.5% overall, and 48% on the road. Biggest reason, Julio Jones. In 14 games this season. Julio has only 3 TD's, 2 of them in the same game against the worst passing defense in the league (Tampa). If Julio can become a factor in the redzone like we know he can, This offense could be one of the best in the league. 

If the Falcons want to win this game, they need to pass the ball successfully, the Saints rushing defense ranks 6th but their passing defense ranks 18th. Julio needs to return to the Julio we know and use his size and strength in the endzone. This Rivalry game will be close with a ton on the line. To me I think the Saints are still going to win at home, but I would bet Atlanta +5.5

  • Prediction: Saints 31 - Falcons 30

 

  • Detroit Lions at Cincinnati Bengals (Det -4)

Detroit Goes into Cincy fighting for a playoff berth. The Bengals have been eliminated from contention but will be looking to play spoiler. The lions have been inconsistent this year, importantly on offense. In this past offseason, Matthew Stafford was given a huge contract, with that contract came huge responsibilities. On Staffords end, he has done his part. He leads the passing attack of the Lions who currently rank 6th and will be going against the worst pass defense in the league. As far as the Bengals Passing offense, They rank 28th with a bad QB in Andy Dalton which has ranked 28th in QBR this year. But not to fear, the Lions passing defense wont be stopping much, also ranking 28th.

The Lions inconsistencies can be blamed on their running game which is terrible, ranking 31st in the league averaging 74.4 yards per game. Guess who is last in the running game? The Bengals. The Bengals average 74.0 yards per game in their running game. But the Benglas will have the slight edge running the ball because their promising rookie running back Joe Mixon will be returning after being out due to injury. But lets not jump to conclusions and look at how these bad running teams stack up against each others defenses. We already know the Bengals passing defense ranks dead last, so what about their rushing defense... also dead last allowing over 130 rushing yards per game. So looks like there's a chance for the Lions running attack. As far as the Lions rushing defense, They are average. They Ranking 16th allowing over 110 Rushing yards per game. So the Lions actually will have the edge in the running department.

This match up contains to terrible teams if you look at it as a whole, but good thing the Lions have a Good QB in Stafford who could be elite if he had more weapons. Stafford is the difference in this game, and there isn't any difference for this team on the road.

  • Prediction: Lions 24 - Bengals 17