The Week 15 games will have a massive impact on the NFL playoff picture. A few teams’ slim hopes will disappear this weekend, while others will seal a postseason berth.
With several exciting matchups between teams who will likely be playing in January, football fans would be wise not to make any plans this Sunday.
Fights for a wild card spot will intensify while the league’s top teams will continue battling for home-field advantage.
Here is the playoff picture in each conference along with the games that will have the most impact on the standings.
|2||San Francisco 49ers||9-3-1|
|3||Green Bay Packers||9-4|
|4||New York Giants||8-5|
Still in the Hunt
|10||St. Louis Rams||6-6-1|
|11||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||6-7|
|12||New Orleans Saints||5-8|
NFC Games to Watch This Week
New York Giants at Atlanta Falcons
A victory over the Giants at home would be an incredible boost to the Falcons after a disappointing loss last week. Improving to 12-2 on the year would put Atlanta in position to secure a first-round bye if either San Francisco or Green Bay loses.
If both teams are unable to win, then the Falcons—who are the only NFC team to have already clinched a playoff spot—will be the No. 1 seed this year. The Falcons' chances to clinch home-field advantage throughout the playoffs are significantly boosted by the difficult matchups both the 49ers and Packers have set for Sunday.
San Francisco 49ers at New England Patriots
The 49ers have to travel to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots this week. Pulling out a victory against the surging Pats will be difficult, but it will come with valuable rewards.
A win would guarantee San Francisco a spot in the playoffs, and it would also give the team its second consecutive NFC West crown in the unlikely event of a Seahawks loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears
The latest edition of Green Bay's historic rivalry with Chicago will come with raised stakes. The struggling Bears must avoid a season sweep against the Packers if they hope to stay alive in the division race.
A road victory for Green Bay will give it another NFC North title, and it will push Chicago into dire straits.
|2||New England Patriots||10-3|
Still in the Hunt
|8||New York Jets||6-7|
|10||San Diego Chargers||5-8|
AFC Games to Watch This Week
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts
The Texans are already in the playoffs, but the team certainly has concerns after being blown out by the Patriots. Still, a victory over the Colts will help put the team back on the right track.
By beating the Colts, Houston would win the AFC South and put itself in position to secure a first-round bye. A win, in addition to a Denver loss to Baltimore and a New England loss to San Francisco, would give the Texans an extra week of rest.
But Indianapolis will be difficult to beat in this matchup. Andrew Luck and the surprising Colts will be playing at home and a win will send them to the playoffs.
Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens
This game has more playoff importance for the Ravens. Despite losing the last two games, Baltimore will win the AFC North with a victory over Denver.
The Broncos have already clinched a weak AFC West and are only fighting to improve their seed at this point in the season.