NFL Week 16 open thread

It’s hard out here for a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.  They’ve lost two games in a row after stunning the Ravens in Baltimore, but at least their fate still rests in their hands.  If they win the last two games of the season, they’ll get one of the wild-card slots in the playoffs.  The Cincinnati Bengals have the same opportunity, though, and the two division rivals finish their series today in Pittsburgh (1 pm ET, CBS).  It should be a close game, but the Steelers have to win this one or stay home in January.  I’ll pick the Steel Curtain to shut down the Bengals, 23-13.

Last week, I did about as well as the Steelers, going 2-4, but at least I got the fact that the Jets-Titans game would be a dull plodder.  Now I’m 62-31 on the season.  Can I improve in the final weeks?  Let’s see:

  • Titans at Packers (1 pm, CBS) – The Packers look like they’re coming up with their regular late-season charge, while the Titans looked almost as inept as the Jets last week.  Green Bay 35-17 over Tennesee.
  • Vikings at Texans (1 pm, Fox) – I’m only making a pick in this game because (a) I usually make a pick in the Vikings games, and (2) Minnesota won on the road last week for only the second time this season.  Don’t expect the Vikings to win the hat trick in Houston.  The Texans should easily handle the Vikings, 28-20, but look for Adrian Peterson to run for more than 100 yards again.
  • Redskins at Eagles (1 pm, Fox) – RGIII looks ready to return for Washington, while the Eagles look ready to fold for the rest of the season.  Philly has the home field, but all that means is that Andy Reid will hear the hometown boos that much more clearly.  Michael Vick’s ready to return, too, but Nick Foles will start the rest of the season.  Redskins win either way, 27-19.
  • Giants at Ravens (4:25 pm, Fox) -Both teams had setbacks last week, and for Baltimore it’s been two weeks in a row.  The Giants are a better December team than the Ravens, and that may just be enough.  Giants 31-28 over the Ravens, perhaps in OT.
  • 49ers at Seahawks (8:20 pm, NBC) – San Francisco comes fresh off a surprising beat-down of New England on the road, and now has to play a team that still hasn’t lost at home.  Seattle needs this win to challenge for the playoffs, but with the exception of one quarter last week, the 49ers look dominating.  This should be a great game pitting two young QBs against each other, but I think the 49ers will edge Seattle in the end, 28-24.