Prisco's Week 16 picks, plus QB Power Rankings and latest NFL playoff projections (2024)

Prisco's Week 16 picks, plus QB Power Rankings and latest NFL playoff projections (1)

Here's everything you need to know about the NFL for Dec. 20

By CBS Sports Staff

5 min read

Prisco's Week 16 picks, plus QB Power Rankings and latest NFL playoff projections (2)

Happy midweek, everyone! Can you believe we're already approaching Week 16? And that the Bengals are still in the playoff race?! John Breech is taking the day off to celebrate, so you've got me, Cody Benjamin, to deliver all the latest.

This is the Pick Six newsletter. Now let's get to it. (And please, do yourself a favor and make sure you'resigned up to receive this newsletter every day! You don't want to miss our daily offerings of everything you need to know around theNFL.)

We've got Prisco's Week 16 picks, key injury updates, a new 2024 mock draft and much more:

1. Today's show: Debating Prisco's Power Rankings

Prisco's Week 16 picks, plus QB Power Rankings and latest NFL playoff projections (3)

Pete Prisco, Ryan Wilson and John Breech joined Will Brinson on the latest "Pick Six NFL Podcast" to dissect and debate Prisco's latest Power Rankings, where the 49ers reign supreme, but plenty of other teams have shuffled up and down.

Some highlights:

  • Prisco has the Eagles sliding out of the top five, and while he's still most worried about their defense, which just surrendered a game-winning drive to Drew Lock and the Seahawks, he also believes Jalen Hurts simply "has to play better."
  • Brinson thinks Seattle should win out to reach the playoffs, though none of the guys would be stunned if the Titans pulled off an upset in Week 16, calling Tennessee the most unpredictable team in the league.
  • The Bills moved up three spots to No. 7 in Prisco's rankings. Why? "I love that team," he said, arguing new offensive coordinator Joe Brady has vastly improved Josh Allen's comfort level and required opponents to defend the run.

Catch the full episode (and subscribe for all kinds of daily NFL talk) right here.

2. Prisco's Picks: 49ers edge Ravens, Vikings stun Lions

CBS Sports senior columnist Pete Prisco went 12-4 in straight-up Week 15 picks. Now he's back with predictions for every single Week 16 contest. Here's a handful of his most notable projections:

  • Vikings 23, Lions 20:The Lions can lock up the division by winning this game. It won't be easy. The Vikings defense had big issues against the Bengals last week, but I think it will bounce back here. The Vikings will get afterJared Goffto slow the offense and stay in this and win it late.
  • Dolphins 30, Cowboys 29:This is an enormous game between two really good teams. The Cowboys are playing a second straight road game, which is a challenge after getting beat by the Bills last week. Dallas doesn't play well on the road, while Miami plays well at home. Even so, I think the Cowboys will find a way to hang around in this one.
  • 49ers 29, Ravens 21:This is the game of the week, maybe the year. These are the two best teams in either conference. The 49ers get a break getting the Ravens playing consecutive road games. The 49ers offense is the best unit of all four in this game, which is why I think they win this one.Brock Purdywins the MVP battle withLamar Jackson.

3. Playoff projections: Bills, Rams, Texans sneak in

Prisco's Week 16 picks, plus QB Power Rankings and latest NFL playoff projections (4)

Every week, John Breech compiles the latest SportsLine simulations to forecast the entire playoff picture. Entering Week 16, the model has an idea of how the wild-card spots will shake out. Here's the latest on three aspiring contenders:

  • Bills (AFC No. 6):The computer has decided to spice things up this week. Not only is it projecting that the Bills (8-6) will finish with the sixth-seed in the AFC, but it's also projecting that Buffalo will play the Chiefs in the wild-card round. We should now all cross our fingers and hope that this happens.Remaining schedule:at Chargers,Patriots, at Dolphins.
  • Texans (AFC No. 7):The computer almost malfunctioned trying to figure out who's going to get the final playoff spot in the AFC between the Colts, Texans and Bengals (8-6). In the end, the Texans got the nod. The computer is giving them a 59.1% chance of making the playoffs, compared to a 58.7% chance for Indy and a 43.5% chance for the Bengals. However, the Texans could be in some trouble this weekend withC.J. Stroudexpected to miss another game. A loss by Houston would open the door for Indy or Cincinnati to steal the AFC's final playoff spot.Remaining schedule:Browns, Titans, at Colts.
  • Rams (NFC No. 7):According to the computer, the battle for the final wild-card spot is going to come down to the Saints, Vikings and Rams with L.A. getting the nod. The Rams have a huge game on Thursday against the Saints, and if they don't win that that, then this projection will look very different next week.Remaining schedule:Saints, at Giants, 49ers.

4. Falcons mum on Arthur Smith's future beyond 2023

Atlanta is fresh off an ugly 9-7 loss to the rival Panthers, pushing the Falcons to the outside of the NFC playoff picture. Now team owner Arthur Smith is "committed to Coach Smith" ... but only through the end of the season. He told Georgia Public Broadcasting this week that the club "will assess where we are and go from there." It's safe to say a lot rides on Atlanta's final three games.

5. Mock draft: Bears take Caleb Williams, deal Justin Fields

Prisco's Week 16 picks, plus QB Power Rankings and latest NFL playoff projections (5)

Chicago fell to 5-9 in Week 15, putting the Bears on track to own two different top-five picks in the 2024 draft. Could they keep Fields as their signal-caller for 2024 and beyond? Sure. But that's not how draft expert Chris Trapasso sees it. He's got Windy City welcoming a brand new quarterback at the top of next April's event in his latest mock. Here's a sneak peek at the top five:

  1. Bears: QB Caleb Williams (USC)
  2. Patriots: QB Drake Maye (North Carolina)
  3. Cardinals: WR Marvin Harrison Jr. (Ohio State)
  4. Commanders: OL Olumuyiwa Fashanu (Penn State)
  5. Bears: EDGE Chop Robinson (Penn State)

6. Extra point: Rodgers on future, QB Power Rankings, more

Hungry for more headlines? We've got 'em right here:

  • Aaron Rodgers plans to play in 2024 and beyond: Hope is restored for the Jets?
  • Week 16 playoff-clinching scenarios: Find out which teams can secure postseason berths
  • Colts suspend two players for rest of season: They engaged in conduct detrimental to the team
  • Patriots put J.C. Jackson on illness list: The corner is dealing with mental health issues
  • Week 16 QB Power Rankings: Josh Allen is making a push for the top spot behind Brock Purdy

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Prisco's Week 16 picks, plus QB Power Rankings and latest NFL playoff projections (2024)

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