With Christmas tomorrow, a majority of the NFL’s Week 16 contests will be played today instead. Division match-ups fill the schedule as the season winds down and it becomes do or die for teams still in the playoff hunt.
Full Schedule – Saturday
Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills, 1:00 PM ET
New York Jets @ New England Patriots, 1:00 PM ET
Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars, 1:00 PM ET
Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers, 1:00 PM ET
San Diego Chargers @ Cleveland Browns, 1:00 PM ET
Washington Redskins @ Chicago Bears, 1:00 PM ET
Atlanta Falcons @ Carolina Panthers, 1:00 PM ET
Indianapolis Colts @ Oakland Raiders, 4:05 PM ET
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ New Orleans Saints, 4:25 PM ET
Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks, 4:25 PM ET
Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans, 8:25 PM ET
Full Schedule – Sunday
Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers, 4:30 PM ET
Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs, 8:30 PM ET
Full Schedule – Monday
Detroit Lions @ Dallas Cowboys
Game of the Week:
This week’s must-see game comes on Christmas night as the 8-6 Denver Broncos travel to Arrowhead to take on the 10-4 Kansas City Chiefs. Both teams are coming off difficult losses at home but all pressure will be on the defending Super Bowl Champions. Although they wouldn’t be mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, the Broncos would need a lot of other factors to go their way should they lose tomorrow night. Things are a bit simpler for the Chiefs as a win would clinch them a playoff spot and possibly in first place in the AFC West if Oakland lays an egg against Indianapolis. These two teams have already met earlier this season in an overtime thriller that saw the Chiefs win 30-27 after a Cairo Santos field goal hit the upright and bounced in. Hopefully we will see similar theatrics Sunday night.
Game of the Weak:
In a match-up that would have had NFL fans salivating ten years ago, the 4-10 Los Angeles Rams host the 1-13 San Fransisco 49’ers. There aren’t any playoff implications in this clash between two of the league’s worst offenses, but there may be some draft day implications. Thanks to their abysmal record, the 49’ers currently hold the second pick in the draft and could still grab the No. 1 overall pick should the Cleveland Browns actually win a game this season. Sadly for the Rams, even tanking isn’t a viable option for them this year as they traded their first round pick in the 2017 draft to the Tennessee Titans for the rights to draft Jared Goff. Great choice.
To the gamblers out there, good luck. Most of this week’s games are predicted to be close calls, with only three games having a spread of 7 or more (New England -17, Green Bay -7, Seattle -8).
Some of the safer bets this week include Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers +3.5 on the road against the New Orleans Saints, the playoff-hungry Miami Dolphins +5 against a Buffalo Bills team that’s playing for pride at this point, and the Tennessee Titans -5 on the road against a Jaguar’s team that hasn’t scored more than 20 points in the past four weeks.
Make sure to stay far, far away from the San Diego Chargers -4 in Cleveland against the winless 0-14 Browns. Although tempting, the Chargers have only won one game on the road this season and if the Browns are going to win any games this season, it’s going to be this one.
Player to Watch:
All eyes will be on Houston Texan quarterback Tom Savage as he makes his first-career start in the NFL. Savage was named the Texans starter after replacing Brock Osweiler and leading the Texans to a win over Jacksonville last week. While this game doesn’t have too many playoff implications (the AFC South division race will likely be decided by next week’s Houston vs Tennessee game), a good showing by Savage will likely calm the nerves of Texans fans and most importantly prove whether Osweiler was the true problem in the Texans’ struggling offense.