POORE'S PICKS: Week Sixteen

Jim Poore is back with his weekly picks against the spread. Check out who Jim predicts in his Game of the Week.

Two weeks left, and now serious playoff talk has begun. The AFC picture right now is a lot more settled, but the NFC is one big mess, and likely will be until the final week. Three division winners have already been determined in the AFC, with New England, Houston and Denver claiming those honors. The AFC North did belong to Baltimore for most of the year, but their recent struggles have allowed Cincinnati to have a chance to win the division. That being said, the Ravens have clinched a playoff spot, but their seed is yet to be determined. Indianapolis has clinched one of the Wild Card spots, and the only team really left in realistic consideration is Cincinnati, barring a late season swoon.

   The NFC picture is not quite as clear. Green Bay and Atlanta are the only two teams that have wrapped up their division. San Francisco has clinched a playoff spot, but like Baltimore in the AFC their spot is yet to be determined. The NFC East has three teams tied at 8-6, and the Washington Redskins have the upper hand. A huge game this weekend will likely determine the NFC West winner, with the 49ers and Seahawks deciding their fate. Seattle also has an upper hand for the Wild Card, as does Minnesota. The Vikings have a couple of very difficult games to finish the year, so they might miss out on the post season. The New York Giants also have a chance at the playoffs, but they need some help. After this weekends game, we should know a lot more about the post season. Let's get to the games.
 
As always, home team in CAPS.
 
Atlanta  3 1/2  DETROIT
The Falcons are gearing up for the post season, and the Lions have had a miserable season. I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of changes next season in Motown.
Falcons  27-21
 
Washington  5 1/2  PHILADELPHIA

The Redskins have the inside track to the division title, and I doubt anybody thought that at the beginning of the season. The Eagles have been a train wreck for most of the year, and I expect a major shakeup at the end of the season. I don't see any reason to go against the Redskins now, and Robert Griffin III is expected to play. That really helps.
Redskins 23-13
 
MIAMI  4  Buffalo
Believe it or not, the Dolphins actually have a shot at the playoffs. No really they do. They have to win outright and have everybody else lose. It isn't going to happen. But that could change next year.
Dolphins 24-16
 
TAMPA BAY  3  St. Louis
The Bucs got smoked last week, but their season was pretty much over anyway. Wait until next year. The same can be said about St. Louis, who needs another year or two. I'll take Tampa at home.
Bucs 20-14
 
GREEN BAY  11 1/2  Tennessee
This is just a warm up for the Packers as they get ready for a strong post season run.
Packers 35-17
 
New York Giants 1 1/2  BALTIMORE
This is a huge game for Baltimore, who desperately need a win. They are in the playoffs but they are in a massive tailspin right now. The Giants need to win but they need a lot of help to get to the playoffs. The Ravens could get healthy at the right time, but I'm not sure it is going to matter at this point. The Ravens really need this game. I'll take my chances with them.
Ravens 20-17
 
HOUSTON  7  Minnesota
The Texans got back on track last week and they will likely be the AFC's number one seed. Despite their terrible game against New England they will be very tough to beat in the playoffs. The Vikings can make the playoffs in the NFC but they have a tough remaining schedule. The Texans still need this game though, so I am going to pick them at home.
Texans 35-24
 
CAROLINA  7 1/2  Oakland
Ho hum.
Panthers 26-14
 
DENVER  12 1/2  Cleveland

The Broncos are rolling, so much that some are calling them the most dangerous team in the NFL right now. They are looking good, but the playoffs are a different story. The Browns certainly are not going to get in their way.
Broncos 30-7
 
New England  14 1/2  JACKSONVILLE

The Patriots loss last week means they likely will play in the first round of the playoffs. This should be an easy tune up.
Patriots 32-10
 
Chicago  5 1/2  ARIZONA

The Bears got off to a tremendous start, and now they are likely out of the playoffs. Talk about a total collapse. The Cardinals looked promising too, with looked being the key word there. They really need a quarterback, like really bad. May be the Bears do too.
Bears  21-14
 
Indianapolis 6 1/2  KANSAS CITY
The Colts are gearing up for a shocking post season berth, and the Chiefs season just can't end soon enough. Losing here isn't going to help anything.
Colts 29-20
 
San Francisco  1  SEATTLE
This is a huge game in the NFC, and playoff seedings are on the line. The 49ers looked great last week even though they almost squandered a huge lead. I still don't know how Seattle is getting it done, but they are. They won't here though. Some think the 49ers are the best team in the NFC. Winning here might prove it.
49ers 23-21
 
DALLAS 2 1/2  New Orleans
Both teams have outside chances at the playoffs, but need to win both of their games and hope everyone else loses. And, since they are playing each other, one team really has no shot. Let me rephrase that. Neither team is going.
Cowboys  33-30
 
Game of the Week

PITTSBURGH  3 1/2  Cincinnati
The Bengals have a better chance at the playoffs, but even if they get there they won't last long. The Steelers had a devastating loss last week, and it likely cost them a playoff berth. They have to win both of their final games and get some help. I think they will win here so that is a good start.
Steelers  28-24
 
