Bing Predicts NFL Week 16
It was another week of unexpected upsets in the NFL with the Patriots, Rams, and Chiefs all falling. The Chargers are now in the conversation for the #1 overall seed in the AFC, and the Patriots could miss out on a first-round bye for the first time since 2009. An unpredictable season remained exactly that in Week 15.
As the NFL marches its way to the finish line, a murky playoff picture became a little more clear: Seven teams were eliminated from postseason contention after the weekend of play, but four divisions and three wild-card slots are still up for grabs. With what feels like 100 million different scenarios that could still play out, the final two weeks of the season are going to be fun.
Here are a few key games with major implications for both teams:
—Ravens @ Chargers: Baltimore is fighting to stay in the AFC’s sixth seed, but a division title isn’t out of the question either. L.A.’s huge victory over Kansas City last week means home field advantage is still possible.
—Texans @ Eagles: Philadelphia needed a victory over the Rams to stay alive, and they got it. They’ll need to fend off a Houston team that can clinch the AFC South with a victory, though.
—Steelers @ Saints: New Orleans can lock down the #1 seed in the NFC with a victory over the Steelers, who earned a must-win victory over the Patriots, but are still in danger of missing out on the postseason.
—Chiefs @ Seahawks: Kansas City is still fighting for home field advantage while Seattle needs one more win to clinch a wild-card berth.
Guiding you through every game is Bing Predicts, which leverages search, social, and historical statistics to forecast the week’s winners and losers. Read on for Week 16 predictions.
ALSO: See how Bing predicted the entire season here.
Washington Redskins (7-7) @ Tennessee Titans (8-6)
Game time: Saturday, Dec. 22, 4:30 p.m. EST
Historical matchup: Series tied 6-6
The Washington Redskins' and Tennessee Titans' seasons were saved, at least for another week. The Redskins were able to halt a four-game losing streak using a fourth quarter comeback orchestrated by quarterback Josh Johnson who made his first NFL start since 2011. The 16-13 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars was Johnson's first NFL win. Washington has been decimated by injury this season, having lost both its starting quarterback (Alex Smith) and backup QB (Colt McCoy) to leg injuries, but currently sits just one game behind the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC East.
The Titans rode running back Derrick Henry again this week. His dominant performance—33 carries for 170 yards—was the second-consecutive week Henry amassed 125 or more first-half rushing yards. This late-season charge—408 yards in the last two weeks—from the former Heisman winner is what the Titans will need to rely on if they want to sneak into the postseason. Their 8-6 record has them tied with the Baltimore Ravens and the Indianapolis Colts, but they would be outside of the playoffs if the season ended today due to tiebreakers.
It's a must-win for both of these playoff hopefuls.
Bing Predicts: Tennessee Titans
Bing Predicts Winner: Tennessee Titans (73% chance)
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Baltimore Ravens (8-6) @ Los Angeles Chargers (11-3)
Game time: Saturday, Dec. 22, 8:20 p.m. EST
Historical matchup: Baltimore Ravens lead series 6-5
The Los Angeles Chargers secured their biggest victory of the season on Thursday night when they bested the Kansas City Chiefs 29-28. The Chargers and quarterback Philip Rivers trailed by 14 points with less than four minutes remaining in the game, but thundered back and opted to attempt a two-point conversion to get the win in the game's final seconds, earning their first victory over the Chiefs since 2013, which is also the last time the Chargers made the postseason. Thursday's victory guarantees at least a playoff berth.
The Ravens have found a winning recipe with rookie quarterback Lamar Jackson and his mobility. Baltimore's 20-12 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers moved Jackson to 4-1 as a starter and kept the Ravens in the AFC's sixth seed for now. Jackson finished the game with 131 yards and a touchdown through the air, along with 95 yards rushing. It appears head coach John Harbaugh will continue to roll with the rookie phenom despite regular starting quarterback Joe Flacco being fully recovered from a hip injury.
