Poupart's picks: Week 16

We are down to the last two weekends of the NFL season, and seven playoff spots are still up for grabs. Unfortunately, the Dolphins no longer are among the teams in contention. Here are this week's picks.

Saturday, December 24

Tennessee (4-10) at Miami (7-7): The Titans actually are pretty good for a 4-10 team, and they gave Seattle all it could handle last Sunday. Steve McNair could have success against the Dolphins secondary, but we're anticipating a big day for the Dolphins offense. Miami, 26-20.

Dallas (8-6) at Carolina (10-4): The Panthers are in control of the NFC South, while the Cowboys are in a three-way tie for the last wild-card spot. Dallas was awful last week at Washington, but things won't be much easier against the stingy Carolina defense. Carolina, 20-13.

Pittsburgh (9-5) at Cleveland (5-9): The Browns have made great strides under Romeo Crennel and they played the Steelers tough in a Sunday night game about a month ago. Still, Pittsburgh has too much defense and too much at stake. Pittsburgh, 16-13.

San Diego (9-5) at Kansas City (8-6): A huge game in the AFC playoff picture. The Chargers showed last week how good they can be with their victory over Indy, but the Chiefs are awfully tough at home. Look for Trent Green to take advantage of a weak San Diego secondary. Kansas City, 31-27.

Atlanta (8-6) at Tampa Bay (9-5): Both teams could do nothing offensively last week, and there shouldn't be that much offense in this one either. The home-field advantage makes the difference. Tampa Bay, 13-10.

Detroit (4-10) vs. New Orleans (3-11): The Saints are back in San Antonio. Joey Harrington is back at quarterback for the Lions. A bad game. New Orleans, 24-23.

Buffalo (4-10) at Cincinnati (11-3): The Bengals are fighting to get a first-round bye in the playoffs, so they'll be going full blast against a beaten Buffalo team. This could get ugly quickly. Cincinnati, 34-14.

Jacksonville (10-4) at Houston (2-12): The Jaguars were lucky to beat San Francisco at home last week and they might have their hands full with a Houston team that's played better of late. This will be close. Jacksonville, 14-13.

San Francisco (2-12) at St. Louis (5-9): Jamie Martin is expected to start at quarterback for the Rams and he'll be an improvement over the struggling Ryan Fitzpatrick. St. Louis, 27-14.

N.Y. Giants (10-4) at Washington (8-6): Probably the best matchup of the weekend. The Redskins are playing really good defense lately and don't think they have forgotten their embarrassing 36-0 loss to the Giants earlier this season. Washington, 16-14.

Philadelphia (6-8) at Arizona (4-10): The Eagles scored an impressive victory at St. Louis last week, but they're having problems scoring with Mike McMahon at quarterback. The Cardinals are back to Josh McCown with Kurt Warner on IR. This will be close. Philadelphia, 19-17.

Indianapolis (13-1) at Seattle (12-2): This game lost a lot of luster after the Colts were beaten by San Diego. The Colts have a lot of injuries to worry about, including those to Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison, and then there's the emotional factor after the death of Coach Tony Dungy's son. It's difficult to see the Colts being ready and totally up for this one. Seattle, 27-13.

Oakland (4-10) at Denver (11-3): The Broncos control their own destiny when it comes to beating out Cincinnati for the first-round bye along with Indy, and it's difficult to envision the Raiders posing much of a problem here, especially with LaMont Jordan out of the lineup. Denver, 24-6.

Sunday, December 25

Chicago (10-4) at Green Bay (3-11): The Packers surely will want to redeem themselves after that embarrassing performance on Monday night, but the Bears defense again will be too much. Chicago, 14-6.

Minnoesta (8-6) at Baltimore (5-9): Kyle Boller isn't going to have two great games in a row, is he? He won't need to because the Baltimore defense will shut down a mediocre Vikings offense. Baltimore, 17-14.

Monday, December 26

New England (9-5) at N.Y. Jets (3-11): By the time kickoff arrives, New England very well might be locked into the No. 4 playoff seed in the AFC. Won't matter, though. Bill Belichick has his team on a roll and he'll want to continue that momentum heading into the playoffs. And the Pats just don't lose to bad teams. New England, 24-10.

Last week's record: 12-4

Season record: 157-67


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