20 Days of Football: NFL Week 16
Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy Boxing Day. After the San Diego-Tennessee Friday night game the NFL returns for Week 16. 10 of the 14 games played today have some form of playoff implication, so this is about as big as it gets. These three games will have the biggest impact:
Baltimore at Pittsburgh The Ravens are 8-6 while the Steelers are 7-7. There are four scenarios in which the Ravens can clinch a playoff spot and all of them hinge on the Ravens winning or tying. Pittsburgh is part of the 7-7 gridlock in the AFC in which five teams have a shot at the playoffs but a win is needed today. This game is especially big for Baltimore as the Ravens are only a game behind Cincinnati for the AFC North lead and need two wins to go with two Cincy losses to win the division.
Houston at Miami Both teams are 7-7, making this game a play-in to Week 17. The winner might still have a shot at the playoffs, the loser gets eliminated. Once again the Texans are within reach of the franchise's first winning season. Meanwhile the Dolphins are proving every game counts. Miami started 0-3 and like the Ravens have a chance at grabbing the division with two wins and lots of help.
Denver at Philadelphia The Eagles have clinched a playoff spot, beyond that the NFC East is wide open. A Philly win coupled with a Dallas loss clinches the NFC East for the Eagles. For Denver it's not quite as simple. The Broncos need a win and losses or ties to Jacksonville, Miami, New York and Pittsburgh. That's a lot of scoreboard watching.
Well under the radar is yet another Sunday night bowl game. Kentucky meets Clemson in the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl. The Wildcats feature running back Derrick Locke while the Tigers have one of college football's most dynamic player: C.J. Spiller. The Clemson running back is a Josh Cribbs prototype who can beat you out of the backfield and on kick returns.