Since we’re deep into the playoff ride to Super Bowl LI, the next few weeks on The TV Weekly are gonna focus on the best NFL games in various periods. Starting with this, we’re taking a look at the top 10 best NFL Games of 2016.
First a ground rule, I’m only focusing on games in the 2016 NFL season, postseason games from the 2015 year and Super Bowl 50 will not be counted on this list. This list is to look at solely the best games of the last four months so without further ado, this is the top 10 best NFL Games of 2016:
10. Denver Broncos @ Kansas City Chiefs – Christmas Day Game
This was a tossup between this game or the Chiefs Chargers game to start week 1 but I picked this one because this was the one when you started to notice how good this Kansas City Chiefs team was because you saw so many great performances from Travis Kelce, Spencer Ware, Tyreek Hill, and quarterback Alec Smith to just decimate the Denver Broncos team that started off so strong earlier in the year. And then, you have Dontari Poe with that touchdown at the end where he just throws it into the endzone like a basketball. What more can you say about this one?
9. Oakland Raiders @ New Orleans Saints – Week 1
This is the game when you started to see that the Oakland Raiders were going to be a force to be reckoned with in the 2016 season, two teams going really strong with a total of over 60 points being scored all leading up to that big 2 point conversion call by Jack Del Rio to give the Raiders the win instead of forcing it into overtime. It’s games like this that make you realize the unfortunate disappointment a really strong season for the Raiders ended on. Another example….well, we’ll get to that later.
8. Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions – Week 17
Although both teams had already clinched a playoff spot following the Redskins loss to the Giants early in the day, this game was still of significant importance to determine who would win the division. The Lions had to prove that they could still be a force after Stafford injured his finger against the Giants earlier in the month. But it was Aaron Rodgers and the Packers that put together the big win and Rodgers showing why he is the quintessential quarterback in the NFL right now with amazing touchdown throws all over the place, Rodgers promised to “run the table” and he proved it big time in this game that he could do just that.
7. Carolina Panthers @ Oakland Raiders – Week 12
Speaking of games that showcased why the Raiders were so good for a good majority of the season, they did such a great job handling the Panthers over in this game. You, of course, then had that moment when Carr injured his finger which allowed the Panthers to come back big time but then Carr came back in to seal that Raiders win along with the assistance of Khalil Mack to ice the game for the Raiders with a strip sack at the very end.
And Carr still proved after that injury that he could still win games…unlike what happened to Matthew Stafford for the Detroit Lions once he broke his finger.
6. Carolina Panthers @ Denver Broncos – Week 1
For the first time in its’ inception, the NFL Kickoff game was a rematch of Super Bowl 50 to see if the Panthers losing to the Broncos was a fluke or was it because the Broncos’ defense was that good…turns out, yeah, the Broncos’ defense was that good. In this game, they proved that they could be that strong of a team without Peyton Manning and Trevor Simian showcased a solid debut as starting QB and the game ended with a close one that came down to the final field goal attempt by Carolina that ended with the Broncos winning after the attempt was no good.
5. Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants – Week 14
At this point, Dallas’ only loss of the season was to the Giants in week 1 so this rematch seemed like a really good chance for the Cowboys to get their revenge right? Turns out, nope. In this game, you never really knew where it was going to go for both teams, the Cowboys came out strong in that beginning but by the end, it became clearer and clearer that the Giants were actually using their home field advantage to the best that they could because they got to the Cowboys enough to pull out a big win in the end and give the Cowboys one of the few losses of that year.
4. Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys – Thanksgiving Day Game
Of all the games on Thanksgiving this year, the Redskins Cowboys was the best one because it was the closest matchup of the three, the Cowboys held their own for much of the game thanks to dominant performances by Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott and while it seemed like the Redskins would find a way to keep coming back, the Cowboys kept them in line all the way to the very end for one of the best wins they had that year.
3. Seattle Seahawks @ Arizona Cardinals – Week 7 & Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks – Week 16
I picked both of these games because they were the most fun to watch. I picked the tied game because it was just awe-inspiring to watch how these two really good football teams just could not get into the endzone whatsoever and to have it come all the way down to a 6-6 tie with two of the biggest WTF field goal attempts ever, it was just fun to watch this and also to watch Al Michaels & Cris Collinsworth and heck, pretty much everybody in that stadium in shock at what had transpired.
The rematch was easily the much more interesting contest if not for the fact that it was neck and neck all the way to the end and just when you think you’re heading into yet another overtime game with these two teams, the Cardinals work their butts off to get that field goal up and good to pull out the win. Two really good games with two different but similar outcomes.
2. Dallas Cowboys @ Pittsburgh Steelers – Week 10
This game was great for a number of reasons. For one thing, it should how slowly but surely the Pittsburgh Steelers were becoming that team that nobody wanted to play, the defense was coming together better, the offense was at its’ best up to that point and it just seemed like something amazing was forming with this team, right down to the Marino-esque fake spike touchdown by Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown that should’ve sealed the game for the Steelers.
But then you also had the Cowboys, who once again gave a dominant performance, easily their best of the season, with a great turn by Elliott and Dez Bryant and more importantly, Dak Prescott. To me, this was the game that made Tony Romo realized that Prescott had everything the Cowboys needed to take this team to the Super Bowl and thus, a few days after this game, Tony Romo made that emotional speech about how Prescott had earned the right to be the quarterback and in this game, Prescott definitely did.
Lastly, what makes this game so great is that is that it did what a lot of the games this year didn’t do, have a close matchup. A lot of this year’s games were mostly blowouts but then you have a game like this where in a matter of literal seconds, one team overtakes the other to take the lead, this was what was missing in a lot of the football games in 2016, which is why the #1 game of the year was so good…
and the #1 best NFL Game of 2016 is…
Baltimore Ravens @ Pittsburgh Steelers – Christmas Day Game
This was everything you could’ve asked for in many of the games this year, two bitter rivals going head to head knowing good and well it was going to be a close matchup and not only that, a division stake is on the line. At this point, the Steelers had lost the last 5 games against the Ravens including a gut-wrenching loss in Baltimore earlier that season so, the Steelers had to realize that they had to win this game not just to take the division (because in this game, all they had to do is win and they were in the playoffs) but had to prove that they could be Baltimore again. And a lot of that came in the fourth quarter, Ravens lead for a good majority of that Christmas Day game but you know that once the fourth quarter began and you had Roethlisberger, Brown, and LeVeon Bell at hand, something amazing was bound to happen and sure enough, crowd got hyped, there was excitement and there was enough there to put the Steelers back in the ball game with a 24 to 20 lead midway through the 4th.
Then after a long drive for the Ravens that lead to a touchdown to put them back in the lead 27 to 24, Roethlisberger led the Steelers down the field with over a minute left all the way to a big play where Ben threw to Antonio Brown who managed to get the ball in the endzone with 9 seconds left to give the Steelers the touchdown in what is now being called The Immaculate Extension (an obvious reference to the Immaculate Reception) and that gave the Steelers the 31 – 27 win to not only beat the Ravens but also win the AFC north division.
It was such an exciting game, even if it wasn’t my first regular season Steelers game I saw at Heinz Field, it still would’ve been a great game to watch regardless for everything that had been setting itself up to that point. This was the definitive game of the year, it did everything a good football game should do, keep you on the edge of your seat right down to the very end with a close matchup and a nice payoff.
That’s why Ravens – Steelers on Christmas Day is the best NFL game of 2016:
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