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NFL Week 16 Recap--My Predictions
Randal Bruce vs ESPN
Randal finished Week 16 at 9-7. Not great, but I'll take it. They had 6 guys at ESPN that finished at 10-6. Missed a tie by one game. Ouch! I tied with 4 guys who finished 9-7. Not too bad. There were a couple of guys who finished 8-8. So not a horrible week for anybody. Overall, I'm 131-109. I can live with that. My picks were before the season and they are doing week to week. I can't be too angry, but I'm a little bitter. I won't lie. I need to stop being bitter but I can't let it go. Oh well. The ESPN overall leader is still Chris Mortensen at 156-84. He's killing it. I'm trailing Eric Allen. He is in last place at ESPN. He's 136-104. Hopefully I can at least catch him with a strong final showing in Week 17. It's nice to go out with more wins than losses. I wanted to take down some experts, but it wasn't in the cards. It's been a fun journey. One more week left in the regular season. Then the real fun begins.
You can see my picks below. There is a link that will lead you to my division by division breakdown and picks and the next link will lead you to ESPN's.
- 2015 NFL Season Preview and Predictions--AFC West Division
A division by division breakdown of the 2015 NFL Season.
- NFL Picks and Predictions for Week 16 - National Football League - ESPN
Check out ESPN's expert picks and predictions for Week 16 NFL pro football games.
The Raiders sink division rival Chargers in OT for maybe the last time in Oakland
It's good that the Raiders won what could be their final game in Oakland and Charles Woodson's final home game in his career. It's a tough time for Raiders fans, but they should feel good about the direction of their franchise. It would suck for them to leave, but at least they are improving every week. This team could be a legit contender for the playoffs next season and years to come. Then you have the flip side, the Chargers. They may be leaving San Diego and they look like a mess. It's a double whammy for Chargers fans. Both teams battled in this OT thriller for two teams with nothing more than pride on the line. Jack Del Rio has done a great job in his 1st year as coach of the Raiders.
Final Score: Raiders 23-Chargers 20
I picked the Raiders to win because they were at home and hopefully for Raiders fans, it's not for the last time.
The Redskins like beating the Eagles for the NFC East division title in Philly
I was wrong about Scot McCloughan. He had a plan for this team and has done a good job in his 1st year installing it. He said he wanted to make the Redskins a tougher and physical team. He has done that. I thought he was another shiny Dan Snyder toy, but he so far he seems legit. It's 1 year and we'll have to see how he follows up.
I was wrong about Jay Gruden. I called him a buffoon and he certainly acted like it in his 1st year as head coach. He improved on some things and has made strides in Year 2. If he can continue the Redskins could be good for years to come. It's 1 year in a terrible division, but remember that's how things got started in Seattle.
I was right when I said this team needed to pick 1 QB and stick with him. They did and he had his ups and downs, but has been more up at the right time. Kirk Cousins took the ball and ran with it. He bet on himself and he won. Cousins has been breaking Redskins passing records along the way to claiming the job. He was amazing in this NFC East clinching game, minus the bonehead kneel down play before the half. He passed for 365 yards and 4 TD's. He came up big when they needed him to most. Yes Kirk, I think Redskins fans truly like that. Eagles fans may feel differently. What gets overlooked in all that is the play of Jordan Reed. Reed has always had the talent to be special he just couldn't stay healthy. This year he did and you can see what that meant. He was the man in this game. He had 9 catches for 129 yards and 2 TD's. DeSean Jackson gets the last laugh on Chip Kelly by ruining the Eagles playoff hopes for 2 years in a row.
Chip Kelly needs to answer for his mistakes. He got rid of talented players because he believed in his system. You need talent to make it work. He has turned himself into Steve Spurrier. The only thing he can say is he actually made the playoffs and has a winning record. But he made the same mistakes Spurrier did by believing in his system and thinking talent didn't matter. An ego is a dangerous thing and it has sunk Chip Kelly 2 years in a row because he couldn't have a conversation with guys with big personalities. We always hear players need to grow up. Chip Kelly has some growing up to do.