With the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans directly on Baltimore's tail, they may need to win out to reach the postseason. Chargers still have their sights set on the #1 overall seed in the AFC.
Bing Predicts: Los Angeles Chargers
Bing Predicts Winner: Los Angeles Chargers (63% chance)
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Cincinnati Bengals (6-8) @ Cleveland Browns (6-7-1)
Game time: Sunday, Dec. 23, 1 p.m. EST
Historical matchup: Cincinnati Bengals lead series 50-40
While this AFC North rivalry has been lopsided in seasons past, 2018 looks like the year when things trend in the Browns' favor. Since firing former coach Hue Jackson, the Browns are 4-1 and holding on to slim playoff aspirations, which hasn't been the case this late in the season in a very long time. The 17-16 win over the Denver Broncos was by no means pretty, but if anything, a good representation of the fight this team has given in 2018. They'll try to take down the dejected Bengals for the second time this season and keep their flickering playoff hopes alive.
Cincinnati escaped against the Oakland Raiders Sunday and ended a five-game losing streak, but their playoff chances are no more after every other team in the AFC North won in Week 15. Even if they manage to win their remaining two games of the season and finish with a .500 record, the Bengals won't be playing in January.
If the Browns manage to sneak into the postseason, they'll need a lot of help, but a victory over Cincinnati is the first piece of the puzzle in Week 16.
Bing Predicts: Cleveland Browns
Bing Predicts Winner: Cleveland Browns (60% chance)
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Jacksonville Jaguars (4-10) @ Miami Dolphins (7-7)
Game time: Sunday, Dec. 23, 1 p.m. EST
Historical matchup: Series tied 4-4
This matchup likely has no playoff implications despite the Miami Dolphins remaining in the hunt for the sixth playoff seed in the AFC. Their 41-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings was a major hit to Miami's already slim postseason aspirations. A week following the unlikely and unbelievable last-second victory over the New England Patriots, the Dolphins suffered what could be a season-ending letdown. They were outgained 418-193 by Minnesota in the game.
Jacksonville is long-eliminated from postseason contention, and their 16-13 loss to Josh Johnson and the depleted Washington Redskins was a good microcosm of the forgettable 2018 the team has experienced. The Jaguars, who relied heavily on their opportunistic defense in 2017, is pacing for only half of the turnovers they forced last season. Defense is not the focal point to be addressed this offseason, though, as Jacksonville ranks third-last in points scored this season.
The Dolphins will need to win their remaining games and get help along the way if they hope to find themselves in the postseason for the second time in three seasons.
Bing Predicts: Miami Dolphins
Bing Predicts Winner: Miami Dolphins (64% chance)
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Atlanta Falcons (5-9) @ Carolina Panthers (6-8)
Game time: Sunday, Dec. 23, 1 p.m. EST
Historical matchup: Atlanta Falcons lead series 29-18
Despite Sunday's 40-14 blowout victory over the Arizona Cardinals, 2018 has been a season to forget for the Atlanta Falcons, who will miss the postseason for the first time since the 2015 season. Their defense, which struggled in the takeaway department all season, forced three turnovers in the victory. If there's a bright spot this season, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones continue to be one of the best quarterback-wide receiver tandems in all of football. Jones currently leads the NFL with 1,511 receiving yards. It's the third time in his career he has eclipsed 1,500 yards and had at least 100 receptions in a season.
After their 6-2 start, the Carolina Panthers are winless since and now on the brink of elimination. The ugly 12-9 loss to the New Orleans Saints means that Carolina now has next-to-no chance at making their way into the playoffs for the second-straight season. An injured Cam Newton was held to 131 yards passing and was sacked four times.
This NFC South bout, which was thought to have major divisional implications at season's start, is essentially meaningless.
Bing Predicts: Carolina Panthers
Bing Predicts Winner: Carolina Panthers (57% chance)
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