The Week 16 NFL schedule is stacked with great matchups. Our NFL Nation reporters bring us the keys to every game, a bold prediction for each matchup and final score picks.
Additionally, ESPN Stats & Information provides a stat to know for each game and a look at current playoff scenarios, and the Football Power Index (FPI) goes inside the numbers with a matchup rating (on a scale of 1 to 100) and a game projection. ESPN Fantasy’s Kyle Soppe and ESPN Chalk’s Dave Bearman hand out helpful nuggets as well. It’s all here to help get you ready for a loaded weekend of NFL football.
Let’s get into the full Week 16 slate, including a Rams-Seahawks game that could decide the NFC West. (Game times are Sunday unless otherwise noted.)
Vikings (6-8) at Saints (10-4)
Friday, 4:30 p.m. ET | Fox/NFL Network
Matchup rating: 69.7 | Spread: NO -6.5 (51)
What to watch for: An intriguing matchup between New Orleans’ top-three defense and Minnesota’s top-five offense. The Saints and quarterback Drew Brees are hoping to shake off some rust after a two-game losing streak — and clinch their fourth straight NFC South title in the process. They still have an outside shot at the NFC’s No. 1 seed too. But to accomplish all that, they’ll have to beat their nemesis. The Vikings have knocked them out of the playoffs twice in the past three years. — Mike Triplett
Bold prediction: The Vikings’ playoff hopes have been dashed, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing left for this team to play for. With another eight-catch day, Justin Jefferson will accumulate the 132 yards to surpass Randy Moss as the NFL’s leader in receiving yards by a rookie. He’ll also score two touchdowns in his Louisiana homecoming. — Courtney Cronin
Stat to know: Since Week 5, the Saints have pressured opposing quarterbacks on a league-high 39% of dropbacks. Kirk Cousins has been pressured on at least 40% of dropbacks in two straight weeks (both losses) and is 1-7 this season when taking pressure at least 30% of the time.
Playoff/draft picture: The Saints can clinch the NFC South with a win or a Buccaneers loss. The Vikings will be eliminated from the playoffs with a loss or a Cardinals win. FPI gives the Vikings a 6.4% chance to have a top-10 pick in next year’s draft.
Injuries: Vikings | Saints
What to know for fantasy: Emmanuel Sanders has been targeted on 23.8% of his routes when Michael Thomas is not on the field this season (up from 17.7% with Thomas on the field). See Week 16 rankings.
Betting nugget: New Orleans is 4-1 ATS against teams with losing records this season. Read more.
Cronin’s pick: Saints 27, Vikings 20
Triplett’s pick: Saints 26, Vikings 22
FPI prediction: NO, 72.5% (by an average of 8.0 points)
Matchup must-reads: Vikings’ lessons from a lost season: Don’t waste young stars, lines need help and more … Can ‘Super Bowl or bust’ Saints finally peak at the right time? … Vikings’ Justin Jefferson closes in on rookie receiving records … Saints defense’s plight: Short week after team-record 92 snaps vs. Patrick Mahomes
Buccaneers (9-5) at Lions (5-9)
Saturday, 1 p.m. ET | NFL Network
Matchup rating: 51.9 | Spread: TB -9.5 (54)
What to watch for: Do the Buccaneers fall behind again? They did so last week before rallying against Atlanta. Detroit has been playing hard since the firing of Matt Patricia, so surrendering an early lead against the Lions could be tricky for a Tampa Bay team striving for the playoffs instead of playing out the string like Detroit for the third straight season. — Michael Rothstein
Bold prediction: After falling behind 17-0 against the Falcons last Sunday, the Bucs score three touchdowns in the first half against a Lions team giving up 31 points per game, the most in the league. Doesn’t seem bold enough to you? The last time they scored three first-half touchdowns was in Week 7 against the Raiders and they’ve managed to do that only four times total this season. — Jenna Laine
Stat to know: Tom Brady is 8-0 in his regular-season career when playing on a Saturday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only four quarterbacks since 1950 have more Saturday wins: Jack Kemp (14), Bobby Layne (9), John Hadl (9) and Len Dawson (9).
Playoff/draft picture: The Bucs can clinch a playoff berth with a win or a Bears loss. Tampa Bay hasn’t reached the playoffs since 2007, the second-longest active playoff drought in the NFL. The Lions are projected to have the No. 8 pick in next year’s draft, and they still have a 12% chance to have a top-five pick, according to FPI.
Injuries: Buccaneers | Lions
What to know for fantasy: The tight end position is a mess in fantasy this season, so all it takes to be worthy of a start is volume or scoring equity. In that vein, Rob Gronkowski has a touchdown or six targets in 10 straight games. See Week 16 rankings.
