NFL Week 15 preview: First slate of Saturday games feature important matchups

The NFL will have games played on Saturday for the first time this season as the year begins to wind down around the holidays and college football begins its bowl games.

For Week 15, there will be three games on Saturday. One in the early afternoon, one in the evening and one at night. All the games have some meaning as four of the six teams are in the thick of the playoff hunt.

The race for the playoffs is as close as it is going to be. The Philadelphia Eagles clinched a playoff berth last week, and the San Francisco 49ers wrapped up the NFC West division title with a victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night.

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Here’s how Saturday is shaping up to be.

Vikings (10-3) vs. Colts (4-8-1) – 1 p.m. ET, NFL Network

Minnesota Vikings’ Justin Jefferson runs during the first half of an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022, in Detroit.
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The Vikings are in a position to win their first division title since 2017. Minnesota returns home after an upset loss to the Detroit Lions. Putting away the Colts may be easier than taking on a team on a hot streak who was at home.

The Vikings can clinch with a win or a tie or a Lions loss or a tie.

Minnesota has one of the most dynamic offenses in the league with the three-headed monster of Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson, who is on a record-breaking track himself. The defense will need to buckle down as you never know when a guy like Jonathan Taylor is going to break out.

The Colts are 18th in points allowed and eighth in yards allowed. Their offense has lacked any explosiveness since the first couple of weeks of the season. Indy is 31st in points scored and 25th in yards gained.

Browns (5-8) vs. Ravens (9-4) – 4:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh yells instructions from the sidelines during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec.  11, 2022.

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh yells instructions from the sidelines during the first half of an NFL football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022.
(AP Photo/Don Wright)

With the Ravens’ quarterback situation in flux, it could be the perfect time for the Browns to really throw a wrench into their division rival’s playoff hopes.

Whether it’ll be Anthony Brown or Tyler Huntley, the Ravens’ offense has not really jelled as well as it was predicted. Lamar Jackson’s injury two weeks ago also hurt the flow of things. Baltimore has still managed to win games, but that’s really a credit to a great defense. Their defense is eighth in points allowed and 12th in yards allowed.

Cleveland has Deshaun Watson back under center, but he has looked like a quarterback who has not played in 700 days. He was 26-of-42 with 276 passing yards a touchdown and an interception in last week’s loss to the Bengals. In his third week, he will need to come through big time for Cleveland.

Baltimore will need to win to stay in contention for the AFC North division title. The Ravens and Bengals have been neck and neck all season long.

Bills (10-3) vs. Dolphins (8-5) – 8:15 p.m. ET, NFL Network

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, #1, throws during the first half of an NFL football game Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, Dec.  11, 2022, in Inglewood, California.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, #1, throws during the first half of an NFL football game Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022, in Inglewood, California.
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

It will be football weather in Western New York where the Bills and Dolphins meet Saturday night.

The area is expected to have a massive snowstorm in the area, which is expected to hurt Miami’s chances. The Dolphins have gone from the Bay Area to Southern California and now to upstate New York in their travels over the last three weeks.

Miami’s offense looked a bit stuck against the Chargers. Tyreek Hill had an electric fumble return for a touchdown, but that was really the only thing that got Dolphins fans hyped up.

On the other hand, Buffalo will look to get revenge for a defeat from earlier in the season. Josh Allen and the Bills have seemed to silence the doubters over the last couple of weeks. Buffalo is riding a four-game winning streak and are plus-132 in points differential.

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It should be a great end to a Saturday slate of games.

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