Posted on December 22, 2022
Thank you, NFL, for giving us the present of soccer this vacation weekend. From Christmas Eve to Christmas Day to Boxing Day (for all you British readers on the market), the west groups will likely be on full show this weekend.
Now, among the video games do look higher than others on paper, however who’s to say two bottom-five groups within the league can’t give us an thrilling matchup on Christmas Day?
If you could find the time between opening presents and sipping in your eggnog to look at these video games, then similar to Santa when he emerges from the chimney into your front room, you’re in for a deal with.
However as a substitute of milk and cookies, it’s two matchups of potential playoff groups.
Why don’t we begin opening presents now? Right here, you go first. I bought you some fast previews for all six of the video games that includes west groups this week.
Seahawks (7-7-0) at Chiefs (11-3-0)
Saturday, December 24
10:00 a.m. PT, FOX
This sport is important for each groups, but for much-different causes.
The Seahawks must win at the very least two of their three ultimate video games in the event that they need to make the playoffs, however successful all three will surely be useful.
The Chiefs have their postseason berth clinched, however each win helps them of their quest to earn the first-round bye and home-field benefit.
So, which means the Seahawks won’t have a simple activity forward of them this week in Kansas Metropolis.
Although the Chiefs did present indicators of mortality final week towards the Texans, it was at no fault of the offense. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes nonetheless led an environment friendly and efficient group as he does each different week.
That isn’t signal for the Seahawks, who’ve been struggling on protection these days. They’re now as much as fourth within the league in factors allowed per sport and, lately, have did not preserve even the Buccaneers, Rams, and Panthers below 20 factors.
Stopping the Chiefs’ offense doesn’t appear to be a risk for the Seahawks, leaving a shootout as their solely likelihood to win.
Usually, the Seattle offense could be up for that sort of efficiency, however with vast receiver Tyler Lockett out with a finger harm and rookie operating again Kenneth Walker nonetheless nursing an ankle harm, the offense might not be working at its traditional stage.
Throw in the truth that the Chiefs have some elite playmakers on protection similar to defensive deal with Chris Jones and linebacker Nick Bolton and it may very well be a protracted day for the Seahawks.
However quarterback Geno Smith has been nice at instances this season and if he’s nice once more on Saturday the Seahawks could stand an opportunity at pulling off the upset.
Though if Mahomes can also be nice, which he tends to be, then the sport could also be too far out of attain.
49ers (10-4-0) vs Commanders (7-6-1)
Saturday, December 24
1:05 p.m. PT, CBS
The Brock Purdy expertise continues to be a reasonably good one, because the rookie quarterback continues to be successful video games and is rocketing up the Rookie of the Yr odds because of this.
This week poses an fascinating check for Purdy, although, with a Commanders’ protection that has been extremely stable this yr.
Washington could be very quietly permitting the ninth-fewest factors per sport and hasn’t given up greater than 21 factors in a contest since week 4.
However the 49ers are definitely prepared for the problem. They’ve one of the crucial environment friendly passing video games within the league, which isn’t any shock contemplating the expertise on the talent positions.
However it might not find yourself mattering how effectively the Commanders can defend the 49ers’ offense in the event that they aren’t in a position to rating any factors themselves. And with the 49er fielding arguably one of the best protection within the league, that may definitely be a problem.
The Commanders’ offense is just not as formidable. They’re scoring 18.9 factors per sport, which is the eighth-fewest within the league, and have did not get constant quarterback play out of whoever is below middle.
The expertise is certainly there. Extensive receiver Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, and Jahan Dotson are good whereas operating backs Brian Robinson and Antonio Gibson can type an honest 1-2 punch.
However issues aren’t going to get any simpler for them this week. 49ers’ defensive finish Nick Bosa is main the league in sacks and linebacker Fred Warner is likely to be probably the most underappreciated participant in your complete sport.
Backside line is that the 49ers make it onerous to attain factors, and when that’s one thing a crew has already been fighting, it will get even simpler for them to dominate on the defensive aspect of the ball.
Raiders (6-8-0) at Steelers (6-8-0)
Saturday, December 24
5:15 p.m. PT, NFL Internet
The Raiders are using a scorching streak in the intervening time and are taking part in their finest soccer of the season, though it might find yourself being too little too late for the playoffs.
However that received’t cease them from popping out on Saturday and taking part in one other nice sport, this time towards a middling Steelers crew.
Neither of those groups has fairly lived as much as expectations this yr, nevertheless it’s not onerous to see that issues are going higher for the Raiders.
Las Vegas lastly bought wholesome on offense by including tight finish Darren Waller and vast receiver Hunter Renfrow again from accidents.
These two added to operating again Josh Jacobs and vast receiver Davante Adams make for a really harmful offense led by quarterback Derek Carr.
The Steelers are often identified for his or her stout protection however that isn’t the case this yr, though dropping star linebacker T.J. Watt for a number of weeks definitely performs a job in these struggles.
However Pittsburgh is exterior the highest 10 in scoring protection, permitting 22.1 factors per sport. Watt’s absence was fairly detrimental to the passing protection, the place the Steelers have allowed 7.6 yards per try, which is the sixth-most within the league.
