Just like any other Monday night, there will be football tonight along with a bonus afternoon matchup. The Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Houston Texans at 4:30 p.m. Eastern on NBC. The Philadelphia Eagles host the Oakland Raiders in the traditional Monday Night Football time slot of 8:30 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
The Steelers are competing with the Jaguars and Patriots for the top two playoff seeds in the AFC. Pittsburgh looks to bounce back after blowing a fourth quarter lead last week against New England. There is much less at stake for the Texans, who lost rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson to a season-ending injury earlier in the year.
Pittsburgh received bad news last Sunday when Antonio Brown went down with a calf injury, and will miss at least the rest of the regular season. Ben Roethlisberger admitted on his radio show (via 247 Sports) he is not fond of playing on Christmas.
As long as [Christmas is] on Sunday [I don’t mind playing]. I don’t like that it’s on Monday. My wife and I have had the discussions on how we’re gonna do Christmas. I’m sure it’s fun for you and the fans, they love it, but as players we’re human too and would want to spend it with their family.
Roethlisberger may not like playing on the holiday, but the Steelers quarterback has a strong track record of playing well in primetime games.
Philadelphia lost Carson Wentz for the season, and find themselves with some difficult decisions on who to play the next two weeks given the Eagles have already won the NFC East. In an interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia, Doug Pederson admitted they will consider all their options, but the Eagles immediate goal is to win their Christmas Day matchup with the Raiders.
I’ve begun thinking [about resting players], but my focus is winning the game on Monday night. Because that, to me, is the most important thing. Once we get to next week, we’ll figure out next week. But my mindset this week is all about the Oakland Raiders, Monday Night Football.
The Eagles still are competing with the Minnesota Vikings for what team gets the top seed, and home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Oakland is in a different situation as the Raiders have less than a one percent chance to make the postseason.
Nick Foles looked solid in his first outing since taking over the reigns from Wentz. Foles threw for 237 yards and four touchdowns while completing more than 63 percent of his passes last week against the Giants. Foles brings experience as a starting NFL quarterback with 36 prior career starts in his six seasons in the league. Foles best season came as the Eagles starter under Chip Kelly in 2013. In 10 games as a starter, Foles threw for 2,891 yards, 27 touchdowns while completing 64 percent of his passes which earned him a spot in the Pro Bowl.
Here’s a look at the 2017 Christmas Day NFL schedule for Week 16.
NFL Christmas Day Schedule 2017
|TIME (ET)/TV CHANNEL
|Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Houston Texans
|4:30 p.m./NBC & NFL Network
|Oakland Raiders vs. Philadelphia Eagles