NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 16: DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Houston Texans rushes against Malcom Butler #21 of the Tennessee Titans during the second quarter at Nissan Stadium on September 16, 2018 in Nashville, Tennessee.
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Previewing Week 15 in the NFL, which includes a battle for the AFC South between the 8-5 Houston Texans and the 8-5 Tennessee Titans.

Ryan Honey

We’ve arrived at Week 15 in the NFL, as this season seems like it just flew by. This week’s slate of games will include numerous matchups worth watching, including a battle for the AFC South between the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans. Another notable matchup is the primetime game on Sunday night between the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers.

However, prior to taking a look at those games, we’ll be recapping the very entertaining Week 14 matchups. Later on, as usual, we’ll be providing predictions for Week 15.

Week 14 Final Scores // Prediction Results

  • Dallas Cowboys 24 at Chicago Bears 31 // Correct
  • Carolina Panthers 20 at Atlanta Falcons 40 // Correct
  • Baltimore Ravens 24 at Buffalo Bills 17 // Correct
  • Cincinnati Bengals 19 at Cleveland Browns 27 // Incorrect
  • Washington Redskins 15 at GB Packers 20 // Correct
  • Denver Broncos 38 at Houston Texans 24 // Incorrect
  • Detroit Lions 7 at Minnesota Vikings 20 // Correct
  • SF 49ers 48 at NO Saints 46 // Incorrect
  • Miami Dolphins 21 at NY Jets 22 // Incorrect
  • Indianapolis Colts 35 at TB Buccaneers 38 // Incorrect
  • LA Chargers 45 at Jacksonville Jaguars 10 // Incorrect
  • Pittsburgh Steelers 23 at Arizona Cardinals 17 // Correct
  • KC Chiefs 23 at NE Patriots 16 // Incorrect
  • Tennessee Titans 42 at Oakland Raiders 21 // Incorrect
  • Seattle Seahawks 12 at LA Rams 28 // Incorrect
  • NY Giants 17 at Philadelphia Eagles 23 // Correct
  • Week 14 Results: 7-9
  • Overall Results: 128-80

Recap: What we saw during Week 14

We saw Mitch Trubisky step up for the Bears, as he had the previous two games. His play has improved and it’s led to Chicago winning three consecutive games to improve to 7-6. In the 31-24 win over the Cowboys, the third-year quarterback was 23-for-31 for 244 yards, three touchdowns, one pick, and a quarterback rating of 115.5. He also ran for a 23-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

The Ravens have now won nine straight games after defeating the Bills 24-17. It was a well-matched game, as the Bills are just one game behind the Patriots for the best record in the AFC East division. Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson continued his star-studded season with three touchdown passes and 145 yards through the air. He additionally racked up 40 yards on the ground.

Is Drew Lock for real? Sure seems like it, as the Broncos rookie is now 2-0 as a starter. After ousting the Chargers in Week 13, Lock and Denver dominated the Deshaun Watson-led Texans by a score of 38-24. The rookie quarterback completed 22 of his 27 passes for 309 yards, three touchdowns, one pick, and a 136.0 quarterback rating. Houston wideout DeAndre Hopkins also had a big game, catching seven balls for 120 yards and one touchdown.

We may have witnessed the best game of the year thus far at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this past Sunday. In what was a very evenly-matched game, the 49ers and Saints went down to the wire. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees had an enormous day, going 29-for-40 for 349 yards, five touchdowns, and zero picks. He also rushed for a touchdown. However, Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo also racked up 349 yards through the air, with four touchdowns, one pick, and a quarterback rating of 131.7. With a last-second 30-yard field goal from San Fran kicker Robbie Gould, the Niners won the game 48-46.

In what was the third time Patrick Mahomes has faced Tom Brady, the Chiefs finally came away with the win. I understand the officials cost the Pats a whole lot in this one, but you can’t deny Kansas City came to play. Mahomes was 26-for-40 with 283 yards, one touchdown, and one pick. Brady, on the other hand, only threw for 169 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Pats wideout Julian Edelman had a big game, racking up eight receptions for 95 yards and one touchdown. The Chiefs came away with the 23-16 win and clinched the AFC West division.

