The NFL playoffs are approaching fast, and the focus for football fans has shifted to Week 15’s picks for the most important games of the weekend.
With an eclectic mix of divisional battles, potential playoff matchups and a marquee interconference game on Monday Night Football, this is shaping up to be a wild week of NFL action.
Here is a full slate of predicted winners and a preview for three of the most important matchups.
|San Diego Chargers||Denver Broncos||Denver Broncos|
|Washington Redskins||Atlanta Falcons||Atlanta Falcons|
|Chicago Bears||Cleveland Browns||Chicago Bears|
|Houston Texans||Indianapolis Colts||Indianapolis Colts|
|New England Patriots||Miami Dolphins||New England Patriots|
|Philadelphia Eagles||Minnesota Vikings||Philadelphia Eagles|
|Seattle Seahawks||New York Giants||Seattle Seahawks|
|San Francisco 49ers||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||San Francisco 49ers|
|Buffalo Bills||Jacksonville Jaguars||Jacksonville Jaguars|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Oakland Raiders||Kansas City Chiefs|
|New York Jets||Carolina Panthers||Carolina Panthers|
|Green Bay Packers||Dallas Cowboys||Dallas Cowboys|
|Arizona Cardinals||Tennessee Titans||Tennessee Titans|
|New Orleans Saints||St. Louis Rams||New Orleans Saints|
|Cincinnati Bengals||Pittsburgh Steelers||Cincinnati Bengals|
|Baltimore Ravens||Detroit Lions||Baltimore Ravens|
Baltimore Raves (7-6) vs. Detroit Lions (7-6)
While Monday isn’t technically part of the weekend, it feels like an extended holiday vacation when two teams fighting for a playoff spot, like the Baltimore Ravens and Detroit Lions, go head-to-head.
The Lions are coming off of their toughest loss of the season. It’s clear that the snowy conditions played a role in the team’s lack of success against the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday—just 231 yards of total offense—but the emotional toll that a subpar performance can have on a team’s confidence is very real.
If Detroit isn’t 100 percent focused on Baltimore, the Lions will be blown out.
The Ravens have strung together three consecutive wins since losing in an overtime thriller against the Chicago Bears back in Week 11, and the team has started to regain the form that helped it win the Super Bowl.
With a defense allowing just over 16 points per game through the last three weeks and an offensive unit that put up 325 yards against Minnesota in a wild Week 15 matchup, Baltimore will stifle Detroit’s potent offense and put up enough points to steal the victory.
Predicted Final Score: Baltimore 24, Detroit 17
New England Patriots (10-3) vs. Miami Dolphins (7-6)
The AFC East has not lived up to the preseason expectations, but the divisional battle between the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins should be one of the most exciting matchups of the weekend.
Despite winning back-to-back games against the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers, the Dolphins don’t have the talent to beat the Patriots. New England proved that it was the better all-around team in Week 8 during its 27-17 victory over Miami.
The biggest news is the season-ending injury to star tight end Rob Gronkowski. The Patriots were just getting Gronk back from injury when the teams met the first time, and the tight end was held to just two receptions.
New England won without Gronkowski playing a major role in the first game, and the team will do it again Sunday.
The Patriots have won three games in a row thanks to the resurgence of the offensive unit, and despite the tough matchup against the Dolphins’ stout defense, Tom Brady will look to continue moving his team forward to overcome the loss of such a dynamic weapon.
Predicted Final Score: New England 27, Miami 20
Philadelphia Eagles (8-5) vs. Minnesota Vikings (3-9-1)
Whether injured Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson plays this week or not is still a major question, per Ben Goessling of ESPN.com, but his team will struggle against the high-powered Eagles regardless.
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Minnesota is coming off a devastating loss to Baltimore that saw the Vikings lose two fourth-quarter leads before finally losing the game. After such a dramatic finish, there is no question that the team’s confidence will be shaken.
With all of the momentum on the Eagles’ side, Philadelphia will take advantage of playing inside a dome by controlling the clock with a strong rushing attack. If McCoy performs well, he will give Foles ample opportunities to shine through the air against a weak Minnesota secondary.
Predicted Final Score: Philadelphia 30, Minnesota 17
*Stats via NFL.com.