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2011 NFL Football – Week 16 Best Games

Week 16 baby! This is an odd year because Christmas falls on a Sunday, all the games are being played on Saturday. Very interesting. Given that this is the next to last week of the season, games are becoming more & more important as to what might be in play for postseason appearances. There are tons of games that have meaning so let’s dive right in.

ROAD ANALYSIS HOME
Very intriguing match up of 2 of the 3-4 best teams in the NFC right now. After starting the year 2-3, the Falcons have gone 7-2 in their last 9 with both losses being close ones to these Saints and the Houston Texans. Even with a loss here the Falcons aren’t going to miss the playoffs because there is no way they lose to Tampa Bay in Atlanta next week which will put Atlanta 10-6 & in the playoffs. What is sort of interesting is the pressure on the Saints. While the 49ers have a decent game in Seattle this week, my guess is it’ll be a lot easier for New Orleans to lose to Atlanta than for SF to lose to Seattle. What’s that mean? It means New Orleans stays as the #3 seed instead of potentially moving up to the #2 slot & a first round bye. Keep in mind too that the difference between #2 & #3 is also playing a divisional game at home. The Saints aren’t going to lose the division even with a loss, but they must keep winning to potentially get the #2 seed. Another decent thought is whether Atlanta wants the #5 or #6 seed. The #5 seed is getting DAL/NYG/PHI while the #3 seed is getting NO/SF. If the Falcons lose, it could force NO to the #2 & SF to the #3 while ATL gets themselves in position for a #6 seed. Is beating SF easier than beating the Cowboys or Giants? SAINTS (-6.5)
With Rex Ryan being the HC for the Jets, these Jets/Giants tilts are extremely fun! It’s virtually impossible for the Giants to get into the playoffs via the Wild Card so they have to win the NFC East to get the #4 seed. That might very well happen. Remember that earlier in the year the Eagles beat Dallas 34-7 while the Giants already beat the Cowboys in Texas. If the Giants win this week & Dallas loses, then New York & Dallas will be tied at 8-7 with the final game in the Meadowlands for NFC East supremacy. If the Giants were to lose, they’d still obviously have a shot if the Cowboys lost at home to the Eagles simply by beating Dallas the following week. Life for the Jets is a little more complicated. If the season were to end today then the Jets would be the #6 seed having owned the tiebreaker over the Bengals, but a loss here could spell disaster if the Bengals win who play Arizona in Paul Brown Stadium. The Titans, Raiders & Broncos are also lurking at 7-7 so nothing is clear in the AFC. Obviously this is a much murkier situation than Falcons/Saints. It’s simply a must win for both Empire State teams! JETS (-3)
Extremely surprised that Dallas is favored here especially after how bad Philly beat them in Philadelphia a few weeks ago combined with how thoroughly the Eagles hammered the Jets last week. Dallas has proven they don’t play particularly better at home, and keep in mind that if this game were played on a neutral field, Dallas would be 1.5 dogs! Things could get VERY INTERESTING in the East if Dallas & New York lose. If that were to happen then Dallas would be 8-7 while the Giants & Eagles would be 7-8. Dallas gets New York in New Jersey while the Eagles get a home game against the last place Redskins to end the season. If the Eagles win out & Dallas loses their last 2 games along with the Giants losing this week to the Jets, the Eagles would be 8-8 & NFC East champions! That’s wild! All Dallas has to do is win one of their last 2 games. They do that and this is all scenery as the Cowboys are in. COWBOYS (-1.5)
Like Philly/Dallas, I’m sort of surprised to see the Chargers as underdogs in this game although they’d be slight favorites on a neutral field. Two teams couldn’t be trending any differently. Yes the Lions have won two straight, but their last two wins have come against Minnesota & Oakland, and you can argue they should have lost both. The Chargers on the other hand are streaking, having won 3 straight by the combined score of 119-38, which includes a 34-14 win over the Baltimore Ravens. For Detroit this game isn’t a MUST WIN, but if they lose, next week’s game in Green Bay is a MUST WIN which is a situation Detroit doesn’t want to be in. If Detroit loses their last two they wind up 9-7, which is still probably good enough to get that #6 seed, but a lot of teams are lurking at 7-7 in the NFC. For the Chargers, they essentially need to win out & finish 9-7. They can certainly do so with Detroit & Oakland on the schedule. They’d need Denver to either lose out or beat Buffalo while losing to Kansas City. If they beat KC but lose to Buffalo, then Denver wins the tiebreaker. LIONS (-2.5)
