NFL Picks Week 16: Patriots will do it again and beat Bills at Foxborough
Five teams will clinch a Playoff berth with a victory this weekend: Kansas City, Arizona, Dallas, Rams and the Super Bowl champs Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
As covid-19 hits the NFL again, the schedule marks Week 16 and that means playoff tickets will quickly start to sell out.
NFL picks: Week 16
So, with or without coronavirus outbreaks, it's time to win when it matters most.
So far, only the Green Bay Packers have secured a postseason spot. Five teams will clinch a playoff berth with a win this weekend: Kansas City, Arizona, Dallas, Rams and Tampa Bay.
The Patriots enter the dance if they beat Buffalo and Miami loses Monday at New Orleans.
The Titans are the AFC South Division champion if they beat San Francisco on Thursday and Indianapolis lose to Arizona.
Shall we go to the picks?
Also in NFL news:
Week 16: game of the week
Buffalo at New England (-2.5)
What the Patriots did on the night of Monday, December 6, is one of the most insulting and humiliating things I have seen in more than 40 years of following the NFL.
Just in case you didn't see it or already forgot, let me refresh your memory: Bill Belichick's team defeated the Bills 14-10 in Buffalo; in that game, New England threw the ball three times; the Patriots rushed 46 times for 22 yards, and at some point in the game they ran the ball 31 consecutive times.
The reason? The strong winds that blew that night and that complicated the passing game. Belichick decided to write a monologue and the Bills defense was the best audience for him.
Just two weeks after that humiliation in Orchard Park, Buffalo (8-6) and New England (9-5) meet again, now in Foxborough and with the East Division title at stake.
The same game plan for Belichick? Of course not. This Sunday we will see a more "traditional" game of a rivalry that begins to be relevant again in the NFL.
Obviously, the Bills defense has to do a better job against the run.
In the Week 13 game, Damien Harris was the Patriots' leading rushing leader with 111 yards and a touchdown; Rhamondre Stevenson added another 78 on 24 carries.
The problem is not new to Buffalo. In the last five, the Bills have allowed an average of 163.6 yards rushing.
And it's not the only bad thing about the Bills.
Wide receiver Cole Beasley will miss the game after testing positive for covid-19. Guard Jon Feliciano posted on Twitter Tuesday that he ended up in the ER on Sunday, after the team placed him on the covid-19 list that same day.
Buffalo also listed left tackle Dion Dawkins, defensive end A.J. Epenesa and linebacker Tyrel Dodson.
“All that [covid] stuff, for me it’s minutia”, Josh Allen. “For me, I try to pay as little attention to it as possible”.
“Every game from here on out is like a playoff game, the type of atmosphere that’s going to be there”, the quarterback added. “I mean, the energy is going to be extremely high, we know that the crowd’s gonna be really loud. We know that so we got to prepare as best as we can and again, be prepared as possible before we step foot in that stadium on Sunday and not let it affect us and really just do our jobs.”
If the Bills want to win two straight division titles for the first time since winning four in a row between 1989 and 1991, they have to find a way to win at Foxborough.
To do so, Allen (five touchdowns, no interceptions in the last two against New England) has to raise his level.
The Patriots come into this game after seeing a seven-win streak end in Indianapolis, where Belichick's team was dominated from start to finish by the Colts. In that game Mac Jones threw two costly interceptions and Buffalo needs more of the same from the rookie.
Plus, this season New England is 3-4 at home, where Jones has thrown five of his 10 interceptions.
Pick: Belichick's dominance against the Bills is absurd; the coach is 36-8 against Buffalo, including a 7-2 against coach Sean McDermott. The Bills defense has to find a way to stop the rushing game and I don't know if that disease will find a cure in Foxborough. Patriots 20-16 Bills
Cleveland at Green Bay (-7)
After this loss, you can safely say that the Browns are the disappointment of the year. Green Bay 28-20 Cleveland
Indianapolis in Arizona (-1)
Arizona's defense, which allowed 126 rushing yards in the loss to Detroit, is not going to have a good time with Jonathan Taylor. Colts 27-23 Cardinals
San Francisco (-3.5) at Tennessee
The Titans lost their mojo at the worst time of the season and the Niners are going just in the opposite direction. San Francisco 28-24 Tennessee
Detroit at Atlanta (-4)
The Lions only win the ones they aren't supposed to win. Atlanta 31-21 Detroit
Tampa Bay (-10.5) at Carolina
Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell to the rescue. Buccaneers 31-17 Panthers
Baltimore at Cincinnati (-2.5)
Between injuries and John Harbaugh's decisions, the Ravens aren't what they used to be. Cincinnati 27-26 Baltimore
Los Angeles Chargers (-9.5) at Houston
The Chargers missed an opportunity to take control in the AFC West. Now there is no margin for error. Los Angeles 38-21 Houston
Los Angeles Rams (-3) at Minnesota
Duel between two good defenders in Minneapolis, but I trust Matthew Stafford more than Kirk Cousins. Rams 30-23 Vikings
Jacksonville at New York Jets (-2)
The Jaguars are not going to let anyone take the first pick of the 2022 Draft from them. New York 20-17 Jacksonville
New York Giants at Philadelphia (-10)
The Eagles are the second NFC East team that we could see in the Playoffs. Philadelphia 24-17 New York
Chicago in Seattle (-6.5)
These two are virtually eliminated from the Wild Card race, but Russell Wilson wants to make a good impression in his last games in Seattle. Seahawks 26-14 Bears
Pittsburgh at Kansas City (-10)
If Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce (both on the COVID-19 list at the time of writing these picks) don't play, the Steelers will have a chance to surprise Arrowhead. Kansas City 19-16 Pittsburgh
Denver at Las Vegas (-1)
Broncos and Raiders, both 7-7, still dream of a playoff berth. I'm going with the team that has won the most recent three in this rivalry. Las Vegas 30-20 Denver
Washington at Dallas (-10.5)
It's time for the Cowboys to take that well-deserved Eastern Division crown. Dallas 31-21 Washington
Miami at New Orleans (-3)
Thanks to the Saints defense, the Dolphins' winning streak ends here. New Orleans 24-20 Miami
Over / under
Cleveland vs. Green Bay OVER 44.5
Buffalo vs. New England UNDER 43.5
Pittsburgh vs. Kansas City UNDER 46
Last week: 10-6
In season: 136-89