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#415720 - 12/19/18 10:26 PM NFL Week 16
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Washington Redskins vs. Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans have thrust themselves back in the mix for a postseason berth on the strength of a three-game winning streak. The Titans vie for a clean sweep of the NFC East representatives on Saturday when they host the Washington Redskins at Nissan Stadium.

Bruising running back Derrick Henry followed up a franchise-best 238-yard, four-touchdown performance in Tennessee's 30-9 win over Jacksonville on Dec. 6 by recording a career-high 33 carries for 170 yards and two scores in Sunday's 17-0 victory over the New York Giants. Henry broke fellow former Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell's previous franchise-best two-game benchmark of 405 yards and has an NFL-best 11 touchdowns in his last eight contests. The Titans defense has permitted its foes to convert 5-of-28 third-down attempts over the last two weeks heading into a tilt with Washington, which has overcome a litany of serious injuries to remain in contention for an NFC postseason berth. "You would think we'd be out of the whole thing the way everything's been going, week in and week out," cornerback Josh Norman said. "Oh my gosh, this is like a circus. But at the same time, all that doesn't matter. We are still in this thing."

TV: 4:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network. LINE: Titans -10. O/U: 37

ABOUT THE REDSKINS (7-7): Making his first NFL start in seven years, journeyman quarterback Josh Johnson engineered a pair of scoring drives in the fourth quarter to help Washington snap a four-game skid with a 16-13 win over Jacksonville on Sunday. The 32-year-old earned another game under center after passing for 151 yards and a score and scampering for 49 more for the Redskins, who likely will lean on the ageless Adrian Peterson against Tennessee's 12th-ranked rush defense. Jordan Reed's availability is in question after he missed last week's win over the Jaguars due to foot and toe injuries. Fellow tight end Jeremy Sprinkle caught all three passes that came his way -- including a 6-yard toss for a touchdown.

ABOUT THE TITANS (8-6): Henry's success on the ground can be traced to the determined effort of an offensive line that is led by tackle Taylor Lewan, who was selected to his third consecutive Pro Bowl this week. Marcus Mariota has benefited by extension, and the quarterback admitted that he's pleased with the team's potent ground attack. "I'm the No. 1 fan," the 25-year-old Mariota said. "... For me, I am all about it. We have to continue to do that. I think it really helps us get into situations where we get in a rhythm, we can do different things. So I love it." Mariota's primary target in the passing game continues to be Corey Davis, who has reeled in a touchdown pass in two of his last three home outings.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Washington LB Ryan Kerrigan, who had two of his team-leading 11 sacks last week, joined OT Trent Williams in being selected to the Pro Bowl.

2. Tennessee DT Jurrell Casey is heading to the Pro Bowl after collecting a team-best seven sacks this season.

3. Redskins WR Jamison Crowder led the team with four catches for 46 yards last week.

PREDICTION: Titans 19, Redskins 14
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#415721 - 12/19/18 10:26 PM Re: NFL Week 16 [Re: FREAK]
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Baltimore Ravens vs. Los Angeles Chargers

The Los Angeles Chargers have already clinched a spot in the postseason but they have loftier goals in mind -- namely, the chance to secure the top overall seed and earn home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. The Chargers still have to overtake division rival Kansas City but cannot afford a misstep against the visiting Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night.

Los Angeles punched its ticket to the playoffs in dramatic fashion, erasing a two-touchdown deficit in the final four minutes for a 29-28 road win over the Chiefs. Quarterback Philip Rivers, one of an NFL-high seven Pro Bowl selections for the Chargers, said his team faces a "heck of a challenge" against the top-ranked defense of the Ravens, who hold the tiebreaker over two other teams for the second wild card in the AFC. Baltimore has won four of five since rookie Lamar Jackson took over as the starting quarterback -- the only loss coming in overtime at Kansas City -- but the Ravens know what they are up against in Rivers and Co. "Philip is probably one of the smartest, if not -- he's right in the category with the top two or three guys (in terms of) dissecting the defense, playing the chess game," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said of Rivers. "He really finds the weakness and he's not afraid to take chances."

TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, NFL Network. LINE: Chargers -4.5. O/U: 43.5

ABOUT THE RAVENS (8-6): Jackson has yet to throw for more than 178 yards in either of his five starts but he has double-digit rushes in each one to help Baltimore become the first team since the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1976 to rush for at least 190 yards in five consecutive games. Rookie Gus Jackson had 15 carries on the season until Jackson moved into the starting lineup but has led the punishing ground game with three 100-yard performances during the 4-1 run. Willie Snead has emerged as Jackson's favorite target with five catches in three of the past five contests, but the defense will be in the spotlight Sunday. The Ravens lead the league in fewest points (18.1) and fewest overall yards (290.2) and are third against the pass (202.6).

ABOUT THE CHARGERS (11-3): Los Angeles made it four straight wins and 10 of 11 despite an injury to top receiver Keenan Allen and the absence of top running backs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. Gordon, expected to return to the lineup after sitting out the past three games due to a sprained MCL, has rushed for 802 yards and nine touchdowns while snagging 44 receptions for four more scores. Allen is looming as a game-time decision, but 2017 first-round pick Mike Williams scored three touchdowns on a season-high seven receptions against Kansas City to earn AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. While Rivers is having an MVP season with 31 touchdowns and eight interceptions, the ninth-ranked run defense (103.7) yards will have to contain Jackson.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Rivers has passed for 2,199 yards with 16 TDs in seven home games this season.

2. Jackson has rushed for at least 65 yards in each of his five starts.

3. Chargers Pro Bowl DE Melvin Ingram needs three sacks to reach double digits for the third time in four seasons.

PREDICTION: Chargers 26, Ravens 22
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#415860 - 12/20/18 07:53 PM Re: NFL Week 16 [Re: FREAK]
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Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Dallas Cowboys

After laying an egg on the road, the Dallas Cowboys will try to clinch the NFC East at home when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. The Cowboys' five-game winning streak came to a crashing halt with a 23-0 loss at Indianapolis last Sunday, but the team remains in the driver's seat in the division and can sew it up in front of the home fans.