Betting nugget: Five of Detroit’s six home games this season have gone over the total. Tampa Bay’s past four road games went over. Read more.
Laine’s pick: Bucs 35, Lions 23
Rothstein’s pick: Buccaneers 31, Lions 17
FPI prediction: TB, 78.0% (by an average of 10.3 points)
Matchup must-reads: Buccaneers activate left tackle Donovan Smith from reserve/COVID-19 list … Darrell Bevell instituted change — just not enough to fix the Lions’ glaring flaws … Slow starts could be the fatal flaw for Bucs’ playoff run … Detroit Lions general manager search: Louis Riddick interviews
49ers (5-9) at Cardinals (8-6)
Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET | Amazon Prime
Matchup rating: 66.6 | Spread: ARI -5.0 (48.5)
What to watch for: The Cardinals are averaging seven sacks per game the past two weeks and that number isn’t expected to be lower Saturday against the 49ers — especially with the inexperienced C.J. Beathard behind center. Niners quarterbacks have been sacked 33 times this season. Look for another sack party from the Cardinals, especially from edge rusher Haason Reddick. — Josh Weinfuss
Bold prediction: DeAndre Hopkins finishes with 10-plus catches and 100-plus yards for the second time against the 49ers this season. Hopkins had 14 catches for 151 yards in Week 1, and while those are gaudy numbers, it wouldn’t surprise if Hopkins approached or surpassed them again this time. The Niners have allowed five wideouts to go for 100-plus receiving yards this season and Hopkins adds another to the tally. — Nick Wagoner
Stat to know: Hopkins leads the NFL in receiving yards. No veteran player (i.e. non-rookie) since the 1970 merger has led the NFL in receiving yards in his first season with a team. Hopkins can become the first since Harold Jackson in 1969 for the Eagles.
Playoff/draft picture: The Cardinals clinch a playoff berth with a win and a Bears loss. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2015, when they lost in the NFC Championship Game. The 49ers are eliminated from the playoffs, and they are projected to have the No. 12 pick, according to FPI, which gives them a 37.9% chance to pick in the top 10.
Injuries: 49ers | Cardinals
What to know for fantasy: Hopkins had two more catches than all of his teammates in the Week 1 meeting with San Francisco, catching 87.5% of his targets in the process (all other Cardinals: 57.1%). See Week 16 rankings.
Betting nugget: Since 2015, Arizona is 9-17 ATS as a home favorite (2-4 ATS since drafting Kyler Murray). Read more.
Wagoner’s pick: Cardinals 27, 49ers 20
Weinfuss’ pick: Cardinals 37, 49ers 24
FPI prediction: ARI, 52.5% (by an average of 0.9 points)
Matchup must-reads: 49ers signing Josh Rosen to back up C.J. Beathard … Why Cardinals’ Prince Amukamara made more than 300 deliveries working for DoorDash
Dolphins (9-5) at Raiders (7-7)
Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET | NFL Network
Matchup rating: 44.2 | Spread: MIA -3.0 (47.5)
What to watch for: Who, exactly, will be starting at quarterback for the Raiders. Derek Carr left Las Vegas’ overtime loss to the Chargers on Thursday night with a groin strain. Marcus Mariota, in only his third game being active, nearly led the Raiders to victory and gave the offense a decidedly different look with his ability and willingness to extend plays with his legs. Carr was limited in practice Tuesday as he split reps with Mariota, giving the Dolphins two styles to worry about. He was a full participant on Wednesday, however. — Paul Gutierrez
Bold prediction: Tua Tagovailoa will lead the Dolphins on a fourth-quarter comeback and a game-winning drive. He hasn’t regularly put up big stat lines, but he has shown up biggest in key moments. Tagovailoa already has two fourth-quarter comebacks and game-winning drives, and with the Dolphins needing a win to stay in the playoff hunt, he will come up clutch once again, dicing the 29th-ranked scoring defense to lead Miami to victory. — Cameron Wolfe
Stat to know: There is a big discrepancy on defense in this matchup. The Dolphins enter the game ranked first in scoring defense (18.4 points per game), while the Raiders rank 29th (30.1 points per game). The Dolphins haven’t led the NFL in scoring defense since 1998, while the Raiders probably will finish 20th or worse for the 14th consecutive season.
Playoff/draft picture: The Dolphins enter the week with a 36% chance of making the playoffs, per FPI. Their chances would improve to 62% with a win Saturday, but they would drop to 16% with a loss to Las Vegas. The Raiders will be eliminated from the playoffs with a loss or a Ravens win.
