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NFL Week 16 bold predictions: Lamar Jackson leapfrogs Brock Purdy in MVP race with BIG day

Throughout the 2023 season, NFL Network analysts will provide one bold prediction heading into each week's slate of games (see the full Week 16 schedule).

Matt Okada

Lamar Jackson has only ever defeated one team that entered the game with 11-plus wins: the Chargers back in Week 16 of his rookie season. That is largely due to the fact that he's missed 11 December and January games in his career. Regardless, it's a monkey that Jackson needs to shake off his back to silence the remaining contingent of doubters. In an extremely tough matchup (and potential Super Bowl preview) with the 49ers, I predict Jackson pops off for 300 total yards and three total touchdowns to upset San Francisco and leapfrog Brock Purdy in the MVP race.

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Maurice Jones-Drew

With a trio of touchdowns in last week’s victory, Lions tight end Sam LaPorta broke the franchise rookie receiving TD record in a season with nine -- and that's just his total so far. He adds to that with a repeat performance Sunday against the Vikings to bring his season tally to 12.

Marcas Grant

In a week filled with choice matchups, the Cowboys and Dolphins should provide plenty of fireworks. In the center of their showdown will be the two signal-callers, who have each put up some big games this season. Expect that to be the case again this week. Whether by air or by ground, both Dak Prescott and Tua Tagovailoa will put their teams into the end zone multiple times -- combining for eight touchdowns -- in a critical contest for both teams.

David Carr

Heading into Week 16, the Jaguars were tied for the fifth-fewest sacks in the league (30). But linebacker Josh Allen has pulled his weight, racking up 13.5 sacks and 26 quarterback hits (both tied for fifth league-wide). On Sunday, Allen adds to that tally with three sacks of Baker Mayfield. Three sacks, by the way, seems like the magic number for Jacksonville, as it is 5-1 in games when the team has at least three sacks this season. 

Joel Smyth

A.J. Brown will be the No. 1 overall fantasy play on Christmas Day. The Giants are not set up for what they call success; a team that runs the second-most man coverage in the NFL while allowing the most yards after catch to WRs gets Brown in a bounce-back spot. Brown is the WR1 versus man when it comes to fantasy points, targets and yards after catch, while holding the highest first-read target share in the NFL. The struggling Giants cornerbacks will get a fair share thrown their way whenever Brown lines up across them. 

Marc Ross

What happens when a stoppable force meets a movable object? We will find out Sunday as the Commanders’ league-worst defense (32nd in scoring and yards allowed) faces off against the Jets’ league-worst offense (32nd in yards and 30th in scoring). The Jets will electrify the MetLife crowd by scoring 30 points and 350 total yards for only the second time in a home game this season.

Full NFL Week 16 schedule

Saturday, December 23

Monday, December 25

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