As the regular season draws to its close and the playoff picture comes into focus, the NFL offers up a Week 15 Saturday doubleheader airing exclusively on NFL Network.
Stars are aplenty, statistical milestones and postseason implications are all to be had.
Leading off the day, Josh Allen and the red-hot Buffalo Bills (10-3) square off with Drew Lock and the host Denver Broncos (5-8) at 4:30 p.m. ET from Empower Field. Thereafter, Teddy Bridgewater and the Carolina Panthers (4-9) travel to face MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers (10-3) at 8:15 p.m. ET at Lambeau Field.
Here's what to watch for in Saturday's doubleheader:
Josh Allen, Bills look to lock up AFC East
Five months prior to Josh Allen being welcomed into this world, the Buffalo Bills won the 1995 AFC East title. It was the last division crown had by Buffalo. But Allen's all grown up now and the 24-year-old QB and the new-age Bills are knocking on the door of a long-awaited division championship. With a victory Saturday against the Broncos, the Bills will end their division-title drought. For that to happen, it's likely Allen will have to continue his stellar campaign and probably get some help from his newest best bud Stefon Diggs. Allen's been outstanding most of the way in 2020, having thrown 28 touchdowns for 3,641 yards with a 68.6 completion percentage and 103.3 passer rating -- all of those numbers within the league's top seven. Allen, who's put up 35 total TDs, has found almost instant chemistry with Vikings transplant Diggs, who's already tallied 1,000 yards receiving for the third consecutive year. While the Bills are aiming for some team history, Diggs is likely to make some individual history as his league-leading 100 catches are also tied with Eric Moulds for the franchise single-season record. Though Allen and Diggs have been peas and carrots, Cole Beasley is also having a career year and Allen's tossed touchdowns to 11 players, which is tied for the most in the league with the Houston Texans' Deshaun Watson. The defense is rounding into form at the right time and the offense is more versatile than many might realize, but Allen's most certainly leading Buffalo.
Drew Lock playing for the future
There's always something to play for and in the case of Drew Lock, it's likely that he's playing for his future as the Broncos' starting quarterback. Having run off a 4-1 record as a starter at the tail end of his rookie season, Lock took promise into the offseason. That promise has been unfulfilled in a tumultuous sophomore campaign. Lock's 57.3 completion percentage is last in the NFL and roughly seven points less than his rookie showing, just as his passer rating is roughly 15 points lower and his 13:13 TD-INT ratio looks less impressive than his 7:3 mark. Nonetheless, Lock is coming off his best game of the season, having thrown for four touchdowns and a 149.5 QB rating in a Week 14 win over the Panthers. That outing also saw Lock snap a streak of seven straight games with an interception. The promise and potential remain for Lock, but the negatives have outweighed the positives. There's hardly a dearth of receiving talent at Lock's disposal as rookies Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler have had flashes of brilliance here and there, tight end Noah Fant has come into his own and Tim Patrick has emerged as a surprisingly stellar wideout. The supporting cast is rounding into form and the onus on Lock to become the leading man remains -- at least for three more games in 2020. Of interesting note, per NFL Research, is that Lock and Allen were each 8-7 through their first 15 NFL starts with Lock producing better numbers in completion percentage, passer rating, touchdowns and interceptions. The modern NFL doesn't often offer up an abundance of time for young quarterbacks to find their way and Lock is certainly still finding his way. He's likely to have at least three more games to make an argument that his time and opportunity to be the Broncos' QB of the future should be elongated.
How long can Packers stay No. 1?
No. 1 has become a familiar spot for the Packers. They'll kick off Saturday as the NFC's No. 1 seed with the ability to control their destiny and secure a playoff bye in the coming weeks. Much of the reason they've attained that lofty perch has been the stellar play of quarterback Aaron Rodgers and receiver Davante Adams. Rodgers leads the NFL with 39 touchdown passes and a 119.7 rating. In his stellar career, the face of the Pack has never finished a campaign tops in each category -- a feat no quarterback has accomplished since Tom Brady in 2010, per the good folks at NFL Research. Rodgers, who's on the verge of an NFL-record third season with 40 or more TD tosses, has a bona fide No. 1 receiver in Adams, who's been making his case as the best wideout in all the land. Heading into Week 15, Adams' 14 receiving touchdowns lead the league, right along with his 8.3 receptions and 104 yards per game. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Packers are the No. 1 scoring offense in the NFL.
Pair of Panthers primed for 1,000
As the Carolina season nears its close, the play of Teddy Bridgewater is likely to draw focus. Bridgewater's future and potential to be the franchise QB on head coach Matt Rhule's squad and in Joe Brady's offense remains in question. With 14 touchdowns, eight interceptions and 3,102 yards to show for 12 games, Bridgewater has found moderate success but has rarely looked like a QB around whom the team can feel confident building. The receiving corps on the other hand is poised to become the first among NFC teams to have two 1,000-yard receivers. Robby Anderson (996 yards receiving) is set to tally 1,000 yards for the first time in his career and D.J. Moore (924 yards) isn't far behind in garnering back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns. The Chiefs' Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill are the only teammates to have surpassed the milestone so far. It's a showcase of the potential in Brady's offense -- despite having been without Christian McCaffrey for the majority of the year -- and evidence that Bridgewater's got weapons at his disposal.