Injuries: Dolphins | Raiders
What to know for fantasy: Josh Jacobs might have saved your team with a touchdown last week, but the efficiency is a major concern. After an early 20-yard run, he averaged just 2.3 yards per carry against the Chargers. Touchdown reliance isn’t new, but it’s tough to count on for a team that has lost four straight. See Week 16 rankings.
Betting nugget: Miami has covered nine of its past 10 games and is a league-best 11-3 ATS this season. Miami is 20-6 ATS since its Week 5 bye week last season. Read more.
Wolfe’s pick: Dolphins 24, Raiders 20
Gutierrez’s pick: Dolphins 27, Raiders 23
FPI prediction: LV, 56.7% (by an average of 2.3 points)
Matchup must-reads: Dolphins’ winning season should elicit joy for present and future … Dolphins’ DeVante Parker brings smiles to pediatric patients with ‘Uncle Vante’ gowns … If Derek Carr is compromised, it could be time for Raiders to see what Marcus Mariota has … QB controversy? Marcus Mariota just happy to contribute to Raiders
Colts (10-4) at Steelers (11-3)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 73.6 | Spread: IND -1.5 (44.5)
What to watch for: The Steelers haven’t had a balanced offense in weeks, and reinvigorating the run game will be especially difficult against a Colts defense that has stymied opponents on the ground. James Conner missed the loss to the Bengals with a quad injury, but Benny Snell played decently in his absence. If the Steelers’ ground game continues to be absent, they’ll need a much better performance from Ben Roethlisberger to pull out of a three-game slump. — Brooke Pryor
Bold prediction: Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said this week that he’s done dancing on opponents’ logos during pregame warm-ups, and even though this game is in Pittsburgh, that new mindset will pay off. He’ll put up his first 100-yard receiving game since Oct. 28, 2019, and second since Dec. 23, 2018. — Mike Wells
Stat to know: The Steelers have been held under 20 points in four consecutive games, their longest single-season streak since 2004, Roethlisberger’s rookie year. They haven’t been held under 20 points in five consecutive games in a single season since 1969 (six in a row). They lost their last 13 games in ’69 to finish 1-13.
Playoff/draft picture: The Colts can clinch a playoff berth with a win and a loss by either the Ravens or Dolphins. The Steelers have already clinched a playoff spot, but they could clinch the AFC North title with a win over Indianapolis.
Injuries: Colts | Steelers
What to know for fantasy: Jonathan Taylor scored 15 fantasy points in just three of his first nine career games, but he has gone over that number in four straight (22 PPG over that stretch). See Week 16 rankings.
Betting nugget: Pittsburgh has failed to cover four straight games and is 0-3 ATS on short rest this season. Read more.
Wells’ pick: Colts 21, Steelers 17
Pryor’s pick: Colts 23, Steelers 17
FPI prediction: PIT, 64.5% (by an average of 4.9 points)
Matchup must-reads: Confidence grows for Jonathan Taylor as he carries Colts toward playoffs … Steelers’ Mike Tomlin plans to talk to JuJu Smith-Schuster about logo dancing antics … In-game pressure brings out best in Colts’ opportunistic defense … Roethlisberger: Playing ‘like poo,’ must be better
Falcons (4-10) at Chiefs (13-1)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 69.2 | Spread: KC -10.5 (54)
What to watch for: Can the Falcons score enough points to keep up with the Chiefs? The Chiefs’ past six opponents have scored enough to keep the final margin at less than seven points, but none has been able to win the game. The Falcons have scored 17 or fewer in three of their past five games. That won’t get the job done against the Chiefs. They might need at least 30 points — a bar they’ve reached just four times, all against teams unlikely to make the playoffs. — Adam Teicher
Bold prediction: The Falcons don’t lose a lead Sunday! But mostly because Atlanta never has one as Kansas City scores on its first four possessions to put this game out of reach before the Falcons even have a chance to mess it up at the end. — Michael Rothstein
Stat to know: The Chiefs have won 22 of their past 23 games, including the playoffs. In the Chiefs’ lone loss, Patrick Mahomes was pressured 29 times — the second most in his career — and completed a career-low 51.2% of his passes. The Chiefs still scored 32 points in the loss.
Playoff/draft picture: The Chiefs can clinch the 1-seed and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win or a Steelers loss. The Falcons, meanwhile, are projected to pick No. 4 overall in the 2021 draft, per FPI. They have a 60.8% chance at a top-five pick.