Derrick Henry has had a monster year as the Titans running back, and it continued this past weekend in a 42-21 win over the Raiders. The veteran rushed for 103 yards on 18 carries (5.7 yards-per-carry) with two touchdowns. Ryan Tannehill also continued his successful campaign thus far with Tennessee, throwing for 391 yards and three touchdowns in the win. At 8-5, the Titans are tied with the Texans for the best record in the AFC South.

The Rams need to catch a late-season rhythm if they want a chance at a Wild Card spot in the postseason. It started with a big win over the Cardinals in Week 13 and continued with a 28-12 win over Seattle this past Sunday night. Fourth-year quarterback Jared Goff threw for 293 yards, two touchdowns, and two picks. He wasn’t the only offensive weapon to show up for the Rams, as running back Todd Gurley rushed for 79 yards and one touchdown. Cornerback Quandre Diggs had two picks for the Seahawks.

The Eagles finally won on Monday night for the first time since Nov. 3 by ousting the Giants 23-17 in overtime. At halftime, Philly was actually down 17-3, as Eli Manning tossed two touchdowns to Darius Slayton in his return to the starting lineup. However, the Giants couldn’t seem to continue the momentum in the second half, as the Eagles outscored them 20-0 in the third and fourth quarters as well as overtime. Philly quarterback Carson Wentz threw for 325 yards and two touchdowns in the victory.

Preview: What to watch for during Week 15 in the NFL

Chicago Bears (7-6) at Green Bay Packers (10-3) – Sun, Dec. 15, 1 p.m. ET

The Bears could come up short when it comes to a Wild Card spot in the NFC this year, which is disappointing considering they won the NFC North last year. However, they’re not mathematically eliminated just yet. They’ll basically need to win out if they want a shot at the playoffs. Having won their last three matchups, they’ll look to continue their hot streak at Lambeau Field this weekend.

The play of Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky has improved over the last trio of weeks, as the team hasn’t lost a game since Nov. 17 (Week 11 to the Rams). During that game, Trubisky came out of the game late, and the team addressed it as an injury concern. However, Trubisky had been struggling for much of the year, so there was speculation that he could’ve lost his starting job. But he didn’t, and since, Trubisky has stepped up and will look to continue his surge against Green Bay.

Aaron Rodgers, on the other hand, is putting up impeccable numbers this year. Through 13 games, he’s completed 64.4% of his throws for 3,260 yards, 23 touchdowns, and only two picks. Him against the Bears secondary (230.2 passing yards allowed-per-game) will be a good matchup in this one.

Denver Broncos (5-8) at Kansas City Chiefs (9-4) – Sun, Dec. 15, 1 p.m. ET

This could be the first of many matchups through the years between Drew Lock of the Broncos and Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs. I understand Lock has only played two games, but the Broncos may have found their guy at the quarterback position.

Through the pair of wins, Lock has completed 72.7% of his throws for 443 yards, five touchdowns, and two picks.  He found himself on injured reserve for much of the year and is the third quarterback the Broncos have used this year (Joe Flacco, Brandon Allen). However, he’s playing as good as any quarterback has for Denver all season.

The Chiefs are coming into this week having won their last three games, with their last one helping them clinch the AFC West division. At 9-4, they’re just two games behind the No. 1 seed and one game behind the No. 2 seed. Therefore, they very much could clinch a first-round bye in the playoffs, especially with the recent struggles of the two-seeded Patriots.

Houston Texans (8-5) at Tennessee Titans (8-5) – Sun, Dec. 15, 1 p.m. ET

This is arguably the most important game of the week, as it’ll be a battle for first place in the AFC South heading into Week 16. The Texans, after defeating the Patriots in Week 13, laid an egg against Denver in Week 14. They’re proving to be inconsistent and will need to silence the doubters against Tennessee this weekend.

The Titans are red hot at the moment, having won each of their last four games. Running back Derrick Henry is having a monster year, totaling 1,243 rushing yards on a 5.0 yards-per-carry rate. He’s rushed for 13 touchdowns in as many games. It’ll be interesting to see if he can continue this dominance against the Texans run defense (27th in the NFL with 265.8 yards allowed-per-game) in what most certainly is a Pro Bowl season.

Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson is emerging as one of the young stars in this league. He’s racked up 3,425 yards through the air this year with 24 touchdowns and nine picks. Tennessee’s secondary is 25th in the league with 260.0 yards allowed-per-game. Therefore, Watson must take advantage of the Titans’ struggles on that end of the field in order to solidify first place in their division.

Los Angeles Rams (8-5) at Dallas Cowboys (6-7) – Sun, Dec. 15, 4:25 p.m. ET

The Rams are just one game out of the Wild Card, as the Vikings are 9-4 and sit in the six-seed spot. Three big wins in the next three weeks could propel the Rams to January football in what’s been a disappointing season for them for the most part. But if there’s any other team besides them that desperately needs a victory, it’s the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cowboys are atop the NFC East despite possessing a record of 6-7. Needless to say, the NFC East is very much below average this year, so the Cowboys could end up winning this division at 8-8. Thus, they would potentially need to win two of their last three games, and a huge win could take place this weekend at home.

In this one, we’ll be able to witness two young quarterbacks battle it out in what could be a shootout. Jared Goff for the Rams has completed 63% of his throws for 3,712 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. Dak Prescott, on the other hand, has completed 65.5% of his passes for 4,122 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 11 picks.

If Los Angeles loses this game, they could be in deep trouble as far as their postseason chances are concerned.

Buffalo Bills (9-4) at Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5) – Sun, Dec. 15, 8:20 p.m. ET

Both of these teams look like they could be Wild Card teams when the postseason matchups are set. However, let the record show that the Bills are just one game behind the 10-3 Patriots, who are struggling as of late. Therefore, if those issues for New England continue, the Bills could be right in the mix for the division lead moving forward. They’d have to snag a win in this one if they want a shot, as the Pats will most likely oust 1-12 Cincinnati this weekend.

The Steelers are onto their third quarterback, Devlin “Duck” Hodges. In five games, he’s completed 71.3% of his throws for 682 yards, four touchdowns, and a pair of picks. He’s 3-0 in the games he’s started in and could end up performing in some postseason matchups if he keeps this play up.

But if there’s anyone that’s really holding it down for Pittsburgh this year, it’s head coach Mike Tomlin. They’re on their third-string quarterback and their running back, James Conner, has been banged up for much of this year. Thus, it’s kind of insane that they’re 8-5 heading into this game. If they make the postseason, look for Tomlin to win the Coach of the Year Award.

Week 15 Predictions (In bold) (All Times ET)

  • Thurs, Dec. 12, 8:20 p.m. – Jets (5-8) at Ravens (11-2)
  • Sun, Dec. 15, 1 p.m. – Seahawks (10-3) at Panthers (5-8)
  • Sun, Dec. 15, 1 p.m. – Patriots (10-3) at Bengals (1-12)
  • Sun, Dec. 15, 1 p.m. – Buccaneers (6-7) at Lions (3-9-1)
  • Sun, Dec. 15, 1 p.m. – Bears (7-6) at Packers (10-3)
  • Sun, Dec. 15, 1 p.m. – Broncos (5-8) at Chiefs (9-4)
  • Sun, Dec. 15, 1 p.m. – Dolphins (3-10) at Giants (2-11)
  • Sun, Dec. 15, 1 p.m. – Texans (8-5) at Titans (8-5)
  • Sun, Dec. 15, 1:00 p.m. – Eagles (6-7) at Redskins (3-10)
  • Sun, Dec. 15, 4:05 p.m. – Browns (6-7) at Cardinals (3-9-1)
  • Sun, Dec. 15, 4:05 p.m. – Jaguars (4-9) at Raiders (6-7)
  • Sun, Dec. 15, 4:05 p.m. – Vikings (9-4) at Chargers (5-8)
  • Sun, Dec. 15, 4:25 p.m. – Rams (8-5) at Cowboys (6-7)
  • Sun, Dec. 15, 4:25 p.m. – Falcons (4-9) at 49ers (11-2)
  • Sun, Dec. 15, 8:20 p.m. – Bills (9-4) at Steelers (8-5)
  • Mon, Dec. 16, 8:15 p.m. – Colts (6-7) at Saints (10-3)

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