Perhaps just as important for Dallas is rediscovering the confidence it displayed while bouncing back from a 3-5 start filled with impressive late-game performances. "We had a really good practice, it was really physical," Pro Bowl cornerback Byron Jones told reporters Wednesday. "Guys were excited to get back out there and get rid of that last game and kind of build from scratch, just build our swag back. I'm excited to see what we do. I know we're going to come out feisty and fierce." The Buccaneers' remote playoff hopes were dashed with back-to-back losses to New Orleans and Baltimore and they'll finish with a losing record for the seventh time in eight years. Tampa Bay had a season-low 241 total yards in last Sunday's 20-12 loss at Baltimore.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Cowboys -7. O/U: 48

ABOUT THE BUCCANEERS (5-9): Quarterback Jameis Winston's 157 passing yards last week were the fewest in his career in games where he played from start to finish, and it was the second time this year he failed to throw for a touchdown. He and fellow signal-caller Ryan Fitzpatrick have relied heavily on wideout Mike Evans, who was a notable Pro Bowl snub despite entering Week 16 with 1,328 receiving yards, second in the NFL. "I'm not disappointed," Evans told reporters. "I kind of knew the eight (selected wide receivers) midway through the season and it's hard to change that. You've got to do something spectacular to get in that conversation. But all the guys that made it were deserving. There were probably a couple snubs out there but it's just an All-Star Game."

ABOUT THE COWBOYS (8-6): The shutout loss had a silver lining in that it gave Dallas the opportunity to cut back on running back Ezekiel Elliott's workload (he finished with 25 touches, his lowest in over a month), and it may have provided the necessary motivation. "I think a loss like this was very much needed," Elliott told the media. "I think it's better for us in the grand scheme of the season, and I think we needed to get put in check. I think we needed a reality check and we needed a reminder that we still have a lot of ball left." The third-year pro leads the NFL in rushing (1,349 yards) and needs 283 over the final two games to set a career high.

EXTRA POINTS

1. The Cowboys are fourth in the NFL in scoring defense (19.2) and the Buccaneers are 30th (28.8).

2. Dallas WR Amari Cooper had 32 receiving yards at Indianapolis after producing a career-high 217 the week before in an overtime win against Philadelphia.

3. The Cowboys are 11-1 at home against Tampa Bay.

PREDICTION: Cowboys 27, Buccaneers 18
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#415861 - 12/20/18 07:54 PM Re: NFL Week 16 [Re: FREAK]
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Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots

With four games remaining in the regular season, the New England Patriots seemingly were in the mix for the No. 1 overall seed at best and a first-round bye at worst. Then came back-to-back losses in December for the first time in 16 years and suddenly the Patriots could have lost any chance at home field as they prepare to host the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon.

New England still has a shot to overtake Houston for the No. 2 seed and earn a first-round bye but may have to settle for a record 10th consecutive AFC East title if it can complete a season sweep of the Bills. Although the Patriots eased to a 25-6 win at Buffalo on Oct. 29, both teams will feature a different look in the rematch of a rivalry that has been dominated by New England since quarterback Tom Brady took over as the starter. The Patriots will be without wide receiver Josh Gordon after he was suspended indefinitely for violating terms of his drug reinstatement policy while the Bills will have a healthy Josh Allen, their dual-threat rookie quarterback who was hurt in the first meeting. "The quarterback is a big difference," New England coach Bill Belichick said. "He's a strong guy. ... He's definitely fast. He can outrun guys. You have to take good angles and obviously wrap him up and try not to let him get started."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Patriots -13.5. O/U: 44.5

ABOUT THE BILLS (5-9): Allen has been more successful with his legs than his arms since returning from a four-game injury absence, coming up one yard shy of rushing for 100 yards in three straight games before he was limited to 16 in last week's 14-13 win over Detroit. Allen seems to have found a big-play weapon in rookie wide receiver Robert Foster, who has only 19 catches on the season but has put together back-to-back 100-yard games. "He's averaging 25 yards per catch," Belichick said. "He's a very explosive player and gets behind the defense, a catch-and-run player. He's fast -- really fast." Running back LeSean McCoy said he expects to play for Buffalo, which ranks No. 2 in the league in total yards allowed (292.2 per game).

ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (9-5): Brady has had uncharacteristic struggles in the red zone in each of the past two losses and already has more interceptions (9) than last season, but Bills coach Sean McDermott squashed the idea that the three-time NFL MVP is slipping. "No, to me, he looks even better than he has in years past, believe it or not," McDermott said. "I know that the numbers may not support that, but I think his game is strong. ... I think he's as good as ever." Gordon's suspension is a blow to a passing game, taking away a deep threat who averaged 18.0 yards per reception since he was acquired from Cleveland. New England's defense was gouged for 142 yards rushing by Steelers rookie Jaylen Samuels last week.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Brady, who threw for 324 yards in the last meeting, is 29-3 lifetime against Buffalo.

2. McCoy has at least 95 yards from scrimmage in six straight games against New England.

3. Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski has 12 touchdowns in 14 games versus the Bills.

PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Bills 16
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#415903 - 12/21/18 10:14 AM Re: NFL Week 16 [Re: FREAK]
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Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots

With four games remaining in the regular season, the New England Patriots seemingly were in the mix for the No. 1 overall seed at best and a first-round bye at worst. Then came back-to-back losses in December for the first time in 16 years and suddenly the Patriots could have lost any chance at home field as they prepare to host the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon.

New England still has a shot to overtake Houston for the No. 2 seed and earn a first-round bye but may have to settle for a record 10th consecutive AFC East title if it can complete a season sweep of the Bills. Although the Patriots eased to a 25-6 win at Buffalo on Oct. 29, both teams will feature a different look in the rematch of a rivalry that has been dominated by New England since quarterback Tom Brady took over as the starter. The Patriots will be without wide receiver Josh Gordon after he was suspended indefinitely for violating terms of his drug reinstatement policy while the Bills will have a healthy Josh Allen, their dual-threat rookie quarterback who was hurt in the first meeting. "The quarterback is a big difference," New England coach Bill Belichick said. "He's a strong guy. ... He's definitely fast. He can outrun guys. You have to take good angles and obviously wrap him up and try not to let him get started."

