NFL At Large: Doc’s Picks and Preview for Week 16

 Ryan Fitzpatrick will try to lead a team to the playoffs for the first time in his career. 

It’s week 16, a do or die week for some and a time to play winter vacation for others. There are several games with major playoff implications. Here are my thoughts on those games and the rest of the schedule.

1/3 1:00 ET NY Jets -3 At Buffalo 41.5: You know Rex Ryan would love to stick it to his former employer and knock them out of the playoffs. I don’t see it happening. This Jets team is motivated and they know what lies ahead. That’s why I’m picking them to win this game.  I think they’ll go to Buffalo, avenge an earlier loss to the Bills and get into the playoffs. 

1/3 4:25 ET At Carolina -11.5 Tampa Bay 46: The Panthers need to win this game in order to secure homefield throughout the NFC playoffs. I think they will but it won’t be easy. Jameis Winston and the Bucs would love to finish the season on a high note by beating the Panthers. Like I said, I think Carolina will win this game but it won’t be easy. Take the Bucs as a road dog if you’re putting money on this one. 

1/3 1:00 ET New England -10 At Miami 47: The depleted Patriots head to Miami to battle a Dolphins team that has quit. I think Miami will come to play for at least a half but as soon as the Patriots score and take the lead, they’ll quit. I think the Patriots will not only win this game but they’ll do it by two scores and secure the number one seed. Take the Pats as a road fav. 

1/3 1:00 ET At Cincinnati -9.5 Baltimore 41.5: The Bengals need to win this game to have any shot at gaining a top two seed in the AFC. It won’t be easy. The Ravens haven’t quit on this season and they would love nothing more than to ruin the Bengals chances to secure a top two seed. I think this game will be tight. With Cincy’s injuries, it’s not far fetched to think the Ravens can win this game. I don’t think they will but I do think they’ll make the Bengals sweat. I’m taking the Ravens to cover as a dog but I think the Bengals will win. 

1/3 1:00 ET At Atlanta -5.5 New Orleans 53: The Falcons made a statement last week beating the Panthers and ending their undefeated season. They’ll put a bow on this season with a win at home against the Saints. Atlanta could be a player in the NFC next season if they improve their offensive line and add another wide receiver and a tight end. Take the ATL as a home fav.

1/3 1:00 ET At Houston -6.5 Jacksonville 45.5: This will be a tough game for the Texans. They need to win in order to lock up the AFC South. Brandon Weeden has been a great story since taking over at quarterback for Houston two weeks ago. He needs to play well in this game and protect the ball. If he does that and the Texans defense keeps Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson in check, the Texans should lock up the division and the fourth seed in the AFC. Take the Texans as a home favorite. 

1/3 1:00 ET Pittsburgh -11 At Cleveland 47: The Browns are toast. There is no doubt the Steelers will win this game. The question is. Will the Bills beat the Jets? Take the Steelers as a double digit road fav. They’ll bounce back after last week’s debacle in Baltimore. Unfortunately for them, they won’t make the playoffs.

1/3 4:25 ET At Kansas City -7 Oakland 43.5: The Chiefs may or may not play their starters in this one. They are already locked into the five spot in the AFC so why risk injury? I’m taking the Raiders in this one as a road dog. They have more to play for. The Chiefs are focused on the playoffs. 

1/3 1:00 ET At Indianapolis -6 Tennessee 41.5: The Colts will win this game because the Titans have quit and they are looking to lock up the number one pick in the draft. Unfortunately for the Colts, I don’t see the Texans losing to Jacksonville. The Colts season will end and so will Chuck Pagano’s tenure as coach. GM Ryan Grigson might get canned too. 

1/3 1:00 ET At Dallas -4 Washington 39.5: The Redskins will sit some people now that they’ve clinched the division. That will open the door for the hapless Cowboys to win their fifth game of the season. Take Dallas as a home fav. They’ll win by a touchdown. 

1/3 1:00 ET At Chicago PK Detroit 45.5: I’m going to take the Bears in this one. They have to have some pride right? They did beat the Packers on Thanksgiving night so they are more than capable of winning this game. They can beat the fighting Jim Bob Cooter’s at home. They have to! I’m taking the Bears by a field goal.

1/3 1:00 ET At NY Giants -5 Philadelphia 51: I’m taking the Giants in this one. They are at home and they want to send Tom Coughlin out a winner assuming this is his last game. The Eagles are a disaster. They just want to get this season over with. The G Men are an easy pick here. 

1/3 4:25 ET At Denver -9 San Diego 41: The Broncos still have a shot at the number one seed. If the Patriots were to lose to Miami, Denver would play everyone and try to win this game. If New England wins, you might see the Broncos rest some staters, especially on defense. I think Denver will win this game but I’m taking P- Riv and the Bolts as a road dog. 9.5 is a big number for a Denver team that has really struggled of late offensively. 

1/3 4:25 ET St. Louis -3.5 At San Francisco 37.5: The Rams should win this game whether Todd Gurley plays or not. If they can beat the Seahawks in Seattle, they can beat a San Francisco team that quit last month and is ready to get the off-season started. The Rams should cover rather easily as a road favorite. This one is a lock. 

1/3 4:25 ET At Arizona -6.5 Seattle 47: I’m going to take the Seahawks in this one as a road dog. The Cardinals might be out of the hunt for the number one seed by the time this game starts. If that’s the case, they might not play their starters the entire game. That would open the door for the Seahawks. That’s why I’m picking them in this one. 

1/3 8:30 ET At Green Bay -3 Minnesota 45.5: You know what? I’m going homer in this one. I’m taking my Packers. After getting humiliated last week in Arizona, I think they will bounce back, beat the Vikings and win the NFC North. Minny will give them all they can handle but I’m taking the Packers by a touchdown in this one. 

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