As we enter week 16, three teams in our division has something to play for, and the Jaguars do not. However, the cards need to fall exactly right for the Titans and Colts to have a shot at a Wild Card. Take a gander at the AFCS Week 16 Game Previews – TV Viewing, Referees, Stats, Passing Charts, Injury Reports.
All Saturday games will be nationally broadcast as will the Sunday 4:00 and night game, and Monday’s, too.
Here is FOX’s 1:00 games
SATURDAY 4:30 NFL NETWORK
Redskins (7-7) vs Titans (8-6)
I put ref crews each week because this season has seen some really crappy reffing and you may not think much this week, but you can come back here and see who officiated for future reference.
The Redskins are a game back from the Cowboys, but with their beat-up team and QB situation, tough to see them winning this game or the next.
Look at these charts and one has to wonder, how long do the Titans accept that Marcus Mariota is always hurt and while he has moments of good quarterbacking, he’s 20th in total QBR with a 54 which is just barely above average (75 is pro bowl caliber) and that is a trend. His rating is 91.9.
Josh Johnson hasn’t had enough games to get a QBR (it bases its scores on each play by difficulty, right decision, was the receiver wrong, etc and takes into account garbage time). However, just based on his straight passing stats, he’s 98.2. Against Jax he was very careful with the ball and I see that continuing vs TN.
This game will be won from the legs of their running backs. Tennessee’s defense is tied for third with 8 in allowed rushing touchdowns. That puts Washington at a huge disadvantage right from the jump. Washington is 13th with 11.
When it comes to passing TD’s allowed, the Titans are third again with 17. The skins are 15th with 23. Clearly one defense is better.
Tennessee is 30th in passing yards and TD’s, so that’s the one area Washington has a chance. Keep the injured Mariota throwing. Yes, let him throw; however, rush him up the middle when he does.
Johnson is such a new face so late in the season, I’ve no idea what he can do and that could help them win. It’s a slim chance, but if the skins can keep the run game down, they have a good chance at winning. If they can’t, it won’t be close.
It’s important to know that only recently has Tennessee got their running going, two games with Derrick Henry balling out has pushed their numbers up. Stop Henry, stop the Titans. Washington’s run game is ok, nothing to write home about, but if Johnson can be efficient, the two together could work.
While the pundits think this is a slam dunk game, I’m not so sure just because Tennessee is so one-dimensional on offense, hence their record. If the Redkins can pull it off, it wouldn’t be shocking.
SUNDAY 1:00 GAMES
Jaguars (4-10) vs Dolphins (7-7) CBS
There’s something that seems to happen to referees when they officiate IN Jacksonville, they turn into brain dead zombies. Most teams get a home field advantage with refs (I did an article once tracking flags/yards and it’s clear home teams have less), but that’s not the case for the Jaguars.
Based on that, we could see a “fair” game. I didn’t see Martin reffing a game for the AFCS this season, so no idea how he did, not that it matters, now.
Ryan Tannehill is hurt, again. I could see Calais Campbell sacking him and Asweiler ends up playing. If that’s the case, I’ll bet six Christmas cookies he throws a pick. That man thinks he has an arm of the gods and Jacksonville’s secondary isn’t the team to play like that against.
Here’s the deal. Tannehill looked good vs NE* because their secondary isn’t very good and their linebackers are slow. His QBR (not Rating) is actually lower than Bortles and that’s saying something. Ryan is 31st. Only Josh Rosen is worse.
I’m not going to post passing charts because there’s not enough on Cody Kessler and Tannehill has been hurt all season, plus he missed games. What we do know is Kessler has thrown one TD in three games and Tannehill has thrown 16.
Adam Gase loves the passing game, so Ramsey and Co better be on their toes. However, stopping Kenyon Drake and Kalen Ballage is the real trial and based on how Jax has done vs the run, I’m not shaking any pom poms.
The key to this game is Jax’s defense because that seems to be the only way get points. Miami has something to play for, the Jaguars don’t and sad to say, that matters. However, there are several players who need a good game for a chance to stick around.
