The Week 15 NFL slate is stacked with great matchups. Our NFL Nation reporters bring us the keys to every game, a bold prediction for each matchup and final score predictions.
Additionally, ESPN Stats & Information provides a stat to know for each game, and the Football Power Index (FPI) goes inside the numbers with a matchup rating (on a scale of 1 to 100) and a game projection. ESPN Chalk’s Mackenzie Kraemer hands out helpful nuggets, and national NFL writer Kevin Seifert sorts through potential playoff and draft-order scenarios, as well. It’s all here to help get you ready for a loaded weekend of NFL football.
Let’s get into the full Week 15 schedule, including a battle between potential AFC wild cards on Sunday night.
Texans (8-5) at Titans (8-5)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 71.4 | Spread: TEN -3 (51)
What to watch for: Tennessee is averaging 31.7 points per game at home with Ryan Tannehill under center. And the Titans have rolled up 30 points or more in each of their past four games. — Turron Davenport
Bold prediction: Titans running back Derrick Henry will show just how much the Texans miss J.J. Watt. Henry has topped 100 rushing yards in four consecutive games and does so again on Sunday. — Sarah Barshop
Stat to know: The Texans have allowed opponents to convert 49% of their third downs this season, worst in the NFL and on track to be the worst in franchise history (44% in 2006).
What’s at stake: This is the first of two games over the next three weeks that will decide the AFC South. The winner will be a game up but won’t clinch anything. At the moment, FPI is favoring the Texans (67.1%) to wind up as division champions. That number will increase to 90% with a victory.
Betting nugget: Tennessee is 6-1 (5-1-1 against the spread, or ATS) since Tannehill took over as the starter, including four straight wins and covers. All seven games went over the total. Read more.
Barshop’s pick: Titans 28, Texans 24
Davenport’s pick: Titans 31, Texans 24
FPI prediction: TEN, 52.3% (by an average of 0.8 points)
Matchup must-reads: Texans’ Mercilus credits Titans coach Vrabel for boosting football IQ … Texans faced an ‘avalanche’ and can’t afford to bury themselves … Titans’ penchant for trick plays should keep Texans on their toes
Bears (7-6) at Packers (10-3)
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 61.9 | Spread: GB -5 (40)
What to watch for: The Packers boast the best pass block win rate in the NFL this season at 70%, according to ESPN Stats & Information data powered by NFL Next Gen Stats. And Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers has averaged almost three seconds to throw this season. Yet to hear Packers coach Matt LaFleur tell it, the Bears’ defense has “got guys that can completely wreck a game.” — Rob Demovsky
Bold prediction: Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson II will catch at least one touchdown. Robinson — Chicago’s top receiver with 76 receptions for 898 yards and seven touchdowns — leads the NFL with four receiving touchdowns over the past three weeks. He is also on pace to become the Bears’ first 1,000-yard receiver since Alshon Jeffery in 2014. — Jeff Dickerson
Stat to know: In Mitchell Trubisky’s past five games, the quarterback has helped lead the Bears to a 4-1 record while completing 67% of his passes for 245 passing yards per game and 11 passing touchdowns. In his first seven games, he was completing 63% of his passes for 174 passing yards per game and five passing scores. His 11 passing TDs since Week 10 quietly ranks as the fourth most in that span (Lamar Jackson, 16; Drew Brees, 12; Jimmy Garoppolo, 12).
What’s at stake: The Packers can clinch a playoff berth with a win or tie and a Rams loss. The Bears, on the other hand, are fighting to avoid elimination from playoff contention. That would happen with a loss and a win by either the Vikings or Rams.
Betting nugget: Rodgers is 14-6 ATS as a favorite against Chicago. Over the past five seasons, Green Bay is 13-4 ATS as a home favorite of less than seven points. Read more.
