Dec 9, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (7) hands the ball off to running back Adrian Peterson (28) against the Chicago Bears at the Metrodome. The Vikings defeated the Bears 21-14. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Shack's NFC North Predictions: Week 16

Happy Holidays to all! Week 16 offers an interesting slate of games for the NFC North. The red-hot Packers, winners of three straight, will play at home against the Titans who could be dangerous if Chris Johnson can break a few runs, while the ice-cold Bears, losers of three straight, will try to snap their losing streak on the road against the Cardinals, who forced Matthew Stafford to three interceptions last game against the Lions in a blow out win.

The Lions have an exciting game at home against the surging Falcons on a special Monday Night Football game played on Saturday night, where Calvin Johnson could break Jerry Rice’s record of receiving yards in a season.

The Vikings have a record chaser of their own in Adrian Peterson, who looks to break Eric Dickerson’s record of rushing yards in a season, and keep his teams playoff hopes alive on the road against the Texans. Will The Packers and Bears continue to trend in opposite directions? Will Adrian Peterson and Calvin Johnson continue their record setting paces this week?

Oct 23, 2011; Detroit, MI, USA; Atlanta Falcons defensive line lines up against the Detroit Lions offensive line during the first quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Without further ado, here are my week 16 predictions:

Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers

The 2012 Packers look a lot like the 2010 Packers, who were plagued by injuries but got at the right time and ultimately won the super bowl. With that said, I expect the Packers to take care of business this week at home against the Titans. The only way this game is close is if Titans running back Chris Johnson breaks off a few long runs or makes an explosive play or two in the passing game. Even if Johnson has a break out performance, it’s hard to imagine the Titans matching the Packers point for point the entire game.

Prediction: Packers win 27-13

Chicago Bears at Arizona Cardinals

It’s true that the Cardinals blew out the Lions 38-10 last week, but don’t expect the Cardinals to make a habit of winning, especially in blow out fashion. The Cardinals are still one of the worst offenses in the NFL with one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL, and last time I checked the Bears were pretty solid on defense. If the Bears continue their struggles on offense it probably won’t matter as their defense has made a habit this season of forcing turnovers and scoring points.

Prediction: Bears win 23-10

Atlanta Falcons at Detroit Lions

If the Lions had lived up to expectations this game would no doubt be my game of the week, however this isn’t the case. The Lions are by far the most disappointing team record wise, but I’m not going to say that it is all entirely their faults. The Lions have been plagued with injuries, perhaps more so than any team in the NFL as a once potent Lions offense has been diminished to Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, and a bunch of fourth option wide receivers. On defense the Lions have spent most of their season without Louis Delmas and Nick Fairley has been placed on injured reserve along with defensive tackle Cory Williams, defensive backs Bill Bentley, Chris Greenwood, Jacob Lacey, Amari Spievey, and Drayton Flourance spent some time on that list as well- all of whom have started on defense this season, with the exception of Chris Greenwood. The point of this is that the Lions will be without 4 of their top 5 wide receivers on offense and seven rotation and starting players on defense.

While there has obviously an execution problem by the players all season, it’s hard to win when most of your top players are on the sideline. If the Lions were healthy they can compete with any team, however this isn’t the case for Saturday’s game and won’t be for the remainder of the season. The Falcons shouldn’t have a problem winning this game, unless they come into the game not ready to play. Regardless of the outcome the possibility of Calvin Johnson breaking Jerry Rice’s record should make this game fun to watch.

Prediction: Falcons win 30-20

Minnesota Vikings at Houston Texans

The Vikings might find their two game win streak ended this week against the Texans, because of the lack of passing game in the Vikings offense. Christian Ponder has proven to be nothing more then a game manager and there is no better proof then what he has done with the best running back in the NFL on his team. I’m confident Adrian Peterson will get his yards, but the only way the Vikings win is if Adrian Peterson has a record rushing day and if the Texans have an off game as they did against the Jacksonville Jaguars, (who took the Texans to O.T) and the Packers (who thrashed the Texans 42-24). Because this game has the potential to come down to the wire this is Shack’s Game Of The Week.

Prediction: Texans win 27-20

Recap: I predict a 2-2 record for the NFC North this week. Don’t forget to leave a comment and share your NFC North Predictions! I’ll do my best to respond to any questions or comments you might have. Do you think Adrian Peterson will break Eric Dickerson’s rushing record? What about Calvin Johnson’s pursuit of Jerry Rice’s receiving record?

Last week’s record: 2-1

Record so far this season: 27-20

 

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Tags: Chicago Bears Detroit Lions Green Bay Packers Minnesota Vikings

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