The Raiders can definitely reap the benefits of that weak spot with Adams, Renfrow, Waller, and Carr.
However the Raiders have been worse on protection, rating within the backside ten in factors allowed and passing yards allowed.
Fortunately for them, the Steelers will not be as primed to reap the benefits of their opponent’s weak spot.
Led by rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh is averaging the ninth-fewest passing yards per sport and is even worse in relation to yards per try, fourth-fewest.
That units up for the Raiders to win this sport, so long as they’ll execute on offense. If the protection can have average success towards Pittsburgh’s offense, then the gifted Las Vegas offense ought to be capable of rating sufficient factors to get the victory.
Broncos (4-10-0) at Rams (4-10-0)
Sunday, December 25
1:30 p.m. PT, CBS
There’s a excellent risk that this sport is extremely low-scoring. Regardless of going down on Christmas Day, this sport doesn’t determine to be a jolly good time.
The Broncos and Rams are thirty second and thirty first, respectively, in factors per sport this season. And now the Broncos are on backup quarterback Brett Rypien and the Rams are on fourth(?)-string quarterback Baker Mayfield.
The crew that will get to 14 factors first will in all probability be the winner, and if neither crew will get to 14 factors, then all of us lose for watching it.
However the defenses are a distinct story. The Broncos are permitting 18.1 factors per sport, which is the third-fewest within the league, whereas the Rams are giving up 22.9 factors per sport, which is the 18th-fewest within the league.
4 factors might not appear to be that large of a distinction however—belief me—these two defenses are in wildly completely different locations proper now.
A part of that’s as a result of the Rams are with out some key gamers on protection, together with celebrity defensive deal with Aaron Donald, which has led to them taking part in worse these days.
The Broncos are on the opposite aspect of that, having simply bought exterior linebacker Randy Gregory again from harm. So this Denver protection could also be getting even higher down the stretch.
It’s secure to say this sport received’t be probably the most entertaining sport of all time, however it might nonetheless find yourself being enjoyable. We do get to see Mayfield go up towards an excellent protection, in order that may very well be value watching.
The Broncos ought to have the benefit on this one on condition that their protection is by far one of the best power that both crew has, however with the unpredictability on the quarterback positions, this sport might go both approach.
Cardinals (4-10-0) vs Buccaneers (6-8-0)
Sunday, December 25
5:20 p.m. PT, NBC
This is one other matchup that will find yourself disappointing on the sphere, however the best way these two groups match up could be very completely different.
The Buccaneers nonetheless have protection however have been letting that unit down with a horrible offense. The Cardinals, then again, have a stable offense however have paired it with perhaps the worst protection within the league.
And to make issues even worse, Arizona will likely be right down to third-string quarterback Hint McSorley on Sunday, which can make it even more durable for them to attain factors on this stable Tampa Bay protection.
Issues will not be going nice for the Cardinals in any respect. They’ve misplaced 4 straight video games and have scored simply 62 factors in these video games. That’s contrasted by the 114 factors they’ve given up over that span.
So, despite the fact that the Buccaneers will not be in one of the best place themselves, dropping three of the final 4 and nonetheless combating for the NFC South title, they’re nonetheless trending extra positively than their opponent this week.
On the finish of the day, this sport might find yourself being determined by one thing as apparent as quarterback play.
If Tom Brady can outplay McSorley in a much more favorable matchup, which he completely ought to be capable of do, then this could find yourself being a comparatively stressless win for the Buccaneers.
Chargers (8-6-0) at Colts (4-9-1)
Monday, December 26
5:15 p.m. PT, ESPN
The Chargers are able the place they management their very own future. With three video games left all they must do is win out and they’re within the playoffs.
Now, they might nonetheless make the playoffs in the event that they lose a sport however successful all three is clearly preferable.
So, that makes this Monday Night time Soccer sport crucial for Los Angeles.
The Chargers ought to be capable of get a win right here, particularly contemplating the Colts have been affected by an all-time collapse the final time we noticed them on a soccer subject.
And with operating again Jonathan Taylor out for the Colts and quarterback Nick Foles named the starter, issues are wanting good for the Chargers.
It would definitely assist Los Angeles that Taylor is out, which makes the Colts’ run sport far much less harmful. And for the reason that Chargers have one of many worst rush defenses within the league, they are going to be glad to see operating backs Zack Moss and Deon Jackson as a substitute.
The Chargers will even be glad to see a Colts’ protection that’s in towards the underside of the league in opponent’s completion share and quarterback score. Though they fare fairly effectively when it comes to yards per try and sport, this Colts’ secondary is weak.
Quarterback Justin Herbert can definitely reap the benefits of that. He has nice vast receivers similar to Keenan Allen and Mike Williams to throw to and will have one other productive sport on Monday.
The Colts simply don’t appear to be they’re able to beat a possible playoff crew just like the Chargers. However we’ve seen them play effectively at instances, significantly within the first half of final week’s sport, so Los Angeles can’t overlook them in the event that they need to win.
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