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Patriots -13.5. O/U: 44.5

ABOUT THE BILLS (5-9): Allen has been more successful with his legs than his arms since returning from a four-game injury absence, coming up one yard shy of rushing for 100 yards in three straight games before he was limited to 16 in last week's 14-13 win over Detroit. Allen seems to have found a big-play weapon in rookie wide receiver Robert Foster, who has only 19 catches on the season but has put together back-to-back 100-yard games. "He's averaging 25 yards per catch," Belichick said. "He's a very explosive player and gets behind the defense, a catch-and-run player. He's fast -- really fast." Running back LeSean McCoy said he expects to play for Buffalo, which ranks No. 2 in the league in total yards allowed (292.2 per game).

ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (9-5): Brady has had uncharacteristic struggles in the red zone in each of the past two losses and already has more interceptions (9) than last season, but Bills coach Sean McDermott squashed the idea that the three-time NFL MVP is slipping. "No, to me, he looks even better than he has in years past, believe it or not," McDermott said. "I know that the numbers may not support that, but I think his game is strong. ... I think he's as good as ever." Gordon's suspension is a blow to a passing game, taking away a deep threat who averaged 18.0 yards per reception since he was acquired from Cleveland. New England's defense was gouged for 142 yards rushing by Steelers rookie Jaylen Samuels last week.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Brady, who threw for 324 yards in the last meeting, is 29-3 lifetime against Buffalo.

2. McCoy has at least 95 yards from scrimmage in six straight games against New England.

3. Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski has 12 touchdowns in 14 games versus the Bills.

PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Bills 16
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#415904 - 12/21/18 10:14 AM Re: NFL Week 16 [Re: FREAK]
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Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers

Their playoff hopes were dealt a huge blow last week, and now it appears the Carolina Panthers will be without their star quarterback for the final two games of the season. Taylor Heinicke will make his first career start in place of Cam Newton when the Panthers host the NFC South-rival Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.


The Panthers haven't officially shut down Newton for the remainder of the season, but the shoulder injury that clearly bothered him in Monday's 12-9 loss to New Orleans will keep him on the sideline Sunday. That's another blow to Carolina's already flimsy playoff hopes - the team must win its final two games and get help from several teams to sneak into the postseason. Atlanta, which has been eliminated from playoff contention, saw its offense come to life in last week's 40-14 win over Arizona. The Falcons have won five of their last six meetings with the Panthers, including a 31-24 home triumph in Week 2.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Falcons -3. O/U: 43.5


ABOUT THE FALCONS (5-9): Atlanta has hovered near the bottom of the league in rushing all season but exploded for a season-high 215 yards last week. The Falcons are dangerous when they're able to run the ball, creating more opportunities for Matt Ryan (4,307 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, six interceptions) and Julio Jones - who leads the NFL with 1,511 receiving yards. The defense was wracked with injuries early in the season but has played better of late as it forced three turnovers while holding Arizona to 253 total yards last week.

ABOUT THE PANTHERS (6-8): Newton's absence changes the dynamic of Carolina's offense, taking away a rushing weapon to complement Christian McCaffrey (1,747 scrimmage yards) and creating a major question mark in the passing game. Heinicke hasn't started a game since his senior year at Old Dominion in 2014 and has thrown only five passes in his NFL career. The Panthers will have to hope for another outstanding performance from their defense, which limited the Saints' prolific offense to a respectable 346 total yards last week.


EXTRA POINTS

1. Ryan has averaged 331.3 passing yards with 12 touchdowns and three interceptions in his last six games against the Panthers.

2. Atlanta WR Calvin Ridley (699) and Carolina WR D.J. Moore (688) rank first and second, respectively, in receiving yards among NFL rookies.

3. Jones has topped 100 yards receiving in four straight road games.


PREDICTION: Falcons 24, Panthers 13
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#415905 - 12/21/18 10:15 AM Re: NFL Week 16 [Re: FREAK]
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Washington Redskins vs. Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans have thrust themselves back in the mix for a postseason berth on the strength of a three-game winning streak. The Titans vie for a clean sweep of the NFC East representatives on Saturday when they host the Washington Redskins at Nissan Stadium.

Bruising running back Derrick Henry followed up a franchise-best 238-yard, four-touchdown performance in Tennessee's 30-9 win over Jacksonville on Dec. 6 by recording a career-high 33 carries for 170 yards and two scores in Sunday's 17-0 victory over the New York Giants. Henry broke fellow former Heisman Trophy winner Earl Campbell's previous franchise-best two-game benchmark of 405 yards and has an NFL-best 11 touchdowns in his last eight contests. The Titans defense has permitted its foes to convert 5-of-28 third-down attempts over the last two weeks heading into a tilt with Washington, which has overcome a litany of serious injuries to remain in contention for an NFC postseason berth. "You would think we'd be out of the whole thing the way everything's been going, week in and week out," cornerback Josh Norman said. "Oh my gosh, this is like a circus. But at the same time, all that doesn't matter. We are still in this thing."

TV: 4:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network. LINE: Titans -10. O/U: 37

ABOUT THE REDSKINS (7-7): Making his first NFL start in seven years, journeyman quarterback Josh Johnson engineered a pair of scoring drives in the fourth quarter to help Washington snap a four-game skid with a 16-13 win over Jacksonville on Sunday. The 32-year-old earned another game under center after passing for 151 yards and a score and scampering for 49 more for the Redskins, who likely will lean on the ageless Adrian Peterson against Tennessee's 12th-ranked rush defense. Jordan Reed's availability is in question after he missed last week's win over the Jaguars due to foot and toe injuries. Fellow tight end Jeremy Sprinkle caught all three passes that came his way -- including a 6-yard toss for a touchdown.