Injuries: Falcons | Chiefs
What to know for fantasy: It’s been said that a name can tell you a lot about a person, so you shouldn’t be surprised that Patrick MaHOMEs is averaging 361.5 passing yards over his past four games at Arrowhead. See Week 16 rankings.
Betting nugget: Kansas City is 1-5 ATS in its past six games, covering last week’s game by half a point. Read more.
Rothstein’s pick: Chiefs 38, Falcons 23
Teicher’s pick: Chiefs 33, Falcons 20
FPI prediction: KC, 79.3% (by an average of 10.8 points)
Matchup must-reads: Falcons’ priority should be developing their 2021 building blocks … Travis Kelce entering uncharted statistical territory for tight ends … How Younghoe Koo became a Pro Bowler (and a cultural phenomenon) … Reid on Mahomes changing his profile pic: ‘Thanks for making me feel young’
Giants (5-9) at Ravens (9-5)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 56.0 | Spread: BAL -10.5 (45)
What to watch for: Can Lamar Jackson and the red-hot Ravens offense continue their success against the stingy Giants? Over the past three games, the Ravens are averaging an NFL-best 40 points per game and Jackson has produced a passer rating over 100 each time. The Giants are holding teams to 18.7 points since Week 9, the fifth fewest in the league during that span. — Jamison Hensley
Bold prediction: Jackson rushes for more than 100 yards. He has averaged 84.3 yards on the ground over his past three starts. Now he faces a Giants defense that had trouble containing Kyler Murray two weeks ago. Murray rushed for 47 yards in a Week 14 win over the Giants. Now New York has to deal with Jackson, whom coach Joe Judge called a “unicorn” and compared to trying to tackle Gumby. — Jordan Raanan
Stat to know: Baltimore is favored by 10.5 points. The Ravens are 40-0 all-time in the regular season when favored by double digits, the only franchise without a loss in those games in the Super Bowl era.
Playoff/draft picture: The Giants will be eliminated from the playoffs with a loss or a Washington win. FPI gives the Ravens a 84.3% chance to make the playoffs, most likely as the 6-seed.
Injuries: Giants | Ravens
What to know for fantasy: Three of Jackson’s best five games this season have come in his three games since returning to action (29.9 points per game in those three games). See Week 16 rankings.
Betting nugget: The Giants are 6-1 ATS on the road this season and 18-5 ATS on the road in the past three seasons. Read more.
Raanan’s pick: Ravens 30, Giants 16
Hensley’s pick: Ravens 27, Giants 10
FPI prediction: BAL, 80.5% (by an average of 11.4 points)
Matchup must-reads: For Joe Judge, Giants’ season has always been about growth, not playoffs … Waving Terrible Towels? Ravens need help to get into playoffs … Giants’ offense hits new low, but New York still in NFC East hunt … No title, no problem: Ravens still stake claim to best team in AFC North
Panthers (4-10) at Washington (6-8)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 35.1 | Spread: WSH -2.5 (44.5)
What to watch for: Both teams have played a lot of close games. In fact, Carolina has lost eight games by eight points or fewer while Washington’s last four losses have been by five points or fewer. How these teams handle the fourth quarter will be telling. Washington has made a habit of coming back in games, having fallen behind by double digits 10 times this season. The past five times, it has rallied and had the ball at the end with a chance to win; it has completed one comeback. Dwayne Haskins, who was fined for being at an event with strippers while not wearing a mask, could start at quarterback for Washington with Alex Smith still ailing. — John Keim
Bold prediction: Washington, ranked sixth in the NFL in sacks with 40, will sack Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater eight times with a multitude of blitz packages coach Ron Rivera used as the coach of the Panthers from 2011 to 2019. One will result in a strip-sack returned for a touchdown. — David Newton
Stat to know: Washington is 4-1 with Smith as the starting quarterback, even though he has posted a 35.5 Total QBR, worst among 41 players with 100 passes this season. Smith has averaged a league-low 5.4 air yards per attempt.
Playoff/draft picture: Washington will clinch the NFC East with a win and a Giants loss. FPI projects the Panthers to pick No. 5 overall in next year’s draft, and it gives them a 46.4% chance of picking in the top five.
Injuries: Panthers | Washington
What to know for fantasy: Washington tight end Logan Thomas has gone over 10 fantasy points in each of his past four games and over 23 points in two of his past three (13 catches for 101 yards last week against the Seahawks). See Week 16 rankings.
Betting nugget: Washington has covered five straight games, going 4-1 to the under in that span. Read more.
