Here are Week 15’s NFL staff picks results
Matt Shetler – 7-8
Zac Weiss – 9-6
Jason Harding – 9-6
Here are the Week 16 City of Champions’ staff picks.
Cincinnati at Pittsburgh
Whichever team wins this game will likely receive the final wildcard spot in the AFC. The Bengals could still make the playoffs with a loss and a Pittsburgh loss next week. The winner will be in control of their own destiny and just needs to win in week 17 to be in. The Steelers come into this game after struggling in their last two outings. Ben Roethlisberger will likely want to get into the no huddle early in this game to get his team into a rhythm. The Bengals have found their stride defensively as the season has progressed.
Steelers: Harding, Shetler, Gajtka
New Orleans at Dallas
The Dallas Cowboys are in a three way tie for the NFC East. They will finish the season at Washington, which likely will decide the division. Dallas is riding a three game winning streak after a big win at home in overtime against the Steelers last week. Tony Romo has had problems at home this season, but last week threw for 341 yards and 2 TDs with no interceptions. Mathematically the Saints are not out of the playoff race. They need to win the last two games and have a number of other games fall in their direction.
Cowboys: Harding, Shetler, Gajtka, Weiss
Tennessee at Green Bay
The Packers have clinched the NFC North and are now jockeying for position. Green Bay is currently in third place due to San Francisco’s tie. With Greg Jennings slowly being worked back in and Jordy Nelson out last week it was Randall Cobb who made the big plays. Cobb may be a bright star in an already solid wide-receiving core. The Titans ruined Rex Ryan’s playoff hopes last Monday night when Chris Johnson ran for a 90-yard TD run. Johnson was limited for most of the game, but his big play ability is undeniable. The Packers have struggled stopping the run at times giving Johnson some big play hope this week too.
Packers: Harding, Shetler, Gajtka, Weiss
Indianapolis at Kansas City
The Colts are in need of one more win or a Pittsburgh loss. They failed to lock up the first wildcard after last week’s loss in Houston. Rookie Andrew Luck gets better every week, but is known to look like a rookie every once in a while. The biggest concern for the Colts is their offensive line. Luck was sacked five times last week and now the line has some injuries to patch. Luck is a mere 74 yards away from breaking Cam Newton’s rookie passing record of 4,051 yards. Kansas City is still down and out after a struggling season turned tragic. They have scored less than 10 points in 4 out of their last 5 games.
Colts: Harding, Shetler, Gajtka, Weiss
Buffalo at Miami
Rookie Ryan Tannehill is also in the chase for a playoff spot. No, that’s not a typo. The Dolphins are 6-8 and can mathematically still make the playoffs, but the chances are very slim. If Cincy goes 0-2, Pittsburgh wins, then loses to Cleveland and the Jets lose one more time they are in. Oh I forgot to mention the Dolphins have to win next week at New England. The Bills managed to surrender 50 points to the Seahawks last week making this their 8th consecutive losing season. They allow an average of 28.7 points per game, tied for worst in the league.
Dolphins: Harding, Shetler, Gajtka, Weiss
San Diego at New York Jets
To say that Rex Ryan wasn’t happen when Monday’s game ended would be an understatement. Ryan was so unhappy with the game that he decided to bench Mark Sanchez for this week. Tim Tebow will also still be on the bench as Greg McElroy will take over for the Jets. Don’t discount McElroy, he played at Alabama, won a national title and scored one of the highest wonderlic scores ever. Tim Tebow will likely be factored into this game in some fashion. The Jets do still have an outside shot at a playoff spot, but need similar help the Dolphins do. The Chargers have been one of this year’s rollercoaster teams. After thumping Pittsburgh on the road, the Chargers were thumped at home by Carolina 31-7.
Jets: Harding, Weiss
Chargers: Shetler, Gajtka
Washington at Philadelphia
Not many teams draft two quarterbacks in the same year. The Redskins did just that and proved last week that they needed both. With RGIII down with a knee injury fellow rookie Kirk Cousins took over and led his team to victory putting them at the top of the NFC East and in control of their own destiny. Cousins threw for 329 yards 2 TD and 1 INT in his NFL starting debut. Cousins’ performance has given the Redskins of trying to rush Griffin III back to play this week or rest him for Dallas next week. Washington has said they will decide late in the week who will be their starter. This will likely be Andy Reid’s final home game as the Eagles coach. Philly has done everything but fire the head coach after two disappointing seasons.
Redskins: Harding, Shetler, Gajtka, Weiss
St. Louis at Tampa Bay
Rookie sensation Doug Martin is capable of hammering the ball for 60 minutes. The Rams are terrible against the run making this match-up interesting for the Bucs. Last week Tampa got away from running the ball and got them into trouble. Josh Freeman threw a season high 4 INTs and 1 fumble. The Rams still have a chance to make the playoffs, but need a lot to happen in the NFC with 4 teams tied for the final playoff spot ahead of them. St. Louis should be focusing on the obtainable .500. They can finish this season 8-7-1, above .500 for the first time since 2003. Steven Jackson surpassed the 10,000 yard mark last week becoming the 27th player to do so. 92 more yards for Jackson will give him 8 consecutive seasons with 1,000 yards.
