NFL Office Pool Picks Week 16
We are in the final days now. The NFL year is in the second to last week of what has felt like a remarkably fast season. And there is still a whole lot to be decided. The more that is on the line in the closing weeks, the more interesting the games are to pick. And with 10 of the 16 games on the card having direct playoff implications of one kind or another, it doesn't get much better than this. Here's how I see the games set up straight up as you get ready to make your second last set of NFL office pool picks:
Houston at Tampa Bay: This is a huge game for the Texans . If they win this game, they are a playoff team. If they lose it, they need to win next week - or hope that Tennessee loses. They control their own destiny, and they are playing pretty well right now. Take the Texans.
Buffalo at New England: There is a lot more drama in this Bills vs. Patriots matchup than you ever would have guessed at the start of the season. Both of these teams have clinched playoff spots already - as bizarre as that sentence sounds. But the division is not wrapped up yet. New England can clinch with a win here, but there is potential chaos if they lose. New England can also wrap up a bye if they win and Kansas City loses. Both teams should be fired up. New England is more used to this kind of thing, though, and they are at home. Take the Patriots.
L.A. Rams at San Francisco: San Francisco is one of four teams in the NFC at 11-3 - including two in their division. So, they cannot afford to let their foot off the gas. The Rams have only the slimmest of chances to make the playoffs, so they aren't likely to be as fired up as San Francisco. Take the Niners.
Jacksonville at Atlanta: Both teams are at 5-9 and staring down a whole lot of changes in a couple of weeks. This Jaguars vs. Falcons game is just a mess. I'll take the Falcons at home, but not with any enthusiasm.
Baltimore at Cleveland: A win here for Baltimore clinches the top seed. They will obviously want that. Very badly. And beating up on a divisional rival is only an added benefit. This is a very, very good team, and them being on the road doesn't scare me at all. Take the Ravens.
New Orleans at Tennessee: New Orleans has clinched the division, but they are still playing for a bye, so they should be fired up. And Drew Brees just completed 29 of 30 passes on Monday night, so the team is obviously in a good place. Tennessee is not going to lie down, though, because they are in the middle of a playoff battle of their own. Take the Saints, but not by much.
Carolina at Indianapolis: The wheels have fallen off for both teams, and neither has won in a month. I guess you could argue that Indy is in a slightly less bad place, and their losing streak is two games shorter. Take the Colts.
Cincinnati at Miami: Cincinnati cinches the first overall pick with a loss here. They have it in them. Take the Dolphins.
Pittsburgh at New York Jets: The Steelers need to keep winning if they want to beat out the Titans and take the final playoff spot. They are on the road, which isn't ideal. But they are the better team, and they should be fired up after an unfortunate loss last week. Take the Steelers.
New York Giants at Washington: Two really bad teams in the worst division in football. What a thrill ride. If the league had any pride, they would just cancel this one. But they seem determined to play it. Take the Redskins at home. Or take the Giants. Or refuse to take anyone. Who cares, really?
Detroit at Denver: Detroit has lost seven in a row, and things are not at all in a good place. They gave their coach a vote of confidence, which is a kiss of death. They have lost seven straight, and it is no fluke. Denver isn't great, but they are at home and playing at least a little better. Take the Broncos.
Oakland at L.A. Chargers: Oakland has lost four in a row, and now they just have two road games left before a whole new life begins in Vegas. There is a very high chance that they are distracted and have already checked out of this season. The Chargers are very hard to trust this year, but they are at home and get the nod.
Dallas at Philadelphia: This is a de facto playoff game. Dallas wins the division with a win. Philadelphia doesn't clinch but puts themselves in a good place. There should be no excuses here. I really hate both teams and their division, but I like what the Eagles are doing a little better. And they are at home. They are the pick.
Arizona at Seattle: Seattle is locked up in a death battle. They could be the top seed or a wild card team. All they can do is win and hope for the best. And they will here against an outmatched team surely excited about the end of the season. Take the Niners.
Kansas City at Chicago: The Chiefs have clinched their division long ago, but they still have an outside shot at a bye. The pick is complicated a little here by the fact that the Patriots could clinch the bye on Saturday, so the Chiefs could have less to play for. But a win is still better than a loss here because it means they avoid playing the Ravens in the first round. Take the Chiefs.
Green Bay at Minnesota: Green Bay has clinched a playoff spot but is still in the heart of the bye race. Minnesota is in very good shape to make the playoffs - a win would clinch. A win would also tie them with Green Bay and make things interesting in the final game. Both teams should be ready. And both teams are in good form right now. I'll take the Vikings at home, but this is the toughest game on the card - of the good games, anyway - to pick.
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