Merry Christmas to all of you that celebrate this joyful holiday. Take the time to spend time with family by sitting in the couch and watching some Christmas Day football. They first game will be the 11-3 Pittsburgh Steelers taking on the 4-10 Houston Texans in Houston at 4:30pm on NFL Network. The Steelers will be looking to grab hold of the 1 seed after their loss to the Patriots by getting a win in NRG Stadium. The final game will be the 6-8 Oakland Raiders traveling to Lincoln Financial Field to take on the 12-2 Philadelphia Eagles at 8:30pm on ESPN. The Eagles will be looking to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs with a win while the Raiders will play spoiler to ruin those chances for the Eagles. With all of this said, let’s get into the matchups.
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Houston Texans; 4:30pm
1. Steelers Receivers without Antonio Brown
Ben Roethlisberger will be paying without his favorite receiver in Antonino Brown after he suffered a partially torn calf last week against the Patriots. Juju Smith-Schuster, Eli Rogers, Martavis Bryant, and Jesse James will need to step up if they want to come away with a victory. The Texans defense ranks 27th in passing yards per game allowed (247.8) and only have Kareem Jackson as a solid cornerback to cover one of the Steelers receivers. This matchup is favorable for Big Ben and he must take advantage of it.
2. Le’Veon Bell Vs Texans Run Defense
Last week, Bell had a big game against the Patriots as he ran for 117 yards and a TD and caught 5 passes for 48 yards. He should have a similar performance against a Texans defense that ranks 10th in rushing yards per game allowed (106.9). Since Bell is can do everything, expect him to get more targets coming out of the backfield as the Texans do not have a person that can matchup well with Bell. It’ll be fun to see how many TDs he scores on Christmas.
3. T.J. Yates Vs Steelers Defense
Yates is coming off a performance he’ll want to forget because he only completed 12 of 31 passes for 128 yards, a TD and an interception while also scoring 7 points which was late in the 4th quarter.yares has another tough challenge opahead of him as he faces a Steelers defense that ranks 5th in passing yards per game allowed (206.7). Considering Yates has a leaky offensive line, the Steelers should be able to keep the run game and passing game in check come Christmas.
Bold Prediction: Le’Veon Bell racks up 200 scrimmage yards and 3 TDs.
Oakland Raiders @ Philadelphia Eagles; 8:30pm
1. Derek Carr Vs Eagles Defense
Derek Carr will be looking to have a much better performance against the Eagles this week as he threw for only 171 yards, 2 TDs and fumbled inside the 5-yard line to end the Raiders chances of winning the game as it occurred within the last 2 minutes of the game. Carr will be looking to bounce back against an Eagles defense that ranks 22nd in passing yards per game allowed (237.7) and allowed Eli Manning to throw for over 400 yards and throw 3 TDs last week which should be motivation for Carr to do well on Monday. However, the Eagles defense plays much better at home and will still give Carr problems with their feisty front seven.
2. Nick Foles Vs Raiders Defense
What a way to shut up a lot of critics and people who didn’t believe in Foles by throwing 4 TDs against the Giants and setting the offense up for key field goal in the game. Foles is certainly capable of doing the same on Christmas against a Raiders defense that ranks 23rd in passing yards per game allowed (238.6) and have only intercepted opposing quarterbacks 4 times which ranks as the fewest in the NFL. The Raiders defense need Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin to get to Foles to keep the offense in check or else Foles will shred them on national TV.
3. Eagles Running Backs Vs Raiders Run Defense
The Eagles are coming off a solid performance on the ground against the Ginats last week where they racked up 108 rushing yards on the ground and now face a Raiders defense that ranks 15th in rushing yards per game allowed (110.7). The Eagles will need to run the ball well to take pressure off of Nick Foles and to set up the play action game to neutralize the pass rush of Oakland. If they can do this, Philly will be coming out of this game with home-field advantage through the playoffs.
Bold Prediction: Nick Foles throws 4 more TDs and 250 yards on Christmas night.