We are one game into Week 15 of the NFL season after the San Francisco 49ers routed the Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers increased their playoff chances, and the Seahawks are spiraling out of control with back-to-back losses. The AFC and NFC wild card slots are wide open as only four weeks remain in the NFL regular season. Time to break down the Saturday slate of NFL games.
NFL Showdown At U.S. Bank Stadium: Indianapolis Colts (4-8-1) At Minnesota Vikings (10-3)
The Minnesota Vikings will look to bounce back after falling short to the Detroit Lions in Week 14. In a game where Kirk Cousins threw for 425 yards, and Justin Jefferson broke records with 11 catches for 223 yards, the Vikings’ turnovers were the dagger in the loss. The Colts enter this matchup with a three-game losing streak. Between quarterback flips and coaching staff mix-ups, the Colts haven’t been able to produce wins. Unfortunately, the Colts’ playoff chances are all but gone now, so there’s not much for them to fight for beyond stats.
The Vikings are currently the leader in the NFC North by a large chunk and will look to continue their dominance in the NFC. After the tough loss to the Lions, the Philadelphia Eagles seem to have a firm grip on the number one spot in the NFC, but there’s still hope of the Vikings overtaking that spot with a slip-up by the Eagles. Although the Vikings haven’t clinched the playoffs, their chances are incredibly high, and a win this weekend should punch their ticket to the postseason.
This NFL game will be played in Minnesota at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings are currently 3.5 favorites to the Colts, which is very close considering the records of these two teams. The Vikings will bring vengeance into a game with all fight as they look to obtain their 11th win. The Colts don’t have much to play for, as their season is in shambles. This will be the first game in the NFL Saturday slate. It will air on NFL Network at one pm EST. Will the Vikings continue their elite season, or will the Colts bring down the house and upset SKOL nation?
AFC Brawl At FirstEnergy Stadium: Baltimore Ravens (9-4) At Cleveland Browns (5-8)
The AFC North will have two teams playing in this game. The Ravens currently lead the AFC North, while the Browns are third. The Ravens own the tiebreaker with the Cincinnati Bengals, who are also up top with nine wins. Both teams have a lot to play for; the Ravens hope to maintain the top spot in the division, and the Browns are still hopeful of making the playoffs.
This NFL matchup will be intriguing as Lamar Jackson has been ruled out for the second straight game. He’s been the difference-maker for the team this season. Backup quarterback Tyler Huntley will draw his second straight start as he cleared concussion protocol. Anthony Brown was brought up from the practice squad to back up Huntley. Finally, Deshaun Watson will hope to build upon his comeback after being suspended for 11 games this season. He will draw his third straight start.
In Week seven of the NFL, the Ravens squeaked a win against the Browns. These two teams will face off with different quarterbacks as they hope to keep increasing their playoff chances. This game will be the second game played on Saturday. The game will air on NFL Network at 4:30 pm EST. The Browns are 2.5 home favorites. Can Huntley lead the Ravens to a third straight victory, or will Watson and the Browns have revenge in this AFC North showdown?
Snowy Skirmish At Highmark Stadium: Miami Dolphins (8-5) At Buffalo Bills (10-3)
After two away games in sunny California, the Dolphins will be on the road again, except they will go into frigid New York to face off against the Bills. It’ll be interesting to see how the players’ bodies hold up after playing in warm weather for the last three weeks and turn around into freezing temperatures. The Bills and Dolphins are currently first and second in the AFC East. The Bills hold a two-game advantage, but the Dolphins have the tiebreaker after a two-point victory in Week three. Nothing is guaranteed for these teams, so this game contains a lot of value.
The forecast for Saturday’s NFL game is hovering around freezing. Meteorologists are calling for five to eight inches of snow during the day, with an additional three to five inches in the evening. Luckily, this game won’t be moved to a different stadium like the Bills had to do in Week 11 versus the Browns. Playing in cold, snowy conditions is a massive advantage for the Bills. Neither team has a superb rushing game, so it’ll be interesting to see how the game plays out, as passing won’t have much success in the snow. In addition, visibility might be limited at times.
This game will cap off the Saturday slate of games and should be a great game to watch. This game will also be aired on NFL Network, and it’ll be in the primetime 8:15 pm EST slot. With the weather and home advantage, the Bills are currently seven-point favorites. With a lot on the line, this game should be close. Based on the weather forecast, points should be limited, and the chances for turnovers should be high. Can the Bills maintain their number one spot in the AFC, or will the Dolphins tighten the gap in their wild-card race?