Dickerson’s pick: Packers 22, Bears 19
Demovsky’s pick: Packers 17, Bears 16
FPI prediction: GB, 64.7% (by an average of 5.1 points)
Matchup must-reads: Bears finally able to unlock Trubisky’s run game, but will he keep running? … Packers have ‘got a defense,’ but it’s hard to figure
Broncos (5-8) at Chiefs (9-4)
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 55.9 | Spread: KC -10 (45.5)
What to watch for: The Chiefs are playing much better defense of late (14 points allowed per game over the past three), but the Broncos and rookie quarterback Drew Lock might represent their biggest challenge during this stretch. Don’t be surprised if the Chiefs blitz Lock relentlessly, as they did last week with the Patriots’ Tom Brady. — Adam Teicher
Bold prediction: The Broncos have surrendered at least three sacks in eight games this season; this will be the ninth. After two games when opposing defensive coordinators did little extra to pressure Lock or to disguise their coverages, the rookie will feel the heat from the Chiefs. — Jeff Legwold
Stat to know: Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes has three consecutive games with exactly one passing touchdown. He had two games all of last season without multiple throwing scores (Weeks 4-5) vs. six such games this season. Mahomes’ 5.4 touchdown percentage this season is way off last season’s 8.6 rate.
What’s at stake: The Chiefs already have won the AFC West but have a chance to improve their seeding considerably. They are still in the running for the No. 1 overall seed because they hold head-to-head tiebreakers over both the Ravens and the Patriots. The Broncos could be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss, a Steelers win or a tie between the Texans and Titans.
Betting nugget: Lock is 2-0 as a starter, winning as a 7.5-point underdog against the Texans and as a 4.5-point underdog against the Chargers. In the Super Bowl era, the only quarterbacks to begin their careers 3-0 all as an underdog are Mahomes and Kyle Allen. Lock would be the first rookie in that span to do it. Read more.
Legwold’s pick: Chiefs 24, Broncos 19
Teicher’s pick: Chiefs 27, Broncos 23
FPI prediction: KC, 87.1% (by an average of 15.0 points)
Matchup must-reads: Broncos’ Drew Lock might find unwelcome homecoming at Arrowhead … Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes says ‘scary’ bruised hand no longer an issue … Chiefs finally have the defense they hoped for when they overhauled
Patriots (10-3) at Bengals (1-12)
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 52.9 | Spread: NE -10 (41.5)
What to watch for: The Bengals have the second-worst scoring offense, while New England has the best scoring defense. However, both teams struggle at the line of scrimmage, which could make things more interesting than expected. — Ben Baby
Bold prediction: The Patriots will hit 30 points for the first time since a 33-0 win over the Jets on Oct. 21 — a span of six games. If they don’t hit the 30-point mark against the Bengals, it would tie the longest streak in the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era of consecutive sub-30-point games (2002, 2005). — Mike Reiss
Stat to know: Cincinnati running back Joe Mixon has three rushing touchdowns in his past four games. He had zero prior to that this season.
What’s at stake: All the Patriots can do this week is clinch a playoff berth with a win or a tie in Cincinnati. And the Bengals continue to hold a two-game edge for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. FPI gives them a 70% chance of landing that spot.
Betting nugget: New England has lost back-to-back games entering this week. Brady is 41-19 ATS in his career after a loss, and he is 8-4 ATS in his career when entering on a multigame losing streak. Read more.
Reiss’ pick: Patriots 30, Bengals 10
Baby’s pick: Patriots 27, Bengals 13
FPI prediction: NE, 85.7% (by an average of 14.1 points)
Matchup must-reads: ‘I’m representing her’: Why Joe Mixon’s 19th career TD is his favorite … Patriots sign viral kicker Josh Gable to practice squad
Seahawks (10-3) at Panthers (5-8)
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 47.7 | Spread: SEA -6 (48.5)
What to watch for: Can the Panthers tighten up a run defense that ranks 29th in the league as it faces the league’s third-best rushing attack? If past trends continue, the Seahawks will gash Carolina for big runs and at least equal their 140.8 yards rushing per game. — David Newton
Bold prediction: The Seahawks will take a page out of Rams coach Sean McVay’s playbook … sort of. McVay got Jared Goff out of the pocket on designed rollouts several times Sunday night, one reason he wasn’t sacked and took only four official hits. Russell Wilson, meanwhile, took five sacks and 11 hits. Now he faces one of the NFL’s most productive pass-rushes with Carolina ranking second in sacks at 47. — Brady Henderson
Stat to know: During the Panthers’ current five-game losing streak, they have a minus-12 turnover margin (worst in the NFL) and 31.8 QBR (28th), and are allowing 6.5 yards per play (31st in NFL).
