NFL Week 16 open thread

posted at 10:30 am on December 26, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Normally I’d lead off my weekend slate of picks with a rundown of the Pittsburgh Steelers game, but this time I’ve already got that win in the bag.  The Steelers rolled over the hapless Carolina Panthers on Thursday night, bouncing back from a tough loss to the New York Jets on Sunday.  Now, you know I would have picked them to win …. but I don’t suppose you’d allow me to take credit for the pick in this week.  Darn it!  I’ll have to wait for next Sunday, when the Steelers can clinch their division and a second-round bye with a win over the Cleveland Browns on the road.

Last week, I went 3-3 to bring my 2010 season record to 57-34.  I’m getting close to my 61-35 record from last season.  Can I surpass it?  Here are a half-dozen half-baked predictions:

  • Vikings at Eagles – The Vikings’ best chance to win is to have Brett Favre play QB.  And that really should tell you all you need to know about this game.  The Eagles are playing for playoff position; the Vikings are playing for draft position.  Minnesota won’t win its second road game this season this week, or for that matter, probably not against Detroit the week after that.  Eagles over the Vikes, 35-10.
  • Ravens at Browns – As much as I’d like to see Baltimore lose, which would clinch the AFC North title for Pittsburgh, it’s rather unlikely.  The Browns play decent at home, but the Ravens are playing good football.  Ravens over Browns, 27-14.
  • Colts at Raiders – Every game is a playoff game for both of these teams.  One loss and they may as well buy their big-screen TVs for their playoff experience in 2010.  The Colts play poorly on the road and aren’t terribly good outdoors; the Raiders play tough at home.  Normally I wouldn’t pick against Peyton, but Indy is 28th in the league against the run, and I’m not sure Peyton’s going to get a whole lot of chances at the ball against the 2nd-best rushing team.  Oakland over Indy, 28-17.
  • Saints at Falcons – This will probably be the game of the week.  The reigning champs came up short in Baltimore last week, and Atlanta is even tougher at home than the Ravens.  Should be close, and it may come down to the last drive, but the Falcons are the Who Dat.  Falcons over Saints, 27-23.
  • Giants at Packers – The Packers have to win both of their final two games to get a playoff spot; the Giants are coming off of a huge, demoralizing loss to the Eagles.  The Packers put a scare into the New England Patriots last week with seldom-used backup Mike Flynn, who came close to pulling off an upset against the NFL’s hottest team.  Aaron Rodgers returns, and so should the Packers’ winning ways, especially at Lambeau Field.  Packers over Giants, 24-17.
  • 49ers at Rams – The most embarrassing aspect of this match between the 5-and-9ers and the 6-8 Rams is that this game has playoff implications for both teams.  That’s how bad the NFC West is this year, and the AFC West isn’t all that much better.  If the Rams win out and go 8-8, they win the division.  If the 49ers win out for a 7-9 record, they could win the division.  The two teams are evenly matched on paper, but San Francisco stinks on the road (1-6) while the Lambs get tougher at home (4-3).  Sam Bradford continues to impress in St. Louis and they still have Stephen Jackson.  They should get even for an overtime road loss in Frisco in week 10 by beating the 49ers, 24-14.

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GO GREEN BIRDS!

Tony737 on December 26, 2010 at 10:33 AM

GO STEELERS!!!!!

Wait. Sorry. Force of habit!

ladyingray on December 26, 2010 at 10:51 AM

Don’t be a wuss. Pick against the spread.

swamp_yankee on December 26, 2010 at 11:02 AM

No Bears v. Jets prediction? Come on, Ed.

Be awesome if Da Bears win today.

B Man on December 26, 2010 at 11:02 AM

GO STEELERS!!!!!

Wait. Sorry. Force of habit!

ladyingray on December 26, 2010 at 10:51 AM

HA! I was just starting to type that, too.

Scott P on December 26, 2010 at 11:04 AM

Two more games and Chiefs are going to the playoffs! Only got to get past the Titan’s and the Raiders (boo). Both at home in Arrowhead.

Go Chiefs!

and Go whoever is playing the Chargers!

