When the Pittsburgh Steelers host the LA Raiders on Saturday, it will be one of those rare moments in sports where the outcome doesn’t really matter.
Instead, thoughts are with the Steelers legend Franco Harris He died earlier this week at the age of 72.
Harris’ death came days before the 50th anniversary of the “Immaculate Reception,” Harris’ game-winning touchdown catch that led to the Steelers’ famous victory over the Oakland Raiders.
The Steelers will still celebrate the anniversary, but at halftime of the game Harris’ no. 32 will celebrate his career by retiring the jersey.
“We’re all heartbroken, but we look forward to honoring him and his legacy this weekend,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said, according to ESPN.
“And obviously, our focus should be on the preparation needed to put together the kind of performance that would be befitting a great man like Franco.”
On the field, the Steelers will hope to keep their slim playoff chances alive with another win — a franchise that has impressed recently by winning three of its last four.
It’s a similar story for other teams around the NFL, which should be an exciting weekend of action during the Christmas season.
For Chase Young, Christmas comes a day early, with the 23-year-old expected to make his long-awaited season opener for the Commanders on Saturday.
Young hasn’t played since suffering a serious knee injury in November of last year, but coach Ron Rivera said he was excited to finally be back against the 49ers.
“He practiced with confidence,” Rivera told NFL.com of Young’s progress.
“He was willing to put that morning on the ground and roll, plant and cut. He’s had a good week so we’re really excited about that.
The defensive end returned to practice last week, but has slowly increased his activity after an already lengthy rehab process.
After a disappointing loss to the New York Giants on Sunday night, the Chiefs are looking for an immediate impact from the second overall draft pick in 2020.
There isn’t much room for another loss as the regular season comes to a business end.
The Eagles (13-1) and Cowboys (10-4) face off on Saturday. The stakes are high for these division contenders, with postseason positioning on the line.
The Eagles have a chance to win the NFC East and first overall in the NFC, so they get a first-round bye and home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Winning the NFC East will be the biggest challenge for Dallas. They won the playoffs last week, despite losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars. But to win the division, they need to win on Saturday, but win the rest of the season and the Eagles need to lose their remaining games. It’s a tall order, but not impossible.
The last time these teams met, the Cowboys played without starting quarterback Dak Prescott. This time around, the Eagles will be without their starting quarterback, Jalen Hurts.
Hurts sprained his shoulder during last week’s win over the Bears. The injury is not considered long-term and he is expected to return for the postseason. In his absence, Gardner Minshu will take over as the signal caller.
This game is a great opportunity for the Cowboys to get back on track, with home advantage and the benefit of facing a backup. They need this win more than the Eagles, especially after last week’s loss; They need all the momentum they can get in the final weeks of the regular season to make the playoffs.
Watch the NFC East showdown on Saturday at 4:25 p.m.
It will be a nail-biting showdown on Christmas Day as both teams look to keep their wafer-thin postseason hopes alive.
The Dolphins can secure a playoff spot by winning their remaining three games, but could head into Sunday on the back of three straight losses.
Meanwhile, the Packers are coming off back-to-back wins, but their playoff fate is still out of their hands.
They need to win their remaining three games and hope the New York Giants or Washington Commanders slip up.
“The most important thing is we’re still playing a meaningful football game on Christmas and we’ve got a chance to have a lot of things in front of us,” Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers told reporters.
“We’ve got to go down and get a win, I said a few weeks ago, we get one and then we get another and things look a little different in this game. We get this one and things look a little different going into the next one.
The Bears (3-11) will welcome the Bills (11-3) to Chicago.
The forecast underestimated freezing temperatures, gusty winds and severe winter weather, which could be a major factor in the outcome of this game. Although both teams are used to playing in unfavorable conditions, their game plans will have to be adjusted according to the elements.
This game features two quarterbacks who can build in both the run game and the passing game. However, they are very efficient in opposite ways.
Bears quarterback Justin Fields rushes very effectively, while Bills quarterback Josh Allen has the edge through the air. With no obvious weapons on the receiving end, the Bears try to run the ball as much as possible. Their performance on the field is not affected by harsh winds and winter weather.
On the other hand, the Bills cannot rely on their excellent passing game; Allen must adjust to how the wind affects his accuracy. For these reasons, bears are slightly more likely to present bills with regret.
Kickoff is set for Saturday at 1 p.m. ET.
Finally, the Bengals (10-4) have a shot at a playoff spot against the Patriots (7-7).
If they win or tie, or the Jets lose or tie, they will secure their spot in the postseason. The Patriots are on the outside of the playoff picture. They will need a win on Saturday to keep their hopes alive.
The Pats will host the Bengals at a freezing Gillette Stadium. They enter this game fresh off an embarrassing last-second loss to the Raiders in Week 15. They have struggled this season due to inexperienced leadership and questionable coaching decisions.
Cincinnati has won its last six games and is in the midst of its hottest stretch of the season. Quarterback Joe Burrow hit his stride in the most important part of the regular season and is poised for power in the postseason.
To win this game, the Bengals will need to come out strong and advance early; They have to beat New England. The Patriots will be playing without three starters, meaning they are already operating from a disadvantage. If the Bengals come out of the gate and score early points, it will be difficult for the Pats to crawl out of the deficit.
Tune in Saturday at 1pm ET to see who comes out on top.
Here’s how to catch these teams and others across the league, wherever you are.
Australia: NFL Game Pass, ESPN, 7Plus
Brazil: NFL Game Pass, ESPN
Canada: CTV, TSN, RDS, NFL Game Pass on DAZN
Germany: NFL Game Pass, ProSieben MAXX, DAZN
Mexico: NFL Game Pass, TUDN, ESPN, Fox Sports, Sky Sports
UK: NFL Game Pass, Sky Sports, ITV, Channel 5
US: NFL Game Pass, CBS Sports, Fox Sports, ESPN, Amazon Prime