NFL Teams Eliminated from postseason contention:

New York GiantsWashington RedskinsChicago BearsTampa Bay BuccaneersMinnesota VikingsSt. Louis RamsSan Francisco 49ers 

{10-4} Seattle Seahawks at {11-3} Arizona Cardinals

Can the Seahawks Regain Divisional Superiority?

 

The Arizona Cardinals can clinch the division title along with home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win against the Seahawks. The Seahawks have been destroying their competition. The Seahawks are coming off four tough victories and it only seems like they’re getting better as the season moves along.

The Seahawks swept the San Francisco 49ers, which is not an easy task for any team. They also scored victories against division leader Arizona and former division leader Philadelphia. The Week 11 loss to the Chiefs must have really motivated the defending champs to kick it into high gear down the stretch. The Cardinals have been treading water these past four weeks losing to Seattle and Atlanta and beating the Chiefs and Rams in close victories. The fact that Ryan Lindley a quarterback who has never thrown a touchdown pass in his career is starting for the Cardinals is a dubious proposal considering they are facing the defending Super Bowl Champions.

The Cardinals simply do not have the firepower to compete with the Seahawks, this is a team that beat the Rams 12-6. The Seahawks do not have a stellar wide receiving core however the yards they lose in the passing game, come back on the ground. With their defense getting back on track it’s hard to stop a team that is dominating in all three phases of the game. This is a big opportunity for the Seahawks, expect them to step up and dethrone the Cardinals.

Pick: Seattle Seahawks

 

{10-4} Indianapolis Colts VS {10-4} Dallas Cowboys

Can the Cowboys Continue to roll in the 50 Shades of Blue Bowl?

This game is one of the more entertaining tilts of the weekend. The Cowboys are red hot after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles in their own house for the division lead. The big story for the Cowboys this week has been the fractured fourth metatarsal in NFL rushing leader, DeMarco Murray’s left hand. After having the injury repaired at the beginning of the week the Cowboys are watching him closely as the week goes on. This injury however minor it may be will cause some discomfort for Murray, with the Cowboys almost playoff bound they are expected to rely on back up running backs Lance Dunbar and Joseph Randle.

Dunbar is more of a change of pace back, while Randle is a one cut power back. Neither of these guys have the strength of DeMarco but their speed can be enviable. Tony Romo has been playing lights out football this December if the season ended today his 28 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, and passer rating of 110.4 would be a career high.

Dez Bryant will likely look to score big at the end of the season with a new contract, a Cowboy’s playoff berth would likely help his case. Dez has 13 touchdowns and over 1,000 yards so look for him to be very active against the Colts especially if DeMarco cannot play.  The Colts narrowly defeated the Texans last week, one could almost say it looks like the Colts are running out of gas. Star wide receiver TY Hilton has a hamstring injury that looks to inhibit his ability to practice all week. If Hilton is ruled out this would be a devastating blow for the Colts. Vontae Davis, easily the best cornerback the Colts have could miss Sunday’s game thanks to a nagging groin injury.

There was even a rumor circulating that the Colts clinching the AFC South would result in Chuck Pagano resting Andrew Luck after the first quarter. With a lot of the injuries and banged up Colts it makes sense to heal up for the playoffs. Bottom line, Luck is good, great even, but without a full arsenal of weapons after a tight clinching victory I cannot see him outscoring Tony Romo with his full complement of weapons. The Colts gave up 27 points to Washington and 24 points to Cleveland so it should not be unexpected that Romo could light it up against an ailing Colt’s defense. Trent Richardson and Dan Herron will likely carry the load against the Cowboys which does not bode well for their offense. Richardson is averaging 3.4 yards per carry and Herron has 1 touchdown throughout the entire season, even Joseph Randle has 2 (he also averages 7 yards per carry). The Cowboys should outpace the Colts and control the clock as they continue to lead the NFC East.

Pick: Dallas Cowboys

 

{8-6} Kansas City Chiefs at {9-5} Pittsburgh Steelers

The Chiefs Invade the Steel City


The Steelers can steal the division title with a win at home against the Chiefs. They have won three of their last four games, most recently defeating the Atlanta Falcons. This is because the Steeler’s offense have become incredibly balanced over there last few weeks. LeVeon Bell has been crushing the competition, he now has over 1,000 yards rushing with 7 touchdowns to go along with it. Antonio Brown has over 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns showing the consistency in scoring on both sides of the ball. The Steelers defense can be scored one but they have gotten better at not giving up the big play but with none of Kansas cities wide receivers scoring this season its pretty apparent that will not be an issue. Can the Steeler’s defense stop the run? Jamaal Charles has been the most utilized part of the Chief’s offense besides their kicker. He has been limited in practice all week thanks to sore a knee and ankle, this does not come at the best time for the Chiefs, he will play but I doubt he will be as effective. Justin Houston has been the sack leader in the NFL for most of the season, I am sure he finds his way to Big Ben a few times which may lead to some big plays. The Steelers are a quick score team when they want to be but they won’t have to worry against the Chief’s sluggish offense. Steelers should take this game by a ten points or more.

Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers

 

{5-9} Atlanta Falcons at {6-8} New Orleans Saints

The Battle for Divisional Relevance 

A loss for either of these teams would put their playoff hopes on life support, luckily they are in the awful NFC South. The Falcons have been handed some pretty brutal losses as of late, losing to the Green Bay Packers in week 14 and the Steelers in week 15. They might have had a possible upset of the year game when they defeated the Cardinals in week 13. Julio Jones is slated to return against the Saints which may just be enough to stop their momentum entering week 16. The Saints are coming off a blowout victory against the Bears leaving their confidence high but as well as questions. Josh Hill came in and stole a few of Jimmy Graham’s touchdowns which had fantasy owners seething, but why does Drew Brees feel as if he is a better option down the stretch? Jimmy Graham’s health has been in question all season however it appears as if his nagging injuries are finally getting the better of him in the Saint’s inconsistent offensive schemes. The Saints defense has been inconsistent to say the least, with Julio Jones back expect him and Roddy White to get into the end zone. Both teams running games have suffered all season but the Saints in the end probably have the more effective backs. This should be a close game but the Saints should close out the NFC South in these next two weeks.

 

Pick: New Orleans Saints