What’s at stake: The Seahawks can clinch a playoff berth with a win and a loss by either the Rams or Vikings. Another less likely clinching scenario is a win along with a Packers loss and a tie by the Vikings. The Panthers have been eliminated, and a loss would elevate their chances of a top-10 draft pick. FPI projects it as a 49.7% likelihood.
Betting nugget: Wilson is 23-12-2 ATS in his career after a loss (30-7 outright). Read more.
Henderson’s pick: Seahawks 27, Panthers 21
Newton’s pick: Seahawks 30, Panthers 17
FPI prediction: SEA, 60.0% (by an average of 3.4 points)
Matchup must-reads: How coaching change could affect Cam Newton, other Panthers … Panthers QB Cam Newton recovering after foot surgery … Performance team is key to Russell Wilson’s remarkable durability
Buccaneers (6-7) at Lions (3-9-1)
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 35.1 | Spread: TB -3.5 (45.5)
What to watch for: Lions star receiver Kenny Golladay has been quiet of late. But with Marvin Jones Jr. out for the year, the third-year pro could go for over 100 yards and score two touchdowns for Detroit in a game few fans will come out to see. — Michael Rothstein
Bold prediction: Even with a broken right thumb, Tampa Bay quarterback Jameis Winston will have just his fifth interception-free game of the season. Even with Pro Bowler Darius Slay in their secondary, the Lions have only five interceptions this season, tied for fewest in the league. — Jenna Laine
Stat to know: The Bucs are seeking their first four-game win streak since 2016, when they won five straight. During the current streak, they are averaging 434.3 yards per game and have forced seven turnovers (second and tied for second, respectively, in the NFL over that span).
What’s at stake: A Week 15 battle between two eliminated teams doesn’t offer much other than draft position consideration. The Lions could improve their 50-50 odds (via FPI) of a top-five pick, while the Buccaneers could risk falling out of the top 15 with a victory.
Betting nugget: Detroit has lost six straight games and has failed to cover in seven of its past eight. Meanwhile, this is the most points Tampa Bay has been favored by on the road since Week 1 of 2013 against the Jets (the Bucs lost by one as 3.5-point favorites). Read more.
Laine’s pick: Buccaneers 28, Lions 18
Rothstein’s pick: Buccaneers 27, Lions 17
FPI prediction: TB, 58.8% (by an average of 3.0 points)
Matchup must-reads: Bucs plan on Winston (thumb) starting vs. Lions … Can the Bucs live with both ‘good Jameis’ and ‘bad Jameis’? … Fist bumps and chicken wings have helped Lions RB Bo Scarbrough’s rise
Eagles (6-7) at Redskins (3-10)
1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 18.9 | Spread: PHI -4.5 (39)
What to watch for: The Redskins rank 10th in rushing yards per game since Bill Callahan became the interim coach in Week 6. But in the past five games vs. the Eagles — all losses — they’ve averaged 58.4 rushing yards per game and 4.0 per carry (and only 2.8 per carry aside from Adrian Peterson’s 90-yard touchdown run last season). Meanwhile, Philadelphia ranks third in rushing yards allowed per game this season. — John Keim
Bold prediction: Philadelphia’s Boston Scott will score two touchdowns. The second-year back burst onto the scene Monday night against the Giants, racking up 156 all-purpose yards and a touchdown. That should be enough to elevate him over Jay Ajayi on the depth chart, and he’ll be eager to take advantage of the opportunity. — Tim McManus
Stat to know: Peterson needs one rushing touchdown to tie Hall of Famer Walter Payton for fourth on the all-time list, along with 65 rushing yards to tie Hall of Famer Curtis Martin for fifth in that category.
