Fox Sports is airing back to back games in Week 16 in the NFL. All three games include playoff teams and some serious playoff contenders including what looks to be a shootout in Philly. Josh has you covered with a preview of all the games airing on Foxt.
Indianapolis Colts @ Kansas City Chiefs
When and Where: Monday December 23, Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Coverage: LIVE on Fox Sports 2 (via Foxtel), 5:00 am AEST
What could be a preview of a Wild Card weekend in the AFC playoffs, the Colts travel to the hostile crowd of Arrowhead to face the Kansas City Chiefs.
Defensive MVP candidate Robert Mathis broke the Colts' single-season and career records for sacks by forcing a safety in the second half last week. The Colts totaled four sacks and Darrius Butler picked of Keenum twice in their near shutout victory of the Texans in Week 15. Griff Whalen was activated to the roster and reminded Colts fans of Austin Collie catching passes in the slot. The Chiefs are susceptible in the passing game being ranked 20th in the NFL so a big game from Andrew Luck is the key to the Colts success. The Colts 27th ranked rush defense will need to step it up to shutdown the explosive Jamaal Charles.
The Chiefs snapped a three game losing streak with a huge win over the Oakland Raiders thanks to some great screen passing by Alex Smith to Jamaal Charles. Charles had a monstrous day with eight receptions for 195 yards and four touchdowns through the air. The Raiders defense however held him in check on the ground only rushing for 34 yards. The Chiefs secondary picked off the Raiders five times in a dominant display. Matt McGloin is no Andrew Luck so the secondary will have to be on its toes in shutting him down.
Watch Out For: Jamaal Charles. Charles rushed for 226 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries last year when he faced the Colts. With the Colts defense struggling to stop the run all season, expect some similar numbers.
Final Word and Prediction: Both teams still have a shot at earning a first round bye thanks to some surprising results last week so both teams will be playing hard. Both bounced back last week and will look to continue that. Arrowhead is a tough place to win and for that reason the edge is with the Chiefs, despite the Colts record against the elite teams this season.
Chiefs 28 - 20
Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks
When and Where: Monday December 23, CenturyLink Field, Seattle, WA
Coverage: LIVE on Fox Sports 2 (via Foxtel), 8:05 am AEST
The Cardinals need to win their last two games to have any shot at a playoff berth. If they can beat the Seahawks at fortress CenturyLink they probably deserve a playoff spot. Seattle have been flawless at home, including embarrassing Drew Brees and the Saints. The Seahawks can claim home-field advantage through the NFC with a win here.
The last time these two met at Seattle the Seahawks embarrassed the Cardinals with a 58 point shutout. Bruce Arians has since taken over the Cardinals and their new look offense has been able to score points through Carson Palmer and a solid run game in Rashard Mendenhall and rookie Andre Ellington. Earlier this season they managed 22 points in a loss to the Seahawks but Carson Palmer was sacked seven times and intercepted twice. After that loss, Palmer has managed a passer rating of 106.0 but this will again be the true test of his ability. Containing Russell Wilson will be the toughest thing this elite defense will have to do all year.
Facing the number one run defense in the NFL, the Seahawks gameplan will involve Russell Wilson heavily and with his incredible home record, why wouldn't you. Wilson have never lost at home in his career and has a 119.2 passer rating which includes 29 touchdowns and only six interceptions. With Tyrann Mathieu on IR, the Cardinals secondary is more vulnerable than ever. Expect a monster game from Russell Wilson and relatively quiet game from Marshawn Lynch. Look for the Beast to explode however come playoff time.
Watch Out For: Richard Sherman and Patrick Peterson. These two are arguably the best corners in the NFL and both are impressive athletes. Watch them both try to outdo each other in what may determine who is named All-Pro at the end of the season.
Final Word and Prediction: Seahawks at home. It is as simple as that.
Seattle 31 - 10
Chicago Bears @ Philadelphia Eagles
When and Where: Monday December 23, Lincoln Field, Philadelphia, PA
Coverage: LIVE on ESPN, 12:30 pm AEST
There are some blockbuster games this week in the NFL but this will definitely be the toast of them all. Both teams are in line for a divisional title thanks to some monumental stuff ups by Dallas and Detroit. Both teams have high powered explosive offenses and both teams have questions on defense. Shoot out alert.
Here are the scenarios: If Dallas loses at Washington earlier in the day, the Eagles will claim the NFC East with a victory against the Bears. If Dallas wins (more likely, it is Washington) this game between the Eagles and Bears becomes less relevant because even with a loss the NFC East will be up for grabs in Week 17 when Philadelphia visit Dallas.
The Bears will earn the NFC North crown with a win against Philly if second place Green Bay loses at Pittsburgh and the Lions don't beat the Giants at Ford Field. Of those rivals if only the Lions lose than this game wont mean as much to Chicago because regardless of the result it would face the Packers for the division next week.
HOWEVER, despite the results of other teams a victory here will give the winner the edge for the number three seed. Despite all this Chip Kelly has stated he will not rest starters and the Lions will likely beat the Giants meaning it is game on for both sides.
The Eagles have looked superb since Foles took over earlier this year but all that was questioned when they were smashed by a Vikings team that has struggled all season. You know your secondary has issues when Matt Cassel throws for 382 yards. This will be put to the test even further when they face the best wide receiving duo in the NFL in Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall. Both have been phenomenal over the last month no matter who the quarterback is. LeSean McCoy, the leading rusher in the NFL, faces the worst run defense in the NFL. Need I explain more? He should have a monster game.
Who to Watch For: There is so many superstars in this game its hard to pick one, the thing to watch is the 5th best passing attack against the 31st best pass defense and the number 1 ranked rushing attack against the 32nd ranked rushing defense.
Final Word and Prediction: This game will have a tonne of points and will most likely be decided inside the final two minutes. At the end of the day Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery can make the clutch catches and that will be the difference maker.
Bears 39 - 31
- How do you see these games playing out?
- Let us know in the comments below.
- The team at US Sport Down Under wish you all a very Merry Christmas.