NFL predictions and picks for Week 16 from the experts at ESPN are here, and a few of the games are going to have huge implications on this year’s playoff picture. With next week being the final week of the 2017 season, time is quickly running out for a few bubble teams. In addition to the predictions by the experts at ESPN, the latest NFL odds from Vegas Insider were also used as reference points. Here are a few of the notable games.
Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys – WINNER: Cowboys
Coming into this game with a record of 12-2, the Cowboys are the biggest surprise in the NFL. While the talent was there last year, injuries to quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant led to them finishing with a record 4-12, which qualified for last place in the NFC East. A lot has changed in a year’s time, and rookie quarterback Dak Prescott and rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott have been two of the best offensive players in the NFL this year.
While the Cowboys are the more talented team in this game, they actually have less to play for now. They clinched the NFC East title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs with the Philadelphia Eagles defeating the New York Giants Thursday night, and they may be looking to rest players.
With a record of 9-5, the Lions are in control of their own destiny in the NFC North. If they win their next two games, the Green Bay Packers cannot catch them. While they should have a better chance of winning this game with the Cowboys already having wrapped up home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, the experts at ESPN still think it is going to be difficult. All nine analysts think the Cowboys will defeat the Lions in Monday night’s showdown in Dallas.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers – WINNER: Steelers
With a record of 9-5, the Steelers control their own destiny in the mediocre AFC North. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, wide receiver Antonio Brown, and running back Le’Veon Bell make up the top offensive trio in the entire NFL, and the team as a whole has been firing on all cylinders over the past month. They are 5-0 in their last five games, and they will host the Ravens on Sunday.
With a record of 8-6, the Ravens are still very much alive in the AFC North. While they have had their struggles at certain points this season, quarterback Joe Flacco is a proven winner, and he has had success in big games. Regardless, this is going to be a very tough game for the Ravens to win. In addition to being a divisional matchup, it is taking place in Pittsburgh, which is one of the tougher places to play. The Ravens’ stingy defense should keep this one fairly close, but all nine ESPN experts believe the Steelers are going to win this game.
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks – WINNER: Seahawks
With a record of 9-4-1, the Seahawks have already clinched the weak NFC West. Quarterback Russell Wilson is his usual solid self, and tight end Jimmy Graham has made a miraculous recovery from an injury that threatened his career. While the Seahawks’ running game has been fairly dismal without Marshawn Lynch, running back Thomas Rawls is only continuing to heal and get better after missing numerous games this year with an injury.
With a record of 5-8-1, the Cardinals took a huge step back this season. Quarterback Carson Palmer just looks old, and head coach Bruce Arians has regressed. Despite the Cardinals’ poor play, they always seem to play the Seahawks tough. The two teams finished in a tie earlier this year, and every divisional game in the NFC West is usually close. Regardless, all nine ESPN experts believe the Seahawks are going to win this game.
More ESPN NFL Picks for Week 16
- Bills Over Dolphins
- Patriots Over Jets
- Titans Over Jaguars
- Packers Over Vikings
- Chargers Over Browns
- Redskins Over Bears
- Falcons Over Panthers
- Raiders Over Colts
- Buccaneers Over Saints
- Rams Over 49ers
- Texans Over Bengals
- Chiefs Over Broncos
[Featured Image by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]