Newton’s pick: Washington 14, Panthers 7
Keim’s pick: Washington 20, Panthers 17
FPI prediction: WSH, 52.0% (by an average of 0.7 points)
Matchup must-reads: Why Panthers decided to move on from GM Marty Hurney … Washington Football Team aware of Dwayne Haskins’ maskless images; QB apologizes … Drafting franchise QB more likely with Panthers’ front-office makeover … How Washington finds itself on cusp of NFC East title after 2-7 start … Washington Football Team coach Ron Rivera focused on win vs. Carolina Panthers, not revenge
Bengals (3-10-1) at Texans (4-10)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 26.4 | Spread: HOU -8.0 (46)
What to watch for: Deshaun Watson needs three touchdowns to pass Matt Schaub (29) for the most passing touchdowns in a single season in franchise history. The Bengals have allowed 26 passing touchdowns in 14 games, so it’s quite possible Watson at least ties Schaub’s mark Sunday. — Sarah Barshop
Bold prediction: Bengals running back Giovani Bernard will rush for 100 yards. That might not seem incredibly bold, but Bernard hasn’t rushed for triple digits since Week 16 of the 2017 season. The Texans have arguably the worst rushing defense in the NFL and the Bengals will probably run it often, regardless of who is at quarterback. — Ben Baby
Stat to know: The Texans have won eight of their past nine meetings against the Bengals, including the playoffs. No team has scored more than 13 points in any of the past three Bengals-Texans games: Houston won 13-9 in 2017, 12-10 in 2016 and 10-6 in 2015.
Playoff/draft picture: FPI gives the Bengals an 87.1% chance to have a top-five pick in next year’s draft and projects them to pick No. 3 overall. The Texans, meanwhile, traded their pick to Miami in the Laremy Tunsil deal last year. That pick is projected to be No. 6.
Injuries: Bengals | Texans
What to know for fantasy: Texans running back David Johnson caught a career-best 11 passes in Week 15 against the Colts and it resulted in his best fantasy game of the season (24.3 fantasy points). See Week 16 rankings.
Betting nugget: Four of Cincinnati’s past five games have gone under the total. Five of Houston’s six home games have gone under the total. Read more.
Baby’s pick: Bengals 21, Texans 17
Barshop’s pick: Texans 21, Bengals 17
FPI prediction: HOU, 70.3% (by an average of 7.1 points)
Matchup must-reads: Upset win gives Bengals needed momentum heading toward crucial offseason … Next Texans general manager could create space with strategic cuts … … Sources: Texans fine players at Watson event
Browns (10-4) at Jets (1-13)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 21.2 | Spread: CLE -9.5 (47.5)
What to watch for: The game features the two highest-drafted quarterbacks from 2018 — Baker Mayfield (No. 1 overall) and Sam Darnold (No. 3). After a roller-coaster first two seasons, Mayfield is flourishing in Kevin Stefanski’s offense. Meanwhile, Darnold has regressed under Adam Gase. He has 25 touchdown passes in two years under Gase, Mayfield’s total in this season alone. — Rich Cimini
Bold prediction: After battling through the effects of COVID-19 these past three games, Myles Garrett breaks out with two sacks and his first forced fumble since contracting the virus. — Jake Trotter
Stat to know: Nick Chubb has a rushing touchdown in four straight games, one shy of matching the longest streak of his career (2018), and one shy of matching the longest streak by a Browns rusher over the past 50 seasons (Chubb in 2018, Greg Pruitt in 1975).
Playoff/draft picture: The Browns can clinch a playoff berth with a win and a loss by either the Ravens, Colts or Dolphins. They haven’t reached the playoffs since 2002, the longest active drought in the NFL. The Jets have clinched at least a top-two pick in next year’s draft, but FPI gives them a 25.6% chance of picking No. 1.
Injuries: Browns | Jets
What to know for fantasy: Over the past four weeks, Baker Mayfield is a top-five quarterback in terms of completion percentage (70.2%), passing yards (1,232), touchdown passes (10) and fantasy points (98.9). See Week 16 rankings.
Betting nugget: Cleveland is 2-8 ATS as a road favorite since 2014, including 2-6 ATS with Baker Mayfield starting. Cleveland is 3-10 ATS overall in its past 13 road games. Read more.