Final Score: Redskins 38-Eagles 24
I picked the Eagles before the season because they were at home and I thought the Redskins would be a mess at this point. I was totally wrong and it's the Eagles that's the mess.
The Falcons end the Panthers undefeated streak at 14
The streak ends at 14. They had a good run at it. No one would have imagined they'd go this long undefeated. Divisional games are tough, especially late against an opponent that is fighting their playoff lives like the Falcons were. The Panthers offense couldn't get on track. A lot of that has to do with the way the Falcons defense played. Their defense is terrible, but they played inspired today. They held the Panthers to only 268 yards of offense. They held Cam Newton to under 150 yards passing. Matt Ryan was efficient today. He passed for 306 yards and 1 TD, but most importantly no INT's. He was locking up a lot with his top target Julio Jones. Jones had 9 catches for 178 yards and a TD that went 70 yards for the go ahead score. They never looked back after that. Their playoff hopes are life support, but the good thing is they are continuing to fight.
Final Score: Falcons 20-Panthers 13
I picked the Panthers because they seem to have the Falcons number before this game.
The Bills win an ugly one at home over the Cowboys
This was an ugly game to watch. You got 2 teams going nowhere this season. The Bills fans have to be frustrated. Last year felt like they were close. This year feels like they are close, but at what point will they get over the hump. They need to decide if Tyrod Taylor is their guy. If he is they need to build around him. If not, they will be starting all over again and that's frightening. The Cowboys season was derailed when Romo went down with two separate injuries. They still could have made the playoffs if the coaching staff wasn't stubborn. They refuse to tailor their offense to Weedon's strengths now he's helping the Texans on their march to the playoffs because their coach can make adjustments. The Cowboys started their 4th QB of the season and the results weren't good. Kellen Moore struggled. Jason Garrett should be worried about job security, but Jerry loves him so he'll be fine. They better draft a QB because they one they have is good but he's breaking down and getting older. Time is running out.
Final Score: Bills 16-Cowboys 6
I picked the Cowboys before the season because I thought with Romo this game would be a cake walk.
The Lions take care of the 49ers at home
It's been a brutal season for the Lions. They are finishing strong and may have stopped the bleeding. This season is lost, but maybe they have something to build on for next year. The offense looks better since Jim Bob Cooter took over. Matthew Stafford's play has improved. He passed for 301 yards and 2 TD's with no INT's. They still have work to do, but it's looking like they could turn it around next season. The 49ers are a complete mess and everyone saw this coming when they fired Jim Harbaugh. Their coach looks in over his head. The owner is a mess and the GM is egomaniac. Good luck Niners fans.
Final Score: Lions 32-49ers 17
I picked the Lions because they were at home and the better team.
The Texans deliver a beat down to the Titans and get one step closer to a division title
The Texans have rebounded this season and move one step closer to winning the AFC South title. It's amazing considering how many QB's have played for this team this season. They may have found their guy for right now in Brandon Weedon. Weedon is playing well when they needed him most. He threw 2 TD's and ran 1 in. The Cowboys couldn't figure out to win with him, but Bill O'Brien and the Texans have. It's because they are creative. It also helps that he has DeAndre Hopkins catching his passes. Hopkins had 7 catches for 117 yards and a TD. The Titans however, are looking at massive changes and a high draft pick. Someone will have their work cut out for them.
Final Score: Texans 38-Titans 6
I picked the Texans because they have the better coaching staff.
The Chiefs win their 9th straight by surviving against the Browns
The Chiefs are streaking. They can't be stopped. Ok, Ok, settle down. They are hot and it's been a crazy run. I thought they were done early in the season. They just find ways to win and have done it for 9 straight weeks. They still have a shot at winning the AFC West. I don't think they'll go far in the playoffs because their offense is too limited but you never know. This is one of Andy Reid's finest coaching jobs. The Browns are the Browns. They are headed for another long off season. It doesn't look good. They don't have anything to hang their hat on. Johnny Manziel needs a change of scenery and the Browns need to start from scratch, which seems to be the case every year for them.