ABOUT THE TITANS (8-6): Henry's success on the ground can be traced to the determined effort of an offensive line that is led by tackle Taylor Lewan, who was selected to his third consecutive Pro Bowl this week. Marcus Mariota has benefited by extension, and the quarterback admitted that he's pleased with the team's potent ground attack. "I'm the No. 1 fan," the 25-year-old Mariota said. "... For me, I am all about it. We have to continue to do that. I think it really helps us get into situations where we get in a rhythm, we can do different things. So I love it." Mariota's primary target in the passing game continues to be Corey Davis, who has reeled in a touchdown pass in two of his last three home outings.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Washington LB Ryan Kerrigan, who had two of his team-leading 11 sacks last week, joined OT Trent Williams in being selected to the Pro Bowl.

2. Tennessee DT Jurrell Casey is heading to the Pro Bowl after collecting a team-best seven sacks this season.

3. Redskins WR Jamison Crowder led the team with four catches for 46 yards last week.

PREDICTION: Titans 19, Redskins 14
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#415906 - 12/21/18 10:15 AM Re: NFL Week 16 [Re: FREAK]
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Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins benefited from a last-second "Miracle in Miami" to improve their standing in the postseason conversation, only to see that talk quieted the following week with a lopsided setback on the road. The Dolphins bid to keep their flickering postseason aspirations afloat and improve to 7-1 at Hard Rock Stadium on Sunday when they host the skidding Jacksonville Jaguars, who have lost nine of their last 10.

"It's a small percentage, but you keep fighting because this is a weird league and you never know what's happening," Miami head coach Adam Gase said of his team's playoff hopes following Sunday's 41-17 setback against Minnesota. The Dolphins' running game will feature a new look as future Hall of Famer Frank Gore (foot) was placed on injured reserve, with rookie Kalen Ballage in line for an increased workload after rushing for a career-high 123 yards and a touchdown versus the Vikings. Jacksonville's identity this season was expected to center around its potent ground attack, but Leonard Fournette has missed half the team's contests due to either injury or suspension. Cody Kessler took over for an ineffective Blake Bortles three weeks ago and has provided little in the way of spark, including throwing for just 57 yards in Sunday's 16-13 setback to Washington.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Dolphins -4. O/U: 38.5

ABOUT THE JAGUARS (4-10): Outspoken cornerback Jalen Ramsey became the first Jacksonville player to record back-to-back Pro Bowl selections since Maurice Jones-Drew in 2011, although he is uncertain if he'll be attending the festivities on Jan. 27 in Orlando, Fla. "With a bruise (on the knee), you just have to rest and not do anything for it to get better," the 24-year-old Ramsey said. "It still hurts now, but the trainers have told me after the season to rest for like a week and a half or two weeks and it will be good." Wideout Dede Westbrook, who had a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown versus the Redskins, leads the Jaguars' 25th-ranked passing game in receptions (56), receiving yards (662) and touchdowns (five). Running back T.J. Yeldon leads the team with 414 rushing yards in 14 games -- just 18 more than Fournette -- although his 55 catches are one shy of Westbrook.

ABOUT THE DOLPHINS (7-7): Ryan Tannehill didn't fare much better than Kessler last week, completing 11 of 24 passes for 108 yards on the heels of throwing for eight touchdowns in his previous three starts. The 30-year-old has won nine straight in Miami, however, with 17 scoring strikes versus just four interceptions in his last six. Wideout Kenny Stills has been stellar in front of the home fans, reeling in six touchdown passes in his last seven games in South Beach. Fellow wideout Danny Amendola has recorded just five of his club-best 52 receptions in the last three weeks for a paltry 53 yards.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Jacksonville WR Donte Moncrief failed to record a catch last week and has been held under 50 yards receiving in his last five outings.

2. Per Gase, Pro Bowl CB Xavien Howard (NFL high-tying seven interceptions) is "trending in the right direction" to return to the lineup after missing the last two games due to a knee injury.

3. Jaguars DE Calais Campbell has collected five of his team-leading eight sacks in his last nine games and faces a club that allowed a franchise high-tying nine last week.

PREDICTION: Dolphins 20, Jaguars 17
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#415907 - 12/21/18 10:16 AM Re: NFL Week 16 [Re: FREAK]
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New York Giants vs. Indianapolis Colts

The Indianapolis Colts are one of the hottest teams in the NFL but still have work to do to make the playoffs for the first time in four years, a quest that continues Sunday against the visiting New York Giants. Last week's 23-0 win over the Dallas Cowboys was the seventh win in the last eight contests for the Colts, who enter Week 16 two games out in the AFC South and right in the thick of the wild-card race.

"I've been a part of teams where you sit and say, 'We need this to happen with this.' It doesn't work like that," quarterback Andrew Luck told reporters of the need to resist the urge to watch the scoreboard. ''You've got to handle your own business.'' Luck and Co. certainly did that against the Cowboys, rolling up 178 yards on the ground and limiting a red-hot Dallas offense to just 292 total yards. The Giants had won four of five and entertained thoughts of sneaking in the back end of the NFC playoffs before falling 17-0 to Tennessee last week. Star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (quadriceps) has missed two straight games and is day-to-day for New York, which averaged 31.4 points during its 4-1 surge before committing two turnovers and 10 penalties in the shutout loss.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Colts -9. O/U: 47

ABOUT THE GIANTS (5-9): While Beckham's season is winding down with a questionable status, rookie running back Saquon Barkley is intent on finishing strong even though the team has been eliminated from playoff contention. "I would love my workload to be whatever it can be to help the team win," Barkley told reporters. "I've said multiple times, if that's 10 carries or if that's 40 touches. I bumped it up to 40 this time." Barkley, the Giants' first rookie running back selected to the Pro Bowl since 1965, was held to a season-low 56 total yards last Sunday.