Trotter’s pick: Browns 27, Jets 13
Cimini’s pick: Brown 31, Jets 10
FPI prediction: CLE, 71.6% (by an average of 7.6 points)
Matchup must-reads: Baker Mayfield takes Browns one step closer to ending playoff drought … Life without Trevor Lawrence? How one win alters New York Jets’ future … It’s been 25 years since the Browns broke Cleveland’s heart and left for Baltimore … New York Jets elated about first win; ‘means the world to us’
Bears (7-7) at Jaguars (1-13)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 15.3 | Spread: CHI -7.5 (47)
What to watch for: The Jaguars’ secondary is banged up with top corners Sidney Jones and C.J. Henderson out, so it’s going to be a rough ask to contain Bears star Allen Robinson. The former Jaguars second-round pick is just eight catches away from tying his career high (98), and there’s a chance he could get them against the Jaguars. Mitchell Trubisky is averaging 245 yards passing per game since he returned to the lineup and he’s thrown eight touchdown passes to only three picks. The Jaguars have given up a league-high 31 TD passes. — Mike DiRocco
Bold prediction: David Montgomery sets a new career high with 175 rushing yards. The Bears intend to bludgeon Jacksonville into submission. Chicago cannot afford to let the Jaguars pull an upset, otherwise the Bears’ playoff dreams are over. And who are we kidding; Jacksonville probably isn’t all that interested in winning on Sunday so it can secure the No. 1 pick and quarterback Trevor Lawrence in next April’s draft. The easiest way for the Bears to avoid screwing this up is by feeding the ball to Montgomery 35 times, which I suspect they will. — Jeff Dickerson
Stat to know: The Bears have scored 25 points in four consecutive games for the first time since 1995, when they did so in five in a row. They have an opportunity to score 30 points in their fourth straight game this weekend, something they haven’t done since 1965. Their offense has made a dramatic turnaround, rushing for twice as much yardage per game over the past three games versus the first 11.
Playoff/draft picture: The Bears will be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss and a Cardinals win. The Jaguars will own the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft if they lose out or if they finish with the same record as the Jets. FPI gives them a 58% chance of losing out, highest in the NFL.
Injuries: Bears | Jaguars
What to know for fantasy: Montgomery put 29.2 fantasy points on the board last week in Minnesota, becoming the first running back of 2020 to score at least 24.5 points in four straight games. See Week 16 rankings.
Betting nugget: Chicago is 3-10 ATS as a favorite since the start of last season. Read more.
Dickerson’s pick: Bears 27, Jaguars 14
DiRocco’s pick: Bears 31, Jaguars 17
FPI prediction: CHI, 69.5% (by an average of 6.8 points)
Matchup must-reads: David Montgomery’s breakout ignites Bears’ late-season surge … Drafting Trevor Lawrence would give star-crossed Jacksonville a jolt … Bears face QB decisions in the possible post-Mitchell Trubisky era … Jaguars’ Doug Marrone trying to win, not secure top pick in 2021 NFL draft … Local artist keeps Bears’ team photo tradition alive during pandemic
Broncos (5-9) at Chargers (5-9)
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 19.7 | Spread: LAC -3.0 (49)
What to watch for: The Chargers have won two straight, while the Broncos have lost three of their past four. With both teams out of playoff contention, all eyes will be on the young quarterbacks here with Chargers rookie Justin Herbert playing well and the Broncos still evaluating second-year signal-caller Drew Lock. The loser of this game could lock up a top-10 pick in the 2021 NFL draft. — Shelley Smith
Bold prediction: Expect a big day from Melvin Gordon, who didn’t get the kind of game he wanted against his former team last month. He certainly will in this one. Few players have been better than Gordon in the Broncos’ offense down the stretch; he has rushed for 260 yards while averaging 6.7 yards per carry in his past three games. He has also caught eight passes in that span. — Jeff Legwold
Stat to know: The Chargers snapped a nine-game losing streak in division games with a win over the Raiders in Week 15. They’ve lost three in a row to the Broncos. Herbert can supplant Baker Mayfield as the rookie with the most touchdown passes in history with just one more.
Playoff/draft picture: The Broncos and Chargers are both eliminated from the playoffs. FPI projects Denver to have the No. 13 pick in the 2021 draft, while Los Angeles is in line to pick No. 7.
Injuries: Broncos | Chargers
What to know for fantasy: Think the Chargers exceed 20 points? If so, Herbert is to be labeled nothing other than an elite fantasy option, as he is averaging 26.2 points in such games (28 last week in Vegas). See Week 16 rankings.
Betting nugget: The Chargers are 4-14-1 ATS as a home favorite in the past three seasons and 9-20-1 ATS as a home favorite since moving to L.A. Read more.