Final Score: Chiefs 17-Browns 13
I picked the Chiefs because they are far superior in every way. They didn't play like it but they are.
The Colts find a way to beat the Dolphins in Miami
The Colts were faced with a must win game and came through. Matt Hasselback got knocked out of the game and they still found a way to win. They are going to have to win next week and get some help from the Jaguars. The defense was putting pressure on Ryan Tannehill all game. They sacked him 6 times and picked him off once. Kendall Langford, Robert Mathis, and T.Y. McGill all had 2 sacks apiece. The Dolphins will be busy after next week's game. It will be interesting in Miami just not on the field.
Final Score: Colts 18-Dolphins 12
I picked the Dolphins because they were at home and I thought they could steal one.
The Jets beat the Patriots in OT after a bizarre decision
The Jets get a big OT win over their rival Patriots. The Jets were able to get pressure on Tom Brady all day. It got to him. Ryan Fitzpatrick came up big and they needed it. He passed for 3 TD's leading this team to victory. Brandon Marshall continues to step up late. He had 8 catches for 115 yards and 2 TD's. The defense was able to hold the Pats under 300 yards of total offense. With all that said the game still went to OT. That's when things got bizarre. The Pats decided to kick which is crazy. I don't care about the scenarios, that was stupid and the Jets made them pay. Fitzpatrick found Eric Decker for a 6 yard TD and game over without Brady getting a chance to touch the ball. Stupid! Todd Bowles has done a great job and is close to getting the Jets into the playoffs. They are going to need some help regardless you have to love what he's done in his 1st season as Head Coach in New York.
Final Score: Jets 26-Patriots 20
I picked the Patriots because I thought before the season the Jets would be a 4 win team. Joke is on me and kudos to Todd Bowles.
The Bears end a 3 game losing streak by beating the Buccaneers
The Buccaneers continue to stumble down the stretch. I still think they have a bright future with their rookie QB Jameis Winston and coach Lovie Smith. They have to figure out how to close out games. The Bears are in better shape than I could have imagined. They ended their 3 game losing streak with this win, but after the season they have some big decisions to make with Jay Cutler and Matt Forte. They could compete in this division next year with a good off season.
Final Score: Bears 26-Buccaneers 21
I picked the Bears because I thought they would be a better team at this point in the season.
The Ravens shock the Steelers in Baltimore
The Steelers have to be kicking themselves after this game. They had a beaten and broken Ravens team and couldn't seal the deal and keep control of their playoff destiny. It's a rivalry game and you have to throw the records out the window but this one hurts. The Ravens beat you with their 4th QB and he hasn't been there but a few weeks. Ryan Mallet played well and maybe the Ravens have found their backup QB or at least the guy to keep the spot warm until Joe Flacco is healthy. Mallet looked in control of the offense. The Ravens defense was in Big Ben's head all day. It's been a terrible season for the Ravens, but beating the Steelers puts a smile on their face for the holiday season.
Final Score: Ravens 20-Steelers 17
I picked the Ravens because they usually split the series at each others place.
Drew Brees leads the Saints past the Jaguars
Drew Brees proved he's still got it. Brees went for 412 yards and 3 TD's. He got some help from Tim Hightower, who is a good story after being out of the league for a few years. Hightower ran for 122 yards and 2 TD's. WR Brandin Cooks had a big game as well with 5 catches for 123 yards and a TD. The Jaguars are ending the season with another double digit losing season. I know the media is in love with Gus Bradley and what he's doing. I'm not. I think it's time to move on. The team has interesting pieces and it's going to be appealing to coaches. Bradley isn't the guy and they should move on. Blake Bortles is a good young QB. He passed for 368 yards and 4 TD's. Allen Robinson is electrifying. He had 6 catches for 151 yards, which included a 90 yard TD. Allen Hurns had 8 catches for 106 yards and 2 TD's. This place is a lot more appealing than it was. Bradley supporters will say that's because of him. Fine, I'll give you that, but he's not winning and that's what's important.
