Week 15 of the NFL regular season is here and teams are jockeying for playoff position. Here are the five most interesting matchups on the schedule.
This week might not feature a ton of marquee matchups pitting elite teams against one another, but there’s plenty of intrigue for teams desperately trying to improve their playoff positioning. Quite a few teams enter the weekend with their postseason hopes on life support.
Other teams know they’re a virtual lock to qualify for the playoffs, but don’t really have a handle on where they might land in terms of seeding. Homefield advantage might not be quite as valuable this season as it has been in previous years, but ambitious teams will work hard to close the season on a high note to make sure they hit the playoffs with a healthy amount of momentum.
Add it all up and plenty of teams have a lot at stake. Keep a particularly close eye on these five matchups that will define Week 15.
5. Justin Herbert vs. Raiders’ porous defense
Jon Gruden’s defense has given up at least 31 points in four consecutive games. That’s put the Raiders’ playoff hopes in serious peril. They come into this matchup with a decidedly mediocre record of 7-6.
On paper, they should be able to knock off the Chargers and run that record to 8-6. A victory would do wonders to solidify Las Vegas’ postseason odds.
The problem the Raiders are facing is that their atrocious defense will have to contain Justin Herbert if they want to secure the win. He’s got the arm strength to torch the Las Vegas secondary. His improving connection with Keenan Allen should give the Raiders’ secondary fits on Thursday night.
The good news for Gruden is that he has a significant coaching advantage over Anthony Lynn on the opposing sideline. That should be enough to help Las Vegas squeak out a narrow victory against their division rivals.