For many NFL teams, every game on the schedule from Week 15 forward will be contested with playoff intensity, meaning there's bound to be a good one on your TV at some point this weekend.
As usual at this time of year, playoff scenarios are abundant, as there are half as many playoff spots available as there are teams in contention.
Heading into Week 15, only three teams have locked up one of the 12 available playoff berths: The Indianapolis Colts have secured the AFC South, while current division leaders Denver and Seattle will at least make it in.
The teams that still have a chance to get into the playoffs will leave nothing on the field in the weeks to come.
Here's a look at the entire TV schedule in Week 15, followed by a closer look at some of key battles.
|THU, DEC 12||TIME (ET)||TV||LOCATION|
|San Diego at Denver||8:25 p.m.||NFL||Sports Authority Field at Mile High|
|SUN, DEC 15||TIME (ET)||TV||LOCATION|
|Washington at Atlanta||1 p.m.||Fox||Georgia Dome|
|Chicago at Cleveland||1 p.m.||Fox||FirstEnergy Stadium|
|Houston at Indianapolis||1 p.m.||CBS||Lucas Oil Stadium|
|New England at Miami||1 p.m.||CBS||Sun Life Stadium|
|Philadelphia at Minnesota||1 p.m.||Fox||Mall of America Field|
|Seattle at NY Giants||1 p.m.||Fox||MetLife Stadium|
|San Francisco at Tampa Bay||1 p.m.||Fox||Raymond James Stadium|
|Buffalo at Jacksonville||1 p.m.||CBS||EverBank Field|
|Kansas City at Oakland||4:05 p.m.||CBS||O.co Coliseum|
|NY Jets at Carolina||4:05 p.m.||CBS||Bank of America Stadium|
|Green Bay at Dallas||4:25 p.m.||Fox||AT&T Stadium|
|Arizona at Tennessee||4:25 p.m.||Fox||LP Field|
|New Orleans at St. Louis||4:25 p.m.||Fox||Edward Jones Dome|
|Cincinnati at Pittsburgh||8:30 p.m.||NBC||Heinz Field|
|MON, DEC 16||TIME (ET)||TV||LOCATION|
|Baltimore at Detroit||8:30 p.m.||ESPN||Ford Field|
NFC West Playoff Contenders With Tricky Road Games
With three games remaining, the San Francisco 49ers currently own the No. 6 seed in the NFC with a record of 9-4. Carolina shares the same record, but by virtue of its win over San Francisco in Week 10, the Panthers are ahead in the standings.
Coming in right behind both teams is the 8-5 Arizona Cardinals. Thanks to improved play by Carson Palmer, the Cardinals have won five of their last six games.
The 49ers and Cardinals are both on the road in Week 15, and both face scrappy opponents they should beat but could easily stumble against—San Francisco in Tampa Bay taking on the Buccaneers and Arizona in Tennessee taking on the Titans.
Which team is more likely to claim the No. 6 seed in the NFC?
The Cardinals have a slightly easier opponent to deal with, as the Titans have won just once in the past five weeks, while Tampa Bay has won four of five heading into Week 15.
In the end, both teams should come away with big wins, making their Week 17 matchup all the more crucial.
Projected Scores: 49ers win, 24-14; Cardinals win, 28-17
Green Bay at Dallas: A Must-Win for Both Teams
The Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys enter Week 15 as outsiders looking in at the NFC playoff picture.
Green Bay, at 6-6-1, is a half-game behind Detroit and Chicago for the NFC North lead and completely out of the wild-card race. Meanwhile Dallas is a full game behind Philadelphia for the NFC East lead and two games out of the wild-card race with three to go.
A loss for either team could signal the final nail in the coffin for their playoff hopes.
The Packers have been floundering badly since Aaron Rodgers was injured, posting a record of 1-4-1. Matt Flynn isn't nearly as athletic in the pocket, can't make all the throws and has been getting constantly harassed by defenders.
The Packers aren't optimistic Rodgers will be able to play in Dallas, either, per ESPN's Ed Werder:
Packers pessimistic about Aaron Rodgers being cleared for Dallas. Scheduled for practice today but source says playing inside 8 weeks risky— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) December 11, 2013
But if any team presents an opportunity to find success, it's Dallas, which comes into Week 15 on a similarly bad pace as last year's legendarily bad New Orleans Saints, as ESPN Stats and Info showed, via ESPN The Magazine:
Eddie Lacy should be able to make big gains on Dallas' porous run defense, and he'll make fantasy owners happy by scoring at least one touchdown.
The Cowboys aren't the only team with a bad defense in this game, however. Green Bay's defense has been a huge reason why the Packers haven't won many games lately. Tony Romo will rebound with a big game at home after getting shut down in the cold at Soldier Field.
Projected Score: Cowboys win, 28-21
Baltimore at Detroit: Rebound for the Lions, or Beginning of the End for Jim Schwartz?
A month ago, after the Detroit Lions had dispatched Dallas and Chicago, it appeared Jim Schwartz's team was in terrific position to win the NFC North. However, the Lions have lost three of four games since then—the team's only win coming against the reeling Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving Day.
Should Jim Schwartz be on the hot seat?
Detroit still leads the division, thanks to its two wins over the Bears, but Chicago isn't going away quietly, having just destroyed the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football in Week 14, 45-28.
The Lions must find a way to break out of their current slump and make it into the playoffs, or Schwartz's job could be in jeopardy. This team features supremely talented players on both sides of the ball, but far too often during Schwartz's tenure, it finds a way to lose games it should win.
On the other side of the spectrum, John Harbaugh's team appears to be the favorite to claim the No. 6 seed in the AFC.
Baltimore comes into Week 15 on a three-game winning streak, having just won in thrilling, last-second fashion over the Minnesota Vikings to improve to 7-6 on the season.
Featuring an on-again, off-again offense and a solid defense, the Ravens have found ways to win games this year, even when it appears all hope is lost. Somehow, some way, the Ravens will find a way to get the job done again this Sunday in Detroit.
Projected Score: Ravens win, 27-24
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