Parity has served as a much-welcomed theme in the NFL all throughout 2021. There is no greater example of that than Detroit's absolutely stunning victory over the Arizona Cardinals a week ago. The Week 16 slate promises to deliver more shocking and unforeseen results as we march toward the postseason.
The 8-6 Cincinnati Bengals will host their fellow 8-6 Baltimore Ravens in what is largely considered one of the most important contests of the weekend ahead. Elsewhere, the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills will meet for their second and final scheduled meeting in a span of 20 days. The Patriots claimed victory in the first showdown in a rather controversial manner after rookie quarterback Mac Jones attempted just three passes due to difficult weather conditions. Additionally, the Kansas City Chiefs will attempt to maintain their hold on the AFC's top seed when the surging Pittsburgh Steelers travel to Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs would be considered heavy favorites under normal circumstances, but we are living in unprecedented times. Kansas City is currently dealing with a concerning breakout of COVID-19, and the statuses of crucial playmakers such as Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill remain in question.
With an “Any given Sunday” mentality in mind, we've compiled three bold predictions for Week 16.
COLTS DEFEAT CARDINALS IN ARIZONA
As teased in our introduction, the Cardinals were absolutely stunned in Week 15. A trip to the Motor City ended in disaster for the Super Bowl-contending Cardinals, with the previously one-win Detroit Lions defeating them by a shocking three-score margin (30-12). Arizona's lackluster defense was ripped apart by Jared Goff, who completed 21-of-26 passing attempts for 216 yards and a comfortable three touchdown passes. The Cardinals failed to show up and were thoroughly beaten by a much more prepared and hungry opponent.
Arizona will now return home to the comforts of State Farm Stadium for a Saturday afternoon Christmas contest. Things won't get easier as they'll host a surging Indianapolis Colts squad that looks primed to make noise in the AFC's playoff picture. Frank Reich's Colts have claimed victories in five of their last six contests and are now nipping at the heels of the Tennessee Titans in the AFC South. These unfamiliar opponents carry a storyline of two teams trending in opposite directions currently. Unfortunately for the Cardinals, that spells bad news. Take the Colts comfortably.
LIONS WIN SECOND STRAIGHT GAME
The Lions delivered Week 15's most heartwarming moment when they defeated the heavily favored Cardinals at Ford Field. Goff played his best game of the season while showing great chemistry with a pair of receivers in Amon-Ra. St. Brown and Josh Reynolds. Defensively, cornerback Amani Oruwariye claimed his sixth interception of the season as his breakout continued to impact opposing quarterbacks. TDN’s Damian Parson recently delivered an excellent piece on Oruwariye. Head coach Dan Campbell delivered a passionate post-game speech to a group of players who are clearly competing down to the last second for their rambunctious and likable head honcho.
The Lions will now look to build upon that momentum by making it two consecutive victories on Sunday for the first time in 14 months. We love their chances of doing so. Detroit will encounter a below-average Atlanta Falcons (6-8) team that was terribly beaten by the San Francisco 49ers a week ago. The Lions' passing game took a sizable step forward in their win over Arizona and should be able to exploit a horrid Falcons defense that's allowing opponents to score north of 27 points per contest. We're feeling bold in this week's edition of Bold Takes.
BILLS GET THEIR REDEMPTION, BEAT NEW ENGLAND IN FOXBORO
The Buffalo Bills were particularly embarrassed by their Week 13 Monday night loss to the New England Patriots. The contest was played in an extremely windy environment at Highmark Stadium, and Patriots head coach Bill Belichick didn't hide his dismay for throwing the football in such difficult conditions. Rookie quarterback Mac Jones attempted an astounding *three* passes, yet the Patriots managed to pull out a 14-10 victory on the backs of an unstoppable rushing attack that gained 222 rushing yards on a staggering 47 attempts.
It was a tad embarrassing for a Bills defense that struggled to defend against something that was so obviously coming on literally a play-by-basis. Bills head coach Sean McDermott was found in a foul mood post-game and refused to give Belichick, "more credit than he deserves." The defeat saw the Patriots stunningly leapfrog the Bills for the top spot in the AFC East.
A pissed-off Bills team will make for an extremely difficult opponent for the Patriots on Sunday. Yes, New England is playing in the comforts of Gillette Stadium where they are incredibly tough to defeat, but it won't matter. A motivated Bills squad undeniably has revenge on their minds and enters Sunday's crucial showdown with bulletin board material in abundance. We can't imagine the Bills losing this heated contest after what transpired just 20 short days ago.