It's another Football Friday and The Stack is here with previews of each week 16 game in the NFL. No Kobe Bryant talk here. No Brandon Browner suing the NFL. Just previews and predictions so let's get right to it in "the stack" for today, Friday, December 20:
Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills 1:00 PM ET CBS
The Dolphins need to win to stay alive in the AFC wildcard race. If the Bills had EJ Manuel starting, I'd pick them to win, but Thad Lewis is starting at quarterback. Yes, I know the Bills beat Miami in Miami with Lewis starting earlier in the season, but the Dolphins have figured things out since then. The folks in northern New York will be content with this blackout.
Prediction: Dolphins 23 Bills 20
New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers 1:00 PM ET FOX
The NFC South is up for grabs. The Panthers know that this is their time, their golden opportunity. The Saints come off of a disasterous week that saw them bench their starting left tackle and release kicker Garrett Hartley. Rookie Terron Armstrong will start at LT. The Panthers front seven will generate plenty of pressure and the Saints are not nearly as good on the road as they are in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, but thanks to last week, they regain their focus and find a way to win against the hostile Panthers.
Prediction: Saints 27 Panthers 23
Minnesota Vikings @ Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 PM ET FOX
Had the Bengals not lost last week, this would be a trap game for them. Minnesota is out to be spoiler and they've played much better since Matt Cassel took over as starting quarterback. Don't be surprised if the Vikings find a way to win. The Bengals though know the importance of this game and they will play with desparation and intensity. If the Vikings win or knock out a Bengals player, they should expect a letter.
Prediction: Bengals 27 Vikings 20
Denver Broncos @ Houston Texans 1:00 PM ET CBS
No Wes Welker again this week for the Broncos. Big question now is whether I start Demaryius Thomas in fantasy or go with Antonio Brown? As for the game, the Broncos will run over a Texans team anxious to get out of town and watch the Broncos in the playoffs.
Prediction: Broncos 38 Texans 16
Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 PM ET CBS
One of three games this week with zero playoff implication. The Jaguars earned their first win of the year at Tennessee. They'll enjoy their last win of the year over the Titans too.
Prediction: Jaguars 27 Titans 23
Indianapolis Colts @ Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 PM ET CBS
Who thinks Jamaal Charles will go for five touchdowns this week? Me either. Unfortunately for the fantasy owners that have Charles, that won't be the case. He'll still have a good game though against a Colts team that has a somewhat suspect defense (though you wouldn't have known it after they beat the Texans last week). The Chiefs offense is in a zone right now and with the AFC West still very much up for grabs, they'll be ready to win this one. Think rematch it two weeks.
Prediction: Chiefs 30 Colts 23
Cleveland Browns @ New York Jets 1:00 PM ET CBS
Another game with zero playoff implication. Last time I thought the Jets would lose to a bad team at home, they beat the Raiders 37-27. The Browns are slightly better than the Raiders. Good defense and they have Josh Gordon. I'll take my chances.
Prediction: Browns 23 Jets 12
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ St. Louis Rams 1:00 PM ET FOX
This isn't only just the third and final game of the weekend with no impact on the playoffs. This is a rematch of the 2000 NFC Championship game. Didn't the Rams win that game 11-6? Rams are a confusing bunch, looking good one week and bad the next. This won't be the final score, but why not go with it? Plus the Rams are in their throwbacks and that's always a good thing.
Prediction: Rams 11 Bucs 6
Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins 1:00 PM ET FOX
I don't know how many times I've picked the Cowboys to win a game this year. Most weeks I think I pick them. This week they should win against Washington. But will they? The Cowboys weekly lose in gut-wrenching fashion sending Cowboy nation into a frenzy. Last week, you could blame Tony Romo for throwing two interceptions. You could blame the defense for giving up five touchdowns in the second half to Matt Flynn. This is a must win for the Cowboys. And that's why they will lose. Kirk Cousins was very good last week and Washington will find a way to beat their rivals. I haven't picked great this year so this seems destined to be a wrong pick here, but given what the Cowboys have shown us this year, should we expect anything different?
Prediction: Redskins 30 Cowboys 27
New York Giants @ Detroit Lions 4:05 PM ET FOX
The Lions are no longer in control of their own destiny. Fortunately, they can redeem themselves against a Giants team that looked like they quit last week against Seattle. This game shouldn't be that close, but it's the Lions...so it will.
Prediction: Lions 27 Giants 13
Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks 4:05 PM ET FOX
Fortunately, the Cardinals get Larry Fitzgerald back for this week. Unfortunately they have to go Seattle who is undefeated at home and where the Cardinals playoff hopes will die with or without Brandon Browner.
Prediction: Seahawks 31 Cardinals 17
New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens 4:25 PM ET CBS
Tough, tough game to pick. The Ravens seem to have destiny and good fortune on their side given how they've won the last two weeks. Heck, the MVP of their team may be kicker Justin Tucker? The Patriots are not the same team with Rob Gronkowski. If they want to win this game, they need to find a steady running game with Steven Ridley and get the ball early and often to Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola. Don't know if I see that happening.
Prediction: Ravens 19 Patriots 17
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Green Bay Packers 4:25 PM ET CBS
As of posting this blog early Friday morning, still don't know if Aaron Rodgers is playing. If he does play, the Packers win easily. If he doesn't I see the Steelers putting up a fight and sneaking out of Green Bay with a win.
Prediction: Packers 30 Steelers 20
Prediction: Steelers 23 Packers 20
Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers 4:25 PM ET CBS
The Chargers did their part last week by beating the Broncos, but unfortunately the Dolphins and Ravens were not very nice to them. Chargers need help to make the playoffs, but they can help themselves by beating a bad Raiders team.
Prediction: Chargers 34 Raiders 23
Chicago Bears @ Philadelphia Eagles 8:30 PM ET NBC
Huge game for both teams...potentially. Should the Packers and Lions each lose, the Bears know a win can gets them the NFC North crown. The Eagles know if the Cowboys lose to Washington, a win for them seals up the NFC East. The Eagles are going to play their starters regardless of what happens head coach Chip Kelly says. The Eagles want to put last week's debacle behind them. Points a plenty in this one.
Prediction: Eagles 37 Bears 30
Coming up Monday: Week 16 NFL recap plus MNF preview