NFL

NFL Schedule Week 15: What to Watch for in Primetime Games

FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 10: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts to the cheers of fans before a game with Houston Texans at Gillette Stadium on December 10, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IDecember 11, 2012

After yet another exciting week of football, it is getting down to the wire in the NFL.

Who will make the playoffs? Who will get shut out, reminiscing of what could have been?

Week 15's primetime matchups feature a few teams in the playoff picture, whether they are fighting for a bye in the postseason or scratching and clawing (hint, hint) to get that last wild-card spot in the AFC.

Here's a look the TV schedule of each primetime matchup in Week 15, complete with the key to each game.

 

Cincinnati Bengals (7-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (4-9)

Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia

When: Thursday, Dec. 13 at 8:20 p.m. ET

Watch: NFL Network

 Key to the Game: Philadelphia Running Game vs. Cincinnati Run Defense

Cincinnati's run defense has been solid lately, but asking rookie Nick Foles to pick apart the Bengals' pass defense is asking for trouble.

The Eagles have allowed 41 sacks this season (third most in the NFL), while the Bengals have collected 42 sacks (tops in the NFL). On top of that, the Bengals are allowing a respectable 6.8 yards per pass attempt.

The Eagles had success against the Dallas Cowboys running the football before the Week 14 encounter with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They must get back to churning out yardage on the ground to win this ball game.

 

San Francisco 49ers (9-3-1) at New England Patriots (10-3) 

Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.

When: Sunday, Dec. 16 at 8:20 p.m. ET

Watch: NBC

Key to the Game: 49ers Passing Game vs. Patriots Pass Defense

As good as the 49ers' pass defense and pass rush is, we saw what Tom Brady did to the Houston Texans in Week 14. He rarely gets sacked too often because he gets rid of the ball so quickly.

In that sense, I think the 49ers are going to have to score some points in this one and the best way to do that is to toss the pigskin.

Colin Kaepernick gives San Francisco more of a threat at quarterback with his big-play ability and strong arm.

New England has allowed 7.8 yards per pass attempt this season, 28th in the NFL. That includes allowing Joe Flacco and rookie Russell Wilson to go off in their losses to the Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks, respectively.

 

New York Jets (6-7) at Tennessee Titans (4-9)

Where: LP Field, Nashville, Tenn.

When: Monday, Dec. 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET

Watch: ESPN

Key to the Game: Tennessee Running Game vs. New York Run Defense

Given the Jets' pass defense and Jake Locker's struggles this season, the Titans are best served pounding the rock on Monday night against New York.

Obviously, Chris Johnson and Co. have been up and down this season, but this is still the best way to get to the Jets defense.

Johnson has had three straight mediocre performances since his big game against the Miami Dolphins in Week 10. It's not a coincidence that the Titans have lost those three games while they beat the Dolphins.

The Jets have allowed 4.4 yards per carry (19th in the NFL) and 13 rushing touchdowns (tied for 26th) this season. The Titans must find a way to get it moving on the ground.

 

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