Most likely a meaningless game especially if New England wins, but Miami poses a couple of problems. Remember that the Dolphins started the year 0-7 predicated on a lot of bad luck. It cost Tony Sporano is job, but remember that Miami then went 4-1 in their next 5 with the loss being a 20-19 loss to Dallas. Two weeks ago they lost to Philadelphia 24-10, but QB Matt Moore was injured. Last week Moore comes back & Miami wins again. With Moore at 100% in the lineup, the Dolphins are 5-1 in their last 6 while playing some solid defense. Reggie Bush is looking like a #1 RB & the Dolphins are simply better than their 5-9 record would indicate. Maybe it means nothing. Maybe it means everything. The Patriots have Miami & Buffalo to end the season. If they win out they’ll be 13-3 & secure home field advantage throughout the playoffs. A loss could open some things up for Baltimore & Pittsburgh. The Patriots are a horrifically flawed team defensively so it’ll be interesting to see how far they can get. PATRIOTS (-9.5)
Vegas is giving Seattle a ton of respect with that line especially after seeing what San Francisco did to Pittsburgh this past Monday night. The 49ers can’t lose the #2 seed if they win out because they’ll have a better conference record than New Orleans, and that has to be what San Francisco is gunning for. Roethlisberger was way off his game this past week & SF can’t expect that to happen with everyone. If they play New Orleans in the divisional round, they need the game to be in Candlestick rather than the Superdome! The 49ers have no shot at losing the West, but their goal should be an NFC Championship game or even the Super Bowl. I don’t think they get there by playing the Saints & Packers in back-to-back road games. Seattle needs help to get into the playoffs. They have to win out & either Atlanta or Detroit needs to lose out. The Seahawks are playing outstanding football having gone 5-1 in their last 6 with great defensive play. I can certainly envision a scenario where they win out & Detroit drops their last 2 putting Seattle in the #6 seed! 49ERS (-2.5)
The Bengals are a great story! Right now the Jets are the #6 seed and the Bengals are right behind them because of the common opponent tiebreaker. If the Bengals want to be sure to get into the playoffs they need to win out & hope the Jets lose one of their remaining games against the Giants or Dolphins. If the Bengals go 0-2 the rest of the way they are done. If they go 1-1 then a whole slew of mess opens up assuming of course the Jets don’t win out & finish 10-6. Cincinnati needs New York to lose! However, the Bengals couldn’t be catching Arizona at a worse time. In a tale of two seasons, the Cardinals are 6-1 in their last 7 after going 1-6 in their first 7 games! Arizona can get into the playoffs if they win out & get some help. Specifically they need to win out and have either Atlanta or Detroit lose their last 2 games. If that happens, Arizona is in! If Detroit & Atlanta lose their last 2 games then Arizona could get the #5 seed if they win their last 2. Both teams need this one. BENGALS (-4)
I’d be willing to bet the farm that Denver rebounds after the loss to New England last week. Getting a decimated Buffalo squad will be just what the doctor ordered. Buffalo’s offense is anemic now that Fred Jackson has missed significant time, and Ryan Fitzpatrick has been an interception machine all year long. Denver’s defense should be in for quite a time. On the other hand, Buffalo’s rush defense isn’t too good meaning we’ll see a lot of ball control option type of running out of Denver as the Broncos grind their way to a 9-6 record atop the AFC West. It’s going to be almost impossible for Denver to lose the AFC West. They need to lose out, but their last 2 games are against Buffalo this week & then a home season finale against the Chiefs. The Broncos should be 10-6 by the end of the year with Tebow having gone 9-2 as the starter in 2011 & 10-4 as a starter for his career. He’s can’t miss football. All that will be left is to see if Denver hosts the Steelers or Ravens in the Wild Card game. BRONCOS (-3)
The NFL is SO MUCH BETTER when these two teams are the best two teams in the AFC West! These are some epic battles against HATED rivals. The only other rivalries in football I think are better than Chiefs/Raiders are the NFC East rivalries. I LOVE THIS GAME! Oddly enough there is still a way for Kansas City to win the AFC West and get into the playoffs at 8-8. They have to win out which would put them at 8-8 (4-2). They would need Oakland & San Diego to finish no higher than 8-8. Even if the Raiders & Chargers finish 8-8, they won’t win the tiebreaker because KC will have the best divisional record. KC also needs Denver to lose this week to Buffalo. If all that happens, KC is in the playoffs! Oakland needs to win out as well although that might be tougher with games against KC & SD remaining. It’s been a tough season for the Raiders. Losing Jason Campbell & then Darren McFadden. They still have a shot, but at this point I think the Chiefs have a better opportunity. Let’s see if KC can ride the momentum of beating Green Bay into an 8-8 record with a shot at the postseason! CHIEFS (-2.5)
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December 23, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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