The flip side is, Marrone is now heavily playing all the young (and cheap) players to get evaluations for next season. These young bucks will play hard, but they will make mistakes. We saw it vs Washington.
Could Jacksonville play spoiler vs Miami? Yes, Dave Williams could bust out and the Dolphins don’t have an answer, their defense isn’t great (as in, sucks). Just because they beat Brady* (who’s not Brady* anymore), doesn’t mean that defense can stop lowly Jacksonville.
If Williams can get a run game going and the receivers remember how to catch, the Jaguars can win. I didn’t say Leonard Fournette because if I was Doug Marrone, I’d shut him down for the season. Why take a chance he gets hurt?
The only thing holding them back is themselves. Period. Seriously, they have the better defense by far which should keep Miami from scoring a lot. Add Miami being poor on defense, the answer is the run game for Jax.
Giants (5-9) vs Colts (8-6) CBS
This makes me kind of sick to say, but I’m pulling for the Colts, any teams to stop NE* from having home field berthing.
Giants are really healthy, and the Colts are still banged up, but it hasn’t seemed to stop them.
Eli Manning with Odell Beckham and without is stark. Not even Saquon Barkley can save him. These passing charts show that New York’s defense, which is ranked 4th best in passing TD’s, will be a busy bunch.
Indy is right behind them with only one more allowed touchdown. Advantage Colts because I don’t see their secondary being afraid of Eli.
Eli is careful with the ball and his numbers aren’t bad at all, until you look at how few times he’s scored. Right now, he’s the guy who does well between the 30’s, but too often peters out in the red zone.
Andrew Luck has 14 more TDs. The chart above isn’t current, Luck has 34 TD’s now and Manning, 20.
Indy has 9 rushing touchdowns and New York has 10, so not as if we’ll see much of a ground and pound game especially since it’s in a dome. However, Darius Leonard is out and that could help NY in the center of the field, plus two safeties are hobbled which should help Manning.
However, this contest is still the Colts’ to lose. They have the better passing game by far, their defenses are about equal in passing and both have similar offensive rushing. In outdoors games I go with best defense and run game (at this time year), but passing rules inside.
Overall, Indy is 11th in allowing points and NY is 22. There’s just no area when you can say the Giants have an advantage, unless the Colts have a bad day. OR Indy loses another offensive lineman, they’re the key to Luck having a great season, with Cosonzo out, that could be an issue.
Texans (10-4) vs Eagles (7-7)
Both are fighting for different reasons. Houston wants a first round bye and Eagles want to win their division.
Carson Wentz is a better QB than Nick Foles, even banged up; however, a healthy Foles can do things a hurt Wentz can’t. Right now, Foles has the hot hand, so it’s good they ruled Carson, out. Both teams are beat up, neither has an advantage, here.
Neither QB is lighting the world on fire, but both have a knack of getting their teams in good positions with the right throws, at the right times.
As you can see, Houston has a weapon Philly doesn’t and that’s a mobile QB who will tear you up when you’re not expecting it.
I’m not going to use the Eagles passing stats because with two QB’s, it’s too tough, but will use Houston’s and both defenses.
When it comes to defense, Houston is 4th in stopping total yards, 5th in points allowed, and third in not allowing rushing touchdowns. They do struggle against the pass, they’ve allowed 24 air TD’s.
For the Eagles, they’re 18th in allowing rushing TD’s, 10th in air touchdowns and 27th overall in allowing yards. They’re giving up 22 points a game.
Neither team is great in sacks or interceptions; however Philly is tied for 10th in INTs.
Where the Eagles have an advantage is their run game, they have 12 TD’s to Houston’s 8. Strange, but true. It’s going to be cold and in a hostile environment which means this game will come down to defense and rushing.
When boiled down to that, it’s almost a wash. However, Foles has been practicing in this weather while Watson is a dome guy and that could help Philly on the passing side. I don’t see an easy game for either team, it could end up being a real slugfest.
Philly could pull off a win because I think the weather may take away the passing advantage for Houston, plus their rush defense isn’t great.