Miami Dolphins @ Las Vegas Raiders will headline the Boxing Day triple header announced by the league, Monday
The National Football League announced this afternoon that there will be three games on Saturday, December 26th all featuring teams in the playoff hunt. These three games are only part of a mega Christmas week that has football on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
The Minnesota Vikings will travel to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to face off against the New Orleans Saints on Christmas Day (Friday 25th) to kick off the packed Christmas schedule. It’s the rematch of last year’s wildcard game which saw Kirk Cousins find Kyle Rudolph in overtime to shock the Saints.
Drew Brees will be eligible to come off IR at that point, but it’s uncertain whether he’ll be recovered. If the future HOFer can’t suit up that isn’t that bad as the offense is just as entertaining with Taysom Hill at the helm. Kickoff will be at 21:30 GMT, 16:30 ET on FOX and NFL Network.
Boxing Day then falls on December 26th, a time to recover from the whirlwind of Christmas day and relax with the family, unless you work in retail. The NFL opted for a triple header featuring four teams with a pretty decent shot at a playoff game.
First up will be Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers traveling to Ford Field for the early game to take on a now head coach and GM less Detroit Lions. If I’m being honest this ain’t the most exciting game of the bunch and if the Bucs don’t win this game they’ve really got a problem. The matchup will be broadcast on NFL Network and will kickoff at 18:00 GMT, 13:00 ET.
The next game will make history, it will be the first to only be broadcast on streaming services (Amazon Prime and Twitch) across America. They’ve chosen a pretty good first game too as Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins will face off against the likes of Richard Sherman and Arik Armstead on the 49ers defense. The second Boxing Day matchup will also be broadcast at 21:30 GMT, 16:30 ET.
Finally, the biggest of them all and the one with the most on the line, it’s Saturday Night Football on Boxing Day. Brian Flores’ Miami Dolphins will take on Jon Gruden’s Las Vegas Raiders in a crucial matchup for the AFC Playoff race. The now 7-4 Fins occupy the six seed as it stands, whilst the Raiders are placed in the ‘In the Hunt’ column at 6-5.
Tua Tagovailoa may be back for this game, it is four weeks away after all, but that isn’t certain as the NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo reported this week. Tua’s thumb injury could mean a multigame absence. That means he’s officially week to week. Whether it’s Ryan Fitzpatrick or Tua, the Dolphins are confident they can still win games with either one of them at QB. As this one is a primetime matchup, kickoff will be at the usual time of 20:15 ET, which is 01:15 GMT on Sunday Morning for us in the UK.
The NFL have put together some pretty great games for the Christmas and Boxing Day period. They are on top of the rest of the Week 16 schedule which already has a few mouthwatering meetings like Tennessee @ Green Bay. We also see two playoff calibre teams in Pittsburgh and Indianapolis face-off, and finally a crucial game in the race for the NFC East.