As the 2014 NFL regular season nears its conclusion, it is bringing along a bevy of important matchups in Week 15. In fact, there are so many notable games this week that I am renewing my matchup ranking articles. Okay, so maybe I was intending on making them for each of the past four weeks, but was too busy. And it may also be true that I began this article right after publishing my weekly predictions about ten hours ago, before falling asleep, waking up, and being busy all day. But, it’s all done now, and there is still enough action going on in games at the moment for this article to still be considered relevant.
There are only three weeks left in the regular season, and there is still a lot to be decided. The AFC Wild Card situation is cloudier than it has been in some time, and while the NFC picture is much clearer, nothing is guaranteed yet. A few divisions can be clinched this week, but no team has clinched that either. So, if you need some football in your lie, this is could be a great weekend for you!
Bottom five matchups:
16) New York Jets (2-11) at Tennessee Titans (2-11) (3:25c,CBS)
A pair of 2-11 teams? Pass. If you’re stuck with this game, at least you have time to do something productive!
15) Oakland Raiders (2-11) at Kansas City Chiefs (7-6) (Noon, CBS)
Do you like blowouts? If so, this one’s for you. Oh, and Jamaal Charles is still an elite running back.
14) Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11) at Baltimore Ravens (8-5) (CBS)
In Baltimore, there’s the game which features the most lopsided line of the week. But, the Ravens rarely blow out bad teams at home, so this game could be a close one.
13) Washington Redskins (3-10) at New York Giants (4-9) (Noon, FOX)
This game could be fun, and is a rivalry, but is irrelevant towards the playoff picture, as both teams were eliminated some time ago. But, There are a lot of capable skills position players in the game. Desean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Alfred Morris may be playing for a really bad team, but each is still capable of putting up numbers. That said, putting up numbers is exactly what Giants rookie Odell Beckham Jr. has been doing, surpassing 90 yards in every game since Week 8, and is good for at least one epic catch per week. If you’re stuck with this game, watch for him.
12) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-11) at Carolina Panthers (4-8-1) (Noon, FOX)
One of the saddest matchups of the week takes place in Charlotte, as the Bucs take on the Panthers. While it is one of just three matchups where each team has a losing record, the winner is still shockingly in the playoff hunt. If the Bucs win and the Falcons and Saints lose, they will be just 1.5 games behind those two for the NFC South lead. But, if the Panthers win and those teams lose, they will take over the top spot. If there’s one player worth watching out for in this game, it’s Bucs receiver Mike Evans, who is in the running for Offensive rookie of the year.
10b) Arizona Cardinals (10-3) at St. Louis Rams (6-7) (Thursday Night Football, 8:30/7:30c, NFL Network)
The first game Week 15 should be a defensive struggle. A win for the Cardinals keeps them atop the NFC, while a loss would make everything cloudy. Each defense is elite, so if you want a low-scoring, defensive slugfest, this game is a must watch. It will be a close one, but points will be at a premium.
10a) Minnesota Vikings (6-7) at Detroit Lions (9-4) (Noon, FOX)
The lone NFC North divisional game of the week cracks the top ten, but just barely. The Vikings have been pretty good this season, while the Lions look to have righted their ship. They need a win to hold onto a playoff spot, and the Vikings seem to always play in close games. This one should be a close, tense game.
9) New Orleans Saints (5-8) at Chicago Bears (5-8) (Monday Night Football, 8:30/7:30c, ESPN)
This is is a matchup that was much more appealing before the season started, and each team turned out to be a gigantic disappointment. That said, both teams can be explosive on offense, feature many elite-level offensive options, and struggle on defense. Plus, it’s a Monday night game, and the Saints can take the top spot in the pathetic NFC South with a win. So, it could, and likely will be a high-scoring, entertaining game.
8)Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) at Atlanta Falcons (5-8) (Noon, CBS)
7) Miami Dolphins (7-6) at New England Patriots (10-3) (Noon, CBS)
6) Cincinnati Bengals (8-4-1) at Cleveland Browns (7-6) (Noon, FOX)
5) Houston Texans (7-6) at Indianapolis Colts (9-4) (Noon, CBS)
4) Green bay Packers (10-3) at Buffalo Bills (7-6) (Noon, FOX)
3) San Francisco 49ers (7-6) at Seattle Seahawks (9-4) (3:25c, FOX)
At the beginning of the season, this game was expected to be the clear-cut top game of Week 15. It’s a rematch of the last NFC Championship game, and is the most physical rivalry in the NFL. But, the 49ers are on a freefall, and only mustered 13 points against the Raiders. This game will be low scoring, but the Seahawks will win by double digits, and it probably won’t be as close in reality than what the final score will indicate.
2) Denver Broncos (10-3) at San Diego Chargers (8-5) (3:05c, CBS)
The number two game of the day is like #3, but is not as notable a rivalry, and should be much higher scoring. Also, the Chargers actually have a legit shot at making the playoffs, while the Broncos are leading their division, unlike the Seahawks. This game could be a pretty good one.
1) Dallas Cowboys (9-4) at Philadelphia Eagles (9-4) (8:30/7:30c, NBC)
In the biggest game of the week, unstoppable force meets immovable object, as NFC East rivals battle on primetime, for the top spot in the division. The Cowboys are the NFL’s lone unbeaten road team, while the Eagles just lost their first home game last week against the defending champs. Both teams have elite offenses and elite running backs, so if you like games that could be high scoring and are extremely important, this one’s a must watch.