Sunday, May 26, 2024

2024 NFL Schedule Release Commences with Chiefs-Steelers Clash, Ravens-Texans Duel Highlights Christmas Doubleheader on Netflix

HomeSports News2024 NFL Schedule Release Commences with Chiefs-Steelers Clash, Ravens-Texans Duel Highlights Christmas...

In a groundbreaking move, the NFL has scheduled an audacious Christmas Day doubleheader, exclusively streaming on Netflix for the first time in league history.

The opening act will feature the Kansas City Chiefs embarking on a quest to conquer the Pittsburgh Steelers at the hallowed Acrisure Stadium. In the crescendo of the holiday showcase, the Baltimore Ravens will take their talents to NRG Stadium, where they’ll clash with the Houston Texans in a battle of titans.

All four combatants etched their names in the annals of postseason glory the previous year, with the Ravens and Texans engaging in a divisional round duel that saw Baltimore emerge victorious in resounding fashion, 34-10.

The NFL’s embrace of Christmas Day contests has intensified in recent years, a stark contrast to the league’s erstwhile aversion to scheduling games on this hallowed date. This year’s yuletide extravaganza marks the fourth consecutive season with at least one game on December 25th and the third straight year with multiple clashes, including last year’s Christmas tripleheader.

While the Chiefs eventually righted their ship, last Christmas proved a bitter pill to swallow. They were dealt a staggering blow by the Raiders at home, succumbing to defeat despite their opponents failing to complete a single pass after the first quarter – a perplexing twist of fate that left the football world in disbelief.

This time around, they’ll embark on a journey to the hallowed grounds of Acrisure Stadium, a venue they haven’t graced since 2018. The Chiefs trail in the all-time head-to-head series against the Steelers, 23-14, but they’ve emerged victorious in their last three meetings, a burgeoning dominance they’ll look to extend.

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Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs’ talismanic signal-caller, has never tasted defeat at the hands of the Steelers as a starter. His record stands unblemished at 3-0, including a resounding 42-21 triumph in the 2021 playoffs at Arrowhead. In those three starts, Mahomes has authored a masterclass in precision, completing an astonishing 76 of his 97 pass attempts (76.4%) for 988 yards, while orchestrating 14 touchdowns and surrendering a mere single interception.

Travis Kelce, Mahomes’ trusted lieutenant, was absent for the Boxing Day clash against the Steelers during the 2021 regular season but returned with a vengeance for the playoff rematch, hauling in five receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown. Kelce’s prowess extended beyond receiving, as he etched his name in the annals of the game by unleashing a touchdown pass in the rout. In his lone other encounter against Pittsburgh with Mahomes at the helm, Kelce tormented the Steelers’ defense with a two-touchdown outing in 2018.

The Chiefs’ offensive arsenal has been bolstered further in the offseason, with the acquisitions of Marquise Brown and the drafting of Xavier Worthy, although Rashee Rice’s legal entanglements have cast a pall over the team’s preparations.

While the Steelers’ offensive might pales in comparison to the Chiefs’, the hope resides in the offseason overhaul breathing new life into their scoring endeavors.

The team has brought in the enigmatic talents of Russell Wilson and Justin Fields at quarterback, with Arthur Smith assuming the mantle of offensive coordinator and play-calling duties. Although the Steelers parted ways with one of their premier weapons in wideout Diontae Johnson, they’ve reinforced their receiving corps with the additions of Van Jefferson and third-round draft pick Roman Wilson.

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In his lone season in Denver, Wilson split his two meetings with the Chiefs. While the Chiefs’ relentless pass rush sacked him 10 times across those encounters, Wilson displayed his mettle, tossing three touchdown passes in the Broncos’ 24-9 triumph over the Chiefs in Week 8. The Chiefs also emerged victorious against Fields, who mustered a mere 99 passing yards in the Bears’ 41-10 capitulation at Kansas City.

This clash will mark the Chiefs’ fifth foray onto the Christmas Day stage, their record standing at 2-2 in their previous four appearances. Conversely, the Steelers have yet to taste defeat on this hallowed date, boasting an unblemished 2-0 record, with their only two Christmas Day games transpiring in 2016 and 2017.

WHERE: NRG Stadium (Houston)
WHEN: TBD | Netflix

For one scintillating half of their playoff encounter in January, the Texans had the Ravens on the ropes. Houston knotted the score at 10-10 on a Steven Sims punt return, with the upstart 2023 season darlings improbably holding their own against the vaunted Ravens.

The second half, however, belonged to the Ravens, as MVP Lamar Jackson orchestrated three touchdown drives – two with his legs and one through the air. The Ravens ultimately routed the upstart Texans, 34-10, as Offensive Rookie of the Year C.J. Stroud was shackled to a mere 175 passing yards on 33 attempts, and the Texans mustered a paltry 213 yards of offense and 10 first downs.

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Despite falling short of their Super Bowl aspirations, the Ravens were compelled to overhaul their offensive personnel, revamping both the backfield and offensive line. The crowning addition up front was the acquisition of Derrick Henry, whose unique skillset could inject a novel dimension into the Lamar-led offense under the tutelage of coordinator Todd Monken.

That trade represented the extent of the Ravens’ forays into free agency this offseason. The Texans, however, embarked on a hyper-aggressive pursuit of talent, capitalizing on Stroud’s scintillating debut season – and his affordable rookie contract.

Houston was a whirlwind of activity, fortifying both offensive and defensive units. On the offensive front, they orchestrated trades for running back Joe Mixon and star receiver Stefon Diggs, re-signed tight end Dalton Schultz, and drafted their potential right tackle of the future in Blake Fisher. Defensively, they inked Danielle Hunter to a two-year pact, pairing him with Defensive Rookie of the Year Will Anderson Jr. The Texans also bolstered depth and competition across all three defensive levels.

The Ravens’ Christmas Day resume extends to three previous appearances, including last year’s resounding 33-14 conquest of the 49ers at Levi’s Stadium, a statement victory that propelled Baltimore to the summit of the NFL’s pecking order late in the regular season. The Texans, conversely, have tasted defeat in their lone previous Christmas Day outing, falling 34-6 to the Steelers at NRG Stadium in 2017.



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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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