Week 16 NFL Picks, In Which Christmas Comes Early (Plus Week 15 Results!)

ESPN NFL analyst and reporter Chris Mortensen

Chris Mortensen is exactly the kind of tough, take-no-prisoners kind of "expert" we want picking our games late in the season.

It’s only Thursday, but since the generous Juggle holiday schedule means we have Christmas Eve off, we’re running our football picks today. Lucky you! Also, for various end-of-the-year reasons, we’re taking next week off from posting altogether. This means that this will sadly be our last regular season NFL picks post.

As you may recall, we began the 2010 NFL season with a simple mission: to find the best and easiest way to win your office/family/other group’s football pool. (You know, the one you play for fun and definitely not for money.) While we’ve had our ups and downs, as the regular season begins to come to a close we’re happy to say that we’ve found what seems to be the optimal solution. Here it is:

Each week, use the picks of the ESPN “expert” who had the best record the previous week.

That’s really all there is to it. Take last week as an example. In Week 14 (2 weeks ago), “expert” Merril Hoge went 13-3. Since that was the best ESPN “expert” record that week we used his picks for the next week, Week 15. Using Hoge’s Week 15 picks, we went 11-5, which we think was pretty good. Since Hoge didn’t have the best Week 15 picks overall, however, this week, we’re using Chris Mortensen‘s picks (he was 12-4 last week). How will Chris do this week? While we can’t be sure, we’re confident he’ll have one of this week better records, which is of course why the system works.

Take a look at Mortensen’s picks, which are of course now our picks, as well as our baseless rationalizations of said picks, after the jump.

(Just like we’ve been doing all along, we’ll list the predicted winner of each game in bold and italics. Keep in mind we didn’t actually make any of the picks ourselves, but are instead using ESPN “expert” Chris Mortensen’s picks since he had the best record last week.)

Panthers at Steelers
One of the league’s best teams hosts one of the worst. This is one Thursday night we don’t regret that the local cable monopoly still doesn’t carry the NFL network.

Cowboys at Cardinals
Once upon a time this was a division matchup-HA! If you think that’s funny, think about how they Cowboys would be in the playoff hunt if they were in the NFC West.

Patriots at Bills
It somehow seems unfair the Buffalo is forced to play New England twice a year, but that’s the way it goes. Sorry, Bills fans.

Jets at Bears
Once again, New York will demonstrate how overrated their team is while Chicago will shows that their squad is overlooked.

Ravens at Browns
This game gets confusing if you remember that Baltimore used to be Cleveland and that the current Cleveland team is really an expansion team. If it’s all too much, just remember that the Ravens are good and the Browns are pretty bad.

Titans at Chiefs
Back in September, when Tennessee looked like a contender and Kansas City was a joke, this game would have looked very different. As recently as October it might have been close. Now it looks like a Chiefs blowout.

49ers at Rams
In the battleground that is the NFC West, each of these teams with a losing record can win out and make the playoffs. Although they’re on the road in St. Louis, Chris Mortensen thinks San Francisco will win this one.

Lions at Dolphins
Didn’t Detroit play a Florida team last week? Oh right, they beat Tampa. That’s nice and all, but Miami’s due for a home win.

Redskins at Jaguars
Most of the players on Washington’s team and all of their fans are pretty sure they have no chance in this game. Fighting for a playoff spot, Jacksonville’s inclined to agree.

Chargers at Bengals
Once again, San Diego’s cruising through December. Once again, Cincinnati has a collapsing team and nothing to play for.

Texans at Broncos
Even when Denver looks good, they’re bad. Houston will win.

Colts at Raiders
Indianapolis has won the games they’ve needed, but most often at home. In Oakland, with the Black Hole reinvigorated, they’ll falter.

Giants at Packers
A solid performance from their rookie punter will ensure that New York has a great day in frigid Green Bay.

Seahawks at Buccaneers
This week, look for Tampa to prove that last week’s loss to a team with a losing record was an aberration. Look for Seattle to prove that they’re still a week team.

Vikings at Eagles
Who will play quarterback for Minnesota? Against a soaring Philadelphia squad, does it matter?

Saints at Falcons
At home and in prime time, Atlanta will prove they’re among the league’s elite by knocking off last years Super Bowl Champs. Sorry, New Orleans, the ride’s over.

As we mentioned up top, this will be our last set of NFL picks this season. It’s been a wonderful one, and we’re happy you could join us. We’ll be back in January for lots more fun, but until then, have a wonderful holiday and a safe, happy New Year.

And one last time, hey-let’s be careful out there.

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