There’s only three more games remaining for each team in the NFL for the 2017 season, and there’s a ton on the line. Both the AFC and NFC playoff pictures are still really tight besides a few teams who are locked in. Given the amount of in-division games to be played, these last three weeks are pivotal. Let’s check out the most critical, must-watch games of Week 15.
Saturday, 8:25 p.m.
Chargers @ Chiefs
- What a huge game. Both teams are alone atop the AFC West at 7-6, but their paths there couldn’t be any more different. The Chiefs started 5-0 and have since collapsed, while the Chargers started 0-4 and now have a chance to be a very scary playoff sleeper team. The Chiefs picked up a huge win against Oakland last week to get back on track, while the Chargers took care of business against Washington. This is a great matchup for the first Saturday night game of the year.
Sunday, 1 p.m.
Packers @ Panthers
- The Panthers are coming off an impressive win against Minnesota, but very well may have Aaron Rodgers coming into town Sunday. I expect Rodgers to be rusty, but he really doesn’t have any room to be; Green Bay needs a win or they’re basically cooked for playoffs. If he doesn’t return for Sunday, this game obviously becomes less appealing. Either way, as things stand now, both teams are playoff contenders and this game is important.
Dolphins @ Bills
- Somehow, both of these teams are in the AFC playoff picture. The Bills are 7-6 and have a better shot mathematically than the 6-7 Dolphins, but I don’t think either of these teams end up making the playoffs. Regardless, it’s an in-division game that features another pair of playoff “contenders.” Maybe not “must-watch,” but it’s an important game nonetheless.
Sunday, 4 p.m.
Rams @ Seahawks
- This is the NFC game of the week, and one that we may see again come January. It’s also huge for the NFC West. The Seahawks are currently one game back at 8-5, but already have a win against the 9-4 Rams. Another win here would give them the tiebreaker and allow them to control their own destiny going into the final two weeks of the season. This is going to feel like a playoff game, and definitely a must watch.
Patriots @ Steelers
- This is a huge game for Pittsburgh. It’s no secret that New England holds real estate in their head, and I think it’s critical for them to get home-field advantage for the playoffs. It’s also a great game because not only are both teams the class of the AFC, but the Patriots are coming off a loss; they are always angry and fired up to get back on the field following one. Pitt has kind of been in cruise control, waiting for the fourth quarter to get going. This is another playoff-type game that also features two MVP candidates in Tom Brady and Antonio Brown. It’s the game of the week.
Sunday Night Football
Cowboys @ Raiders
- Even as a Dallas fan, I’m not convinced either of these teams are bound for the postseason. The Raiders are already drawing dead but still breathing, while Dallas needs to win out AND get help from other teams. Nonetheless, it’s two storied franchises on Sunday Night Football.