Predictions for every Week 16 game, including the Green Bay Packers’ road game against the New York Jets.
It doesn’t feel right to enter Christmas week without a Green Bay Packers game that matters. On Sunday, the eliminated Packers take on another team with nothing to play for, the New York Jets.
Before Green Bay’s attention can switch to a busy offseason that will begin by hiring a new head coach, the team will attempt to finish the year on a positive note with two victories.
Up first is a trip to MetLife Stadium.
Green Bay (5-8-1) at NY Jets (4-10)
When this game kicks off it will have been 378 days since the Packers’ last road victory. After losing nine straight away from Lambeau Field, including seven this season, they have one more opportunity this week against the Jets.
The good news for Green Bay is that New York is 2-5 at home this season. This could be the week.
The Packers’ best bet in this game could be to run the football against a Jets defense that is ranked 23rd against the run. But they will have to do so without Aaron Jones, who was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday.
Mike Pettine’s defense will also have opportunities to take the ball away. The Jets have a minus-eight turnover differential, having given the ball away 27 times this season, tied for third most in the NFL.
Winning the turnover battle will be key in this game, and forcing a couple of turnovers could be enough for the Packers to get their first road victory of the season.
In a meaningless game, Green Bay finally gets its road win. But if you’re hoping for a higher draft pick, that might not be great news.
Pick: Green Bay
Washington (7-7) at Tennessee (8-6) – Saturday
Washington surprisingly got the win last week but faces a much tougher matchup this week at Tennessee. The Titans move a step closer to the playoffs.
Baltimore (8-6) at LA Chargers (11-3) – Saturday
The Titans need the Ravens to slip up, and that’s exactly what will happen on the road against the red-hot LA Chargers, who are still very much in the race for AFC’s No. 1 seed.
Pick: LA Chargers
Cincinnati (6-8) at Cleveland (6-7-1)
The Browns can still make the playoffs. They’ll need a miracle, but adding a seventh win gives them hope.
Tampa Bay (5-9) at Dallas (8-6)
Dominated in a shutout loss to the Colts last week, the Cowboys should get back on track against the Buccaneers’ 27th-ranked run defense. Tampa Bay is allowing 128.1 yards on the ground per game. It could be a big day for Ezekiel Elliott.
Minnesota (7-6-1) at Detroit (5-9)
The Vikings looked much better offensively last week, and should have no trouble getting past a Lions team that is ready for the offseason to begin. Minnesota closes in on a playoff berth.
Buffalo (5-9) at New England (9-5)
The Patriots rarely lose three in a row, and they rarely have to play in the wild-card round. To avoid the latter, they must first avoid the former. Expect a strong bounce-back performance from New England this week. The Patriots defense has made 16 interceptions this season, fourth most in the league. Josh Allen has thrown four in the past three games.
Pick: New England
Houston (10-4) at Philadelphia (7-7)
Despite Philadelphia’s impressive victory against the LA Rams last week, the Texans keep their impressive run going and stay ahead of the Patriots in the No. 2 seed spot.
Atlanta (5-9) at Carolina (6-8)
Both of these teams have disappointed in 2018, but the Falcons continue to play for their coach. The Panthers were flat against the Saints and it’s hard to believe they started the season 6-2.
NY Giants (5-9) at Indianapolis (8-6)
With seven wins in their past eight games, the Colts are on fire. After shutting out the Cowboys last week the Colts defense should have no trouble slowing down the Giants. Another huge win for Indianapolis.
Jacksonville (4-10) at Miami (7-7)
The Dolphins need to win and get some help in order to make the playoffs, but they do their part with a victory at home this week.
LA Rams (11-3) at Arizona (3-11)
All of a sudden the LA Rams don’t look so unstoppable after losing two straight. Fortunately for Los Angeles, it gets a matchup against the 3-11 Cardinals this week.
Arizona ranks last in a number of offensive categories. The Cardinals are scoring a league-low 13.7 points per game, are averaging a league-low 161 passing yards per game and just 82.4 rushing yards per game, which is, you guessed it, another league-low.
Pick: LA Rams
Chicago (10-4) at San Francisco (4-10)
The 49ers have given up 44 sacks this year, tied for seventh-most in the NFL. They now face a Bears defense that has posted 45 sacks, tied for fourth-most. Chicago’s defense is allowing just 18.8 points per game. The Bears stay in contention for a first-round bye.
Pittsburgh (8-5-1) at New Orleans (12-2)
The Saints haven’t been at their best in recent weeks, but they have played three consecutive road games, winning two. Finally returning home, New Orleans should play much better and win a high-scoring game against the Steelers.
Pick: New Orleans
Kansas City (11-3) at Seattle (8-6)
The Chiefs know they have to win this week or risk losing not only the division title, but a first-round bye to the Chargers. This isn’t an easy game at Seattle, but I think Kansas City wins a close one on the road.
Pick: Kansas City
Denver (6-8) at Oakland (3-11) – Monday
This is exactly the Christmas Eve game we all wanted. Or maybe not. Here’s a positive for the Raiders: they stay in contention for the No. 1 overall pick this week.
Last week: 8-8