Legwold’s pick: Chargers 26, Broncos 21
Smith’s pick: Chargers 20, Broncos 17
FPI prediction: LAC, 54.1% (by an average of 1.4 points)
Matchup must-reads: Drew Lock needs to get a grip on quarterback position … Chargers’ Chris Harris Jr. enters Broncos reunion on high after injury-filled season … Why Broncos rookie center Lloyd Cushenberry III has played every snap this season … Boring quotes, bad haircuts and stellar football: Assessing Justin Herbert’s rookie season with Chargers
Rams (9-5) at Seahawks (10-4)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 86.1 | Spread: SEA -1.5 (47.5)
What to watch for: Round 3 of DK Metcalf vs. Jalen Ramsey. Metcalf had some success in their first matchup last December as he caught five passes for 69 yards when Ramsey was the nearest defender in coverage, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. Ramsey and the Rams shut down Metcalf in Week 10, which was one of his least productive games of the season. — Brady Henderson
Bold prediction: Aaron Donald has sacked Russell Wilson 12 times, more than any other QB in his career. But Donald finished their Week 10 meeting with zeroes across the stat sheet, even as his teammates took down Wilson six times. Watch for Donald to turn in a monster multisack performance. — Lindsey Thiry
Stat to know: Wilson is 7-10 in his career against the Rams and 2-5 since Sean McVay became Rams coach. With McVay as head coach, the Rams have pressured Wilson on 46% of his dropbacks, his highest rate in that time against opponents he has faced multiple times.
Playoff/draft picture: The Seahawks will clinch the NFC West with a win. The Rams clinch a playoff berth with a win or a loss by either the Bears or Cardinals.
Injuries: Rams | Seahawks
What to know for fantasy: Jared Goff has completed at least 71% of his passes in four of his past five games against Seattle, throwing for over 290 yards in each of those four instances. See Week 16 rankings.
Betting nugget: The Rams are 9-2 ATS after a loss since the start of last season and 13-5 ATS after a loss under Sean McVay. Read more.
Thiry’s pick: Seahawks 20, Rams 17
Henderson’s pick: Seahawks 24, Rams 23
FPI prediction: SEA, 50.2% (by an average of 0.1 points)
Matchup must-reads: Is Rams’ Aaron Donald on verge of a third NFL Defensive Player of the Year award? … Jalen Ramsey gives Seahawks’ DK Metcalf another chance to shine vs. top cornerback … Rams running back Akers (ankle) out indefinitely … Unheralded D.J. Reed paying dividends at cornerback for Seahawks … … Source: Seattle’s Gordon has setback in recovery
Eagles (4-9-1) at Cowboys (5-9)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 10.4 | Spread: PHI -2.5 (49.5)
What to watch for: In their past two games, playing against backup quarterbacks in Cincinnati and San Francisco, the Cowboys have had seven takeaways (five fumble recoveries and two interceptions). They had 11 takeaways in their first 12 games, but four came in the first meeting of the year against the Eagles. Since Jalen Hurts has taken over as the starter for Carson Wentz, Philadelphia has turned the ball over just once, a Hurts fumble. The rookie quarterback has not been intercepted in his two starts. — Todd Archer
Bold prediction: Jalen Reagor will have a 50-plus-yard touchdown. The rookie has been averaging 16 yards per reception since Hurts took over at quarterback and is beginning to show his explosiveness with more regularity now that he’s more comfortable in the offense. He’ll secure his first 50-plus-yard reception since Week 1 against Washington. — Tim McManus
Stat to know: Hurts has been more successful protecting the ball this season than Wentz. He has turned the ball over twice on 198 snaps, a rate of 1.0%. That’s the sixth-lowest turnover rate among 46 QBs with 100 snaps this season. Wentz turned the ball over on 2.5% of his snaps, third highest in the NFL. His 19 turnovers are still most in the NFL despite sitting the last two games.
Playoff/draft picture: The loser of this game will be eliminated from the playoffs. If Washington beats Carolina, however, both teams will be eliminated. The Eagles enter the week with an 8.5% chance of making the playoffs per FPI. The Cowboys have a 3.9% chance. The Eagles can sweep the series against the Cowboys for the first time since 2011.
Injuries: Eagles | Cowboys
What to know for fantasy: Ezekiel Elliott’s fantasy point total has declined in each of his past four meetings with the division rival. He managed just 8.3 points in their Week 8 meeting despite touching the ball 20 times, so if he plays for the Cowboys, there is no certainty he should be in your lineup. See Week 16 rankings.
Betting nugget: Dallas is 0-4 ATS in division games this season. Read more.
