PREVIEWING AND BREAKING DOWN EVERY NFL WEEK 15 GAME

It’s crunch time in the NFL as teams across the league make one final push towards the playoffs or attempt to close the season on a high note.

The Week 15 slate of NFL football is full of high-stakes matchups with games on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday featuring matchups between first-place teams, playoff contenders and division rivals.

We take a look at the full Week 15 NFL schedule.

 

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Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders (-3) – Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET

 

The Las Vegas Raiders suffered a disappointing loss in a pivotal game in last week’s Week 14 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, but now they have a chance to bounce back with a Week 15 game against a Los Angeles Chargers team that finally got in the win column with a narrow victory over the Atlanta Falcons.

The Raiders desperately need wins at this point in the season as they attempt a late playoff push, but their defense has let them down. Over the past four games, the Las Vegas defense has allowed an average of 37.5 points per game, including two games of more than 40 points.

The Chargers have had their own struggles defensively and will undoubtedly be challenged by a potent Raiders offense. However, Los Angeles has a high-powered and balanced offense of its own and should find success against a Las Vegas team giving up 128.1 rushing yards and 256.1 passing yards per game, ranking in the bottom 10 in both categories.

Despite the defensive struggles and last week’s loss, the Raiders enter this Thursday night divisional matchup as 3-point favorites over the Chargers.

 

Buffalo Bills (-6.5) at Denver Broncos — Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET

 

The Buffalo Bills and the Denver Broncos meet in very different circumstances in this Week 15 matchup as the Bills continue to fight for playoff seeding while the Broncos play for pride with all postseason aspirations out the window.

The Bills have been on a hot streak lately, winning their last three games including a win over the AFC-leading Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 14. Much of Buffalo’s success has been due to the play of quarterback Josh Allen, who ranks in the top-10 in every major passing statistic this year.

But as good as Buffalo has been offensively this year, it will be the Bills’ interception-happy defense that poses the most problems for Denver on Saturday. Broncos quarterback Drew Lock has been relatively interception-prone this year, throwing 13 interceptions in 13 games. Meanwhile, Buffalo has forced 12 interceptions across the last 13 games.

The Bills are the better team on both sides of the ball and have much more to play for in this game. As a result, they enter this game as 6.5-point favorites over the Broncos.

 

Carolina Panthers at Green Bay Packers (-8.5) — Saturday, 8:15 p.m. ET

 

The Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers meet on Saturday night for a Week 15 showdown with one team having Super Bowl aspirations and the other already eliminated from playoff contention.

The Packers already clinched their second-straight NFC North title last week with a Week 14 win over the Detriot Lions, but they still have plenty to play for in this matchup as they fight for playoff seeding.

Green Bay boasts one of the more well-rounded and potent offenses in the NFL and that offense could get a favorable matchup this week against a Panthers defense that allowed 32 points to a lackluster Denver Broncos offense last week. Carolina has shown flashes on offense and could put up points, but the Packer defense is stout and does not present a good matchup for the Panthers.

The Packers are the decidedly better team with momentum and more to play for at this point of the season and enter this game as heavy 8.5-point favorites over the Panthers.

 

Chicago Bears at Minnesota Vikings (-3) — 1 p.m. ET

 

Both the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings are squarely on the bubble of the NFC Wild Card race, making this Week 15 showdown a must-win for both teams as they try to make one final playoff push.

The Bears are coming off a lopsided win over the Texans and enter this matchup with a little momentum, particularly on offense. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has now thrown for 267 yards in back-to-back games with four touchdown passes and no interceptions in the two appearances. This bodes well for the Chicago offense against a Vikings defense that ranks in the bottom third of the NFL in passing defense, allowing 256.6 yards per game through the air

The Vikings, however, got the better of the Bears in the first matchup of the season, beating Chicago 19-16 in their Week 9 matchup. Now at home, Minnesota enters this late-season showdown as 3-point favorites.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6) at Atlanta Falcons — 1 p.m. ET

 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got back in the win column last week, snapping a two-game losing streak, and they’re looking to continue that momentum in a Week 15 showdown against the Atlanta Falcons as they make a final late-season playoff push.

The Falcons are not in playoff contention due in large part to a slow start to the season where they lost four of their first five games. Atlanta’s struggles this season have come mostly on the defensive side of the ball and particularly in the secondary where they rank in the bottom three in the league in passing defense, allowing 281.8 passing yards per game.

Atlanta’s struggles in the secondary are bad news for the Falcons against Tampa Bay, but good news for a Buccaneers team that thrives through the air, averaging 261 passing yards per game.