What’s at stake: The Eagles have a real chance to overtake the Cowboys for the top spot in the NFC East with a win, along with a Dallas loss to the Rams. A win gives the Eagles a 39% chance to win NFC East, according to FPI (would drop to 15% with a loss). A Redskins win, on the other hand, could risk their otherwise solid standing for a spot in the top five of the draft.
Betting nugget: Philadelphia has won five straight meetings, all by at least five points. It’s 4-1 ATS in those games, with the only non-cover coming in Week 1 this season (Philadelphia won by five as a 10-point favorite after falling behind 17-0). Read more.
McManus’ pick: Eagles 27, Redskins 17
Keim’s pick: Eagles 24, Redskins 20
FPI prediction: PHI, 74.0% (by an average of 8.6 points)
Matchup must-reads: Why Carson Wentz’s comeback could have long-term effect on Eagles … Eagles lose WR Alshon Jeffery for season due to foot injury … Terry McLaurin tops under-25 crowd, providing hope for Redskins
Dolphins (3-10) at Giants (2-11)
1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 4.2 | Spread: NYG -3.5 (46.5)
What to watch for: Giants running back Saquon Barkley said he’s feeling “healthier and healthier” each week. And this week, he gets to face the league’s 31st-ranked run defense. This is setting up for a big week for Barkley, who hasn’t rushed for 100 yards since Week 2. — Jordan Raanan
Bold prediction: Patrick Laird will be the first Dolphins running back to reach 100 total yards in a game this season. Laird has emerged as the Dolphins’ clear lead back and had a career-high 86 total yards vs. the Jets. He’ll look to take advantage of a suspect secondary Sunday. — Cameron Wolfe
Stat to know: Barkley has 610 rushing yards this season. He has never had a sub-1,000-yard rushing season in either college or pro.
What’s at stake: A Dolphins win could jeopardize their spot among the top five picks in the draft. They have a 5.7% chance at the No. 1 pick still, per FPI, but a win would eliminate any shot. The Giants, meanwhile, have the second-best chance to pick No. 1 overall behind the Bengals (19.7%). Chances would increase to 40% with a loss to the Dolphins, or fall to 9% with a win.
Betting nugget: New York is the eighth team in the past 30 seasons to be a favorite despite entering on a losing streak of at least nine games. The previous seven are 1-6 outright and ATS. The last time it happened was in Weeks 13-14 of 2016 when Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers lost twice as favorites. The current 3.5-point spread would be the largest ever in favor of a team on a losing streak of at least nine games. Read more.
Wolfe’s pick: Dolphins 24, Giants 23
Raanan’s pick: Giants 22, Dolphins 16
FPI prediction: NYG, 63.2% (by an average of 4.5 points)
Matchup must-reads: Hidden gems: Brian Flores, coach and scout, knows how to find them … Giants’ 2018 draft class has been disappointing after promising first season
Vikings (9-4) at Chargers (5-8)
4:05 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 81.2 | Spread: MIN -2.5 (45)
What to watch for: The Chargers face the fourth-leading rusher in the NFL in Dalvin Cook (1,108) on Sunday. Defensively, they have held teams to 98 rushing yards per game since Week 8, seventh best in the NFL. The Chargers’ ability to slow down Cook should determine who wins this game. — Eric D. Williams
Bold prediction: Minnesota receiver Adam Thielen delivers a statement performance in his first game in nearly two months, recording two touchdowns in L.A. The Chargers have one of the league’s best pass defenses, but this unit is going to sell out to stop Cook, thus leaving Thielen able to win his one-on-one matchups. — Courtney Cronin
Stat to know: Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins has a 49.4 Total QBR in road games this season (20th in NFL), compared to 75.4 at home (fourth in NFL).
