The majority of NFL games in Week 16 are played on Christmas Eve, and there is one prime-time matchup Saturday: Cincinnati at Houston. The Bengals will see the return of one of the NFL's best receivers as they look for the minor upset.
Cincinnati (5-8-1) had made the playoffs each of the previous five seasons but was eliminated from the postseason with last week's 24-20 loss to Pittsburgh, blowing a 20-9 halftime lead at home. It was the fourth straight game that Bengals star receiver A.J. Green had missed with a hamstring injury that was originally thought to be a season-ending tear. But it was just a serious strain, and Green will play at Houston. Cincinnati opened as a 3.5-point underdog on NFL odds for the game but it's now a pick'em at SBR Forum's top sportsbooks.
Interesting decision by Coach Marvin Lewis, who probably gets fired on "Black Monday," to let his most talented player go in a meaningless game for the Bengals. Lewis has said he owes it to the league to play his best guys the final two weeks. Green also has selfish reasons as he has 964 yards receiving and wants to hit 1,000 for the sixth straight season to open his career. The only other player who has accomplished that was Randy Moss. In Year No. 7 with Minnesota, Moss was held to 767 yards in 13 games. Green was having one of the best seasons of his career prior to the injury, and his 96.4 yards per game is a personal best. He was voted to his sixth straight Pro Bowl.
If you are planning to use Green in your fantasy league playoffs, consider that the Texans have one of the best pass defenses in the NFL. In three career games vs. the Texans, Green has 22 catches for 247 yards and no touchdowns.
Houston (8-6), which is turning to Tom Savage at quarterback after his excellent performance in relief of benched former starter Brock Osweiler last week against Jacksonville, is tied atop the AFC South with Tennessee. The Texans can clinch the division with a win and a Titans loss, but Tennessee is -5 on NFL picks earlier Saturday in Jacksonville. So the Texans will know if they can clinch before their game.