The 2020 NFL playoff race was turned on its heads in Week 14. Now as we look ahead to the Week 15 NFL schedule, which games could have a major impact on the playoffs?
NFL Week 15 featured games
Kansas City Chiefs (11-1) at New Orleans Saints (9-3) | Sunday, December 20, 4:25 PM ET
This matchup on the Week 15 NFL schedule offers us a potential Super Bowl preview, but also has major implications on the playoff picture. The New Orleans Saints lost control of the number one seed when they lost 24-21 to the Eagles in Week 14. With the Packers unlikely to lose many games down the stretch, the Saints cannot afford another loss.
The Chiefs have had a wonderful week. Last Monday, they sat and watched the Pittsburgh Steelers lose to the Washington Football Team to put both teams on the same record. Then, after they defeated the Dolphins, they got to watch the Steelers slip below them in the playoff rankings on Sunday Night Football. Now they have the upperhand for a playoff bye week, they will not want to risk letting it slip down the stretch.
There are so many fascinating storylines in this Week 15 NFL game. Will we see the return of Drew Brees? Can the Saints defense slow down the Chiefs offense? Was Patrick Mahomes’ three-interception day a blip in Week 14?
Seattle Seahawks (9-4) at Washington Football Team (6-7) | Sunday, December 20, 1:00 PM ET
San Francisco 49ers (5-8) at Dallas Cowboys (4-9) | Sunday, December 20, 1:00 PM ET
Philadelphia Eagles (4-8-1) at Arizona Cardinals (7-6) | Sunday, December 20, 4:05 PM ET
These three Week 15 NFL games between the NFC East and NFC West carry huge playoff importance. If the Seahawks defeat Washington, both the Cowboys and Eagles have a chance to get to within a game of winning the NFC East. However, a win for Washington throws the Seahawks back into the middle of the wild card race.
The Cardinals equally cannot afford to slip up against the Eagles. The Cardinals hold the final playoff spot in the NFC entering Week 15 of the NFL schedule. However, if they lose, they allow the Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears, and potentially the San Francisco 49ers right back into the conversations. These three games have huge playoff implications.
Chicago Bears (6-7) at Minnesota Vikings (6-7) | Sunday, December 20, 1:00 PM ET
This game is a battle to get a leg up in the playoff race. The winner can be assured to remain within one game of the seventh seed, while the defeated team is left needing to win out to have a realistic shot. For the Bears, the significance of this game is magnified by having lost to Minnesota in Week 10. A loss here would put them behind the Vikings, both in terms of record and any potential tiebreaker situation.
Could we see a revenge game in Week 15?
New England Patriots (6-7) at Miami Dolphins (8-5) | Sunday, December 20, 1:00 PM ET
In Week 17 of the 2019 season, the Miami Dolphins went into New England and defeated the Patriots to deny them a bye week. The Patriots season finished a week later at the hands of the Tennessee Titans. Now in Week 15 of the 2020 NFL season, the Patriots have a chance to deal a blow to the Dolphins’ playoff hopes.
Entering Week 15 of the 2020 NFL schedule, the Miami Dolphins are the seventh seed in the AFC playoff race. However, at 8-5, they lead the Baltimore Ravens on tiebreakers alone. A loss to the Patriots, coupled with a Baltimore victory would see Miami on the outside looking in. It would also put the Patriots within one game of the Dolphins and keep them alive in the playoff race. With two road games against the Raiders and Bills remaining, the Dolphins cannot afford to lose this game.
Full NFL Week 15 Schedule
The 2020 NFL season has seen football played on many different days of the week. In Week 15 the NFL schedule sees the arrival of Saturday football games, with two scheduled this week.
Week 15 Thursday Night Football
Los Angeles Chargers (4-9) at Las Vegas Raiders (7-6) | 8:20 PM ET
Week 15 Saturday Games
Buffalo Bills (10-3) at Denver Broncos (5-8) | 4:30 PM ET
Carolina Panthers (4-9) at Green Bay Packers (10-3) | 8:15 PM ET
Week 15 early Sunday games | 1:00 PM ET
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-5) at Atlanta Falcons (4-9)
San Francisco 49ers (5-8) at Dallas Cowboys (4-9)
Detroit Lions (11-1) at Tennessee Titans (9-4)
Houston Texans (4-9) at Indianapolis Colts (9-4)
New England Patriots (6-7) at Miami Dolphins (8-5)
Chicago Bears (6-7) at Minnesota Vikings (6-7)
Seattle Seahawks (9-4) at Washington Football Team (6-7)
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-12) at Baltimore Ravens (8-5)
Week 15 Sunday afternoon games
New York Jets (0-12) at Los Angeles Rams (9-4) | 4:05 PM ET
Philadelphia Eagles (4-8-1) at Arizona Cardinals (7-6) | 4:05 PM ET
Kansas City Chiefs (12-1) at New Orleans Saints (11-2) | 4:25 PM ET
Week 15 Sunday Night Football
Cleveland Browns (9-4) at New York Giants (5-8) | 8:20 PM ET
Week 15 Monday Night Football
Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-10-1) | 8:15 PM ET