Wolftech on December 26, 2010 at 11:07 AM

how about them cards yesterday…yeah baby!

cmsinaz on December 26, 2010 at 11:14 AM

While most teams are playing for playoff spots or position, My Houston Texans are playing for a new coaching staff and GM! We meet the Broncos in Denver today. Denver is also playing to get a new coach and it is rumored they might like to have our current coach, Gary Kubiak, back! We may even be able to put together a trade! Or not.
Tim Tebow will start for the Broncos and being a Tebow fan, it should be fun to watch our defense launch his NFL career like we did Mark Sanchez’s last year!
All I wanted for Christmas was Bill Cowher!

cartooner on December 26, 2010 at 11:19 AM

Go Bills – go ahead and lose to the Pats and the last game as well. its after all something that you have been good at for a long time ! – we will at least get a first round draft pick next year.not that it will help the team greatly, but hey you always hope :=)

Btw I HATE that the NFC West division “winner” may have a losing record… the most mediocre division in the NFL for quite some time now.

If the NFL had any brains they should have a rule that unless a division winning team has a non-losing record, it should not be allowed in the playoffs. A second wild card can be added instead.

In this case Tampa Bay has a winning record (8-6),plays in a division that has the SB champion, and a division leader who is 2 games up on the Super Bowl champion.

If Tampa ends with a winning record and does not go into playoffs and these losers in the NFC west go into playoffs with a 7-9 record, it would be a real shame.

nagee76 on December 26, 2010 at 11:24 AM

Good thing the NFL has a Sunday night flex schedule so they can bring you the all important Eagles/Vikings game. The NFL and sports medias love for all thinks Vick and Favre is beyond pathetic.

lowandslow on December 26, 2010 at 11:26 AM

They should get even for an overtime road loss in Frisco in week 10 by beating the 49ers, 24-14.

Blasphemy! I’d expect more from a former SoCal boy. No “respectable writer”* calls them “Frisco”. The late great Herb Caen would have your knuckles slapped. I’ll go one step further and bet ya the 49ers defeat the Rams today with their rag-tag offense and banged-up defense.

* = :)

Rovin on December 26, 2010 at 11:32 AM

A Chief’s loss and a Charger’s win would be the icing on the cake to a so far perfect Christmas…..Go Bolts!!!

repvoter on December 26, 2010 at 11:37 AM

cartooner on December 26, 2010 at 11:19 AM

The Broncos have released the Kracken!

itsnotaboutme on December 26, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Looking forward to that epic battle next week:

Steelers V. Clowns

CWforFreedom on December 26, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Oh great … NBC reporting that the NFL is considering postponing tonights Vikes-Eagles game. WUSSES!

stormin1961 on December 26, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Saints at Falcons – This will probably be the game of the week. The reigning champs came up short in Baltimore last week, and Atlanta is even tougher at home than the Ravens. Should be close, and it may come down to the last drive, but the Falcons are the Who Dat. Falcons over Saints, 27-23.

Several factors to consider on this one.

1. Sean Payton is 6-0 against Atlanta at their house as I recall.

2. He usually doesn’t lose twice in one season to the same team.

3. In the earlier Saints loss to the Falcons, the Saints did not have all of their weapons. This week all of their runners are supposed to finally be healthy.

4. The Falcons’ schedule this season has been easier than that of the Saints. They haven’t had many games where they blew out their opponents-they barely beat SF, for instance, and barely beat the Bengals and Ravens and Packers at home.

In the first meeting between these two teams in Week 3 in New Orleans (and as I said the Saints were not all healthy for that one) the Falcons only won by 3 points-in OT. And the only reason the Falcons got a chance to win that game in OT was because the Saints PK missed a chip shot FG.

Saints in an epic battle squeaker.

Del Dolemonte on December 26, 2010 at 12:10 PM

49ers at Rams – The most embarrassing aspect of this match between the 5-and-9ers and the 6-8 Rams is that this game has playoff implications for both teams. That’s how bad the NFC West is this year, and the AFC West isn’t all that much better. If the Rams win out and go 8-8, they win the division. If the 49ers win out for a 7-9 record, they could win the division.

