2021 NFL picks, score predictions for Week 16

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images /
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NFL picks and predictions, Week 16
NFL picks and predictions, Week 16 Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images /

Detroit Lions (2-11-1) at Atlanta Falcons (6-8)

Sunday, December 26, 1PM ET

Even though they’ve won two of their last three games, I can’t bring myself to pick the Detroit Lions to win in Week 15. It wouldn’t be entirely surprising considering how inconsistent the Atlanta Falcons have been this year, but I just can’t do it.

When at the top of their game, the Falcons aren’t a bad team. They’ve got enough quality offensive playmakers to put a few touchdowns on the board, but their defense is like Swiss cheese. And while I wouldn’t be too frightened of Jared Goff and the Detroit offense, it’s clear they aren’t as much of a pushover as they’ve appeared at times in 2021.

So can Atlanta’s defense step up and keep Goff from going off again? Possibly. The important part will be making him uncomfortable in the pocket, which they’re capable of doing. Capitalize on the mistakes he makes, and you’ll be well on your way to winning. Getting some big plays from guys like Kyle Pitts and Cordarrelle Patterson will also help.

The Falcons don’t seem likely to make the playoffs, but a win here would keep the dream alive for at least another week. With so many other teams sitting in that 6- to 7-win range, anything is possible.

Prediction: Falcons win 31-26 | Spread: Falcons (-4.5)