NFL Week 16 Preview

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By: Darius Boamah – Staff Writer

Two more game days left in the 2020 NFL season, here are the top five games for this weekend. 

Minnesota Vikings vs. New Orleans Saints Fri @ 4:30 PM FOX, NFL

The Minnesota Vikings travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints for Christmas day football. Both teams will be coming off losses this weekend. The Vikings narrowly lost to the Bears in a very important game for their season. The Vikings are now a game behind the Bears and are sitting in third place in their division. They need wins to secure a playoff spot and there is not much time left to do so. Winning the rest of their games is crucial for their season. Minnesota looked good in their game against Chicago. They showed up on the offensive but they lacked a bit on the defensive end. Kirk Cousins and Dalvin Cook were solid as always, Cousins threw for 271 yards, two touchdowns, and 7.7 yards per pass and Cook rushed for 5.5 yards per attempt and scored a touchdown. Their weakness came on the other end of the field, they allowed Chicago nine yards per pass attempt and almost five yards rushing. On the other side, the Saints also lost in a very close game to the Cheifs. Drew Brees was back in action last weekend and he did not miss a beat from his time away. He threw for 234 yards and three touchdowns. The ultimate blow for the Saints came on the defensive end. The New Orleans defense gave the Cheifs too many opportunities to keep the ball. They were not very efficient and continued to let the Kansas City offense hold the ball. Ultimately that is why the lost, a field goal in the end gave the win to the Cheifs. In this week’s game, both defenses will have to be sharper if they want to be victorious. This game is a lot more important for Minnesota compared with New Orleans so it will be very interesting to watch how both teams play. 

Denver Broncos vs. Los Angeles Chargers Sun @ 4:05 PM CBS, NFL

The Denver Broncos will fly over to Los Angeles for an AFC West divisional matchup. The previous time these two teams met up was a very fun game to watch. They took turns trading blows at each other, but in the end the Broncos came out with the win by one point. This week the Chargers will be looking for revenge. Their season has been bumpy but they are coming off of a big win against the Raiders. Justin Herbert has shown that he is a quarterback to be reckoned with and he proves it every week. Last week Herbert averaged 9.8 yards per pass attempt, threw two touchdowns, and tallied 314 passing yards. In the air the Chargers were very strong, however, on the ground is a different story. Last week, they averaged 3.3 yards per carry and on the year its not much better at 3.8. If the Broncos can get Herbert handing the ball off more instead of throwing the game will be in their favor. The Broncos defense is solid, however they will need to step up if they want to find success against Herbert. Their pass defense is their strongest attribute and they will be able to make it difficult for the Chargers. Their rushing defesne is not great, so if they can force the Chargers to run more, they will need to be very strong on the ground. On the other side of the field, they are not great either. On the year, they are averaging 6.6 yards per pass and 4.4 rushing. Los Angeles does not have a great rush defense and Denver can exploit them on the run. Melvin Gordon and Philip Lindsay are the Broncos’ main rushing men and they can have some fun running all over the Chargers. This will be another good game to watch. Neither of these teams has anything to lose as they are sitting at the bottom of the AFC West with nothing to lose.  

Tennessee Titans vs. Green Bay Packers Sun @ 8:20 PM ESPN, NBC

The Tennessee Titans will fly over to Green Bay this weekend to take on the Packers for primetime Sunday Night Football. These two teams are at the top of their respective divisions. The Packers are four games above second place and have already clinched their division. The Titans are sitting in the top spot, however, the Colts who are in second have the same amount of wins. If the Titans want to keep the first spot, they need to separate themselves from the Colts. The Titans have been very strong this season and have proved that they are a force to be reckoned with. Last week they smacked the Lions. Their offense is their strongest point and they continue to show that. Ryan Tannehill threw for 274 yards, an average of 10 yards per attempt, and three touchdowns. On the run game, Derrick Henry torched another defense, he ran for 147 yards and scored a touchdown. Green Bay has a fairly strong defense and they will defintiely have their hands full this weekend. On the year, they have held teams to about 5 yards per rush attempt and 7.3 per pass. They will need to tighten up their rush defense if they want to handle Henry. On the other end of the field, the Packer are very strong. This year, Aaron Rodgers has thrown for 3,828 yards and is averaging eight yards per pass. Rodgers has strong offensive options with Davante Adams and Aaron Jones. Adams is one of the best receivers in the game and Jones is a great running back. These two will need to be locked up if the Titans want a chance at a win. The Titans have struggled on the defensive end this season and because of that they rely on their offense to get the points. They will not have that luxury in this game because the Packers will punish them. This will be an intense game between two top NFL teams. 

Los Angeles Rams vs. Seattle Seahawks Sun @ 4:25 FOX, NFL

The Los Angeles Rams will travel to Seattle this weekend to take on the Seahawks in a hot NFC divisional matchup. This division is close, the Seahawks have already clinched the wild card in the NFC conference. The Rams on the other hand are are in a close race for the second spot in the division. They have nine wins and right below them, the Cardinals have eight. The Rams were upset last week by the Jets. This was an important game that they dropped and they will need to get back on track if they want to stay ahead of the Cardinals. Last weeks game showed that they are vulnerable and need to work out some things. Jared Goff needs to get back on his game this week. He has been solid through the season and if he shows up against the Seahawks the Rams can find success. The Seahawks do not have a great defense, however, they have been better in the past weeks and will need to keep it up. On the other end of the field, Seattle has been less of themselves. In the beginning of the season the offense was bringing in lots of points. Now, in the past six games, besides the Jets game, they are averaging just 18 points per game. In their match up against Washington last weekend, they scored 20 points. Russel Wilson and the offense have struggled to keep up their high scoring performances. Russ threw 121 yards, one touchdown, and an interception. Compare that to the beginning of the season where he was about 290 yards per game. Russ needs to get back and start connecting with his receivers especially against Los Angeles. The Rams have a very strong defense so it will be paramount for the Seahawks offense to show up. This will be another very interesting game to watch. The Seahawks have clinched the wild card and the Rams need to win the rest of their games, it promises to be a fun game to watch. 

Indianapolis Colts vs. Pittsburgh Steelers Sun @ 1 PM CBS, NFL

The Indianapolis Colts fly over Pittsburgh to take on the Steelers this Sunday. This is another very important game for the playoff picture. The Steelers are at the top of their division, but they have been shaky these past couple of weeks and have now made room for other teams to take their top spot. If they continue this streak of losses, they will lose the top seed. This game will be importnat for them to reclaim what they have lost and get back on a winning streak. The Colts are also in a tight spot in their division. They currently hold the second spot and have the same amount of victories as first place. If they want to take that top spot, winning is a necessity. Indianapolis is on a three game win streak and will be looking to continue their form. Last week they took down the Texans. Phillip Rivers has been on fire, last week, he threw 228 yards, averaged about eight yards per pass, and threw two touchdowns. Rivers has shown that he can be a problem and the Steelers will have to deal with him. Pittsburgh has been shaky on defense and will need to sharpen up or else they will get exposed by the Indianapolis offense. The Steelers will also need to improve on offense. The Colts have a strong defense and will be able to shut the Steelers down if they do not improve their form. Last week, Ben Rothlisberger was 20/38, threw 170 yards, and only one touchdown. Big Ben will definitely need to sharpen up. This game is paramount for both teams and you can expect each of them to come out ready to play.

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