..7-9 for San Francisco? Perhaps they could merely put a decimal point in front of their name (i.e., “.49ers”) in honor of their potential division-winning record? I know, it would be the “.4375ers” but a radical logo change will have to wait until next year, I guess.

As a diehard Niner fan (Montana, Rice, Young, Walsh, et al) it pains me to engage in such humor, but, but..

..and before you get too cocky, Ed, I remind you of the days of yore when the Vikings actually played out doors in the snow and cold — because they liked to rather than because their wuss Viking Dome de-domed. Brodie, Washington, and the Niners came up there and beat the Vikes in a playoff game in their shirtsleeves.

What the video doesn’t show or mention is that the Niners eschewed heaters behind their benches and did not wear coats for the game. It was a psych job on the their ersatz Norse opponents, you betcha.

The War Planner on December 26, 2010 at 12:12 PM

So, what’s this with the Jets coach and the foot fetish video?

I’m sure the NFL will cover this up to protect him, just as they swept the Bill Belichick sex video story under the rug 2 years ago!

Maybe Julie Assmange has both of them and will be leaking them before he goes to jail?

Del Dolemonte on December 26, 2010 at 12:13 PM

Btw I HATE that the NFC West division “winner” may have a losing record… the most mediocre division in the NFL for quite some time now.

If the NFL had any brains they should have a rule that unless a division winning team has a non-losing record, it should not be allowed in the playoffs. A second wild card can be added instead. nagee76 on December 26, 2010 at 11:24 AM

Boo hoo…………… I was going to write my own argument, but this one does it best:

-In 1991, the Eagles and 49ers were both 10-6 but lost out to the Falcons (10-6) and Cowboys (11-5) in the NFC. Meanwhile, the Jets were an AFC wild card at 8-8.

-In 2004, Buffalo, Baltimore and Jacksonville (9-7) did not make it in a tough AFC, but, in the NFC, Minnesota & St. Louis (8-8) did. (The Vikings and Rams both won their wild-card games, by the way).

-In 2006, Denver didn’t make it in the AFC at 9-7, but the Giants made it in the NFC at 8-8.

-In 2008, San Diego (8-8) won the AFC West while Dallas & Tampa (9-7) didn’t make it in the NFC.

In 2008, Kurt Warner and the Arizona Cardinals won the NFC Worst despite losing four of their last six games, but they made a great playoff run that ended in a last-minute Super Bowl loss.

Besides, this is a rare case.

A losing team has never made the playoffs in the 16-game era (which began in 1978), and only two .500 teams have won their divisions.

The worst case came in 1985, when Cleveland won the AFC Central at 8-8 and Denver had to stay home despite an 11-5 record.

Until the NFL gets rid of divisions, a division winner is a playoff team.

Get over it.

Rovin on December 26, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Rovin. Don’t be an idiot. Anyone who is reasonable knows that situation is a joke.

CWforFreedom on December 26, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Ed, a curse on your team for calling us “Frisco”.

aunursa on December 26, 2010 at 12:24 PM

I’m pulling for the Redskins today, just because I have such a bad feeling about the Colts/Raiders matchup. This time last year the Colts were 14-0 and had a shot at immortality, until Caldwell decided to blow off the last two games. Should have fired him on the field for that.

Tommy_G on December 26, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Ed, a curse on your team for calling us “Frisco”.

aunursa on December 26, 2010 at 12:24 PM

..nah, mate, until they can go over .500 consistently, they’ll always be Frisco.

The War Planner on December 26, 2010 at 12:40 PM

Ed, a curse on your team for calling us “Frisco”.

aunursa on December 26, 2010 at 12:24 PM

I would have used San FranSissyco

CWforFreedom on December 26, 2010 at 12:50 PM

Rovin. Don’t be an idiot. Anyone who is reasonable knows that situation is a joke.

CWforFreedom on December 26, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Not certain what you mean by “that situation” CW. I’m just making the case that turning the whole playoff system upside-down is not necessarily a “reasonable” idea under the scenarios listed above. Is it embarrassing that any team in the NFC West should be in the playoffs? YES! And they will most likely lose in their first game. But, to start eliminating division winners???