McManus’ pick: Eagles 26, Cowboys 17
Archer’s pick: Eagles 27, Cowboys 23
FPI prediction: DAL, 51.9% (by an average of 0.7 points)
Matchup must-reads: Philadelphia Eagles to roll again with Jalen Hurts as QB vs. Dallas Cowboys … Dallas Cowboys finding some young pieces to their 2021 puzzle … Carson Wentz’s trust in Eagles could be damaged beyond repair … Like it or not, Dallas Cowboys (5-9) are still in the playoff hunt
Titans (10-4) at Packers (11-3)
Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
Matchup rating: 77.7 | Spread: GB -3.5 (56)
What to watch for: Derrick Henry, who is on pace to lead the NFL in rushing for the second straight season, has rushed for 100 yards or more in each of his past nine road games. Although the Packers’ run defense is better this season (11th in the NFL after finishing 23rd last season), it’s about the same in yards per rush (21st this year, 24th last year). In fact, over the past two seasons they’ve allowed 4.6 yards per carry (which ranks 26th in that span), and their run stop win rate in that same period ranks 29th. — Rob Demovsky
Bold prediction: All of the focus will be on Henry, but wideout A.J. Brown will provide a couple of big plays in the passing game, one of which will be a long touchdown off play-action. Brown will finish with 120 receiving yards and two touchdowns. — Turron Davenport
Stat to know: The Packers and Titans are the only teams entering Week 16 to feature a quarterback with 30 passing touchdowns, a running back with 10 touchdowns, and a wide receiver with 10 touchdowns.
Playoff/draft picture: The Packers can clinch the 1-seed and home-field throughout the NFC playoffs with a win and a Seahawks loss. The Titans can clinch the AFC South with a win and a Colts loss, and they can clinch a playoff berth with a win or a loss by either the Ravens or Dolphins.
Injuries: Titans | Packers
What to know for fantasy: Despite the Titans scoring over 30 points in each of their past two road games, Corey Davis has a total of just 14.4 fantasy points in those games without a top-40 finish at the position. See Week 16 rankings.
Betting nugget: Tennessee is 10-3-1 to the over this season and 19-4-1 in Ryan Tannehill regular-season starts. Read more.
Davenport’s pick: Titans 42, Packers 35
Demovsky’s pick: Titans 37, Packers 31
FPI prediction: GB, 62.3% (by an average of 4.2 points)
Matchup must-reads: Matt LaFleur didn’t become Titans coach, but year in Tennessee still paid off … Packers’ Aaron Rodgers: Incomplete games ‘not gonna get it done in the playoffs’ … Adoree’ Jackson’s return times perfectly with Titans’ playoff push
Bills (11-3) at Patriots (6-8)
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET | ESPN/ABC
Matchup rating: 67.8 | Spread: BUF -7.0 (46)
What to watch for: Gunner Olszewski leads the NFL with a 19.1-yard punt-return average (16 returns, 305 yards). If he continues that pace, it would be the highest return average in Patriots history. Only seven players in NFL history have a return average of at least 20 yards in a single season (minimum 12 returns). This will also be the Patriots’ first game while already eliminated from the playoffs since the 2000 season finale. — Mike Reiss
Bold prediction: Predicting a Bills win in Foxborough isn’t enough? In this resounding victory, Buffalo’s Josh Allen will surpass the 400-yard passing mark as the Bills complete their first sweep of the reigning AFC East champions since 1999. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Stat to know: The last time New England lost twice to a divisional opponent in the regular season was 2000 (Dolphins and Jets swept Pats). According to Elias, the Patriots’ 19-season streak without being swept is by far the longest since the 1970 merger (next longest: 11 straight seasons).
Playoff/draft picture: The Bills clinched the AFC East title last week, and FPI gives them a 68.1% chance of having the 3-seed in the playoffs. The Patriots are projected to pick No. 15 overall in the 2021 draft.
Injuries: Bills | Patriots
What to know for fantasy: Stefon Diggs’ 15.2 points in the first meeting looks fine in the box score, but was that his ceiling in this spot? There were only 118 total plays in that game (the lowest in a Bills game this season) and Diggs was targeted on an unsustainable 50% of his routes. See Week 16 rankings.
Betting nugget: New England is 22-11 ATS as an underdog of more than a field goal under Bill Belichick (including the playoffs) and 10-3 ATS as at least a 7-point underdog. Read more.
Louis-Jacques’ pick: Bills 27, Patriots 7
Reiss’ pick: Bills 27, Patriots 17
FPI prediction: BUF, 58.5% (by an average of 2.9 points)
Matchup must-reads: Bills dominating third quarter after close calls early in the season … Patriots QB Cam Newton says ‘I still have a lot of football left’ … Bills cruise past Broncos en route to their first AFC East championship since 1995
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