NFL Week 16 schedule: dates, games, times
A look at all of the NFL matchups for Week 16 and Christmas, where some will clinch, some will keep the flame going and some will drop out of contention
As the 2021 NFL season comes into the final furlong, some doors are beginning to close, while others are showing cracks of light. The AFC has yet to have anyone clinch the division, and while some trends are evident, there are no forgone conclusions in this Wild West showdown. Over in the NFC, the Packers have clinched the NFC North, but in the South, the Bucs were denied by their continued historical inability to deal with the Saints.
Week 16 kicks off with Thursday Night Football as the (8-6) San Francisco 49ers look to strengthen their Wild Card bid, travelling to Nashville to face the AFC South Division leaders, the (9-5) Tennessee Titans.
Christmas Day will bring us two games. The afternoon game will see a gridiron classic as Lambeau Field hosts the (7-7) Cleveland Browns in their clash with the (11-3) Green Bay Packers. The Browns’ Wild Card hopes are all but over, but they still have a sting in their tail and might still be able to keep the number one seed out of the Packers’ hands.
And as we settle into Christmas night, the (8-6) Indianapolis Colts travel to Glendale to face the (10-4) Arizona Cardinals. In an AFC race that is as tight as anything you can imagine, a slip now could see the Colts slip from Wild Card contention, while the once-mighty Cardinals are looking decidedly faltering after their Week 15 loss to the lowly Detroit Lions.
Boxing Day Sunday will see the bulk of the regular season games being played, with a few key games to keep your eye on. Tampa Bay has the chance to belatedly clinch a playoff berth in the NFC, while across the table in the AFC the Kansas City Chiefs can do likewise. Both have solid opponents in the Panthers and Steelers so expect a few sparks to fly.
Another matchup that is make-or-break for both teams is the Broncos vs Raiders game. Both of these teams have been on the cusp of the Wild Card spots for most of the season, and have seen their recent fortunes slide. In a tight AFC though, a win sees one of them stay within fingertip reach of the playoffs while the other will see their hopes all but extinguished.
Week 16 action will be rounded out with a Monday Night Football game in the Superdome as the (7-7) Miami Dolphins take on the (7-7) New Orleans Saints. Both of these are struggling to keep the playoffs in sight and with the Saints offense struggling through an injury-killed season, their superb defense is going to be called on to hold the line.