NFL Week 16 Match-Up Breakdown

This week more serious playoff implications are in play, and you don’t want to miss the match-ups.  For more info about my thoughts on the game and what the stats and history say will happen in my favorite games, look below.

 

The Redskins take on the Philadelphia Eagles in the final game of the season.  Will the Redskins stay relevant, or will Chip Kelly’s plan begin to come together as the Eagles bounce back from an ugly loss and prevail?

Playoff Scenarios

Redskins

It has been determined that only the Atlanta Falcons could knock out the Vikings, and that only the division winner of the NFC East will go to the playoffs.  With a win, the Redskins are 8-7, the Eagles are 6-9, and the Giants are still 6-8.  If the Redskins win tonight but lose next week, and the Giants win their next two, they’ll each finish 8-8.  They are tied head to head, and would be tied in the division.  But in the conference, the Redskins would be 7-5, while the Giants would be 6-6.  That gives the Redskins the division tiebreaker.  So, with a win tonight, the Redskins can actually clinch the NFC East before the final week.

Eagles

The Eagles clearly cannot get in through the wild card, as both Seattle and Minnesota are 9-5.  The only way for a playoff spot for Philly is possible is if it’s the NFC Eastern Division representative spot.  With a loss tonight, the Eagles will be two games behind the Redskins.  There’s only one more Eagles game after this.  So a loss tonight would eliminate the Eagles from the division, and playoff contention.

Keys To A Win

For Philly, the rush game needs to meet its expectations.  Whether it’s Ryan Mathews or DeMarco Murray, even young Kenjon Barner, someone needs to have a big game, I think Mathews will. Sam Bradford also needs to do the same.  Don’t make Chip Kelly regret signing you.  Don’t make him decide not to resign you.

On the Redskins side, DeSean Jackson and Jordan Reed need to make an impact, and in order to do that, Kirk Cousins has to keep doing what he’s been doing to get them here.

What Do The Stats Say?

Washington is just 2-12 on the road under Jay Gruden, despite a 9-7 home record.  That plus my knowledge really leads me to believe that Philly will crush it.  But I’ve learned that the home team doesn’t win more than like, two thirds of the time (I pick like seven eighths home teams).  Besides, The Eagles have worse player stats.

Sam Bradford has a 16:13 TD:INT ratio.  That’s just 1.23 touchdowns for every pick.  DeMarco Murray had just 3 yards last week.  Jordan Matthews is the only Eagle with more than 3 TD receptions, despite 839 reception yards.  However, other running back Ryan Mathews is trending in the opposite direction, despite injuries.  He is not injured now.  He’s averaging 5.3 rush yards per game, the best in his career.  He has 523 total rush yards this season.

However, the Redskins offense can compete.  Jordan Reed is tied for the third most TD receptions by any tight end (9, behind Rob Gronkowski with 12, and Tyler Eifert with 11).  DeSean Jackson faces his former team for the first time this season, but he had 100 yard games in both 2014 Redskins-Eagles match-ups.  Expect big things from him.

Bold Prediction of The Game: DeSean Jackson has 122 yards, TD, but the rest of the Redskins do horribly.  Coach Jay Gruden will consider a change to RG3 at quarterback after Kirk Cousins’ horrible game, giving away a winnable game.

My Pick:   philadelphia-eagles-logo.jpg

 

IMG_0931.JPG

The Patriots take on the Jets in a tough match-up with huge playoff implications.  Will the Jets take victory and possibly the wild card or will the Pats win the game and home field advantage?  Here’s the breakdown.

Playoff Scenarios

Patriots

With a Pats win and a Denver Broncos win over the Bengals, the Patriots clinch the home field advantage in the AFC.

Jets

If the Jets lose today, they are mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.  If they win their next two and the Steelers or Chiefs lose at least one, the Jets snag a playoff berth (first for Jets since 2009).

Keys To Victory

The Pats remaining receivers need to be able to catch the ball, which best healthy receiver Brandon LaFell has struggled to do all the time this season, despite going deep numerous times.  LaFell had not been on the injury report until this week since coming off PUP, but was activated for game time.  They also need to stop Chris Ivory and the rush better, plus cool down Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker with a young banged up secondary including Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, Duron Harmon and Tavon Wilson.

The Jets need to stop the run as well.  With the recent signing of veteran Steven Jackson and the next Dion Lewis emerging from James White, plus all the injured receivers, the Pats running game has became a bigger factor.  They also need to put extra attention and pressure on TB12 and Gronk.

What Do The Stats Say?

This is a tough and intriguing match-up, as the #3 ranked scoring offense (Pats) takes on the #8 ranked scoring defense (Jets).  Pats QB Tom Brady has a 35:6 TD:INT ratio, almost 6 touchdowns for every pick thrown.  He is one of the four QBs to throw a TD in every game this season (Russell Wilson, Blake Bortles, Kirk Cousins).  Brady is 67-16 in his career vs. AFC East foes, 29-12 on the road, and 22-6 vs the Jets.  Gronk has got 66 receptions for over one thousand yards.

The Jets however are on pace for their best total offense ever.  Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall have a combined 21 TD catches.  So, this is a grudge match.  Either team could be victorious.

Bold Predicition Of The Game: Steven Jackson makes an impact, but the Pats fall to a tough Jets defense as Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker continue to have monstrous games.

My Pick: new-york-jets-logo.png

The Cardinals and Packers fight for a first round bye in this crucial playoff match-up between two of the best teams in the league.  The Packers are overcoming a rough mid-season run as they try and clinch the division, while the Cardinals fight for their ninth in a row and the clinching of the first round bye.  Who will prevail?