Stinker of the Week

NEW YORK JETS 2 1/2  San Diego
Yawn, yawn, yawn.
Jets 10-7
 
Record For Week 15: 11-5 ( 10-6 without the spread )
Record Through Week 15: 100-109-4 ( 121-92 without the spread )
Game of Week Record: 6-8
Stinker of Week Record: 6-8
,br>

Jim Poore has been a long time contributor to Patriots Insider with his weekly picks column. Let him know what you think. Email him here:


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\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"Two weeks left, and now serious playoff talk has begun. The AFC picture right now is a lot more settled, but the NFC is one big mess, and likely will be until the final week. Three division winners have already been determined in the AFC, with New England, Houston and Denver claiming those honors. The AFC North did belong to Baltimore for most of the year, but their recent struggles have allowed Cincinnati to have a chance to win the division. That being said, the Ravens have clinched a playoff spot, but their seed is yet to be determined. Indianapolis has clinched one of the Wild Card spots, and the only team really left in realistic consideration is Cincinnati, barring a late season swoon.    The NFC picture is not quite as clear. Green Bay and Atlanta are the only two teams that have wrapped up their division. San Francisco has clinched a playoff spot, but like Baltimore in the AFC their spot is yet to be determined. The NFC East has three teams tied at 8-6, and the Washington Redskins have the upper hand. A huge game this weekend will likely determine the NFC West winner, with the 49ers and Seahawks deciding their fate. Seattle also has an upper hand for the Wild Card, as does Minnesota. The Vikings have a couple of very difficult games to finish the year, so they might miss out on the post season. The New York Giants also have a chance at the playoffs, but they need some help. After this weekends game, we should know a lot more about the post season. Let's get to the games.   As always, home team in CAPS.   The Falcons are gearing up for the post season, and the Lions have had a miserable season. I have a feeling there is going to be a lot of changes next season in Motown. Falcons  27-21 The Redskins have the inside track to the division title, and I doubt anybody thought that at the beginning of the season. The Eagles have been a train wreck for most of the year, and I expect a major shakeup at the end of the season. I don't see any reason to go against the Redskins now, and Robert Griffin III is expected to play. That really helps. Redskins 23-13   Believe it or not, the Dolphins actually have a shot at the playoffs. No really they do. They have to win outright and have everybody else lose. It isn't going to happen. But that could change next year. Dolphins 24-16   The Bucs got smoked last week, but their season was pretty much over anyway. Wait until next year. The same can be said about St. Louis, who needs another year or two. I'll take Tampa at home. Bucs 20-14   This is just a warm up for the Packers as they get ready for a strong post season run. Packers 35-17   This is a huge game for Baltimore, who desperately need a win. They are in the playoffs but they are in a massive tailspin right now. The Giants need to win but they need a lot of help to get to the playoffs. The Ravens could get healthy at the right time, but I'm not sure it is going to matter at this point. The Ravens really need this game. I'll take my chances with them. Ravens 20-17   The Texans got back on track last week and they will likely be the AFC's number one seed. Despite their terrible game against New England they will be very tough to beat in the playoffs. The Vikings can make the playoffs in the NFC but they have a tough remaining schedule. The Texans still need this game though, so I am going to pick them at home. Texans 35-24   Ho hum. Panthers 26-14 The Broncos are rolling, so much that some are calling them the most dangerous team in the NFL right now. They are looking good, but the playoffs are a different story. The Browns certainly are not going to get in their way. Broncos 30-7   The Patriots loss last week means they likely will play in the first round of the playoffs. This should be an easy tune up. Patriots 32-10   The Bears got off to a tremendous start, and now they are likely out of the playoffs. Talk about a total collapse. The Cardinals looked promising too, with looked being the key word there. They really need a quarterback, like really bad. May be the Bears do too. Bears  21-14   The Colts are gearing up for a shocking post season berth, and the Chiefs season just can't end soon enough. Losing here isn't going to help anything. Colts 29-20   This is a huge game in the NFC, and playoff seedings are on the line. The 49ers looked great last week even though they almost squandered a huge lead. I still don't know how Seattle is getting it done, but they are. They won't here though. Some think the 49ers are the best team in the NFC. Winning here might prove it. 49ers 23-21   Both teams have outside chances at the playoffs, but need to win both of their games and hope everyone else loses. And, since they are playing each other, one team really has no shot. Let me rephrase that. Neither team is going. Cowboys  33-30   The Bengals have a better chance at the playoffs, but even if they get there they won't last long. The Steelers had a devastating loss last week, and it likely cost them a playoff berth. They have to win both of their final games and get some help. I think they will win here so that is a good start. Steelers  28-24   Yawn, yawn, yawn. Jets 10-7   11-5 ( 10-6 without the spread ) 100-109-4 ( 121-92 without the spread ) 6-8 6-8 ,br>

Get Patriots Insider updates on Twitter Follow @PatriotsInsider Want to find out what other Patriots fans think? 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