I might suggest, (respectfully), that you read the entire article at the link and then give me your perspective of what’s reasonable.

Rovin on December 26, 2010 at 12:52 PM

“Not certain what you mean by “that situation” CW.”

That situation? You mean when you were previously talking about whether a team with a losing record should make it to the playoffs? Wow you are slow.

And if they set up a rule that went against a divisional winner with a losing record that would hurt how? Try thinking outside that box you live in. If you cannot tell I don’t like smartazzes.

CWforFreedom on December 26, 2010 at 1:04 PM

LOL KC penalty. “Only one player is allowed to jump into the stands.”

Ronnie on December 26, 2010 at 2:03 PM

You mean when you were previously talking about whether a team with a losing record should make it to the playoffs? Wow you are slow.

Now who’s being slow and obtuse? I never said any team “should” make the playoffs with a losing record. I was just pointing out how rare the process has presented itself since 1978 and it is my view that eliminating a division winner is just stupid. What’s next? .500 teams? All 9-7 division winners lose to other 10-6 teams that didn’t win their divisions? If you don’t have the ability to grasp the scope of the argument, perhaps the “box” is between your ears.

Rovin on December 26, 2010 at 2:05 PM

Ed, a curse on your team for calling us “Frisco”.

aunursa on December 26, 2010 at 12:24 PM

How about The 232 Square Mile Gay Bar.

Extrafishy on December 26, 2010 at 2:13 PM

What’s next? .500 teams? All 9-7 division winners lose to other 10-6 teams that didn’t win their divisions?

Rovin on December 26, 2010 at 2:05 PM

..not to take any sides in this, but it’s kind of like the NHL. Playing 8 months to eliminate 4 teams.

The War Planner on December 26, 2010 at 3:54 PM

And the Dolphins lose to the Lioncubs?

Holy crap is Henne terrible or what?

JP1986UM on December 26, 2010 at 4:03 PM

repvoter on December 26, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Not going to happen.. Sorry.. Chiefs won 34-14 and Bengals are up by 7 on the San Diego Illegals…err Chargers.

Wolftech on December 26, 2010 at 4:31 PM

Go NFC West! Division winners deserve a home game. I don’t care if some wild card team got free wins from an easy schedule.

PrezHussein on December 26, 2010 at 5:28 PM

Go NFC West! Division winners deserve a home game. I don’t care if some wild card team got free wins from an easy schedule.

PrezHussein on December 26, 2010 at 5:28 PM

Think the NFC West is a joke now? It was really a joke before realignment, especially for us longtime Saints fans. They were in that division, along with Atlanta and the Rams. We all know who the other team in that division was.

In 1987, the Saints went 12-3, but that was only “good enough” to give them a Wild Card. The following year, they were 10-6-only good enough for 3rd place. In 1990, 8-8 got them a Wild Card. And the next two years, they went 11-5 and 12-4, but were only able to get Wild Card games due to the hated 49ers.

Of course, it later emerged that the 49ers teams in those years were built using “creative” salary cap book keeping procedures, or what some might call “off the field cheating”, and the NFL came down on the 49ers much harder than they did on the “Cheatriots”:

Former San Francisco 49ers executives Carmen Policy and Dwight Clark have agreed to a $600,000 fine, and the team will pay $300,000 and lose its fifth draft choice in 2001 and third in 2002 in a settlement over alleged salary cap violations reached with the NFL and the NFL Players Association that was announced yesterday.

Policy, the former 49ers team president and now a minority owner of the Cleveland Browns, will pay $400,000 and Clark, the former San Francisco general manager now in the same position with the Browns, will pay $200,000. According to the league, the two men agreed to the terms “without admitting any wrongdoing . . .”

I was surprised to see absolutely no mention of this incident on the 49er Wiki page. “Selective history”, no doubt!

Since then, and since re-alignment, the Saints have done much better, and the 49ers have done much worse.

BTW, I am listening to the New York sports radio folks. Jets fans are not terribly happy right now.

