The NFL Week 16 is one of the most noteworthy Sundays of the season. Though the NFL Week 16 serves as the last Sunday of 2009, it isn’t the last one of the season by a longshot. Afterwards, there will still be one more climactic week to determine the final playoff berths, and the first round matchups. Yet NFL Week 16 will go a long way towards figuring out how much is still at stake – and whether things will get easier or harder to sort out.
The 1:00 games are highlighted by another battle in Pittsburgh. Week 16 has been circled on the Steelers and Ravens calenders all year, but the stakes are a lot different than they first thought. The latest Steelers-Ravens war in Pittsburgh could be an elimination game, as the Ravens close in on a playoff berth and the Steelers just try to stay alive.
Two division titles can be clinched in the first part of NFL Week 16, as the Bengals and Patriots can lock up crowns with wins at home over the Chiefs and Jaguars. The Giants are just trying to keep pace in the playoff race, as they play their last game at the Meadowlands against the Panthers. They will be scoreboard watching as well, as they root for the Seahawks to upset the Packers.
The Dolphins and Texans face off in an elimination game, while the no longer perfect Saints try to lock up home field against the Bucs. After these NFL Week 16 games are finished, the winners and losers will go to their locker rooms, to root for or against certain teams.
The 4:15 game in Indianapolis doesn’t have a lot at stake, though both teams have something to play for. The Colts, of course, are trying to stay perfect – though no one knows how hard they will go for it as the game goes on. The Jets certainly hope they hit the brakes, as they try to stay alive after their gut-wrenching loss to the Falcons last week.
The Jets and all the 8-7 teams left will be rooting for the Eagles to beat the Broncos, as Philadelphia inches closer to their own division title. The Cowboys, on the other hand, will root for Denver before taking the field at Washington tonight. If they win, their clash against the Eagles in Week 17 will be a de-facto NFC East championship game.
The NFL Week 16 games could go a long way to clearing up what’s left of the playoff picture. Conceivably, every single division title could be clinched by the end of the day, though at least one or two wild card spots should remain at stake.
The AFC playoff race will get the most attention, as a slew of 8-7 teams could be tied for two wild card spots – or the Broncos and Ravens could finally pull away. The NFC wild card picture and the NFC East are the last undecided races in that conference, and they could also get cleared up today, or go down to the last week.
Objective fans probably hope that the NFL Week 16 will be chaotic, so that the climactic Week 17 will be as dramatic as possible. At least one playoff chase should come down to the end – its just a matter of what chase it will be. There are no shortage of candidates, and that list could be narrowed down in just seven hours – or not.
Gather.com- “2009 NFL TV Schedule Week 16 – Do Or Die Time”
Bleacher Report- “NFL Week 16: Fearless Forecast”