This is close to a must-win game for the Buccaneers as they try to keep pace in the NFC playoff race, and they enter this NFC South showdown as 6-point road favorites over the Falcons.

 

San Francisco 49ers (-3) at Dallas Cowboys — 1 p.m. ET

 

This season has not gone as expected for either the San Francisco 49ers or the Dallas Cowboys, but both teams now have a chance to right the ship with a Week 15 matchup.

The 49ers had playoff and potential Super Bowl aspirations to start the season, but injuries on both sides of the ball derailed things. Still, even while missing Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle for a significant portion of the season, San Francisco has had success in the passing game, putting up 254.8 yards per game through the air.

Defensively, San Francisco has been strong despite a number of injuries to key players, including top pass rusher Nick Bosa. The 49ers are still allowing the fifth-fewest yards per game. That is an advantage against a lackluster Dallas Cowboys offense that has struggled to move the ball and put up points since an injury to quarterback Dak Prescott.

Both teams are banged up and depleted, but San Francisco has performed better on both sides of the ball this season and enters this game as 3-point road favorites.

 

 

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins (-2) — 1 p.m. ET

 

Both the New England Patriots and the Miami Dolphins enter this Week 15 divisional showdown looking to rebound from a loss in Week 14 after the Patriots suffered a 21-point loss to the Los Angeles Rams and the Dolphins fell 33-27 to the Kansas City Chiefs.

For New England, this season has been plagued by inconsistencies and the past two weeks highlight that as the Patriots beat the Los Angeles Chargers 45-0 before losing to the Rams 24-3 last Thursday. But one consistency has been Cam Newton’s struggles, as he’s managed just 153 passing yards over the past two games combined.

The Dolphins, meanwhile, have been quite consistent and boast one of the best defenses in the NFL. Miami leads the league in interceptions and allows just 18.8 points per game, ranking No. 2 in the NFL. The Dolphins also have the better offense in this matchup, averaging 25.4 points per game compared to New England’s 21.3.

Miami is the better all-around team in this matchup and enters this divisional showdown as a 2-point favorite over the Patriots as it makes its playoff push.

 

Jacksonville Jaguars at Baltimore Ravens (-13) — 1 p.m. ET

 

The Baltimore Ravens are fighting for a playoff spot in this Week 15 matchup while the Jacksonville Jaguars are simply looking for their second win of the season.

The Ravens will continue to chase a Wild Card spot this week after a much-needed win over the Cleveland Browns in Week 14 kept their playoff hopes alive. With an 8-5 record, the Ravens are firmly in the Wild Card hunt thanks to a well-rounded team that ranks in the top-10 in the league in both scoring offense and scoring defense.

Meanwhile, the Jaguars are near the bottom of the league standings for a reason, ranking in the bottom five in the NFL in both scoring defense and scoring offense.

The Ravens are clearly the better team on both sides of the ball in this matchup and enter the game as 13-point favorites.

 

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (-7) — 1 p.m. ET

 

The Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts meet in a Week 15 AFC South showdown on Sunday as the Colts try to keep pace in the AFC playoff race.

The Texans enter this game out of playoff contention, with a depleted roster and coming off of a lopsided Week 14 loss to the Chicago Bears. Now, Houston draws a Colts team that won by a touchdown in their last meeting two weeks ago.

While the Texans struggled in the game between their last meeting with Indianapolis, the Colts thrived, blasting the Las Vegas Raiders in a game where they put up 44 points. Houston’s biggest weakness this year has been its defense – especially after the suspension of top cornerback Bradley Roby – as the Texans rank next-to-last in total defense in the NFL. That could spell bad news for them against an Indianapolis team that’s hitting its stride offensively.

The Colts head into this matchup with the advantage on both sides of the ball, and are a 7-point favorite as a result.

 

Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans (-10.5) — 1 p.m. ET

 

The Tennessee Titans are looking to bolster their playoff resume this Sunday in a Week 15 matchup with the Detroit Lions.

Detriot’s primary weakness this season has been its defense, which is one of the worst in the NFL, giving up an average of 29.9 points per game. The Lions face a challenging matchup this week as they face a Titans offense that ranks in the top four in the NFL in both scoring offense and total offense.

The Titans have plenty to play for in this game as they look to keep pace in the AFC South divisional race, and they also have the better team on both sides of the ball. In a pivotal game down the stretch, Tennessee enters as a 10.5-point home favorite over the Lions.

 

Seattle Seahawks (-5) at Washington Football Team — 1 p.m. ET

 

Both the Seattle Seahawks and the Washington Football Team notched important victories last week to bolster their playoff hopes and now enter this Week 15 showdown looking to keep the momentum going.

