Posted on: December 26, 2022, 03:45h.
Last updated on: December 26, 2022, 03:45h.
A blistery cold caused by a so-called Artic bomb cyclone draped itself across most of the US this Christmas weekend but, for the most part, didn’t interrupt the packed NFL schedule. As Santa was making his rounds, some teams received some unexpected gifts, while others apparently couldn’t get on the right side of the naughty-and-nice list.
The Baltimore Ravens and the L.A. Rams gave outstanding performances – the Cleveland Browns and the New England Patriots, once again, not so much. The playoff picture continues to shape up, although there are still a couple of question marks.
There’s no more time for teams to figure out who they want to be this season; that ship sailed a long time ago. There are only two weeks left in the regular season and it’s now or never for a couple with their playoff hopes still alive.
NFL Christmas Misses
The Atlanta Falcons couldn’t get the job done on Christmas Eve against the Baltimore Ravens. They took a 17-9 loss that ended any chance of earning a playoff spot, and it’s now time to start thinking about next year.
The Ravens (10-5) played one of their best games of the year, although that’s not saying much, given how their season has gone. QB Tyler Huntley was effective at moving the chains, but the defense is what gave Baltimore the win.
The Seattle Seahawks and QB Geno Smith couldn’t get much done against the Kansas City Chiefs defense this weekend. The offense has fallen into a slump recently, and another 24-10 loss isn’t helping.
Perhaps taking the field, with its -2 temperatures, shirtless wasn’t the best move for Seattle’s players. They may have literally frozen up once the game began. While there were a couple of times the Seahawks could have taken control, they ultimately failed.
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The Browns weren’t good enough against the New Orleans Saints, who keep their playoff aspirations alive following Saturday’s 17-10 victory. Despite all the troubles the Saints have had this year, the Browns weren’t strong enough.
Cleveland allowed the Saints to put up 17 unanswered points in their own backyard. The Browns, which have finished at the bottom of the AFC North 14 times in the past 20 seasons, gave the Saints another gift, too. New Orleans is now 5-0 when playing on the road on Christmas Eve.
NFL Christmas Hits
The Cincinnati Bengals pulled off another strong performance as they took down the New England Patriots 22-18 on Saturday. However, it almost didn’t go their way.
The Pats were in scoring position late in the game when they turned over the ball. Cincinnati made it impossible for them to mount any type of revenge at that point, and New England, dirty plays and all, drop to 7-8 on the season.
The Dallas Cowboys lit up after initially allowing the Philadelphia Eagles to take control. With their 40-34 win on Saturday, they made the NFC East division race more difficult.
The Boys secured a wild card spot in a game that bookmakers always thought they would take. However, the Eagles are now feeling the pressure. They need a win in one of their two remaining games to claim the top seed in the division.
The Rams, who will miss the playoffs, had no trouble taking down the Denver Broncos yesterday. Their decisive 51-14 win was an echo of the same aggression with which they played last year, but which has been lacking this season.
QB Baker Mayfield had a stellar performance as he apparently starts to get into a groove with the Rams. He put up 230 yards and two aerial TDs, giving running back Cam Akers three gifts for additional scores.
It didn’t help that Russell Wilson was having a horrible day for the Broncos. The QB couldn’t avoid constant pressure from the Rams defense, putting up three interceptions and taking six sacks.
Elsewhere, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers moved closer to taking the NFC South with their 19-16 OT win against the Arizona Cardinals. The Green Bay Packers dampened the Miami Dolphins’ spirits with their 26-20 victory. The Fins’ AFC playoff hopes faded a little with the loss.
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