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Hour of Power’s Week 16 Picks

120910-wilson-480What do you do when you’re bored at work, the office is half-empty and you failed on your promise to publish a Bowl Season guide? Make week 16 NFL picks, of course.

Much is at stake this week, especially in the NFC, which has a slightly more open playoff picture than its AFC counterpart. The NFC East, in particular, with three teams tied atop the leaderboard, seems to have the most at stake. This week has a chance to offer up some clarity, with the AFC potentially having its teams locked in (or drastically muddied up), while the NFC can lock in it’s fourth team.

(Home team in CAPS)

Atlanta over DETROIT: The Falcons head into the Ford Field and lock up the number one seed in the NFC, making the Georgia Dome the bridge all teams must cross to reach the Super Bowl. Given that Detroit is only 2-4 at home and have gone “off the rail” according to their coach, Atlanta, and their extra motivation, should take this game easily.

COWBOYS over Saints: I realize that I’m jinxing my ‘Boys by expecting them to take this one, but Dallas should match up well against the Saints. Talented rookie Morris Claiborne should return to help slow down the Saints passing attack and Dallas newly revamped offense should be able to score frequently on the worst D in football.

PACKERS over Titans: The Titans shouldn’t offer much resistance against the Packers. The Pack needs to win out and hope for a 49ers loss to clinch the second seed in the NFC. After Green Bay dispatched Tennessee, they’ll likely be having a team dinner in front of the TV as the Seahawks host the Niners on primetime.

Colts over CHIEFS: Chuck Pagano is healthy, the Colts have a chance to clinch a playoff spot and their 10th win a year after finishing 2-14 and they’re facing the Chiefs. I’m not quite sure how they lose this one unless somebody is filming a sick, anti-Disney movie that we don’t know about.

DOLPHINS over Bills: I’d like to root for the Bills, I really would, but these two teams, although separated by only a game, are going in two vastly different directions. The Bills are coming off a beatdown at “home” against Seattle, have QB issues and an offensive coach who hasn’t delivered an offense. Meanwhile, the Dolphins seem to finally have the franchise QB they’ve wanted since Marino left with the perfect coach to help mentor him along the way.

JETS over Chargers: This is easily the toughest call of the week. Do you trust Greg McElroy to lead the cliche “inspired backup-led victory” against a Chargers team that seems to lose at all costs, or do you buy the theory that Tebow has offically put a pox on this team and they’re destined for eternal damnation? Verdict: Always bet against Norv Turner on an early game on the East Coast.

Redskins over EAGLES: If the Eagles were ever going to rally around their lame-duck coach, this would be the game. But what makes anybody think that a team that couldn’t play together when still in the playoff picture would do so now? Besides, the Redskins are just too hot to stop right now, aren’t they? (Yes, this is a blatant attempt at a Bill Simmons reverse jinx.)

Bengals over STEELERS: Pittsburgh seems all but down for the count at this point. They’ve lost 4 of 5, including a home game against the aforementioned Chargers and losing at my Cowboys, which is never a good sign. Plus, the timing is perfect for Andy Dalton to grab his first signature divisional win. Throw in that nobody on Pittsburgh’s roster can stop A.J. Green (with the exception of an infamous James Harrison tackle) and this game is the Bengals to lose.

Rams over BUCCANEERS: Rule #542: Never pick a team that just got shutout by the worst defense in football. The Rams may not be a great team, but they’ve got a defense that is likely to keep Josh Freeman in his month long slump. During his last four games, including the heart-breaking loss to the Falcons, Freeman is completing just over half of his passes for under 6.5 yards per attempt with 4 TDs and 5 INTs. Not good.

PANTHERS over Raiders: Let me summarize this game in a few sentence fragments: Raiders in early game on East Coast. Cam Newton is #1 projected fantasy QB for the week. Oakland Raiders. I think that does it.

Patriots over JAGUARS: As somebody who has Tom Brady on his fantasy team heading into the semi-finals, I couldn’t have been more pleased with how bad San Francisco made Brady look in the first half Sunday. It all but guaranteed a vintage Brady-Eff You-5 TD game for me, especially against the lowly Jags. It’s nice to have karma on your side every now and then.

TEXANS over Vikings: I understand that AP is half-Clydesdale and the Texans defense has looked a little beat up lately, but Peterson would have to gain roughly 300 yards himself for the Vikings to win, because there is no way J.J. Watt is letting Christian Ponder do ANYTHING on offense.

BRONCOS over Browns: If Kirk Cousins can have his way against the Browns, I have no reason to believe Peyton Manning, in search of a first-round bye won’t be anything less than dazzling Sunday. Plus, as Bill Simmons notes constantly, God hates Cleveland.

Bears over CARDINALS: After three losses, including two at home, the Bears should finally rebound against the all-but-dead (unless-we’re-facing-the-Lions) Cardinals. However, if/when Cutler gets careless with the ball, the Cardinals have the playmakers on defense to make him pay.

Giants over RAVENS: Both teams are coming off embarrassing victories over potential playoff foes. Unlike the Giants, however, the Ravens are coming off three straight losses and haven’t looked like a playoff team since Charlie Batch beat them at home. The Giants, under Tom Coughlin, have been one of the most resilient teams in the league, especially in December. Look for them to bounce back with their balls up against the proverbial playoff band saw.

SEAHAWKS over 49ers: You simply don’t mess with Seattle at home. I don’t care if you just beat Tom Brady in New England, playing against the 12th man is not something most teams walk away from in tact. Colin Kaepernick may have added a new dimension to the Niners offense, but Russell Wilson and the Seattle defense are playing lights out right now. And, in a twist of irony, the Packers, who felt the wrath of the 12th Man earlier this year, will be the biggest beneficiaries of all.

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