Bucs: Harding, Shetler, Gajtka, Weiss
Oakland at Carolina
The Panthers found a way to hammer the Chargers on the road last week 31-7. Cam Newton didn’t have to rush much as DeAngelo Williams was able to tote the ball very effectively the last two weeks. He has 256 yards from scrimmage in his last two games for the Panthers. Oakland is the other team that allows 28.7 points per game, tied with Buffalo for a league worst. The Raiders haven’t been able to get much going offensively either as much of the season has relied on Carson Palmer. Darren McFadden has only rushed for over 100 yards in 2 games this season. However, Oakland is 4-1 when McFadden has over 18 rushing attempts.
Panthers: Harding, Shetler, Gajtka, Weiss
New England at Jacksonville
The New England Patriots are still jockeying for playoff position at this point. They are currently in third place, one game behind Denver. If Houston were to lose their final two games the Broncos could finish 1 and Patriots 2. The Patriots are a team that usually manages to put away the teams they should beat early in the game. This is no exception as the Jaguars have struggled all season. Jacksonville is tied with Kansas City for the worst record in the league. Jacksonville will be playing for the top spot in the draft which could be an interesting decision for them as the QB situation is a question.
Patriots: Harding, Shetler, Weiss, Gajtka
Minnesota at Houston
The Texans need just one win to lock up home field advantage throughout the playoffs. The task will not be an easy one as they play Minnesota and a hungry Adrian Peterson this week. Peterson is closing in on Erick Dickerson’s single season record of 2,105 rushing yards set back in 1984. Peterson has already set a career high with 1,812 yards this season after tearing his ACL last Christmas. No question Peterson gets my vote as the comeback player of the year. The Texans clinched the AFC South with the win over Indianapolis last week. Houston picked up the win on a few key plays against the Colts last week after questions surrounding their defense started to swarm. Peterson will deliver the real test in Houston this week.
Vikings: Harding, Gajtka
Texans: Shetler, Weiss
Cleveland at Denver
Peyton Manning is no stranger to this position in Week 16. His team is in 2nd place and can’t finish any worse than that if he just handles his business. The Broncos haven’t lost since October 7 at New England. The Broncos routed Baltimore last week as the 34-17 score doesn’t illustrate how the game actually looked. Knowshon Moreno had another solid week rushing for 118 yards and a TD. The Broncos defense also continues to play very well against the run. Trent Richardson will need to find a way to break through the Broncos defense to take pressure off of Brandon Weeden. Richardson needs just 103 yards to break 1,000 yards rushing in his rookie season.
Broncos: Harding, Shetler, Gajtka, Weiss
Chicago at Arizona
The Bears have lost 5 out of their last 6 games and are in jeopardy of missing the playoffs despite a 7-1 start to their season. If the Bears were to miss the playoffs Coach Lovie Smith will likely be under the microscope. Lackluster months of December have continued to kill this organization. Luckily for the Bears they are traveling to Arizona where the Cardinals won their first game since September 30th last week. Arizona managed to snap a 9 game losing streak last week beating the Lions 38-10. Beanie Wells decided to show up and boost the run game for the Cardinals.
Bears: Harding , Shetler, Gajtka, Weiss
New York Giants at Baltimore
The Baltimore Ravens are on a two game skid and facing a needy Giants team at home this week. The Giants are in a three way tie with Dallas and Washington for the lead in their division. The Ravens have clinched a playoff berth, but the division is still to be decided. The firing of Cam Cameron didn’t help the Ravens against the Broncos last week as they only managed to score 17 points, thanks to two 4th quarter TDs. Joe Flacco and Eli Manning actually have very similar numbers this season, but Manning has thrown 5 more INTs. The Giants desperately are trying to get back on track after getting blown out by the Falcons last week. They know their playoff hopes are on the line and Eli Manning is capable of much more than he has shown this season.
Giants: Harding, Weiss
Ravens: Shetler, Gajtka
San Francisco at Seattle
San Francisco has clinched a playoff berth, but has not clinched the division due to the Seahawks chasing them down the stretch. Seattle can make things interesting around the NFC with a win, while the 49ers are trying to lock up a first round bye. Seattle has put up 50 points in their last two consecutive games. Both teams are trying to run similar style teams making this match-up very intriguing. Kaepernick under center still for the 49ers gives their team the best chance to win football games. If any game proved he is capable it was the win last week against New England that seen Kaepernick throw for 216 yards and 4 TDs and 1 INT.
Seahawks: Harding, Shetler, Weiss