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What to watch for: Viewing tips for Week 15 games

  • By Gregg Rosenthal and Marc Sessler
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Washington Redskins at Atlanta Falcons

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They don't call Mike Shanahan "The Mastermind" for nothing. Kirk Cousins gets the best matchup possible this week in his first 2013 start against a sagging defense that can't rush the passer. Expect the Redskins to score plenty in the Georgia Dome.

Further reading:
Madden: Benching RGIII affects integrity of game
RGIII extremely angry that Redskins benched him
Further viewing:
Can Cousins become trade bait?
Shanahan explains his decision to shut down RGIII

Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns


Jason Campbell is playing well when he's protected. And there's no reason to think that Chicago's dormant defense will bother him much in this game. Josh Gordon leads the league in average yards-after-the-catch, and that number should only rise in this game.

Further reading:

Schein: Cutler over McCown the right move
Elliot Harrison picks all Week 15's games
Further viewing:
Best of Week 14 on 'Sound FX'

Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts


Colts wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers is starting to take snaps away from Darrius Heyward-Bey. Rogers is a physical receiver who can run away from defenders. He gives Andrew Luck a real option for tough catches in traffic on third down.

Further reading:
Where does Luck rank in our QB Index?
ATL's writers pick Week 15's games
Further viewing:
Andre Johnson plays Santa Claus for children
Watch Duane Brown's NFL Up! workout

Buffalo Bills at Jacksonville Jaguars


The Bills lead the league in sacks. They need their defense to play better away from Buffalo, though. That's especially true because rookie quarterback EJ Manuel is perhaps the least accurate passer in the league.

Further reading:
Elliot Harrison picks all Week 15's games
Further viewing:
Preview: Buffalo Bills vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
'Homecoming': Pride of a Jaguar

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins


The Patriots are the worst offense in the league on third-and-short. They have done a better job even avoiding third downs lately because of running back Shane Vereen. He's lining up all over the field and averaging eight catches-per-game. That paces out to 128 catches if he was healthy the whole season.

Further reading:
Belichick's preparation, mentality key to Patriots' survival
Gronk's injury doesn't bury wily Patriots
Further viewing:
Kurt Warner: Pats not a Super Bowl team
Vernon: Beating the Steelers was a statement win

Philadelphia Eagles at Minnesota Vikings


The Eagles' offensive line gets better every week. It's an athletic group that also mauled Detroit's interior defensive line in the running game late last week. Philadelphia should have no problem scoring against Minnesota.

Further reading:
Peterson hasn't ruled out playing vs. Eagles
ATL's writers pick Week 15's games
Further viewing:
NFL Films: Snow day in Philadelphia
Preview: Eagles vs. Vikings

Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants


The Seahawks score 10 fewer points-per-game and give up three more points-per-game on the road. If Russell Wilson can win this road game, he'll have more wins in his first two seasons than any quarterback in NFL history.

Further reading:
Did Seahawks lose top spot in Power Rankings?
Giants remove Super Bowl countdown calendar
Further viewing:
Will the Giants just pack it in?
NFL Films previews Seahawks vs. Giants

San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Don't expect a lot of passing yards in this game. Both teams love to run the ball and these are the top two defenses in the league in preventing yards through the air. Mike Glennon has played his two worst games of the season in succession the past two weeks.

Further reading:
Schiano: Bucs blitz due to personnel in front four
Further viewing:
Gore: 'We're still the big dogs in the division'
Greg Schiano on 'Sound FX'

New York Jets at Carolina Panthers


Not a good matchup for the Jets. The Panthers are allowing a league-low 14.5 points per game this season and New York is tied with Jacksonville for the fewest offensive touchdowns all season. Geno Smith says he's playing looser, but the rookie passer hasn't recorded an interception-free game since Week 5.

Further reading:
Geno Smith: 'I was playing like a robot' for N.Y. Jets
ATL's writers pick Week 15's games
Further viewing:
NFL Films previews Jets vs. Panthers
How has the NFC playoff picture changed?

Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders


What's up with Kansas City? After ranking in the top 10 of most defensive categories through Week 10, the Chiefs are in the bottom half of the NFL statistically over their past four games. Meanwhile, K.C.'s low-octane offense has averaged 37 points per contest over the past three weeks.

Further reading:
Free Raiders fullback Marcel Reece
13 NFL teams positioned to draft quarterback in 2014
Further viewing:
How 'bout those Kansas City Chiefs?
Preview: Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders

Green Bay Packers at Dallas Cowboys


With or without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers have a shot to move the ball against a Cowboys defense allowing a league-worst 426.8 yards per game this season, the fourth most by any NFL team since 1933.

Further reading:
Rodgers improves at Packers practice
Stephen Jones: Big names on Cowboys D must play better
Further viewing:
Packers' Jones mic'd up on 'Sound FX'
Who will win the NFC North?

New Orleans Saints at St. Louis Rams


It hasn't been an easy season for the Rams, but pass rusher Robert Quinn sits No. 2 on Gregg Rosenthal's list of Defensive Player of the Year candidates. His 13 sacks are a career high, but he's failed to record a takedown over the past two weeks. The up-and-down Saints offensive line looks like a good matchup.

Further reading:
Saints bounce back, but road question looms large
Check out latest 'ATL Podcast'
Further viewing:
Preview: New Orleans Saints vs. St. Louis Rams

Arizona Cardinals at Tennessee Titans


Titans corner Alterraun Verner has been outstanding this season, but he'll be tested by one of our favorite receiving duos in Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Fitzgerald leads the Cardinals with 67 catches, but it's Floyd who's been the big-play machine of late.

Further reading:
Titans' new CEO says Chris Johnson needs to be used better
Cards' Dockett picks Week 15's games
Further viewing:
'A Football Life: Houston '93'
Dansby on Cardinals' resurgence

Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers


The Bengals have done a nice job stringing together long scoring drives this season. Cincy has recorded 10 touchdowns on drives starting inside their 20-yard line, which leads the NFL. The Steelers, meanwhile, have allowed three such drives in 2013, third most in the league.

Further reading:
Brandt on decline of Steelers defense
Big Ben hunky-dory with OC Todd Haley
Further viewing:
Marvin Jones: It's all about consistency for Bengals
Preview: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Baltimore Ravens at Detroit Lions


The Lions and Ravens own the NFL's two worst turnover differentials among teams with winning records, one reason this game is tough to pick. Baltimore has struggled on the road, however, posting a 1-5 mark in 2013. Opposing offenses are scoring 12-plus more points when Baltimore's away, making the Lions a strong pick.

Further reading:
Megatron to show Elam 'old man's strength'
Further viewing:
John Harbaugh mic'd up on "Sound FX"
Preview: Baltimore Ravens vs. Detroit Lions

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