Football fans, rejoice. Week 15 features so many great games, there will be no lack of spectacular action this Sunday. Five matchups will feature two probably playoff teams, and each could go either way.
Each of these games will feature fantastic performances from star players. That's hardly a bold prediction, but here are some projections for each of these five fantastic contests that you might not see coming.
Indianpolis Colts vs. Houston Texans—Andrew Luck's Comeback Bid Will Be Cut Short
Andrew Luck might be captain comeback this year, with six fourth-quarter comebacks to his name already, but even he isn't magic enough to lead one on the road against the Texans.
The Colts will fall behind early, as they are prone to doing, but they will come storming back late. The Texans, though, won't let that happen. They'll be extra motivated after their drubbing at the hands of the Patriots, and they'll pull out just enough plays to win late.
Prediction: Texans 26, Colts 24
Denver Broncos vs. Baltimore Ravens—New OC Won't Change Offensive Struggles for Ravens
Jim Caldwell might be in as the offensive coordinator, but that won't matter with Broncos linebacker Von Miller in the backfield on every play.
The Ravens' offensive tackles are mediocre at best, having combined to give up 14 sacks, guaranteeing constant pressure Miller and the Broncos' defense.
Caldwell can't change the personnel, and until the Ravens' upgrade that offensive line, they will continue to struggle against top defenses.
Prediction: Broncos 30, Ravens 20
New York Giants vs. Atlanta Falcons: Falcons' Running Game Will Key Victory
The Falcons' running game has struggled of late, ranking 28th in the NFL with just 86.9 yards per game. Michael Turner has averaged just 3.7 yards per carry on the season, forcing Matt Ryan to win games on his own.
In this game, though, Ryan won't have to do that. Turner and JaQuizz Rodgers should find just enough running room against the Giants' 22nd-ranked run defense to key a victory. Ryan will have an easy day throwing off play action, and the Falcons' offense should roll.
Prediction: Falcons 28, Giants 23
Green Bay Packers vs. Chicago Bears: Bears' Defensive Decline Will Be Cemented
The past three weeks have seen the Chicago Bears' vaunted defense give up three straight 80-plus-yard rushers. Worst of all, though, is the fact that Russell Wilson torched this secondary for 293 yards in the Seahawks' Week 13 win. If Wilson can throw for 293 yards, imagine what Aaron Rodgers can do.
The Bears are going to find out quickly that their defense is falling apart. They couldn't have picked a worse time to do so with the playoffs on the line in the next three games, but that's exactly where the Bears find themselves. Sunday's game should cement that decline.
Prediction: Packers 30, Bears 16
San Francisco 49ers vs. New England Patriots: Pats' D Will Shut Down Kaepernick
The Patriots aren't exactly considered a defensive team, but they completely shut down the Houston Texans on Monday night. Expect them to do the same against the 49ers this Sunday night.
Vince Wilfork is probably the best run-stuffer the 49ers have played all season. They might have trouble blocking the bulky defender.
In the passing game, Aqib Talib, Kyle Arrington and Devin McCourty have started to form the makings of a very solid secondary. Colin Kaepernick won't be able to handle this defense in a hostile environment in New England. That's not an indictment of Kaepernick in the slightest: this defense has just rapidly improved.
Predictions: Patriots 27, 49ers 10