O'Halloran: Week 16 NFL picks

O'Halloran: Week 16 NFL picks
December 25, 2010, 10:08 pm
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Saturday, December 25, 2010, 5:06 p.m.

By Ryan OHalloran
Staff writer


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. As the Redskins exhibited Thursday and Friday, the news doesnt stop on the holidays but yours truly sure does, for a quick two-day jaunt to south Florida for Christmas. But in the wake of the Fletcher Smith-Kyle Shanahan jousting, here are the Week 16 picks:
Redskins (plus 7) at Jaguars: For all the hoopla regarding McNabbs benching, heres the forgotten fact the Redskins passing game actually looked functional last week at Dallas. Problem is, the defense has been decimated by injuries, playing right into the hands of the Jags even if Maurice Jones-Drew is unavailable. Jaguars 30-24.Ravens (minus 4) at Browns: Baltimores division hopes took a hit with Pittsburghs win Thursday night but wild-card seeding is still at stake. The Ravens returned to their roots last week (combined 206 rushing yards by Ray Rice and Willis McGahee) so expect that to continue Sunday. Ravens 21-13.Cowboys (minus 7) at Cardinals: This had the makings of a pretty good match-up last spring, star-laden Dallas at two-time reigning division champion Arizona. Your Christmas Night starting quarterbacks Jon Kitna and John Skelton. The NBA might be a better option. Cowboys 31-27.Jets (plus 1) at Bears: A match-up of 10-4 teams but only the Bears will win their division, wrapping up the NFC North last week against a pathetic Minnesota team. Really good play-caller duel with the Jets Rex Ryan and the Bears Mike Martz. Bears 16-13.Lions (plus 3.5) at Dolphins: Detroit has its first winning streak in three-plus years and is searching for its first road winning streak in six years. The buzz down here in south Florida is that Chad Henne is on audition to see if he can enter the off-season as the starter. Dolphins 27-20.49ers (plus 2) at Rams: Incredibly, San Francisco remains alive in the NFC West race but St. Louis can mercifully put an end to that with a season sweep. How cool would a Week 17 flexed game between the Rams and Seattle be for the division title? Average meets average. The Rams have three two-game losing skids and two two-game winning streaks. Rams 41-30.Titans (plus 5) at Chiefs: Hand it to Matt Cassel last week for a guts away, playing in a win over St. Louis less two weeks after an appendectomy. For a game featuring a division leader, this game doesnt offer much allure. Chiefs 21-7.Patriots (minus 9) at Bills: Tom Terrific needs to throw 17 more passes without an interception to set an NFL record he heads to Buffalo at 292. Ahead of him are Bart Starr (294) and Bernie Kosar (308). The Patriots arent as explosive as the 2007 team but they are the Super Bowl favorite. Patriots 44-24.Texans (minus 3) at Broncos: Tim Tebow rushed eight times for 68 yards in his starting debut last week but it couldnt help a Denver team that is 1-9 in its last 10 games. Even though Houstons pass defense is putrid, Tebow isnt good enough yet to take advantage. Texans 31-19.Chargers (minus 7.5) at Bengals: Another black-out for Cincinnati (this game was originally a Sunday night match-up). San Diego enjoyed a mini-bye after its rout of San Francisco but a few weeks from now, will look two losses to Oakland and a road defeat at St. Louis as why it is watching the postseason. Chargers 27-12.Colts (minus 3) at Raiders: Another old friend, Jason Campbell, has helped Oakland to 7-7, its most wins since the Raiders reached the Super Bowl eight years ago. But while the Raiders are win-and-need-help mode, the Colts control their AFC South fate and will know what they need to do by kickoff. Colts 22-17.Seahawks (plus 6) at Buccaneers: Its safe to assume Seattle will shift to Charlie Whitehurst at quarterback next year Matt Hassselbeck starts despite eight turnovers in the last two games. Tampa Bay laid an egg last week at home (lost to Detroit) and now needs wins and assistance to clinch an unlikely playoff appearance. Buccaneers 17-10.Giants (plus 3) at Packers: Runner-up for game of the week behind Saints-Falcons, New York can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Green Bay, losers of two straight. The last time these teams met at Lambeau, the game-time wind-chill was minus-23 degrees (and I was there). Aaron Rodgers return is the difference. Packers 30-24.Vikings (plus 14.5) at Eagles: This is going to get ugly. Adrian Peterson is banged up. Joe Webb is the likely starter. The Eagles are coming off a monster comeback. Expect to see yep, another old friend Patrick Ramsey for the Purple. Eagles 52-7.Saints (plus 2.5) at Falcons: Best game of the week, New Orleans saw its NFC South hopes disappear by losing at Baltimore. But the Saints want to get that No. 5 seed so they can open the playoffs as huge favorites at the NFC West champion. The Saints have better personnel but Atlanta takes advantage of the Georgia Dome. Falcons 34-27.
Contact Ryan at rohalloran@comcastsportsnet.com