ABOUT THE COLTS (8-6): The Indianapolis defense should be pretty content following a shutout win, but its leader -- linebacker Darius Leonard -- is feeling even more motivation after a Pro Bowl snub this week and said he wants to get 40 tackles to let out his frustrations. "Impossible? There is nothing impossible," Leonard - whose 146 tackles leads the league - told reporters of the mission. "If you play a lot of snaps you've just got to get on every play possible." Leonard needs 15 more to break Jeff Herrod's franchise record established in 1991.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Giants QB Eli Manning has 13 TD passes against just three interceptions in seven road games.

2. Colts RB Marlon Mack ran for a career-high 139 yards and two TDs in the win over the Cowboys.

3. Indianapolis has won the last three meetings, including a 40-24 triumph in the previous meeting in 2014, when Luck threw for 354 yards and four TDs.

PREDICTION: Colts 28, Giants 17
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#415908 - 12/21/18 10:17 AM Re: NFL Week 16 [Re: FREAK]
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Houston Texans vs. Philadelphia Eagles

The Houston Texans could be sitting pretty at the conclusion of the weekend, provided they handle their business against the host Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday and receive a bit of help along the way. Defeating the Eagles is not something the Texans have done in their existence, however, as the club has dropped all four encounters by double-digit margins.

Houston has proven to be a resilient club this season, and it recorded its eighth comeback win of the season Saturday after rallying from a fourth-quarter deficit to post a 29-22 win over the New York Jets. Deshaun Watson, who has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 19 straight games, has 14 TDs, two interceptions and a 120.1 passer rating in past seven contests ahead of a tilt with Philadelphia's 31st-ranked pass defense. The 23-year-old Watson, sacked on six occasions by the Jets and an NFL-high 52 times, faces an Eagles' contingent that has 35 sacks on the season. Nick Foles stepped in for an injured Carson Wentz and completed 24 of 31 attempts for 270 yards as Philadelphia moved within a game of NFC East-leading Dallas by posting a 30-23 win versus the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Eagles -1. O/U: 46

ABOUT THE TEXANS (10-4): Houston has numerous avenues in which it could gain entry into the postseason, with an AFC South title coming via a win on Sunday or losses by both Indianapolis and Tennessee. The Texans can secure a first-round bye with a victory and a New England loss to Buffalo, while a postseason berth would be claimed either with a Baltimore defeat against the Los Angeles Chargers or a Pittsburgh setback in New Orleans. DeAndre Hopkins' health will go a long way toward the Texans' future plans, as the star wideout was limited in practice while nursing an ankle injury sustained in the fourth quarter against the Jets. Hopkins, however, had a season high-tying 10 catches for 170 yards and two touchdowns in that game and has found the end zone in each of his last six road contests.

ABOUT THE EAGLES (7-7): Zach Ertz, who ranks third in the NFL with 101 catches, is 10 receptions shy of breaking Jason Witten's single-season record for tight ends. Wideout Alshon Jeffery reeled in team highs in catches (eight) and receiving yards (160) against the Rams after entering the contest with six straight 50-or-fewer yard performances. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who joined Ertz and defensive end Brandon Brooks in being selected to the Pro Bowl, has recorded a sack in three straight games overall and has six in his past eight at home. Defensive end Michael Bennett has eight sacks in his last 11 overall and had 1.5 in his last encounter with Houston.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Philadelphia rookie RB Josh Adams has a rushing touchdown in three of his last five games.

2. Houston K Ka'imi Fairbairn was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after making five field goals and two extra points against the Jets.

3. Eagles S Malcolm Jenkins has 22 of his team-leading 88 tackles in the last two contests.

PREDICTION: Texans 24, Eagles 21
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#415909 - 12/21/18 10:17 AM Re: NFL Week 16 [Re: FREAK]
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Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions

The Minnesota Vikings look to move closer to obtaining an NFC wild-card berth when they visit the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Minnesota currently occupies the second wild-card spot, sitting one-half game ahead of Philadelphia and Washington.

The Vikings fired offensive coordinator John DeFilippo after a dismal 21-7 loss to the Seahawks in Week 14 and replaced him with Kevin Stefanski, who was an immediate hit as the team registered a season high for points in last Sunday's 41-17 rout of Miami. Minnesota dropped three of its four games prior to the impressive victory and isn't about to look past Detroit, which has been eliminated from playoff contention. "They'll fight hard," Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins told reporters regarding the Lions. "We're all in this league fighting to put good things on tape, and we're all being evaluated, and nobody's safe. I think we're going to get a battle for four quarters." The Lions dropped a 14-13 decision to Buffalo last week, their sixth setback in eight games.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Vikings -6. O/U: 42.5

ABOUT THE VIKINGS (7-6-1): Minnesota recorded a franchise-record 10 sacks in a 24-9 win over the Lions on Nov. 4 as defensive end Danielle Hunter registered 3.5 of them and also returned a fumble 32 yards for a touchdown. Hunter is tied for second in the NFL with 14.5 sacks and notched two in the victory over the Dolphins as the Vikings posted nine overall. Cousins is 87 yards shy of his fourth straight 4,000-yard campaign while wide receiver Adam Thielen ranks second in the league in receptions (105) and eighth in receiving yards (1,255) despite recording season lows of two and 19 against Miami.

ABOUT THE LIONS (5-9): Matthew Stafford (19 touchdowns, 11 interceptions) will start his 127th consecutive regular-season game despite a sore back as he wasn't interested in listening to suggestions that he should sit out the final two games with the Lions having nothing for which to play. "I spend all offseason and all season working hard and playing games with these teammates and for this organization," Stafford told reporters. "So, I take no games for granted and I go out there and play whenever I feel like I can." Cornerback Darius Slay (three interceptions) is returning to the Pro Bowl as he is just the third Detroit defensive back to receive that honor in back-to-back seasons, joining Lem Barney (1972-73, 1975-76) and Dre Bly (2003-04).

EXTRA POINTS

1. Minnesota DT Tom Johnson recorded 2.5 sacks in the victory over the Lions in Week 9.

2. Vikings RB Dalvin Cook rushed for a career-high 136 yards and scored two touchdowns in the win over the Dolphins.

3. Detroit RB Kerryon Johnson (knee), who is the team's leading rusher with 641 yards despite playing in just 10 games, was placed on injured reserve.

