World-Herald NFL editor John Rodino breaks down the Sunday's Week 16 matchups, including key statistics and what to watch for.
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Patriots (10-4) at Ravens (8-6)
When: 3:25 p.m.
Line: Ravens by 1 1/2
Last meeting: Ravens won 28-13 on Jan. 20 (AFC championship)
Lowdown: It seems like it's always high stakes when these rivals meet. The Patriots have dealt with adversity on offense most of the season. The Ravens' defense, for the most part, has been steady since Week 2. Baltimore's Justin Tucker (33 straight made field goals) and New England's Stephen Gostkowski (32 for 35) are hot kickers.
Prediction: Patriots 27-22
Colts (9-5) at Chiefs (11-3)
Line: Chiefs by 6 1/2
Last meeting: Colts won 20-13 on Dec. 23, 2012
Lowdown: Kansas City is after the AFC West title and the conference's top seed. The Chiefs will obviously take what opposing defenses give them, but what can running back Jamaal Charles (195 yards receiving at Oakland) do for an encore? The Colts were happy to get back to winning form, even if it was against struggling Houston.
Prediction: Chiefs 20-16
Bucs (4-10) at Rams (6-8)
Line: Rams by 4
Last meeting: Rams won 28-13 on Dec. 23, 2012
Lowdown: Undermanned St. Louis, led by backup quarterback Kellen Clemens and defensive end Robert Quinn, offered New Orleans an old lesson last week: Don't take things for granted in the NFL. Especially never-say-die teams like the Rams. Let's see if Lavonte David and the Bucs' defense bounce back after being blasted by the 49ers.
Prediction: Rams 31-23
Broncos (11-3) at Texans (2-12)
Line: Broncos by 10
Last meeting: Texans won 31-25 on Sept. 23, 2012
Lowdown: The Broncos, leading the AFC, have had nine days to stew over their clunker against the Chargers. Normally you'd call this a get-well game, especially with Houston on a 12-game skid. But this is the wacky NFL, and the Texans have some talented players (J.J. Watt, Johnathan Joseph) on defense.
Prediction: Broncos 37-20
Dolphins (8-6) at Bills (5-9)
Line: Dolphins by 2 1/2
Last meeting: Bills won 23-21 on Oct. 20
Lowdown: The Dolphins make it three legitimate contenders for a second AFC wild card. Ryan Tannehill shook off four sacks to throw for three touchdowns in last week's home win over New England. Now, can Miami match its stellar effort from two weeks ago at Pittsburgh in the cold of Buffalo?
Prediction: Dolphins 19-13
Saints (10-4) at Panthers (10-4)
Line: Panthers by 3
Last meeting: Saints won 31-13 on Dec. 8
Lowdown: Barring a collapse by Seattle, the Saints and Panthers are among three clubs bidding for the NFC's No. 2 seed. The Saints' home-away pattern continues to puzzle. Drew Brees and Co. hammered the Panthers in the Superdome two weeks ago, but haven't had a significant road victory since Oct. 6 at Chicago.
Prediction: Panthers 24-17
Cowboys (7-7) at Redskins (3-11)
Line: Cowboys by 3
Last meeting: Cowboys won 31-16 on Oct. 13
Lowdown: Will Dallas hit the trifecta and lose to a third straight backup quarterback in Kirk Cousins? The running backs may be key here. DeMarco Murray ran well against the Bears and Packers, but in crunch time the Cowboys all but abandoned the run. Washington's run defense is average. Dallas' is poor, so Cousins should give Alfred Morris lots of work.
Prediction: Cowboys 26-20
Browns (4-10) at Jets (6-8)
Line: Jets by 1 1/2
Last meeting: Jets won 26-20 (OT) on Nov. 14, 2010
Lowdown: The Jets are searching for motivation and an 8-8 finish. Their playoff hopes ended when Justin Tucker's 61-yard field goal let Baltimore escape Detroit. Failure to close out tight games has wrecked the Browns' season. They've allowed eight scores in the last nine possessions while losing to Jacksonville, New England and Chicago.
