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Christmas crackers on display as NFL puts on a full weekend spectacle

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Week sixteen of the NFL kicked off on Christmas night with a magical display from Alvin Kamara and the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints gave their fans the perfect Christmas gift on Friday night with a 52-33 demolition of the Minnesota Vikings. Saints running back Alvin Kamara equaled a 91-year record when he scored six rushing touchdowns – a feat last achieved by Ernie Nevers of the Chicago Cardinals in 1929.  Those of us with vested interests in NFL Fantasy Football will understand the sheer magnitude of this feat on what is Championship Weekend. I myself benefited from Kamara’s 56-point performance.

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Divisions are set to be won or lost on a crucial weekend for playoff seedings.  One of the marquee matchups this weekend will be contested between the Los Angeles Rams and the Seattle Seahawks will play for the right to call themselves NFC West Champions. The Rams were left reeling after falling victim to a shock loss last weekend against the previously winless New York Jets. The Rams loss sent shockwaves through the NFL with many reacting to the implications to the NFL Draft order in April.

With that win, the Jets surrendered the first pick of the 2021 Draft and ultimately the opportunity to draft superstar college QB Trevor Lawrence. The Rams complex offense led by Sean McVay and QB Jared Goff will be aiming to secure their playoff spot with victory at Lumen Field. Standing in their way is the ever-resilient Seattle Seahawks guided by the tutelage and experience of Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll. The Seahawks have had an up and down season all things considered. A blistering start saw them shoot out to a 5-0 start before losing three of their next four following their bye week.

Wilson’s early season MVP form soon fizzled out and the Seahawks quickly became a middle of the road team. Finding form in the latter stages of the season has helped the Seahawks emerge as outside contenders… if that can be counted as a term. I wouldn’t put them on the same level as the Packers, Saints or Bucs in the NFC and I don’t think they can contend with the Bills or the Chiefs – but they’ll be in the playoff conversation past the Wild Card weekend.

Elsewhere on the schedule, the Steelers, who started 11-0 have lost three on the bounce and are now posing more questions than answers as we approach the playoffs. This weekend they take on the Colts who are fighting to claim top spot in the AFC South. With their closest rivals, The Tennessee Titans, facing a daunting trip to Green Bay on Sunday Night, Indianapolis will be throwing the kitchen sink at this game to give themselves the best chance of playing post-season football.

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The Steelers will be trying to avoid a cataclysmic collapse from the summit of the AFC North and with the Cleveland Browns hot on their tail, every game doubles in significance.

The NFC East, despite being disastrously poor all season will have an exciting conclusion with the winner yet to be declared. The Eagles and the Cowboys are both still in with a shout of being crowned the champion. This Sunday’s game will go a long way in deciding the divisions fate. The Washington Football Team are in the lead but with two games still to play – anything can happen.

The rest of the schedule has a mixed bag of games, many of which could be talked about for hours on end. Looking across the remaining games, for me, The Raiders and Dolphins will put on an exciting matchup with the result being a coin toss but I’ll take the Dolphins in this one. The Texans should see off the Bengals while the Browns should take care of business with the Jets (I said that last week with the Rams… My words were quickly swallowed).

Baltimore will beat the Giants and the Bears should beat the Jags. The Chiefs are likely to take care of business with the Falcons. The Last time the Broncos and Chargers met, the Broncos stole victory in the last seconds of the game – This time round I believe the game will be equally as close. Both sides have had a disappointing season but have played well in the last couple of weeks. Washington will beat Carolina, Green Bay will see off Tennessee and the Bills will add insult to injury by beating the Patriots on Monday Night Football.

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Michael Lavery writes on behalf of the Irish NFL Show who are in partnership with Pundit Arena. Tune into their Sunday, Monday and Thursday shows every week on Facebook. 

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