What’s at stake: The Vikings can’t clinch anything in Week 15, but they almost certainly need a win to maintain their already slim chances to overtake the Packers in the NFC North (30% chance per to FPI). A loss, combined with a win by the Rams, would make things interesting for the No. 6 seed. And a loss for the Chargers would give them a better chance of earning a top-10 pick in the draft. FPI projects that possibility at 38.9%.
Betting nugget: Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer is 24-8 ATS as a single-digit home favorite. However, since acquiring Cousins, Minnesota is 1-6-1 outright and 1-7 ATS when the spread is in the range of +3 to -3. Read more.
Cronin’s pick: Vikings 30, Chargers 24
Williams’ pick: Vikings 28, Chargers 26
FPI prediction: MIN, 53.1% (by an average of 1.1 points)
Matchup must-reads: Amid disappointing season for Chargers, Joey Bosa still playing at elite level
Browns (6-7) at Cardinals (3-9-1)
4:05 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 27.6 | Spread: CLE -2 (49)
What to watch for: Arizona’s Kyler Murray and Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield will have a shootout Sunday at State Farm Stadium as each tries to one-up the other. The two close friends know their teams need to win this game, but both will want to prove who’s the best former Heisman-winning Oklahoma quarterback to be selected first in the NFL draft. — Josh Weinfuss
Bold prediction: Browns receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will have a season-low number of targets (four or fewer), but the Browns’ offense will put up more than 30 points for only the third time this season. — Jake Trotter
Stat to know: Cleveland’s Nick Chubb has at least 75 yards from scrimmage in all 13 games this season. He’s the only player in the NFL to do so, and he’s tied with Jim Brown (1961) and Reuben Droughns (2005) for the most such games in a single season in Browns history. But the yardage isn’t piling up throughout the offense: Beckham has seven straight games under 100 receiving yards, the longest streak of his career.
What’s at stake: The Browns can be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss and a Steelers win, or a loss and a tie between the Texans and Titans. The Cardinals, losers in six consecutive games, are on their way to locking in a top-five draft pick for the second consecutive year.
Betting nugget: This is the seventh straight game in which Cleveland has been favored — its longest streak since 1994. It was a road favorite twice in that stretch and lost both games outright. Read more.
Trotter’s pick: Browns 30, Cardinals 24
Weinfuss’ pick: Browns 34, Cardinals 31
FPI prediction: CLE, 53.6% (by an average of 1.3 points)
Matchup must-reads: Baker Mayfield’s beefs: Stories behind the slights that motivate the Browns QB … Will Kenyan Drake’s second contract be affected by others backs’ failures? … Kliff Kingsbury says past differences in college with Baker Mayfield have been mended
Jaguars (4-9) at Raiders (6-7)
4:05 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating: 22.0 | Spread: OAK -6.5 (45.5)
What to watch for: In what is likely the final Raiders game at the Oakland Coliseum, look for the Raiders to ride a wave of emotion to end their ghastly three-game losing streak. And if rookie running back Josh Jacobs (shoulder) plays as expected, look for him to cement his status as the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year against the No. 30 run defense. — Paul Gutierrez
Bold prediction: Even with a banged-up shoulder, Jacobs will set a career high in rushing yards. He had 124 against Green Bay but will top that against a Jaguars run defense that is giving up an average of 193.6 yards per game in its past five games. — Mike DiRocco
Stat to know: Jacksonville’s Leonard Fournette has 1,039 rushing yards yet only three rushing touchdowns. Every other player with 1,000-plus rush yards has at least five scores. And only two players since 2010 have rushed for over 1,000 yards and scored three or fewer rushing TDs (C.J. Anderson in 2017 and Darren McFadden in 2015).
What’s at stake: The Raiders can be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss and a Steelers win, or a loss and a tie between the Texans and Titans. The Jaguars are a relative lock for a top-10 draft pick, but a loss would increase their chances to move up into the top five.
