There are only three weeks remaining in the 2013 NFL regular season, which means minimal room for error for those teams on the outside looking in on the playoff picture and key opportunities for those battling for postseason positioning.
The Denver Broncos' surprising loss to the San Diego Chargers on Thursday not only kicked off Week 15, but leaves the door open for New England and other AFC contenders in the race for home-field advantage.
Will either team capitalize this weekend?
With the final installment of Thursday Night Football in the books and Week 15 already underway, let's take a look at my picks for every remaining matchup, including three contenders poised to roll on the road this weekend.
*Lines according to VegasInsider.com.
|Atlanta Falcons (-4)||Washington Redskins|
|San Francisco 49ers (-6)||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Seattle Seahawks (-6.5)||New York Giants|
|Chicago Bears||Cleveland Browns (-2.5)|
|Indianapolis Colts (-4.5)||Houston Texans|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||Buffalo Bills (-3)|
|New England Patriots (-3)||Miami Dolphins|
|Philadelphia Eagles (-3.5)||Minnesota Vikings|
|Carolina Panthers (-12)||New York Jets|
|Kansas City Chiefs (-3.5)||Oakland Raiders|
|Dallas Cowboys (-8)||Green Bay Packers|
|Arizona Cardinals (-3)||Tennessee Titans|
|New Orleans Saints (-5.5)||St. Louis Rams|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||Cincinnati Bengals (-1)|
|Baltimore Ravens||Detroit Lions (-5.5)|
Lines via VegasInsider.com
Seattle Seahawks Over New York Giants
The Seahawks will hit the road for the second week in a row in Week 15. But unlike last weekend, Seattle will be a heavy favorite to win on Sunday at MetLife Stadium as it will host the 5-8 New York Giants.
While the Giants have dropped two of their last three games to fall out of the playoff race, the Seahawks will enter Sunday's showdown with a renewed sense of urgency having lost their last time out in San Francisco.
Although the loss ended Seattle's seven-game winning streak, it likely had very little impact on their confidence.
"If you're not ready to play, they will embarrass you ... and then laugh at you about it" Giants Justin Tuck on the Seahawks— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) December 12, 2013
Pete Carroll's squad still boasts one of the league's most fearsome rushing attacks, led by Marshawn Lynch, and the NFL's best secondary. With New York having surrendered 144 rushing yards to the Chargers in Week 14 and the Giants offense relying heavily on the pass in 2013, this matchup definitely favors the 11-2 Seahawks.
Kansas City Chiefs Over Oakland Raiders
Say what you want about the competition level, but no team has been more dominant on the road this season than the Kansas City Chiefs, who are 5-1 away from Arrowhead coming into Week 15's divisional clash with the Raiders in Oakland.
You can expect the Chiefs to keep on rolling on the road this weekend. After all, Oakland has lost three in a row, five of its last six and each of its past two home games. It's safe to say the Raiders are trending way down ahead of this weekend's matchup.
The one thing the Raiders have done well this season is run the ball. Unfortunately, that success hasn't led to many points. Oakland ranks 26th in the NFL in scoring offense and is averaging just 20 points per game at home in 2013. Remember, Kansas City scored 45 its last time out in a 35-point win on the road at Washington.
With San Diego's win keeping Kansas City's slim AFC West title hopes alive for another week, expect the Chiefs to come out focused in Week 15 and sweep the Raiders for the first time since 2006.
New Orleans Saints Over St. Louis Rams
One week after routing the Carolina Panthers in the Superdome, the New Orleans Saints will head to the Midwest to take on the Rams in St. Louis.
Which NFC top seed is the bigger lock to win on the road in Week 15?
Expect the Saints to play well inside another dome and send the Rams to their third consecutive loss on Sunday afternoon.
St. Louis has looked like a 5-8 team over the past two weeks, getting crushed at San Francisco and at Arizona while averaging just 284.5 total yards and 11.5 points per game in the process. Woeful offensive numbers like those simply won't cut it against the high-powered Saints, who rank sixth and seventh respectively in yards and points per game this season.
With New Orleans determined to chase down the NFC South title and a first-round bye in January's playoffs, watch for the Saints to turn in a dominant performance on the fast track inside the Edward Jones Dome.
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