Week 16 NFL Picks
There are just twoweeks remaining in the 2008 NFL Season so don’t miss any of the upcoming action. Our team of handicappers and writers hand out four free picks for Week 16.
Arizona Cardinals (8-6) at New England Patriots (9-5), 1:00 PM ET
Eight wins were enough for the Arizona Cardinals to secure their first division title in more than 30 years.
Eleven victories may leave the New England Patriots out of the playoffs altogether.
The Patriots will try to keep pace in the crowded AFC playoff chase on Sunday against Arizona, which will be looking for just its third win in its last 22 trips to the Eastern time zone.
New England (9-5) sits in a three-way tie atop the AFC East and still has a chance to go 11-5 without reigning NFL MVP Tom Brady, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first quarter of the team's opening game.
But even if the Patriots win their final two games, they could become the second team to miss the postseason at 11-5. The 1985 Denver Broncos didn't make the playoffs after posting that record.
In order to win the division, New England would have to win out and need the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins - who face each other in Week 17 - to each lose one of their final two games. The Patriots could also earn a wild-card berth if they win twice and Baltimore loses one of its last two.
Arizona can't get much worse when it travels east. The Cardinals are 2-19 in their last 21 games in the Eastern time zone, including losses against Washington, the Jets, Carolina and Philadelphia this season. They've allowed an average of 38.8 points in those games.
They haven't beaten the Patriots since 1991, losing four straight, and they haven't won in Foxborough since 1984. Their only visit since was a 31-0 defeat on Sept. 15, 1996.
New York Jets (9-4) at Seattle Seahawks (3-11), 4:00 PM ET
Mike Holmgren knows he has just two more games as coach of the Seattle Seahawks, and he plans to thank the team's fans after his home finale on Sunday.
He also hopes to help make sure his former quarterback's season won't last any longer than his.
Brett Favre and the struggling New York Jets look to move closer to securing a playoff spot in what could be a snowy Seattle this weekend, but to do so they'll have to reverse a trend of poor performances on the West Coast.
Holmgren is stepping down at the end of this season after 10 years in Seattle, and though the Seahawks (3-11) have struggled with injuries this season - quarterback Matt Hasselbeck will likely miss his eighth game Sunday - Holmgren's tenure has included six division titles and a Super Bowl appearance.
He did even better in Green Bay from 1992-98 with three-time MVP Favre as his quarterback, including a Super Bowl championship after the 1996 season.
Including playoffs, Favre's Packers were 4-2 against Holmgren's Seahawks since the coach's departure from Green Bay - a slate of games that included a 42-20 Packers victory in a divisional playoff game last season in which Favre dodged snowflakes to throw for three touchdowns without an interception.
If Favre wants to get back to the postseason, he'll likely have to lead the Jets (9-5) to a win in Sunday's game, which forecasts predict could also be played in snowy conditions.
The Jets are hoping it comes after their sixth straight victory against Seattle, where they haven't played since a 41-3 win on Aug. 31, 1997.
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3) at Tennessee Titans (12-2), 1:00PM ET
The Pittsburgh Steelers guaranteed a first-round bye and home playoff game with a division-clinching road win in their last game.
With another victory away from Heinz Field this week, they likely won't have to play a road game again this season.
The AFC's No. 1 playoff seed will effectively be on the line Sunday in Nashville, where the injury-plagued Tennessee Titans can wrap up the conference's top spot or the Steelers can put themselves on the brink of doing the same with a sixth consecutive win.
It seemed like a foregone conclusion a month ago that the Titans (12-2) would host the AFC championship game on Dec. 18. Tennessee was undefeated through Week 11, had all but wrapped up the AFC South while allowing a league-low 13.1 points per game.
The Titans, though, have come back to the pack since they were routed 34-14 at LP Field by the New York Jets on Nov. 23. After blowout wins over Detroit and Cleveland, Tennessee's shortcomings were evident again last Sunday in Houston.
Pro Bowl receiver Andre Johnson torched the Titans' secondary for 207 yards and a touchdown, and Tennessee never found the end zone in a 13-12 loss.
To make matters worse, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth went down late with a sprained MCL that will keep him out until the playoffs.
Since the franchise moved to Tennessee in 1997, the Titans have won six of seven at home against the Steelers. Pittsburgh's most recent visit came in the 2003 divisional playoffs, a 34-31 overtime loss.
New Orleans Saints (7-7) at Detroit Lions (0-14), 1:00PM ET
The Detroit Lions' best - and possibly last - chance to notch their first win will come in their home finale.
Looking to avoid becoming the first NFL team to go 0-15, the Lions will try to extend a winning streak against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday at Ford Field.
Detroit has won all three matchups with New Orleans since a 35-17 loss at the Superdome in 1997, but that's not to say the Lions have had an easy time. Those victories came by a combined 10 points, the most recent a 13-12 win in 2005 when Jason Hanson kicked a 39-yard field goal with no time left.
If the Lions lose Sunday, they'll play their season finale Dec. 28 at Green Bay - where they haven't won since 1991 - facing the possibility of becoming the NFL's first team to finish a 16-game season without a victory.
Posted: 12/20/08 9:00PM ET