Playoff Scenarios

Cardinals

With a loss or Panthers win, the Cardinals have no shot at the first seed.  If they win though they clinch that two seed at least and a first round bye, even if they can’t snag home field advantage.  Besides, the Panthers have only won two games against teams with an above .500 record.  They might slip up in the divisional round.

Packers

Simple.  If they lose, they can’t get a first round bye.  They haven’t even clinched the division, and with a loss today, they’re tied.  The Packers can clinch the division with a win and Vikings loss though.

Keys To A Win

The Cardinals need to make sure the offense, Carson Palmer, David Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd especially, keep up the good work.

The Packers meanwhile need better accuracy out of their receivers.  They also need Eddie Lacy to bounce back from the worst season so far of his career.  He dropped from top 10 to top 40 RBs in the NFL in my opinion.

 

What Do The Stats Say?

Eddie Lacy has had 100 yard games in three of his last five, although he only has 664 on the season.  He has less than 50 in eight games this season.  Meanwhile, Aaron Rodgers is in the MVP race.  He has almost 5 TDs for every interception thrown but he’s on pace for his first below 100 passer rating since 2008 (95.2 this year).

The Cards are first in offensive yards per game, Yards/Play, Yards/Pass Play, 3rd Down Conversions, First Downs /Game and 20+ yard plays, even time of possession.  John Brown is just 67 yards short of 1,000 this year.

The Cardinals have blitzed on 45.5 percent of pass plays this year, so watch out Aaron Rodgers.  The stats say that the Packers have some good numbers, but the Cardinals are too dominant to lose in this one.

Bold Prediction of the Game: Eddie Lacy bounces back and goes for 2 TDs, but Arizona wins 34-23.

My Pick: az-cards.jpg

The Giants were eliminated from playoff contention last night, but the Vikings are playing for a wild card that if they don’t win and the Falcons do, Atlanta could claim.  Will OBJ hurt the Giants as the Vikings get a much deserved win, or will the Giants steal this one without their beloved receiver?

Playoff Scenarios

Vikings

With a win or Falcons loss, the Vikings clinch a playoff berth.  If this happens, that means that no NFC team will be playing for a playoff berth in Week 17.

Giants

NONE, the Redskins won!  If the Redskins had lost, all they would need is a win the next two weeks.

 

Keys To Victory

Especially if AP is out, the Vikings need to take advantage of their wide receiving game.  Stefon Diggs, Charles Johnson, and veterans Mike Wallace and Kyle Rudolph all either have potential, haven’t used their power yet, or are just good receivers that have already made an impact.

The Giants meanwhile need to contain AP and keep Teddy Bridgewater in the pocket.  He is becoming dangerous.

 

What Do The Stats Say?

The Giants are 3-7 in eight point or less games this season.  They’ve also blown SIX GAMES after the two minute warning or in overtime, and would be 12-2 if games were 58 minutes long.  The Giants would be fighting the Cardinals and Panthers for a first round bye.  The Panthers would be 13-1.

AP could be out, but he has 1,301 rush yards and 9 TDs.  He has 286 carries, and leads the NFL in rush yards, and is in the Top 5 for total yards by a non quarterback.  Stefon Diggs has almost 700 yards and 4 TDs.  The stats make it very unclear to predict this game, but offense will play a big role.

Bold Prediction Of The Game: A veteran and former star on each of these teams will have a breakout.  Mike Wallace for the Vikings, and Rashad Jennings for the Giants.

My Pick: Minnesota_Vikings_Logo.png

 

These two teams battle it out for a first round bye while the Pats try to clinch home field advantages by counting on themselves and Denver.  Will the Broncos win the game and first round bye, or will the Bengals stay strong, even without Dalton and Eifert, on prime time?

Playoff Scenarios

Broncos

With a win, Denver clinches the first round bye.  With two wins and a Pats loss, the Broncos get home field advantage.  With a loss, they are eliminated from the race for a first round bye.

Bengals

With a win, the Bengals clinch the first round bye.  With a loss, they are eliminated from the race fro the first round bye.

 

Keys To A Win

For Denver, apply pressure.  The biggest differences between these two teams is how they handle pressure.  Denver does it well, especially on prime time, Cincy struggles to, especially on prime time.  Apply pressure to the Bengals and you’ve got yourself an automatic win.

For the Bengals, young A.J. McCarron needs to avoid pressure and stay out of the pocket.  The smooth defense also needs to overcome their injuries and be the Bengals defense they were at full health.  With Geno Atkins, Darqueze Dennard and all.

 

What Do The Stats Say?

The Bengals have not won in Denver since 1975.  However, this year might break the 40 year streak.  No team has ever started 10-2 and missed the playoffs.  Only three have missed at 9-3.  A.J Green though has 77 rec. for 1,206 yards, and 8 TDs.  This is Green’s fifth straight 1,000 yard season, the second most in NFL history to start his career.  The defense is allowing just 17.4 PPG (fewest in NFL) and Geno Atkins has 10 sacks.

The Broncos have been shut out in the second half in three straight, losing two of them, the last two.  Brock Osweiler has just 2 TDs for every pick, but Peyton Manning still leads the league with 17 interceptions in a horrible, probably final season.

Ronnie Hillman has rushed for 783 yards, C.J. Anderson has 552.  DeMaryius Thomas has 1,128 receiving yards for 5 TDs, Emmanuel Sanders also has 5 TDs and is 31 yards shy of his 2nd thousand yard season.  The stats say mostly good things about both teams, and lean towards Cincy slightly, but this is still a grudge match.

Bold Prediction Of The Game: The Bengals get held to no touchdowns, but score 6 field goals.  They lose to Denver by 2o.

My Pick: denver-broncos-logo.jpg

Week 16 has some pretty huge match-ups, but when you break it down, they’re easier to pick a winner in than you might think.  Every team has its flaws, but with the pressure of playoff implications, any given Sunday.

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