PREDICTION: Vikings 30, Lions 24
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#415910 - 12/21/18 10:18 AM Re: NFL Week 16 [Re: FREAK]
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Green Bay Packers vs. New York Jets

The idea that Aaron Rodgers might sit out the final two games of the regular season to avoid the risk of an injury was floated and quickly brushed aside by the Pro Bowl quarterback. Rodgers expects to be under center when the Green Bay Packers visit the New York Jets on Sunday.

Rodgers suffered a groin injury in last week' loss to the Chicago Bears but was at practice on Wednesday and Thursday and took all the first-team reps. "I think it's a lot about leadership," Rodgers told reporters. "If I want to be listened to and followed and looked up to, how could I stand here and say that these games that don't matter for playoffs, I'm going to cash it in? That's just not the way I lead, and I'm super-competitive, and I want to be out there with the guys and I look forward to being out there." The Jets dropped seven of their last eight games and will spend the final two weeks getting rookie quarterback Sam Darnold more comfortable in the NFL. Darnold was solid in a 29-22 loss to the Houston Texans last week, passing for 253 yards and a pair of touchdowns without an interception.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Packers -3. O/U: 47

ABOUT THE PACKERS (5-8-1): While Rodgers is likely to play on Sunday, his cache of weapons will be thinner than usual after running back Aaron Jones was placed on injured reserve Tuesday with a knee injury. Jamaal Williams is the only healthy running back left on the roster and he rumbled for 55 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries after Jones went down last week. "I feel like he did a great job and I told him, 'Hey, we're going to need you,'" Jones told reporters of Williams. "Right after that, he scored a touchdown. I think Jamaal did a great job protecting, catching the ball and running the ball. It just shows what kind of back he is and what he can do, and I'm happy for him."

ABOUT THE JETS (4-10): Darnold is excited to get the opportunity to start against Rodgers, one of his football idols. "During the offseason I look at Aaron all the time, first of all just to watch some of the cool throws that he is able to make," Darnold told reporters. "He really is the most talented person I've ever seen the way he is able to get rid of the ball and throw the football. Just from that aspect it's fun as a quarterback knowing how hard the position is and knowing how hard it is to play, it's really cool to be able to watch someone really make it look so easy." Darnold will be without one of his top targets on Sunday with wide receiver Quincy Enunwa ruled out due to an ankle injury.

EXTRA POINTS

1. The Jets placed RT Brandon Shell (knee) on season-ending IR.

2. Packers WR Randall Cobb and RT Jason Spriggs (concussions) did not participate in practice this week.

3. Green Bay TE Jimmy Graham (thumb/knee) returned to practice on Thursday and is questionable.

PREDICTION: Packers 24, Jets 17
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#415911 - 12/21/18 10:18 AM Re: NFL Week 16 [Re: FREAK]
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Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns

The Cleveland Browns have come a long way in short time, as they have gone from a winless 2017 campaign to a team that still has an outside chance at the playoffs entering Week 16. Cleveland hopes to have the chance to keep its slim hopes alive when it hosts the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

The Browns, who also are seeking their first three-game winning streak of the year and a sweep of the season series against their in-state rivals, needs Baltimore to lose to the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday in order to entertain any thoughts of the postseason when they take the field. Regardless, they enter the matchup having won four of their last five contests, including last week's 17-16 triumph in Denver. Cleveland's current surge includes a 35-20 victory at Cincinnati in Week 12 that ended its seven-game losing streak in the all-time series. The Bengals halted their five-game slide last week, defeating visiting Oakland 30-16 for their first win since Week 8.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Browns -9.5. O/U: 44.5

ABOUT THE BENGALS (6-8): Joe Mixon hopes for a repeat performance after rushing for 129 yards and two touchdowns against the Raiders last week. It was the second career multi-TD effort by the 22-year-old, who recorded 155 scrimmage yards and a personal-best seven receptions in Cincinnati's first meeting with Cleveland this year. Defensive end Sam Hubbard registered the first multi-sack performance of his rookie season last week with a pair after notching four over his first 13 games.

ABOUT THE BROWNS (6-7-1): Baker Mayfield leads all rookies with 21 touchdown passes and needs three to pass Andrew Luck (23 in 2012) for second-most by a rookie selected first overall in the common draft era. The 23-year-old had a stellar performance in his first meeting with Cincinnati, throwing for 258 yards and a career-high four TDs without an interception as Cleveland ended its string of 25 consecutive road losses. Running back Nick Chubb is one of three rookies in the league with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards (1,010) and 10 touchdowns (10) this season.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Bengals DT Geno Atkins, who notched a career-high three sacks last week, was selected to start in his seventh Pro-Bowl appearance.

2. Cleveland DE Myles Garrett and CB Denzel Ward were named to the Pro Bowl for the first time in their careers, with the former earning the start.

3. Cincinnati placed Malik Jefferson (toe) on injured reserve and promoted fellow LB Chris Worley from the practice squad.

PREDICTION: Browns 24, Bengals 20
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#415912 - 12/21/18 10:19 AM Re: NFL Week 16 [Re: FREAK]
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Los Angeles Rams vs. Arizona Cardinals

The Los Angeles Rams have suffered back-to-back losses and quarterback Jared Goff suddenly is turnover-prone. Goff and the Rams look to end their struggles when they visit the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.

Los Angeles recorded a total of only 29 points in the two setbacks, with Goff getting intercepted five times without throwing a touchdown pass. "I need to take care of the ball better, and will," Goff told reporters. "Sometimes things happen and you're just not as sharp as you want to be and don't take care of the ball as well as you want to, for a multitude of reasons." The Rams are battling Chicago - a team to which they lost on Dec. 9 - for a first-round postseason bye and hope to rediscover their groove against an Arizona squad that has lost five of its last six games. The Cardinals were drubbed 40-14 by Atlanta last Sunday, marking the third time they have allowed 40 or more points this season.

TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Rams -14. O/U: 44.5

ABOUT THE RAMS (11-3): Todd Gurley has been dealing with knee soreness since Sunday's loss to Philadelphia, but the NFL's second-leading rusher (1,251 yards) doesn't plan on missing either of the final two regular-season games. "I'm here to play ball," Gurley told reporters after Thursday's practice. "I'm not worried about January 5. We're on December 20. We play a game Sunday. Playoffs are going to take care of themselves." Defensive tackle Aaron Donald has registered a league-leading 16.5 sacks, recording two or more on six occasions.

ABOUT THE CARDINALS (3-11): Arizona is going through growing pains with rookie quarterback Josh Rosen (10 touchdowns, 14 interceptions) and ranks last in the NFL in scoring offense (13.7) and total offense (243.1). "I want to work on being a little more decisive," Rosen told reporters in regard to things on which he can improve. "I think especially when you play guys like Aaron Donald and the D-line they have, you have to be a lot more deliberate and decisive with your reads and you've got to have much more of a pre-snap picture." Defensive end Chandler Jones is tied for eighth in the league with 12 sacks while Antoine Bethea's 110 tackles are the most among NFL safeties.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Rams WR Brandin Cooks made seven catches for a season-best 159 yards in a 34-0 victory over the Cardinals in Week 2.

2. Gurley's knee soreness led to Los Angeles signing veteran RB C.J. Anderson, who has recorded 3,155 yards in six NFL seasons.

3. Arizona claimed KR/WR Pharoh Cooper off waivers from the Rams, and the 2017 Pro Bowl returner may see some action against his former club.

PREDICTION: Rams 42, Cardinals 13
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#415913 - 12/21/18 10:45 AM Re: NFL Week 16 [Re: FREAK]
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Chicago Bears vs. San Francisco 49ers

The Chicago Bears concluded a complete turnaround last week, going from worst in the NFC North last season to clinching their first division title since 2010. With the playoff appearance now locked up, the Bears hope to finish with a flurry on the road as they wrap up the regular season with back-to-back games away from home, beginning with Sunday's contest against the San Francisco 49ers.

Mitchell Trubisky threw a pair of touchdown passes in Chicago's 24-17 home triumph over Green Bay last Sunday, the club's seventh win in eight overall games and second in its last 11 meetings with the division-rival Packers. The Bears still have a chance to improve their seeding in the NFC playoffs as they can climb into one of the top two spots, which would give them a first-round bye and a potential extra home game. San Francisco is seeking a season-high third consecutive victory after edging visiting Seattle 26-23 in overtime last week. The 49ers have recorded all four of their wins this season at home but suffered a 28-20 loss the last time they hosted Chicago on Sept. 14, 2014.

TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Bears -4. O/U: 43

ABOUT THE BEARS (10-4): Trubisky set the franchise record for most games in a season with a passer rating of 120 or better last week with his fourth (120.4). He threw for 235 yards and two touchdowns without an interception to break a tie with the trio of Sid Luckman (1943), Rudy Bukich (1965) and Erik Kramer (1995). Running back Tarik Cohen is one of three players in the league with a TD run (two), catch (five) and pass (one) this season.

ABOUT THE 49ERS (4-10): George Kittle has been a bright spot for San Francisco this season as he ranks second in the league in yards after catches with 743 and second among tight ends with 1,154 receiving yards. Kicker Robbie Gould was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the seventh time in his career after going 4-for-4 on field-goal attempts and converting both of his extra-point tries. Defensive end DeForest Buckner has recorded a career-high 11 sacks this season, including 6.5 in his last six contests.

EXTRA POINTS

1. San Francisco FB Kyle Juszczyk was named to his third Pro Bowl and Kittle was selected for his first.

2. Chicago will be represented in the Pro Bowl by five players, with LB Khalil Mack making his fourth appearance while KR Cohen, CB Kyle Fuller, S Eddie Jackson - who will miss Sunday's game with a foot injury - and DT Akiem Hicks make their first.

3. The 49ers placed CB Ahkello Witherspoon (knee) on injured reserve and signed DB Tyvis Powell.

PREDICTION: Bears 33, 49ers 13
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#415914 - 12/21/18 10:45 AM Re: NFL Week 16 [Re: FREAK]
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Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints are in the driver's seat for the top seed in the NFC playoffs but are still looking for ways to improve after some sub-par showings offensively. The Saints will continue tuning up for the postseason when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.

New Orleans still leads the NFC in scoring at an average of 32.8 points but put up 16.7 points over the last three games, capped by a 12-9 victory at Carolina on Monday. "Obviously, you're constantly looking at what are the things you can do to score, how can you improve," Saints coach Sean Payton told reporters. "I think this past week (against the Panthers), we shot ourselves in the foot quite a bit. On the road at Dallas, that's a good defense and we felt it was going to be a low-scoring game. At Tampa, the same way. So, there's some things that we feel like we can clean up and there's some things, I know from my standpoint and us as coaches, that we can improve on and we'll work to do that." The Steelers are in the middle of their own playoff push and own a half-game lead over the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North with two weeks left after snapping a three-game losing streak by holding off the New England Patriots 17-10 last week. Pittsburgh reached 30 points once in its last five games - a 33-30 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers - and is hoping running back James Conner (ankle) can return this week to give the offense a boost.

TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Saints -5.5. O/U: 53

ABOUT THE STEELERS (8-5-1): Conner was named to his first Pro Bowl on Tuesday and is 91 yards shy of reaching 1,000 for the first time in his career but was limited in practice on Wednesday and remains questionable after sitting out the last two games. Rookie Jalen Samuels filled in last week and rushed for a season-high 142 yards on 19 carries behind an offensive line that had three members named to the AFC Pro Bowl squad. "Jaylen works hard, he doesn't say much, he just goes about his business," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger told reporters. "In all phases we asked him to run it, blocking, catching it, he stepped up and I thought it was awesome. The line really opened some holes for him and helped things come to life, but how great was he? It was awesome. It was fun to watch him."