Final Score: Saints 38-Jaguars 27
I picked the Saints because I thought they were the better team.
The Cardinals sacked the Packers for the easy win
This game was an epic beat down. Aaron Rodgers was running for his life. The Packers offensive line couldn't protect him. The Cardinals defense just kept attacking. They were brilliant. They held the Packers to 178 yards. They sacked their QB's 9 times, picked them off once, forced 5 fumbles and recovered 3. Whew! Dwight Freeney had 3 sacks and Calais Campbell finished with 2. Green Bay took it on the chin. They are struggling heading into the playoffs. The Cardinals couldn't be flying higher.
Final Score: Cardinals 38-Packers 8
I picked the Cardinals because they were at home and I thought they would be tough to beat there.
The Rams stun the Seahawks for a 2 time this season
If the Rams could play the Seahawks every week they'd be a playoff team. I don't get why they play so well against the Seahawks and struggle with the rest of the league. I get that it's a rivalry game, but come on. Jeff Fisher has the Rams headed for another 7-9 or 8-8 season. It's what he does. Look back at his records with the Oilers/Titans. They were mostly 7-9 or 8-8 with a few good seasons sprinkled in and a Super Bowl appearance. He's been in St. Louis long enough and they aren't going anywhere. It's funny that people loved him trolling the Redskins last year with the RG3 trade. I hate to break it to him. The Redskins have won their division twice and made the playoffs twice with 2 different QB's and coaches. Fisher passed on Cousins and now he looks like a star in the making and Fisher and all his picks are nothing more than 7-9 or 8-8 again. The jokes on him, but the media seems to believe he's great. Say what you will about RG3 but his one electric season is better than anything the Rams have done. The Seahawks will need to regroup. They will but still puzzling that they lose to this team.
Final Score: Rams 23-Seahawks 17
I picked the Seahawks because they are usually tough to beat at home.
The Vikings clinch a playoff berth by rolling over the Giants
The Vikings had a playoff berth and a division title on the line and the Giants had the cliche pride on the line. The Vikings took care of business while smashing the Giants in the process. Eli Manning was terrible, but he didn't get much help. The Vikings were in control by the 2nd quarter and it was all downhill from there. Adrian Peterson had another day at the office going over 100 yards and scoring a TD. The defense harassed Eli early and often. They sacked him 4 times, 2 of those came from Tom Johnson and picked him off 3 times. Harrison Smith returned 1 for a TD and Captain Munnerlyn came close to doing the same. The Vikings are in the playoffs and have a can win the NFC North with a win over the struggling Packers. Kudos to Mike Zimmer and the Vikings. They fooled me. I thought they would be an 8-8 team. They are building something good. The Giants will have some questions to answer at GM and coach. It seems like everyone is fine and if that's the case, then they have a lot of personnel decisions to make.
Final Score: Vikings 49-Giants 17
I picked the Vikings because they were at home.
The Broncos get in the playoffs by beating the Bengals in OT
This was a hard fought defensive struggle. A.J. McCarron got off to a hot start and lead the Bengals to a 14-0 lead. Then the Broncos slowly turned things around and Brock Osweiler got things going and the Broncos scored 17 straight to take the lead. Osweiler led a good drive down the field to set up the game winning field goal, but Brandon McManus missed the kick horribly and the game headed to OT. In OT, Osweiler led another solid drive and McManus nailed the 37 yard go ahead kick. The Bengals got the ball and dodged the bullet on a questionable play. It looked like McCarron fumbled the ball, but refs and replay confirmed it was an incomplete pass. On the next play it was poetic justice for the Broncos because McCarron missed the shotgun snap and the Broncos recovered to win in OT. It was a thrilling game for the last Monday Night game of the year.
Final Score: Broncos 20-Bengals 17
I picked the Bengals because I thought they could steal this one in Denver.