This year, the NFL will feature several notable matchups on or around Christmas Day. To look at the best games on the week of the holiday, here are the top five Christmas week matchups to watch.
The criteria for this list is straightforward. Along with the quality of the matchup, the nortiery of the host stadium comes into play, as several of the NFL’s standout venues will be featured around the holiday.
New York Jets at New England Patriots Date: 12/24/2016
This AFC East showdown will take place in Foxboro, as the Patriots play a late-season matchup against the Jets at Gillette Stadium. While the Patriots are running away with the division, this rivalry always makes for a good matchup and it seems reasonable to expect an electric atmosphere as New England fans take in this Christmas Eve contest.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers Date: 12/24/2016
Games at Lambeau Field in December offer a unique atmosphere, but this matchup between the Packers and the Vikings could mean just a little bit more. Since both teams still in the hunt for a wild card spot, the contest may wind up carrying playoff implications. That, the fact that the Packers and Vikings are already a storied rivalry, should make the day at Lambeau Field just a little more memorable.
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs Date: 12/25/2016
Any game at Arrowhead Stadium between these two teams always warrants attention, but this Christmas night matchup should be all the more meaningful. As the Broncos and Chiefs fight for a playoff spot, both teams could enter this game with a lot on the line. With this already being one of the NFL’s best rivalries, the spotlight should be even brighter in Kansas City.
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers Date: 12/25/2016
Another big rivalry, another meaningful game. Currently the Ravens lead the AFC North by virtue of the tiebreaker, but all signs point to this contest at Heinz Field being a major factor in determining who wins the division. Much like the Broncos and Chiefs, any matchup between the Ravens and Steelers is an event onto itself, and the atmosphere will be even more amplified this year.
Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys Date: 12/26/2016
Rounding out this list is a game that will not only be played on one of the NFL’s biggest stages, but that could have major playoff implications. While the Cowboys have already clinched a playoff spot—and will likely wrap up the NFC East by this game—the Lions are trying to ensure that they remain atop the NFC North. While the playoff fates of these teams could be decided by Christmas, the Monday Night Football matchup at AT&T Stadium offers a potential playoff preview, and makes for a perfect way to wrap up the week.
Image courtesy Dallas Cowboys.
This article first appeared in the weekly Football Stadium Digest newsletter. Are you a subscriber? It’s free, and you’ll see features like this before they appear on the Web. Go here to subscribe to the Football Stadium Digest newsletter.