Five bold predictions from NFL Week 16: Joe Burrow lights Patriots’ D, ‘Lions stay hot on cold weekend’

On Thursday Night Football, Trevor Lawrence and the Jacksonville Jaguars keep the good times going by knocking out Zack Wilson and the New York Jets in a icy, rainy game in North Jersey.

This weekend, we got a file Saturday The list of games, plus three more games on Sunday. The reason for the change is the reason for the season: Sunday is, of course, Christmas, which makes Saturday on Christmas Eve. We’re not necessarily giving our gifts here, and it looks like the NFL might not be either. The weather reports for nearly every game look horrible, so we might be dealing with some seriously low-scoring issues.

But the weather won’t stop us from making our usual bold predictions. Without further ado…

The lions continue to roar

The Detroit Lions have won six of their last seven games. They won all three road games during that span, after starting the season with an 0-3 record on the road. They travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers on Saturday, and the guess here is that they pick up another win. Carolina’s offense has been built since Steve Wilkes took over around the running game, but it’s been increasingly difficult for the Lions to run lately and the Panthers haven’t had much in the way of air offense. It seems unlikely that the Panthers will be able to keep up with Detroit’s soaring offense.

The Titans are 1-1 in two games for Malik Willis this season, despite the fact that Willis only finished 11 of 26 for 135 yards and an interception in the air. The only win, in particular, came against the Houston Texans, who happen to be Tennessee’s opponent this week. Surprisingly, no one on the planet is exactly that, Derrick Henry went absolutely insane in that contest, rushing 32 times for 219 yards and two scores. For his career, Henry averages 114 yards and a touchdown per game against Houston, and there’s no reason he can’t expect him to match or exceed those totals this weekend. As long as Willis didn’t lose the game himself, the Titans would win it, finally stopping their four-game losing streak.

Terrier lights up the Patriots

We definitely know how Bill Belichick will plan to take on Joe Borow and the Bengals. When an opponent has a player as good as Ja’Marr Chase, Belichick will usually break out his “1-Double” coverage scheme, using his No. 1 linebacker on the opponent’s No. 2 receiver (in this case, Tee Higgins) while double-running on cruiser No. 1 wide (Chase) on an approx. per shot basis. It wouldn’t work against the Bengals this time, as Burrow would repeatedly target Higgins, Tyler Boyd, and his running backs to put some crooked numbers on the scoreboard.

The Cowboys avenge the loss as the backup script flips the QBs

Earlier in the season, the Cowboys went to Philadelphia with their backup quarterback and played a relatively close game, only to come out of it with a loss. A big factor in that loss was Cooper Rush throwing three interceptions, two of which resulted in goals. This time, the Eagles came to Dallas with a backup quarterback, as Gardner Mincio would start in place of the injured Jalen Hurts. The bet here is that the Cowboys get the win this time around, as Minshew struggles to get rid of a Dallas defense that has been stellar for most of the season but has been lackluster lately.

The Bucs finally explode on offense

In Tom Brady’s first two seasons in Tampa, the Pirates finished the season ranked seventh and second in total yards and third and second in points. They’ve scored 400 or more receiving yards in 18 of 35 regular season games, and scored 30 or more points in 18 of 35 as well. (They’ve done both in 14 of 35 games.) This season has been markedly different. Tampa ranks 18th in yards and 28th in points. They’ve only gained 400 yards or more twice and scored 30+ points only once, and they haven’t reached those two scores in the same game yet. They’re getting a game with the Arizona Cardinals defense in the best of times. Arizona is 20th in yards allowed, last passing touchdowns in points allowed, and 27th in DVOA Football Outsiders’. The Cards are 29 against the round and 20 against the pass, with a particular weakness in passes over quarterback (Chris Goodwin) and tight ends (Cady Oton). This is the game where the Bucs finally look like the Bucs of yesteryear.


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