Betting nugget: Jacksonville has lost five straight games, all by at least 17 points (0-5 ATS). It was never more than a 4.5-point underdog in any of those games. Meanwhile, Oakland has lost three straight games, all by at least 21 points, and it has failed to cover in four straight games. Read more.
DiRocco’s pick: Raiders 30, Jaguars 10
Gutierrez’s pick: Raiders 23, Jaguars 20
FPI prediction: OAK, 66.3% (by an average of 5.6 points)
Matchup must-reads: Retiring a relic: Raiders from past and present reflect on the Coliseum … Memorable Raiders moments in the Oakland Coliseum … Jaguars face big decisions on Nick Foles, Calais Campbell and others
Rams (8-5) at Cowboys (6-7)
4:25 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 76.1 | Spread: LAR -1 (49)
What to watch for: When these teams met in the playoffs last January, the Rams ran all over the Cowboys with 273 yards on 48 carries. C.J. Anderson and Todd Gurley II each had more than 100 yards. And now the Cowboys have allowed at least 100 yards rushing in seven consecutive games. — Todd Archer
Bold prediction: Gurley will finally reach the 100-yard rushing mark. Rams coach Sean McVay has dramatically increased the running back’s touches over the past four weeks, as the Rams make a late push toward a third consecutive playoff berth, and indications are that McVay will call Gurley’s number early and often against a Cowboys rushing defense that’s allowing an average of 104.3 yards per game. — Lindsey Thiry
Stat to know: Cowboys QB Dak Prescott has had 23 passes dropped by receivers this season, the most for any QB in the league.
What’s at stake: The Cowboys hold a temporary tiebreaker over the Eagles in the NFC East, but all it will take is one loss combined with one Eagles victory to reverse the top of the division standings. According to FPI, the Cowboys have a 67% chance to win the NFC East. That improves to 74% with a win over the Rams, and it drops to 54% with a loss. The Rams, meanwhile, have staved off playoff elimination and are one more win — combined with a Vikings loss — from jumping into the No. 6 seed. They have a 25% chance to make the playoffs.
Betting nugget: Los Angeles is 5-2 outright and ATS since acquiring cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Six of the seven games went under. Overall, seven of Los Angeles’ past eight games went under. Read more.
Thiry’s pick: Rams 28, Cowboys 24
Archer’s pick: Rams 34, Cowboys 27
FPI prediction: DAL, 63.2% (by an average of 4.5 points)
Matchup must-reads: ‘Vintage’ Todd Gurley has showed up for Rams, but can it last? … Sizing up coaching market if the Cowboys move on from Jason Garrett
Falcons (4-9) at 49ers (11-2)
4:25 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating: 61.1 | Spread: SF -11.5 (48)
What to watch for: This could be a trap game for the Niners as they deal with a series of key injuries, are coming off an emotional and exhausting win in New Orleans and are hosting a team that knows coach Kyle Shanahan well. How the 49ers deal with all of that in a game that could clinch them a playoff spot will go a long way in determining the winner. — Nick Wagoner
Bold prediction: Vic Beasley Jr. will get three sacks to give him a team-high nine on the season, including five in the past two games. And there will be more buzz generated about where this was from Beasley all season and if he’s worth re-signing. — Vaughn McClure
Stat to know: Niners running back Raheem Mostert has a rushing touchdown in three straight games. The last 49ers player with one in four straight was Frank Gore (Weeks 4-8 of 2011).
What’s at stake: The 49ers can clinch a playoff berth with a win or tie. Even if they let down and lose, they can clinch if the Rams lose, or if the Vikings and Packers lose. And a Falcons loss would all but lock up a top-10 pick in the draft.
Betting nugget: San Francisco has not been more than a 10-point favorite since 2014. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is 1-5-1 ATS with San Francisco as a favorite of at least six points and 11-2-1 ATS in all other games. Read more.