ABOUT THE SAINTS (12-2): New Orleans has a pair of dynamic running backs in Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, who combined for 130 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries Monday to keep the offense moving. The Saints are getting solid play from the defensive secondary, led by cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Eli Apple, and will be going up against the most productive receiving duo in the league in Pittsburgh wideouts Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith- Schuster. "We're just playing hard, playing for each other, playing great assignment football," Apple told reporters. "Of course, our coaches are putting us in great position to make plays, and we just gotta keep it going."

EXTRA POINTS

1. Saints WR Ted Ginn Jr. (knee) returned to practice and could come off IR.

2. Smith-Schuster (groin) was limited in practice on Thursday but is expected to play.

3. Pittsburgh is looking for its first win over New Orleans since Nov. 12, 2006.

PREDICTION: Saints 34, Steelers 24
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#415915 - 12/21/18 10:46 AM Re: NFL Week 16 [Re: FREAK]
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Kansas City Chiefs vs. Seattle Seahawks

The stakes will be high when the Seattle Seahawks host the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night with major playoff seeding implications on the line. The Chiefs are trying to lock up the AFC West title and a first-round bye, while the Seahawks can clinch a postseason berth with a win and a loss by either Washington or Minnesota.


Both teams are looking to bounce back from disappointing losses that raised the stakes this week. The Chiefs appeared poised to clinch the division crown last week before the Los Angeles Chargers rallied from a 28-14 deficit in the final four minutes to post a 29-28 victory. The Seahawks suffered a stunning 26-23 overtime loss at San Francisco to snap their four-game winning streak and create pressure to win at least one of their final two games. The Chiefs have captured the last three meetings between the former division rivals, but they haven't squared off since 2014 in Kansas City.

TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, NBC. LINE: Chiefs -2.5. O/U: 54.5


ABOUT THE CHIEFS (11-3): Kansas City's offense leads the league in total yards and scoring behind MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes, who tops the NFL in passing yards (4,543) and passing touchdowns (45). Mahomes has two reliable weapons in speedster Tyreek Hill (1,304 receiving yards, 11 touchdowns) and tight end Travis Kelce (1,220, 10). The defense has struggled all season - especially against the pass - but did get a bit of a boost from the return of safety Eric Berry, who recorded six tackles last week in his first action since the 2017 season opener.

ABOUT THE SEAHAWKS (8-6): All six of Seattle's losses have come by eight points or fewer, which is why a team that ranks ninth in the NFL in scoring offense and seventh in scoring defense is fighting to make the playoffs. Chris Carson, who rushed for a career-high 119 yards and a touchdown last week, leads the league's top ground game, but Russell Wilson quietly has put together a great season with 3,025 passing yards, 31 touchdowns and six interceptions. Seattle's once-dominant defense has been decimated by injuries but has forced 22 turnovers - but only six in the last seven games.


EXTRA POINTS

1. Chiefs DL Chris Jones has recorded a sack in an NFL single-season record 10 consecutive games.

2. Wilson has thrown 13 touchdown passes and two interceptions in six home contests.

3. Kelce has caught a pass in 77 consecutive games.


PREDICTION: Chiefs 31, Seahawks 27
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#416442 - 12/24/18 11:44 AM Re: NFL Week 16 [Re: FREAK]
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Denver Broncos vs. Oakland Raiders

The "Black Hole" could live up to its name in every way for the final Monday Night Football game of the season as the Oakland Raiders host the Denver Broncos in a matchup of AFC West rivals. With neither team in contention for a postseason spot, the main storyline is whether or not it will mark the final game for the Raiders at the Oakland Coliseum.

Oakland, which is in the running for the league's worst record in Jon Gruden's first season back as coach, may need to find a temporary home while a new stadium is being built in Las Vegas in time for the 2020 season. "Hopefully, we get it all resolved to where we can continue to play here (next season)," Gruden told reporters. "It's going to be a great atmosphere, Monday night, Christmas Eve, Denver coming to town. I get excited thinking about it." Denver's excitement has been tempered by back-to-back losses to Cleveland and San Francisco that extinguished its postseason chances, but it still expects a rude welcome from the Raiders faithful. "Anytime you play on the road, it's a hostile environment,'' Broncos linebacker Von Miller told reporters. "But that's very hostile. It's one of the most hostile I've been around. It's fun, you want people that care."

TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Broncos -3 O/U: 43

ABOUT THE BRONCOS (6-8): Denver won three in a row to jump into the thick of the AFC playoff race but scored a total of 30 points in the losses to the 49ers and Browns - a pair of sub-.500 teams. Case Keenum, working with a patchwork receiving corps that has three rookies playing prominent roles, has thrown one touchdown pass and two interceptions in his last two games despite going to the air 90 times. Rookie running back Phillip Lindsay has been one of the bright spots in the season and needs just nine yards to reach 1,000, but he was held to 24 on 14 carries by Cleveland. Denver ranks sixth in the league with 42 sacks, getting a total of 26.5 from the linebacking tandem of Miller and rookie Bradley Chubb.

ABOUT THE RAIDERS (3-11): One week after throwing for 322 yards and two touchdowns in a 24-21 upset win over Pittsburgh, Derek Carr was sacked five times as Oakland dropped a 30-16 decision to a Cincinnati (as the Raiders were +3 point underdog at intertops) squad that had lost five in a row. Carr, who has not thrown an interception and absorbed 36 sacks in his last nine games, completed 90.6 percent (29-of-32) of his passes for 288 yards and was taken down only once in a 20-19 loss at Denver in Week 2. Tight end Jared Cook is Carr's top target with 63 receptions and six touchdowns, but leading rusher Doug Martin has failed to gain 40 yards in each of his last two contests. Oakland's pass rush has been non-existent with a league-low 12 sacks - a dozen fewer than any other team.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Miller, who has registered 14.5 sacks on the season, needs two to reach 100 for his career.

2. Carr has a 122.8 passer rating with four TDs and zero interceptions in his last three meetings with the Broncos.

3. One of Lindsay's three 100-yard performances was a 107-yard effort against Oakland in Week 2.

PREDICTION: Raiders 23, Broncos 20
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