We are officially in the stretch run of the NFL season with just three weeks left. So much has yet to be decided in both conferences. So much is at stake starting Week 15.
Can the Chicago Bears remain in the NFC Wild Card hunt on the road against the first-place Green Bay Packers? Over in the AFC, the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans will be doing battle with the division potentially on the line.
While neither team is really in the playoff race, Sunday afternoon’s game between the Jaguars and Raiders in Oakland is a must watch for another reason.
These are among the seven games you simply can’t miss during Week 15 of the NFL season.
Bears at Packers (1:00 PM ET, Sunday)
Chicago’s win over the Dallas Cowboys last Thursday has the team still in the playoff hunt. Mitchell Trubisky and Co. are two games behind the division-rival Minnesota Vikings for the final wild card spot in the conference. With a Week 17 game against Minnesota looming, Chicago needs to win its next two outings against the Packers and Chiefs. Much easier said than done.
On the other hand, Green Bay sits in first place in the NFC North with a 10-3 record, one game ahead of the above-mentioned Vikings. Having already defeated Minnesota, a win here would go a long way in wrapping up the division and earning a potential first-round bye. Yeah, this is a huge matchup in the old black and blue division.
Texans at Titans (1:00 PM ET, Sunday)
Tennessee’s blowout win over the Oakland Raiders coupled with the Texans falling flat in shocking fashion against the Denver Broncos has this division up in the air. It’s a surprise given that Houston’s brutal showing in Week 14 came after it took out the New England Patriots one game prior.
With two of their final three games against one another, the division will be settled on the field. This scheduling quirk makes the AFC South rather interesting. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that the loser of this game could fall behind in the AFC Wild Card race with Buffalo (9-4) and Pittsburgh (8-5) in prime position to earn playoff spots.
Jaguars at Raiders (4:05 PM ET, Sunday)
Two teams that have struggled to do anything of substance in recent weeks. Jacksonville is riding a five-game losing streak, a span that has seen the team outscored by a combined margin of 174-57. Meanwhile, Oakland has fallen out of playoff contention after being outscored 116-33 over the past three games.
Why is this a must watch? Well, it’s rather simple. It represents the Raiders’ final game in Oakland before relocating to Las Vegas following the season. It’s going to be a somber scene at the Coliseum, one of the greatest environments in the NFL world. We just hope it doesn’t turn ugly with Raiders fans booing their team much like we saw last week. No one needs that to be the final vision we have for Raiders football in Northern California.
Vikings at Chargers (4:05 PM ET, Sunday)
Normally, a 5-8 team hosting a 9-4 squad would not be must watch. That’s until we realize the Chargers are coming off a blowout 45-10 win over Jacksonville and seem to be turning things around on offense. This is not going to be an easy game for the Vikings.
While the Vikes have had a tremendous season, they are currently the No. 6 seed in the NFC and just one game ahead of the defending conference champion Los Angeles Rams for that spot. Any hiccup against a lesser team with games looming against the Packers and Bears could very well set the Vikings back big time.
Rams at Cowboys (4:25 PM ET, Sunday)
This might be the game of the week. Fresh off a shocking blowout win over the Seattle Seahawks, it seems like Los Angeles has righted the ship. Jared Goff is playing great ball. The defense has stepped up big time in recent weeks. It has Los Angeles at 8-5 and right in the thick of the NFC Wild Card race heading to Big D.
On the other hand, Dallas has lost seven of its past 10 after a 3-0 start to the season. It is 0-6 against teams that are currently over .500. Still in first place, a win here would go a long way in Dallas locking up the division and a home wild card game.
Bills at Steelers (8:20 PM ET, Sunday)
A Bills game flexed to Sunday night? What kind of upside down world are we living in? Devlin Hodges (who?) has his Steelers team in firm position to earn a playoff spot after an 0-3 start to the season. This really is a surprising late-season matchup between the two current wild card teams in the AFC.
We’re highly intrigued to see if Buffalo can go on the road and come out with a win after falling to the Baltimore Ravens in a tightly contested affair last week. The team is also just one game behind New England in the AFC East. That’s also a big aspect to this game.
Colts at Saints (8:15 PM ET, Monday)
Both of these teams are coming off sorely disappointing losses. Indy’s defense was torched by Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers in a surprising road loss last week. And as you already know, the Saints could not hold off the juggernaut that are the San Francisco 49ers in New Orleans.
While the Saints have clinched the AFC South, they are currently the No. 3 seed and would have to host a wild card game. Losing at home against a free-falling Colts team would not help matters. At 6-7, Indianapolis is on the fringe of the AFC Wild Card race. The team must win out and get a lot of help. Yeah, this is a big “Monday Night Football” matchup.