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Saturday provides us with Frank Gore, playoff contenders

The NFL’s first Saturday football of the season has arrived. We get some playoff implications.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL kicks off Week 16 on Saturday as we fast approach the close of the 2017 season. There was no Thursday Night Football this week, with the league instead getting things going with the Saturday doubleheader. Given the holiday weekend, we get these two games, 12 on Sunday with no Sunday Night Football, and then a Monday Night Football doubleheader.

Indianapolis Colts at Baltimore Ravens

The early game features Frank Gore against the stout Ravens defense. Gore currently sits 142 rushing yards short of 14,000 for his career. A solid day on Saturday could set him up to surpass the mark in Week 17. Baltimore is tied with Tennessee and Buffalo for the two wild card berths, but Baltimore loses the tiebreaker to both. They need this win to keep their hopes alive. I think the Ravens probably win this game, but I’ll take the Colts to cover the 13.5-point spread,

Game time: 1:30 PM PST
Channel: NFL Network
Date: Saturday, December 23
Announcers: Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Jamie Erdahl
Location: M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, MD
Online streaming: NFL Game Pass (after the fact)
Odds: Ravens -13.5, 40.5

Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers

The Packers were officially eliminated from playoff contention last week, and so Aaron Rodgers has been placed on season-ending IR. The Vikings need to keep pace with the Philadelphia Eagles for best record in the NFC. The Eagles can clinch with a win, so at the very least, the Vikings need a win to stay ahead of the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints for the second first round bye. In the SuperContest, I could get a nine-point Vikings spread, so I’m taking the Packers to cover that.

Game time: 5:30 PM PST
Channel: NBC
Date: Saturday, December 23
Announcers: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya
Location: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI
Online streaming: NBC SNF, NFL Game Pass (after the fact)
Odds: Vikings -8, 40.5