Week 15 is a huge week for the playoff race. There are several good games to watch this week.
Bengals (5-8) at Vikings (10-3) Sunday 1 PM CBS
Minnesota failed to clinch the North last week by losing to the Panthers. The Vikings can clinch this week by beating the struggling Bengals at home. Cincinnati lost to the Bears last week and should be an easy win for the Vikings. The Vikings must stop AJ Green and should have success. The Bengals run game is poor even with rookie Joe Mixon and Giovanni Bernard. Minnesota should win by double digits and clinch the North at home.
Green Bay (7-6) at Carolina (9-4) Sunday 1 PM FOX
Heeeee’ssssssss baaaackkkkkkkkkkkkk!!!! Aaron Rodgers will make a triumphant return for the Packers and give them hope to run the table to earn a wild card berth. Carolina is leading the wild card race and is still in the NFC South mix after the Saints lost to Atlanta last week. Lions fans and Packer fans will root for the Packers this week as it will be important for the wild card race to have Carolina drop two of their last 3 games. Green Bay can get head to head advantages over Seattle, Dallas and Carolina if they win on Sunday. They would only lose head to head to the Falcons if applicable.
Rodgers was on fire with a 103 rating prior to the injury. He may be a little rusty and the Panthers have a menacing front 7. If Rodgers gets protection, he should carve up the Panthers secondary (92.7 QB rating allowed). Davanted Adams is having a big year and Jordy Nelson should get back to his old self with his Rodgers chemistry. The Panthers have 40 sacks on the year though so they should pester Rodgers with pressure.
Cam Newton is struggling with an 81.9 rating this season but has been better lately. Newton is still a running threat with 585 yards and 5 TDS. Funchess, Greg Olsen and Christian McCafffery are receiving threats and the Packers secondary has really struggled and is very banged up at cornerback (98.2 QB rating allowed).
Cam will need to take advantage of the Packers porous coverage. Jonathan Stewart and McCaffery struggle to run the ball at 3.5 YPC for each of them. Green Bay is solid in run defense allowing 4.0 YPC on the year. Carolina must run the ball well to set up the pass for Cam.
The Packers run the ball well with Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams recently. Rodgers is a scrambling threat and the Panthers allow 4.1 YPC. If Green Bay runs the ball well, they could have a big day back for Aaron Rodgers.
This should be a good battle. It’s a huge road game for the Packers that need to win out. The Panthers want to move closer to the wild card berth and keep in the NFC South race with the Saints.
Chicago at Detroit 4:30 PM NFL Network Saturday
The Lions need to win out and play a feisty division foe on Saturday afternoon. Matt Stafford looked well after his hand injury and had a big day against Tampa Bay last year. Stafford performed well moving the ball against the Bears at Soldier Field a few weeks. The Lions will need more Stafford success on Saturday. Marvin Jones and Golden Tate are both playing well and on pace for 1,000 yards each. Eric Ebron has been good since the trade dead line and had 90 yards last week. Theo Riddick is still a receiving threat and Kenny Golladay is a deep threat. The Lions have the weapons to torch the Bears. The key, as always, will be protection. Detroit will be without center Travis Swanson and Right Tackle Rick Wagner on Saturday. Corey Robinson played well for Wagner last week and Graham Glasgow is a better center than Swanson. Glasgow moving to center creates a hole at left guard. Eddie Goldman is banged up but Akiem Hicks could feast on Joe Dahl or Don Barclay for the Lions. Pernell McPhee is a rushing threat and Decker must play well to stop McPhee. Floyd and Willie Young are on IR for the Bears which hurts their pass rush.
The Lions just can’t run the ball. Ameer Abdullah returns after missing the last two games and will get a shot against the Bears. Tion Green has shown some flashes and Riddick is still more of a receiver but can make defenders miss. Riddick had two TDS last week and the Lions need to figure out how to convert 3rd and 1s.
Mitch Trubisky has played well the last two weeks. Dontrelle Inman and Kendall Wright have been his favorite targets and Adam Shaheen has shown flashes as a rookie 2nd round pick tight end. Tarik Cohen is dangerous in the open field as a receiver. Jordan Howard and Cohen both can run the ball well and the Lions have really struggled in run defense without Haloti Ngata since Week 5. Detroit must limit Howard and Cohen and force Trubisky into turnovers. The Lions defense is good at forcing turnovers and will need to force several more on Saturday evening.
Detroit must win. It’s simple
Seahawks at Rams
This is a huge game. The Seahawks can get back in the lead of the West with a win due to a sweep of the Rams. Green Bay and Detroit fans want the Seahawks to lose this game.
Jets at Saints
Saints winning the South is best for the Lions and Packers. However, the Saints could still lose out so it’s possible to want them to lose too.
Falcons at Tampa Bay (Monday Night)
Week 15 closes on Monday Night in Tampa. Atlanta is 8-5 and can move into a better spot in the Wild Card with a win. Green Bay and Detroit should root for Tampa Bay but it isn’t do or die for the Falcons losing yet. Tampa Bay probably won’t win this game given how much they have struggled this year at 4-9.
Cowboys at Raiders
Elliot returns and the Cowboys need to win out. The Raiders have struggled but are at home for this Sunday Night game. Dallas must win out to have a shot. Root for the Raiders so the Cowboys are out.
Enjoy the games on Saturday and Sunday.