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Week 16 Sunday viewing guide: The Christmas Day games

Your open thread for Sunday’s games

Cleveland Browns v Miami Dolphins Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Merry Christmas, New York Giants fans! The Giants — like most of the other NFL teams — have Sunday off this week.

But, you’ll notice I said “most” of the NFL and not “all” of the NFL. While most of the NFL played yesterday, we still have three games scheduled for Christmas Day. Looking at the games, it’s fair to assume that the NFL’s schedule makers expected the teams playing on Christmas Day to be a lot better than they’ve turned out to be.

Let’s take a quick look at them while we get the cookies and egg nog ready.

Green Bay Packers (6-8) at Miami Dolphins (8-6)

FOX - 1 p.m.

If this game featured the Packers of a couple years ago, it could be one of the best games of the season. As it is, this still might wind up being the best game of the day.

Green Bay has fallen on hard times in 2022. Aaron Rogers no-longer looks like a perennial Pro Bowler and Father Time seems to be catching up to him, and he has obviously missed Devante Adams. That said, rookie wide receiver Christian Watkins has exploded onto the scene in recent weeks and is quickly making good on the incredible athletic ability he put on display at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, have assembled one of the NFL’s best offenses under new head coach Mike McDaniel. The unconventional coach has taken the much-derided Tua Tagovailoa and turned him into one of the most dangerous quarterbacks in the NFL. With McDaniel’s scheme and Tua’s quick release and accuracy, the raw speed of Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill can make for fireworks on any given play.

Denver Broncos (4-10) at Los Angeles Rams (4-10)

CBS, Nickelodeon - 4:30 p.m.

This game features two teams that pretty much everyone expected to be a whole lot better than they are. In fact, a “Broncos vs. Rams” Super Bowl wouldn’t have seemed like an outrageous prediction over the summer. However, Russell Wilson just hasn’t been the same quarterback after his injury-plagued 2021 season, while the Rams have just fallen apart from a year ago.

Baker Mayfield landed in LA with a bang, but couldn’t follow it up a week ago. This time he, Van Jefferson, and Ben Skowronek will take on one of the best defenses in the NFL. I’m sure the NFL schedule makers viewed this as a great fit for Christmas Day, but it might be worth watching on Nickelodeon, if only ironically.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-8) at Arizona Cardinals (4-10)

NBC, Universo - 8:20 p.m.

Finally we come to another game between teams that were expected to be powerhouses in the NFC. This one could have been an incredibly entertaining game, but neither team is what they were expected to be — and the game is made worse by Kyler Murray’s season-ending injury. Murray is an incredibly entertaining quarterback, and his backfield magic and uncanny arm can make even a bad game fun.

Unfortunately, we’ll be watching a game between a Buccaneers team that’s struggled in just about every phase this year, and the Trace McSorley-led Cardinals. Hopefully this will surprise and be a fun game.