Prediction: Browns 27-21
Vikings (4-9-1) at Bengals (9-5)
Line: Bengals by 8 1/2
Last meeting: Vikings won 30-10 on Dec. 13, 2009
Lowdown: AFC North-leading Cincinnati can't afford to stumble with Baltimore still in its rear-view mirror. Unbeaten at home, the Bengals' formula is simple: Win home games over the Vikings on Sunday and the Ravens Dec. 29. That would net Andy Dalton and Co. the division, and maybe as high as a No. 2 seed.
Prediction: Bengals 20-17
Titans (5-9) at Jaguars (4-10)
Line: Titans by 4 1/2
Last meeting: Jaguars won 29-27 on Nov. 10
Lowdown: If the Jaguars complete a season series sweep of the Titans, they have a chance to finish second in the AFC South. Sure, that would be minor, but Jacksonville started 0-8. It's got a tough road ahead Sunday, though. The decimated offense has taken another hit with top receiver Cecil Shorts on injured reserve.
Prediction: Titans 35-27
Cardinals (9-5) at Seahawks (12-2)
When: 3:05 p.m.
Line: Seahawks by 10 1/2
Last meeting: Seahawks won 34-22 on Oct. 17
Lowdown: An interesting game, if only the Cardinals weren't so banged up. A win will give the Seahawks the NFC West title, a first-round playoff bye and home-field advantage for the postseason. The Cardinals must win the final two games and get help to make the playoffs. Can their top-ranked run defense contain Marshawn Lynch?
Prediction: Seahawks 28-21
Giants (5-9) at Lions (7-7)
When: 3:05 p.m.
Line: Lions by 10
Last meeting: Giants won 28-20 on Oct. 17, 2010
Lowdown: Coach Tom Coughlin called his Giants offense pathetic. He also could have been describing the Lions' awful showing recently in close games. It may end up costing Detroit a playoff berth. Detroit has dropped four of its last five games in large part because of 18 turnovers, including QB Matthew Stafford's 10 interceptions and two fumbles.
Prediction: Lions 35-23
Raiders (4-10) at Chargers (7-7)
When: 3:25 p.m.
Line: Chargers by 10
Last meeting: Raiders won 27-17 on Oct. 6
Lowdown: The earlier meeting, played late at night when Oakland's field was reconfigured after an Athletics playoff game, could come back to haunt San Diego. Philip Rivers and the Chargers are a long shot for the second AFC wild card, thanks to other near-misses: late red-zone failure vs. the Redskins, a last-second pass in the end zone broken up at Miami.
Prediction: Chargers 41-26
Steelers (6-8) at Packers (7-6-1)
When: 3:25 p.m.
Line: Packers by 1 1/2
Last meeting: Packers won 31-25 on Feb. 6, 2011 (Super Bowl)
Lowdown: The Steelers are looking to win out, finish 8-8 and, by one of the nine million possible scenarios, grab the second AFC wild card. The Packers' only shot is the NFC North title, and those hopes again took a blow when QB Aaron Rodgers was ruled out. Matt Flynn has done an admirable job filling in lately.
Prediction: Packers 24-21
Bears (8-6) at Eagles (8-6)
When: 7:30 p.m.
Line: Eagles by 3
Last meeting: Bears won 30-24 on Nov. 7, 2011
Lowdown: It's a meeting of playoff contenders with flawed defenses. Tall and talented Bears wideouts Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery will test the Eagles' mediocre secondary. And Matt Forte has 66 catches out of the backfield. NFL rushing leader LeSean McCoy faces the Bears' league-worst run defense.
Prediction: Eagles 30-24
Monday's game: Falcons at 49ers (7:30 p.m., ESPN); Capsules and predictions by John Rodino. Predictions not related to point spreads. Record last week: 9-7. Season: 135-89. Information from the Associated Press was used in this outlook.