Playoff races are heating up as we head down the home stretch of the NFL regular season. There are a number of key races to keep an eye on this week, as well as three teams who can wrap up division wins (Seattle Seahawks on Thursday Night). Although it’s still Week 15 of the regular season, the playoffs have already begun for a number of teams in the NFL.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys have already punched their postseason ticket. With an 11-2 record, they have looked almost unstoppable. The only two losses on their record have both come at the hands of their division rivals the New York Giants (9-4), and both were gritty one point losses. Dallas will have another shot to wrap up the NFC East title on Sunday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are engaged in a playoff fight of their own. Tampa Bay is currently tied with the Atlanta Falcons at 8-5 for the top spot in the NFC South. This could well be the most intense Sunday Night game of the season as two young quarterbacks in Dallas’ Dak Prescott and Tampa Bay’s Jameis Winston look to trade blows and show the world what they’re made of.
New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos
It’s not surprising that New England is once again one win from another AFC East title. The Patriots have won the AFC East every year from 2003-2015 with the exception of 2008, where the Dolphins won instead. Securing the title this week will prove to be a little bit tricky for Tom Brady against the defending Super Bowl champions. The Broncos rank first in the NFL against the pass, allowing just 183.5 yards on average, while the Patriots ranks fourth in passing offense with 280 yards per game. This game is also crucial for an 8-5 Broncos squad trying to stay in the hunt for a Wild Card spot. Denver currently holds the final playoff seed, but a number of teams are nipping at their heels. This game is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Other Games of Note
Those are the two most high profile games that will take place this weekend, but the Week 15 schedule is crammed with games that will have massive playoff implications. The Miami Dolphins (8-5) will take on the New York Jets (4-9) in a special edition of Saturday Night Football as the Dolphins look to overtake the Broncos for the final Wild Card spot. The Green Bay Packers (7-6) will take on the Chicago Bears (3-10) in one of the NFL’s oldest rivalries. Green Bay must take home a win to stay afloat in the playoff race.
Almost every game on the schedule has playoff implications of some kind, but these games are the ones people are most likely to be watching closely. We’re in for a wild ride as the race for the playoffs and a shot at Super Bowl immortality looms. Fasten your seatbelts, ladies and gentleman.