clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NFL picks 2016, Week 16: Experts say Steelers win AFC North, Giants and Chiefs clinch playoff bids

The playoff field will get a little more crowded, if SB Nation’s experts are correct.

The Pittsburgh Steelers will be the next AFC North champions, if SB Nation’s experts have anything to say about it.

All Pittsburgh has to do to return to the playoffs for the third straight season is beat its biggest rival. The 9-5 Steelers host the 8-6 Ravens on Sunday, and a win would give Mike Tomlin’s team its second division title in three years.

That’s a far cry from where the team stood five weeks ago. Pittsburgh was 4-5 and floundering during a four-game slump that saw Ben Roethlisberger either sidelined or hobbled by a knee injury. Since returning to full strength, he’s helped the team surge back into the playoff hunt with a streak that includes victories over the Giants, Colts, and Bengals.

The Texans have their own chance to lock down a division crown, though with a much less certain quarterback situation. Their postseason hopes lie in the hands of backup Tom Savage, who rose in the Houston depth chart at the expense of Brock Osweiler.

Osweiler was supposed to fix the offensive problems that plagued the Texans since their inception, but he failed to live up to the four-year, $72 million contract inked last spring. He posted the league’s second-worst quarterback rating before being pulled for Savage, who led the Texans to a comeback victory in his first game action since 2014.

Savage can stamp his arrival as a potential savior by fulfilling experts’ expectations and defeating the Bengals on Saturday evening. A win and a Titans loss to the Jaguars would give Houston its fourth playoff appearance in the past six seasons — though experts aren’t bullish on the latter part of that equation.

The NFC North presents more potential for standings gridlock. Detroit held a two-game lead over the rest of the division before Week 15, but SB Nation’s writers predict the Lions and Packers will be knotted at 9-6 after Monday. Green Bay can get a measure of revenge for a Week 2 loss to the Vikings while jockeying for one last run at the crown when Minnesota heads east to Lambeau Field. Detroit, tasked with facing the NFC’s best team on the road, is an overwhelming — but not unanimous — pick to lose in Dallas.

More playoff hopefuls should be able to pad their postseason résumés in Week 16. Tennessee can prevent the Texans from clinching the South by beating up on the hapless, coachless Jaguars on Saturday. Kansas City can lock down a playoff spot by rolling over Denver, a team with a 1-3 record over its last four games. Miami can earn its first 10-plus win season since 2008 by dispatching the Bills, who may or may not have a head coach by the time the game has finished.

The rest of the stretch serves up some stinkers for Christmas Eve, as though the NFL were telling us all to spend time with family instead. The 49ers and Rams face off in a battle designed solely to test West Coast fans’ allegiance to football in Los Angeles. The Chargers travel to Cleveland to examine a haunting reality of what could be if they relocate from San Diego and are replaced by a much sadder version of their original team. Washington plays the Bears, currently advertised as the only game of the season in which the void will scream back at you.

But if you’re the kind of masochist who enjoys such things, we’ve got all the picks you can handle below.

NFL Picks - Week 16

Game RVB Stephen White Thomas George Jeanna Thomas Adam Stites Louis Bien Joel Thorman Fooch OddsShark Computer
Game RVB Stephen White Thomas George Jeanna Thomas Adam Stites Louis Bien Joel Thorman Fooch OddsShark Computer
NYG vs PHI NYG PHI NYG NYG NYG NYG NYG PHI NYG
MIA vs BUF MIA BUF MIA MIA BUF BUF BUF BUF BUF
NYJ vs NE NE NE NE NE NE NE NE NE NE
TEN vs JAX TEN JAX TEN TEN JAX TEN TEN TEN TEN
MIN vs GB GB GB GB GB GB GB GB GB GB
SD vs CLE SD SD CLE SD SD SD SD CLE SD
WAS vs CHI CHI WAS WAS WAS WAS CHI WAS WAS CHI
ATL vs CAR ATL ATL ATL ATL CAR CAR CAR CAR ATL
IND vs OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK OAK
TB vs NO TB TB NO TB TB NO TB NO NO
AZ vs SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA
SF vs LA LA LA LA LA SF LA LA LA LA
CIN vs HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU HOU CIN HOU HOU
BAL vs PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT PIT BAL PIT PIT
DEN vs KC DEN KC KC KC KC KC KC KC KC
DET vs DAL DAL DAL DET DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL DAL
Last week 14-2 10-6 9-7 11-5 8-8 10-6 10-6 11-5 10-6
Overall record 137-85-2 141-81-2 140-82-2 137-85-2 133-89-2 131-91-2 144-78-2 127-95-2 145-77-2