As is tradition in the NFL ahead of Christmas, games are not only played on Sunday and Monday, but Saturday as well. Three are on the menu this year, with one of them belonging to the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills who will kick off at 4:30 pm. How about those two other games, however? Are they of any importance for the Patriots? And who should their fans root for? Well, let’s find out.
1:00 pm ET
Houston Texans (9-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-7): NFL Network
Go Buccaneers! While the Patriots are two games ahead of the Texans, there is still a realistic chance that they could overtake them in the standings: if both teams finish with identical records — which happens in case New England loses both games remaining in the regular season while Houston goes 2-0 — then Bill O’Brien’s team would leapfrog his former club in the playoff standings. A Tampa Bay victory today would eliminate this possibility for good, even before the Patriots are playing.
8:15 pm ET
Los Angeles Rams (8-6) at San Francisco 49ers (11-3): NFL Network
Go good game! The game between the two NFC West rivals may have major implications for both — Los Angeles is trying to stay alive in the race for a playoff spot, San Francisco is looking for the top overall seed in the conference — but has little importance from the Patriots’ perspective. Rooting for an entertaining, injury-free game is therefore the way to go.