Friday Five, Week 15

Welcome to late December football. Every team has played 13 games. The bye weeks are over. The stretch drive begins as teams battle the final four weeks of the season. The good news is we have all 32 NFL teams in action. The better news is that we have a full slate of three Saturday games. So, this week I’m amending the Friday Five to consider my favorite Saturday slate game as well. Let’s dive in!

Saturday Game:

Miami Dolphins (8-5) at Buffalo Bills (10-3)
The Dolphins beat the Bills earlier this season and, at one point sat atop the AFC East. Now, the Dolphins have lost two straight and are in danger of slipping out of the playoffs. They travel to battle a Bills team that sits at 10-3, the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The Bills have been on a revenge tour of late, trying to make up for early season lapses. They held strong in the re-match with the Jets in Week 13 and will look to do the same in Week 14 with Miami. This could be one of the better Week 15 games.

Sunday Early Games:

Detroit Lions (6-7) at New York Jets (7-6)
This is actually a battle with big playoff implications on the line. The Jets are trying to hang on in the AFC but find themselves trailing the Dolphins, Bengals, Patriots and Chargers. They need a win to keep in the race. The Lions, meanwhile, rallied from a 1-6 start to climb back into the playoff race. The Lions’ offense is hot, but the Jets’ defense is stout. This is strength against strength with both teams desperately needing a win. It should be a playoff-like atmosphere.

Sunday Late Games:

Tennessee Titans (7-6) at Los Angeles Chargers (7-6)
Another game with huge playoff implications. The Titans hold the lead in the AFC South, and it was once commanding. They’ve since lost three straight and haven’t beaten a playoff-bound team all season. The Chargers have hovered around .500 all season, battling myriad injuries. Now, the team is fresh off a big win against the Dolphins and getting healthy. The Chargers appear poised to run the table all the way into the playoffs, with this game against Tennessee sitting as the toughest of the four remaining on their schedule.

Cincinnati Bengals (9-4) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7)
This is a battle of division leaders, despite the record for the Buccaneers. But it’s also a battle of two teams fighting tooth and nail to win a division. The Bengals are tied with the Ravens at 9-4, but don’t have the tie-breaker. They need to keep winning to put pressure on Baltimore. The Buccaneers, meanwhile, lead the NFC South but only thanks to the weakness of the division. The Buccaneers have struggled all season, sitting a game below .500 and just a game up on the Falcons and Panthers. The pressure is on for both teams to get wins and build momentum heading into the playoffs.

Sunday Night Game:

New York Giants (7-5-1) at Washington Commanders (7-5-1)
: This one got flexed into Sunday night and it also has huge playoff implications. The Giants started hot, but they’re 0-3-1 over their last four games. The Commanders started cold but have rallied. They come off a bye week and host the Giants, who they ended in a 20-20 tie with two weeks ago. Both teams need a win as they battle for a Wild Card playoff slot. This figures to be a fun rivalry game.

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.


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