The 16th NFL week offers fewer showdowns than Week 15, which was historic for its number of matchups involving playoff contenders. One problem this week, remember: there are fewer playoff contenders, since every week, another team or two falls from the list.
Falcons at Lions: Atlanta 30-20. Monday Night Football moves to Saturday night this week, and the Falcons nail down the No. 1 seed and thus homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.
Titans at Packers: Green Bay 27-16. Packers are only a half game behind the the 49ers. The Packers sure would rather host the 49ers in the NFC title game rather than have to go to San Franciso.
Vikings at Texans: Houston 31-20. Can Adrian Peterson get the majority of the 294 yards he needs to bust Eric Dickerson’s NFL single-season rushing record? Houston will be geared to stop Peterson, but that’s nothing new.
Redskins at Eagles: Washington 30-17. Remember when the ‘Skins were the dysfunctional team headed nowhere and the Eagles were regal? Things change fast.
Saints at Cowboys: Dallas 34-24. You’re always skittish playing Drew Brees and New Orleans, but the Saints’ pass defense is porous, and Tony Romo is playing the best football of his life.
Raiders at Panthers: Carolina 27-10. Cam Newton, love him or kryptonite him, gives the Panthers something the Raiders don’t have. Hope.
Bills at Dolphins: Miami 23-17. I’m told that the 6-8 Dolphins still have a sliver of a playoff chance. Let’s see. If Miami beats Buffalo this week and New England next week, the Dolphins are in the playoffs if Pittsburgh beats Cincinnati this week; the Steelers lose to Cleveland and the Bengals lose to Baltimore next week; and the Jets lose either this week to San Diego or Buffalo next week.
Chargers at Jetropolitans: San Diego 25-20. These are two messes. Sounds like the Chargers are starting over. Sounds like the Jets might not.
Patriots at Jaguars: New England 41-7. This is the closest the NFL comes to Oklahoma-Kansas or Alabama-Kentucky.
Bengals at Steelers: Pittsburgh 24-23. Hard to imagine the Steelers losing at home to the little brother Bengals. In the last 44 meetings, Pittsburgh is 33-11 against Cincinnati.
Colts at Chiefs: Indianapolis 26-13. I actually believe in Romeo Crennel, so I think the Chiefs will play hard. But that’s not enough.
Giants at Ravens: New York 33-27. Two quirky teams. The Giants have beaten the 49ers 26-3 and the Packers 38-10. The Giants have lost to the Bengals 31-13 and the Falcons 34-0. But Baltimore is 1-4 in its last five games, with the only victory a survival of San Diego when Ray Rice miraculously converted a 4th-and-29 dump pass. I’ll take New York.
Bears at Cardinals: Chicago 27-11. Boy, if the Bears don’t win this one…
Rams at Buccaneers: Tampa Bay 21-18. These quarterbacks, Sam Bradford and Josh Freeman, matched up in 2008 in Manhattan, Kan. OU beat Kansas State 58-35.
Browns at Broncos: Denver 27-6. The Broncos are playing for homefield advantage. Cleveland might not even be playing for Pat Shurmur’s job.
49ers at Seahawks: Seattle 22-21. The Seahawks don’t lose at home. Win here, and they’ve still got a shot to open at home in the playoffs.
Last week: 9-7. Season: 138-90-1.