After one of their poorest offensive performances of the year in a Week 13 loss to the New York Giants, the Seahawks bounced back in a big way in Week 14, blasting the New York Jets 40-3 to right the ship, and now take their high-powered offense, which ranks No. 3 in the NFL in points per game, to Washington to face a team that ranks No. 6 in scoring defense, allowing just 21.6 points per game.

Washington has not had a particularly potent passing attack this year as it’s bounced between three quarterbacks with few weapons outside of Terry McLaurin at receiver, but Seattle has the worst pass defense in the NFL, allowing 294.8 yards per game.

This is a crucial game for both teams as they make their final playoff pushes and Seattle enters the showdown as a 5-point road favorite.

 

New York Jets at Los Angeles Rams (-17) — 4:05 p.m. ET

 

The Los Angeles Rams enter this Week 15 matchup looking to hold onto first place in the NFC West while the New York Jets are simply looking for their lone win of the season.

The Rams enter this game coming off of an impressive 24-3 win over the New England Patriots – their fourth win in five days. The Los Angeles defense played arguably its best game of the year, allowing just three points to the Patriots, and it faces an extremely advantageous matchup against the Jets passing attack.

The Jets have what is statistically the worst passing attack in the NFL, posting just 166.1 yards per game through the air and that offense is going against a Rams team that has the best pass defense in the league.

This is a poor matchup for a Jets team that is already at a distinct talent disadvantage on both sides of the ball. That’s reflected in the betting line as the Rams are a heavy 17-point favorite.

 

Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals (-6) — 4:05 p.m. ET

 

The Philadelphia Eagles and the Arizona Cardinals meet in a Week 15 showdown between a pair of dual-threat quarterback from the University of Oklahoma as Jalen Hurts makes his second NFL start against the Cardinals, led by Kyler Murray.

We could see plenty of rushes from quarterbacks in this game as neither team is very strong defending the quarterback run. The Eagles rank last in the league against mobile quarterbacks, allowing 364 rushing yards to quarterbacks this season while Arizona has allowed the fifth-most rushing yards to quarterbacks, allowing 316 total.

They’re similar style quarterbacks, but Murray has quite a bit more experience, with a much better team behind him. As a result, the Cardinals enter this game as 6-point home favorites.

 

 

Kansas City Chiefs (-3) at New Orleans Saints — 4:25 p.m. ET

 

In a battle of first-place teams and a potential Super Bowl preview, the Kansas City Chiefs and the New Orleans Saints enter a Week 15 showdown looking to bolster their playoff resumes and establish a little late-season momentum.

Both teams are well-rounded, with each team ranking in the top-10 in both scoring offense and scoring defense. The Saints have the better defense, ranking No. 4 in the NFL by giving up just 20.4 points per game while the Chiefs have the second-best scoring offense in the NFL, averaging 31 points per game.

It will be a matchup of powerhouses on both sides of the ball between two teams with a legitimate chance at NFL title this season, but the Chiefs enter the game as a narrow 3-point road favorite.

 

Cleveland Browns (-4) at New York Giants — 8:20 p.m. ET

 

The Cleveland Browns and the New York Giants are both alive in the NFL playoff race, and both are looking for a win in this Week 15 matchup to keep pace.

With a 9-4 record, the Browns have quietly been one of the NFL’s top teams this year and are coming off of a wild back-and-forth loss to the Ravens that featured 54 combined points in the second half. Cleveland has won four of its last five games and is a legitimate playoff contender.

The Giants, meanwhile, still have an outside chance to make the playoffs despite a 5-8 record, but with just three games remaining on the schedule this becomes close to a must-win game on Sunday night

The Browns are the better team on both sides of the ball in this matchup despite some inconsistencies, and Cleveland enters this game as a 4-point road favorite.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers (-13) at Cincinnati Bengals — Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET

 

After winning its first 11 games of the season, the Pittsburgh Steelers are now looking to snap a two-game losing streak in a Week 15 matchup against the last-place Cincinnati Bengals.

Despite losses in the past two games, the Steelers are still one of the best, most dominant teams in the NFL, specifically on defense. Pittsburgh has the top scoring defense in the NFL, allowing just 18.2 points per game, and ranks No. 3 in total defense, allowing just 303.1 yards per contest.

That league-leading defense will look to get the Steelers back on track this week, and it will have the luxury of playing one of the worst offenses in the NFL as the Bengals haven’t scored more than 17 points per game since losing quarterback Joe Burrow to a season-ending injury.

This is a lopsided matchup, and it’s a lopsided line as Pittsburgh enters this game as a 13-point road favorite.

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