NFL TV Schedule Week 16: When and Where to Watch This Week's Top Games

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 19, 2012

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 16:  Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans runs the ball during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at at Reliant Stadium on December 16, 2012 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

With countless playoff scenarios are yet to be decided and fantasy football championships being played across the world, Week 16's slate of games may carry the most implications of any this season. 

Obviously, that means behinds will be glued to couches all weekend long, with the only movements being to grab another beverage or pay the delivery man. 

There is no Thursday Night Football or Monday Night Football program this week. Instead, it is replaced by one Saturday night game and a cabal of contests to be decided on Sunday.

With so many games in store, it can be frustrating for fans knowing when and where to watch the best games. Luckily, we're here to help.

Here is a look at a complete breakdown of the Week 16 NFL schedule, along with when and where to watch the week's best contests. 

Minnesota Vikings at Houston Texans

When: Sunday, Dec. 23 at 1 p.m.

Where: Reliant Stadium in Houston, TX

Watch: Fox/NFL Sunday Ticket

Two teams, two wholly different playoff implications for this game on Sunday.

With a win, the Vikings would continue to place themselves in the driver's seat for the No. 6 seed in the NFC. The Cowboys, Giants and Bears are all on their heels, so a loss would likely spell doom in Minnesota.

Meanwhile, the Texans need just one more win to clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Though they will have two chances to get the job done, a win on Sunday would give Gary Kubiak an opportunity to rest banged-up starters for up to two weeks instead of just one. 

All signs point to Houston getting the job done. Though Adrian Peterson has been an absolute monster down the stretch, the Texans are fifth in the NFL against the run and have allowed only three rushing touchdowns all season. 

And even if Peterson gets over 100 yards and has a great game, it's impossible to trust Christian Ponder at this point. In the Vikings' last eight games, Ponder has thrown for under 100 yards more times (three) than he has over 200 yards (two).

Houston's defense has shown some weakness against the pass this year, but it's hard to have faith in the 25th ranked quarterback, according to Football Outsiders' DVOA rankings.

Texans win handily and walk away as the top dog in the AFC.

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers

When: Sunday, Dec. 23 at 1 p.m.

Where: Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pa. 

Watch: CBS/NFL Sunday Ticket

Essentially, the Bengals hold their playoff life in their hands on Sunday. A win and they have locked up a wild-card spot and still have an outside shot at winning the AFC North if Baltimore continues to falter.

A loss to Pittsburgh, however, puts Cincinnati in an untenable situation, as the Steelers would have the head-to-head tiebreaker over their division rivals. That would put Cincinnati's fate directly in the hands of other teams' outcomes in Week 17.

Pittsburgh essentially holds the same cards. Win out and you're in the playoffs. One loss on Sunday later, though, and it's going to be a long, long winter in the Steel City.

Unfortunately for Steelers fans, their 2012 journey will essentially end on Sunday. The team has lost four of its last five games, including defeats against the Browns and Chargers, as neither the offense nor defense can play a full 60 minutes.

Playing against a Bengals squad that has won five of six and lost that one game by a single point, it just feels like there are too many mitigating factors working against Pittsburgh this week. It won't be a blowout by any means, but look for Cincinnati to come away with a hard-fought victory and propel itself to the playoffs.

San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks

When: Sunday, Dec. 23 at 8:20 p.m.

Where: CenturyLink Field in Seattle, WA

Watch: NBC/SNF All-Access

While undoubtedly the best game of the week on paper, this is likely a game with empty implications in the NFC West. The 49ers play the Cardinals next week, and I'm not breaking any barriers here by calling that just about the lock of the century. That win, even with a loss on Sunday, would propel San Francisco to divisional supremacy.

Winning on Sunday means relatively little to the Seahawks as well. A win over a divisional rival would be nice, but all they need is one win to lock up a wild-card spot, and it seems nearly unfathomable that the Rams would win in Seattle next week. 

Nevertheless, don't expect either team to take its foot off the gas. A mere chance alone at a division championship is enough to make Pete Carroll do the Super Bowl shuffle, while Jim Harbaugh's squad still has a chance at a first-round bye.

In the teams' first matchup, well, quarterback play wasn't at its finest hour. Russell Wilson and Alex Smith combined for 262 passing yards and the game's lone touchdown was a 12-yard score from the former Niners starter to Delanie Walker. 

The matchup should play out a little differently this time. Wilson is leaps and bounds above the player he was in Week 7 and should be mentioned alongside Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck, but is somewhat ignored for some inane reason. And Colin Kaepernick has brought life to San Francisco's offense that Smith never truly could.

I'm picking the Seahawks because I have to see them lose at home to believe it. But this truly could go either way. 

Date Time (ET) Network  Away  Home 
 Saturday, Dec. 22 8:30 p.m. ESPN  Atlanta Falcons  Detroit Lions
 Sunday, Dec. 23 1 p.m. CBS  Buffalo Bills  Miami Dolphins
 Sunday, Dec. 23 1 p.m. CBS  Cincinnati Bengals  Pittsburgh Steelers
 Sunday, Dec. 23 1 p.m. CBS  Indianapolis Colts  Kansas City Chiefs
 Sunday, Dec. 23 1 p.m. FOX  Minnesota Vikings  Houston Texans
 Sunday, Dec. 23 1 p.m. CBS  New England Patriots  Jacksonville Jaguars
 Sunday, Dec. 23 1 p.m. FOX  New Orleans Saints  Dallas Cowboys
 Sunday, Dec. 23 1 p.m. CBS  Oakland Raiders  Carolina Panthers
 Sunday, Dec. 23 1 p.m. CBS  San Diego Chargers  New York Jets
 Sunday, Dec. 23 1 p.m. FOX  St. Louis Rams  Tampa Bay Buccaneers
 Sunday, Dec. 23 1 p.m. CBS  Tennessee Titans  Green Bay Packers
 Sunday, Dec. 23 1 p.m. FOX  Washington Redskins  Philadelphia Eagles
 Sunday, Dec. 23 4:05 p.m. CBS  Cleveland Browns  Denver Broncos
 Sunday, Dec. 23 4:25 p.m. FOX  Chicago Bears  Arizona Cardinals
 Sunday, Dec. 23 4:25 p.m. FOX  New York Giants  Baltimore Ravens
 Sunday, Dec. 23 8:20 p.m. NBC  San Francisco 49ers  Seattle Seahawks


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