< Back to 68k.news US front page

2024 NFL schedule release: Chiefs-Steelers, Ravens-Texans highlight Christmas doubleheader on Netflix

Original source (on modern site)

Christmas Day will bring two more NFL games in 2024.

The league's Wednesday doubleheader will feature the Kansas City Chiefs heading to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers in the day's first matchup, followed by the Baltimore Ravens taking on the Texans in Houston for the second game.

All four teams made the postseason last year, with the Ravens and Texans meeting in the divisional round in Baltimore (a 34-10 Ravens win).

For many years, the NFL avoided scheduling Christmas games, but that has changed dramatically, especially in recent seasons. This will be the fourth straight season with at least one game on Dec. 25 and three straight with multiple games, including last year's Christmas tripleheader.

Even though the Chiefs turned things around shortly thereafter, Christmas wasn't very kind to them a year ago. They were stunned last Dec. 25 by the Raiders at home, losing the game in spite of the Raiders not completing a pass after the first quarter.

This time around, they'll head to Pittsburgh for the first time since 2018. The Chiefs trail in the all-time head-to-head series 23-14, but they have beaten the Steelers three straight times.

Patrick Mahomes has never lost to the Steelers as a starter. He's 3-0, including a 42-21 blowout win in the 2021 playoffs at Arrowhead. In those three starts, Mahomes has completed an incredible 76 of his 97 pass attempts (76.4%) for 988 yards, with 14 TDs and only one interception.

Travis Kelce missed the Boxing Day matchup against the Steelers during the 2021 regular-season but returned for the playoff rematch to catch five passes for 108 yards and a TD. Kelce also threw a touchdown pass in the rout. In his only other game against Pittsburgh with Mahomes, Kelce had a two-TD game against them in 2018.

The Chiefs added more offensive firepower in the offseason with the signing of Marquise Brown and the drafting of Xavier Worthy, although Rashee Rice's legal issues have put some damper on the offseason.

The Steelers are not yet in the Chiefs' league offensively, but the hope is that changes on that side of the ball this past offseason will lead to more scoring.

The team brought in Russell Wilson and Justin Fields at quarterback, and the plays now will be called by new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith. While the Steelers traded one of their big weapons in wideout Diontae Johnson, they signed Van Jefferson and drafted third-rounder Roman Wilson to help bolster the position.

In his one season in Denver, Wilson split his two meetings with the Chiefs last year. They sacked him 10 times total, but Wilson threw three TD passes in the Broncos' 24-9 win over the Chiefs in Week 8. The Chiefs also beat Fields, who threw for only 99 yards at Kansas City in a Bears 41-10 loss.

This will be the Chiefs' fifth Christmas Day game ever, going 2-2 in the first four. The Steelers have never lost on Christmas (2-0), with their only two Dec. 25 games landing in 2016 and 2017.

For one half of their playoff meeting in January, the Texans had the Ravens in a good spot. Houston tied the game on a Steven Sims punt return, with the 2023 season darlings pulling into halftime at 10-10.

The second half was all Ravens, with MVP Lamar Jackson leading three second-half TD drives -- two with his legs and one via his arm. The Ravens ended up rolling the upstart Texans, 34-10, as Offensive Rookie of the Year C.J. Stroud was held to 175 pass yards on 33 attempts and the Texans totaled only 213 yards of offense and 10 first downs.

The Ravens fell short of their Super Bowl goals last season and were forced to make changes on offense, revamping both the backfield and offensive line. The big addition up front was Derrick Henry, who could add a unique twist to the Lamar-led offense under coordinator Todd Monken. 

That was virtually the extent of the Ravens' fireworks in free agency this offseason. The Texans, however, were hyper-aggressive, taking advantage of Stroud's terrific debut season -- and his rookie contract.

Houston was active adding talent on both sides of the ball. On offense, they traded for a running back (Joe Mixon) and a star receiver (Stefon Diggs), re-signed TE Dalton Schultz and drafted their possible right tackle in Blake Fisher. On defense, Danielle Hunter signed a two-year deal to pair with Defensive Rookie of the Year Will Anderson Jr. The Texans also added depth and competition to all three levels of the unit.

The Ravens have played on Christmas Day three times previously, including last year's statement 33-14 victory over the 49ers at Levi's Stadium that elevated Baltimore to the top of the NFL's pecking order late last regular season. The Texans lost their only previous Xmas game, 34-6 to the Steelers at NRG Stadium in 2017.

< Back to 68k.news US front page