Week 15 presents some interesting story lines in the NFL, but none are more intriguing than watching the continued downfall of certain teams.
It's utterly amazing to see how some teams have seen their seasons nosedive in the blink of an eye, and those same teams will not be able to snap out of it this week.
Let's find out who they are.
Huge doesn't even begin to describe the Week 15 showdown between the Bears and Green Bay Packers. A win would not only keep the Bears in the race for the division, but it would also help them keep their playoff spot.
Chicago is clinging to that final playoff spot, just a single game ahead of the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings. A loss for Chicago would turn the entire NFC playoff race on its head.
The Bears are reeling after a 7-1 start. Since then, the team has lost four of its last five games and went from NFC elite to NFC question mark.
Jay Cutler likely won't be at 100 percent for this game at Lambeau Field, and that could make things really bad for Chicago. Cutler is battling a multitude of injuries including knee and neck problems (per ESPN.com).
Other injuries on offense include Michael Bush (Questionable) and Earl Bennett (Out), so that will leave the Bears offense a little short on talent. On defense, Chicago will be without Tim Jennings and Brian Urlacher as well (per ESPN.com).
Green Bay comes into this game as one of the hottest teams in the NFL, having won seven of its last eight games. The Packers are playing their best football of the season, which is bad news for the Bears, who are hurt and playing their worst football of the season.
The Ravens looked like they were the class of the AFC at one point this season, but all that has changed since they lost their last two games.
First, it was a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers without Ben Roethlisberger. Then, Baltimore dropped a tough game to the Redskins in overtime thanks to rookie quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Baltimore has been beaten by two sub-par quarterbacks two weeks in a row, so things don't figure to get any better this week against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
The Ravens have been dreadful on defense this season, ranking No. 23 and No. 25 against the pass and run, respectively. The Broncos are ranked No. 6 in the NFL in passing, so they won't be very forgiving to the Ravens defense.
Upon throwing the ball all over the field at will, that should open up Denver's rushing attack to really pound Baltimore into submission.
On the offensive end, quarterback Joe Flacco continues to be inconsistent, and Denver's No. 6 pass defense will ensure that continues. Even Ray Rice and the Ravens rushing attack—which is normally this team's bread and butter—has not lived up to expectations this season.
The Broncos have an answer for anything the Ravens could possibly throw at them, and Baltimore simply doesn't have enough to overcome that.
To say the Texans are in the midst of a slide right now is a bit over an overstatement, but a loss will help bring the Indianapolis Colts just one game out of the AFC South lead.
Houston got smoked by the New England Patriots last week in a game that exposed everything that is wrong with the Texans. Problem is, Houston's Week 15 opponent, the Colts, can do exactly what the Patriots did to them last week.
Indianapolis, led by Andrew Luck, is very much a passing offense, as evidenced by its No. 8 ranking in the NFL. That bodes well for Indy as they match up with the Texans, whose No. 19 ranking against the pass looks delicious enough for Luck to exploit.
Especially after Tom Brady did it last week. The secret is now out on how to beat the Texans, and Luck is no doubt taking notice.
The only problem for the Colts is that their defense isn't very good, so Houston will get its points in this game. However, the Texans don't have an explosive offense by any means, so it is feasible that the Colts outscore them.
All the momentum is in the Colts' favor as they continue to make their way to the top of the AFC South. It remains to be seen just how much the Texans will respond in such a big game, but if last week proved anything, it's that Houston doesn't play well in big games.
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