McClure’s pick: 49ers 28, Falcons 21
Wagoner’s pick: 49ers 30, Falcons 20
FPI prediction: SF, 81.9% (by an average of 12.1 points)
Matchup must-reads: Falcons WR Calvin Ridley out for season with abdominal injury … How Emmanuel Sanders is leading the 49ers’ young receivers
Bills (9-4) at Steelers (8-5)
8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
Matchup rating: 38.2 | Spread: PIT -1.5 (35.5)
What to watch for: The Steelers’ offense figures to be its healthiest since the Monday night win against the Dolphins in late October. James Conner and JuJu Smith-Schuster both practiced this week, and against a Bills defense ranked No. 3 in yards allowed per game, the Steelers need as many weapons at their disposal as possible. — Brooke Pryor
Bold prediction: The Steelers have won the turnover battle in all but two games this season. But the Bills not only will win the turnover battle Sunday night, their defense will score its first touchdown of the season. — Marcel Louis-Jacques
Stat to know: Since Week 4, the Steelers’ defense has been lights out. It has allowed the NFL’s lowest Total QBR (34) and fewest yards per play (4.3). It also has led the league with 26 takeaways and 42 sacks in that time, and only the Patriots have a better defensive efficiency over that span.
What’s at stake: The Bills can clinch a playoff spot, their second in three seasons, with a win. The Steelers need a win to continue fighting off the Texans and the surging Titans, though. They have a 59% chance to make the playoffs, per FPI.
Betting nugget: Since the NFL expanded to 32 teams in 2002, Buffalo’s 3-17 record in prime-time games is the worst in the NFL over that span (lost past five games). It’s 7-12-1 ATS in those games, including 0-2 under coach Sean McDermott. Read more.
Louis-Jacques’ pick: Bills 17, Steelers 7
Pryor’s pick: Steelers 10, Bills 7
FPI prediction: PIT, 51.3% (by an average of 0.5 points)
Matchup must-reads: Bills making strides but haven’t shown they can beat AFC’s best
Colts (6-7) at Saints (10-3)
Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET | ESPN/ESPN App
Matchup rating: 65.2 | Spread: NO -8 (46.5)
What to watch for: The Saints almost certainly need to win out to have any shot at the NFC’s No. 1 seed after last week’s gut-wrenching 48-46 loss to the 49ers. But at least they did get Drew Brees and the offense going, which they hope to continue in a setting where he has thrived over the years: at home on Monday Night Football. The Colts (6-7) have fallen on hard times with losses in five of their past six games. — Mike Triplett
Bold prediction: The Saints, fifth in the NFL in sacks with 43, will have their eighth game with at least three sacks.The Colts have given up three sacks in a game only once this season. Running the ball is one way to keep the pressure off Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett, but the Saints are good against the run, too, giving up only 94.2 yards per game. — Mike Wells
Stat to know: After missing two games with a broken hand, Colts running back Marlon Mack was held to a season-low 38 yards in Week 14 against Tampa Bay. Mack gained a season-low 17 yards before initial contact and was hit at or behind the line of scrimmage on seven of his 13 rushes after averaging 50.8 rush yards before contact per game, fifth most among running backs, entering the contest.
What’s at stake: The Colts can be eliminated from playoff contention with a loss. The Saints already have clinched the NFC South but need to keep winning as they chase home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Betting nugget: Indianapolis coach Frank Reich is 9-1 ATS and 8-2 outright in the regular season against teams with winning records, but the only ATS loss came in Week 13 against Tennessee. He is 6-0 ATS against teams that entered at least two games over .500. Read more.
Triplett’s pick: Saints 35, Colts 20
Wells’ pick: Saints 27, Colts 23
FPI prediction: NO, 71.6% (by an average of 7.6 points)
Matchup must-reads: Vinatieri: I should have had surgery in offseason … Fading Colts’ minuscule playoff hopes rest on upsetting Saints … Saints’ Sean Payton tells butcher to ‘worry about your frickin’ meat’ over failed 2-point play … Was Saints’ 48-point defensive meltdown a blip or reason to worry?
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