It’s finally here! Week 15 is the week we get to see Johnny Football start an NFL game. It looks very unlikely that Cleveland will clinch a play-off spot, last week’s last minute defeat to the Colts shattered any realistic hopes for Browns fans. They can, however, put a dent in their AFC North rivals’ play-off chances if they beat the Bengals at the Dog Pound. Manziel is an unknown quantity so it’ll be interesting to see how Cincinnati handle him. He might make a decent point scorer for fantasy teams entering their postseasons.
Waiting for the Bengals to falter are the Steelers and Ravens. Baltimore will be feeling confident after their impressive win in Miami last week. They’re hosting the Jags whilst Pittsburgh travel to Atlanta. The Falcons are a different kettle of fish in the Georgia Dome, but Big Ben, Bell and Brown might be too strong for their offence.
The Colts will clinch the AFC South title and a play-off berth with a home win against division rivals Houston. The Texans and JJ Watt will put up a fight. Watt’s battle with Luck will be fun to watch.
The 49ers’ hopes of a play-off spot will end with defeat in Seattle. Kaepernick hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass in the final quarter of a game all season. He needs to improve his game substantially if he’s to win in the Pacific North West for the first time in his career. Don’t expect many touchdowns in this dog fight. Pete Carroll will probably kill the Jim Harbaugh era in San Francisco with victory on Sunday night.
Another intriguing NFC divisional battle is in the east. Like the 49ers and Seahawks, the Cowboys and Eagles last played each other two weeks ago. Philadelphia came out on top in that contest and a win on Sunday night will pretty much clinch them the division. The Cowboys face a battle for one of the wild card spots, so victory is vital for them at Lincoln Field. This might be a shoot-out.
Despite being 4-8-1 the Panthers are still in the hunt for the NFC South. That division is a peculiar one this year because each team has been poor! Carolina host the Bucs today, but they do so without Cam Newton. Everyone wishes him a speedy recovery after his shocking car accident this week. The Panthers will miss him in their run-in, but they don’t want to rush him back.
The Saints are struggling but they’re still very much in the mix for the NFC South. They’re heading north to a frozen Soldier Field for Monday Night Football. This game might be pounded out on the solid turf, so it should play into Forte’s hands. Mark Ingram has been an impressive back this year and both of these defenses have been poor so we could be treated to another high scoring contest.
The Broncos and Patriots could both secure their bye weeks on Sunday night. There have been question marks over Manning’s throwing arm in recent weeks. He’s heading to warmer climes on Sunday for a divisional encounter in San Diego. Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates are solid performers at home so this will be a tough test for Denver.
Over on the Atlantic conditions will be the antithesis to those in Southern California. Miami tackle the Patriots at Gillette and it’ll be a big ask of Tannehill and Co to topple Brady.
The battle for the NFC North is red hot. It doesn’t look like anyone can stop the Packers at the minute, but Rodgers face a stern test against a strong Bills defense in Buffalo. The game at the Ralph Wilson stadium might be tighter than you’d expect.
Detroit are hot on the heels of Green Bay and they host Minnesota on Sunday night. Calvin Johnson has found some form and the Lions are very tough at home. Their solid defense could be too much for Teddy Bridgewater on his first visit to Ford Field.
It’s the battle for the NFC East’s wooden spoon when the Redskins travel to New York. RGIII might start, but Washington are leaving it until the last minute before making a decision whether to play Colt McCoy – oh how the mighty fall!
One of the league’s form teams travels to the midwest to take on AFC West rivals, Kansas. Derek Carr was impressive in last week’s Battle of the Bay victory, throwing three touchdowns. The Chiefs are running everything through Jamaal Charles, but their leading RB took a few knocks last week. Oakland’s first win of the year was in the reverse fixture so we’ll see if KC get revenge.
The highlights reel might not be long in Nashville. The Jets are travelling to the Titans and these are two of the worst teams in the league. Rex Ryan’s team appear to still be fighting for him and New York have a bit more flair than Tennessee. Don’t expect a classic.