Del Dolemonte on December 26, 2010 at 6:00 PM

This is week 16 ?

Wade on December 26, 2010 at 6:00 PM

Oh yep… the bye week…

Wade on December 26, 2010 at 6:01 PM

Del Dolemonte on December 26, 2010 at 6:00 PM

Congrats to the New England Patriots for wrapping up the No. 1 seed in AFC..Could this be their year?..:)

Dire Straits on December 26, 2010 at 6:29 PM

Del Dolemonte on December 26, 2010 at 6:00 PM

Congrats to the New England Patriots for wrapping up the No. 1 seed in AFC..Could this be their year?..:)

Dire Straits on December 26, 2010 at 6:29 PM

Only if they can get past the Steelers, Jets and Ravens.

As for today, any time you turn the ball over 7 times to the Pats, you’re probably not going to win! And the Buffalo QB was absolutely horrible. He ended with a 37.1 rating.

Del Dolemonte on December 26, 2010 at 7:16 PM

As long as the ‘dog-killer’ is in the NFL I’m boycotting football.
Baseball season can’t get here soon enough.
Let’s go Cub-bies!!!

annoyinglittletwerp on December 26, 2010 at 7:27 PM

Congrats to the Kansas City Chiefs for their AFC West win!

Wolftech on December 26, 2010 at 7:46 PM

As long as the ‘dog-killer’ is in the NFL I’m boycotting football. annoyinglittletwerp on December 26, 2010 at 7:27 PM

Huh, never heard you opine on Donte Stallworth or Ray Lewis.

Akzed on December 26, 2010 at 7:47 PM

Go NFC West! Division winners deserve a home game. I don’t care if some wild card team got free wins from an easy schedule. PrezHussein on December 26, 2010 at 5:28 PM

Wow. Because playing NFC Worst teams twice a year doesn’t constitute an easy schedule? And even so, none of them have a winning record?

Who has an easy schedule, the Giants? The Packers? The Saints? Who?

Akzed on December 26, 2010 at 7:50 PM

Gad dang Jetties lost to da Bears. When they had a decent lead too. How does that happen?!?

Never mind. Of course I know the answer. The Pats clinch the division…YeY *puke* they must have cheated again.

JetBoy on December 26, 2010 at 8:07 PM

Akzed on December 26, 2010 at 7:47 PM

I’m a baseball chicky anyway-but living in Bears territory football is unavoidable. Michael Vick is a monster! I don’t know who those other players are.
Btw:I was a sophomore at the Chicago Academy for the Arts when the Bears won the Super Bowl.
It was frigid cold and everyone-including me-was cutting class to line Jackson Street and see the Bears drive by in their victory…bus?

annoyinglittletwerp on December 26, 2010 at 8:26 PM

How sweet it will be when the Browns kick the Steelers in the teeth and Baltimore wins the division!

wepeople on December 26, 2010 at 8:32 PM

And the Buffalo QB was absolutely horrible. He ended with a 37.1 rating.

Del Dolemonte on December 26, 2010 at 7:16 PM

It will be tough for the Pats or anyone else in that group to get to the Super Bowl!..Should be very competitive in the Playoffs of AFC for sure..:)

PS..I do not think the Buffalo QB will be on anyone’s Fanatsy Team!..:)

Dire Straits on December 26, 2010 at 8:45 PM

As long as the ‘dog-killer’ is in the NFL I’m boycotting football.

annoyinglittletwerp on December 26, 2010 at 7:27 PM

Yeah, cause killin dogs sucks, but people, not so much…

chewydog on December 26, 2010 at 9:25 PM

Da Bears win!

B Man on December 26, 2010 at 11:48 PM

I’m with ladyingray and Scott P. It’s always GO STEELERS time!

PoodleSkirt on December 27, 2010 at 12:05 AM

Oakland over Indy, 28-17.

Suck it, Morrisey. Suck it with a slurping noise.

Extrafishy on December 27, 2010 at 8:28 AM

WHO DAT?!

NOT THE FALCONS! NOT THE FALCONS!

Christien on December 28, 2010 at 1:14 AM