Thursday, Dec. 22
New York Giants (10-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (5-9)
The Giants are still fighting for a playoff spot, the Eagles are not.
It’s easy to assume the Giants, with the NFC East title still within reach, will come out and dominate but they have a history of playing poorly in Philadelphia and Eli Manning has struggled in the past against the Eagles.
Don’t be surprised if the Eagles win, but the Giants should topple them in prime time.
Q’s Pick: Giants, 24-20
Saturday, Dec. 24
Washington Redskins (7-6-1) at Chicago Bears (3-11)
The Redskins have a ridiculously low chance of getting into the postseason, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.
Kirk Cousins has to be thrilled going up against a Bears defense that has struggled against the passing game.
Q’s Pick: Redskins, 30-24
Miami Dolphins (9-5) at Buffalo Bills (7-7)
The Bills would love to play spoiler against a Dolphins team that is without Ryan Tannehill and playing on the road again.
Buffalo doesn’t have any real shot of getting into the postseason but keeping their division rival from clinching a spot should serve as motivation enough to get the upset win.
LeSean McCoy is also expected to play, as the anchor of the league’s top run offense.
Q’s Pick: Bills, 24-23
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-6) at New Orleans Saints (6-8)
The Saints season has already been a disappointment, but Jameis Winston would love to make it a completely forgettable one by beating New Orleans at home.
The Bucs have hung around with some of the best teams in the NFC, including the Cowboys, and the Saints aren’t in that category.
Expect a shootout.
Q’s Pick: Buccaneers, 31-28
Atlanta Falcons (9-5) at Carolina Panthers (6-8)
If the Seahawks lose this week, the Falcons have a real shot at clinching the No. 2 spot in the NFC playoffs, which would assure a first round bye and some home games.
They have to beat the Panthers first, the defending NFC champions who have been a thorn in the side of Matt Ryan and company for the last two years.
Julio Jones and the Falcons will get the last laugh.
Q’s Pick: Falcons, 30-27
Minnesota Vikings (7-7) at Green Bay Packers (8-6)
Aaron Rodgers once told the media to R-E-L-A-X, but this is far from the time to do that if you’re the Packers.
A team that just a few weeks ago allowed 42 points to the Redskins and fell to 4-6 on the year now has a legitimate shot to win the NFC North.
If they can beat the Vikings it sets up a date with the Lions for the division crown next weekend.
Q’s Pick: Packers, 27-23
New York Jets (4-10) at New England Patriots (12-2)
The Patriots don’t want to rest any starters in this game because the No. 1 seed in the AFC postseason is still in play.
That’s bad news for the Jets, who haven’t won a game at Gillette Stadium since 2011.
Q’s Pick: Patriots, 31-20
Tennessee Titans (8-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-12)
Would you believe the Titans are just a win or two away from winning the AFC South? Would you believe the Jaguars have only won two games this season?
Both are true and each team’s trajectory should continue curving in those directions following this game.
Q’s Pick: Titans, 26-20
San Diego Chargers (5-9) at Cleveland Browns (0-14)
I don’t see the Browns going 0-16 this season, but I also don’t see an offense as high-powered as San Diego’s falling victim to Cleveland’s defense.
Then again, if there’s a team that’s going to lose to the Browns, it’s probably the Chargers. They’ve figured out ways to lose close games all season.
This time, they should be able to hold onto the lead.
Q’s Pick: Chargers, 28-23
Indianapolis Colts (7-7) at Oakland Raiders (11-3)
The Raiders can still get the No. 2 seed in the AFC postseason if they win out, something that would have been unheard of just a few seasons ago.
But Oakland’s defense needs to make some stops here at the end of the season and they might allow a shootout against Andrew Luck and the Colts.
Q’s Pick: Raiders, 33-29
San Francisco 49ers (1-13) at Los Angeles Rams (4-10)
The last time these teams met was the season opener — which was also the last time the 49ers won a game.
The Rams are a bad team but they aren’t as bad as the 49ers.
Unless you’re forced to because of local television regulations, try to avoid watching what could become a battle of terrible teams.
Q’s Pick: Rams, 20-17
Arizona Cardinals (5-8-1) at Seattle Seahawks (9-4-1)
The Seahawks are still in the hunt for the No. 2 seed in the NFC which would mean a bye and fewer games on the road.
That’s been their Achilles heel all season so if winning this weekend will help them avoid that, you can bet they are going to do everything in their power to beat the Cardinals.
These teams are so evenly matched, it could come down to a game-winner from Steven Hauschka.
Q’s Pick: Seahawks, 28-26
Cincinnati Bengals (5-8-1) at Houston Texans (8-6)
The Texans, like the Titans, are just a few wins from clinching the AFC South, as crazy as that sounds.
After all, Brock Osweiler is far from the quarterback his contract says he is and the Texans defense has been good but not great.
Luckily, the Bengals aren’t much better so the Texans might be able to steal this one at home.
Q’s Pick: Texans, 27-21
Sunday, Dec. 25
Baltimore Ravens (8-6) at Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5)
With the AFC North title on the line, I would have given this game to whichever team was playing at home.
The Steelers have been rolling and not even the Ravens defense is going to stop them this Christmas.
Q’s Pick: Steelers, 27-23
Denver Broncos (8-6) at Kansas City Chiefs (10-4)
The defending Super Bowl champs are just a loss or two away from being eliminated from the postseason.
The Chiefs know they are in a position to deliver the knockout blow and with postseason seedings still a factor, they should win this one at home.
Q’s Pick: Chiefs, 26-23
Monday, Dec. 26
Detroit Lions (9-5) at Dallas Cowboys (12-2)
Matthew Stafford is still hurt and the Cowboys are still rolling.
Dak Prescott is just one win away from tying Ben Roethlisberger for the most wins by a rookie quarterback in NFL history.
He should get the win against Detroit’s defense, who has a strong secondary but has struggled against the run game in the past.