- Marcus Hartman
Week 15 of the NFL season is upon us.
Here are the things you’ll want to watch for around the league, starting in Cincinnati with the Bengals against the Steelers.
1. The Bengals’ tiny postseason hopes will be extinguished with a loss.
Cincinnati enters the weekend in third place in the AFC North, but the Bengals could still improbably win the division if they beat the Steelers this week, the Texans next week and the Ravens in Week 17.
Of course, the Steelers would also have to lose to the Ravens next week… and the Browns in Week 17. Otherwise it still won’t matter what else Cincinnati does.
2. The Ravens play the Eagles.
Cincinnati also has to jump over Baltimore even if the Steelers totally fall apart, so the Ravens’ 1 o’clock visit from fading Philadelphia is also vital to those meager postseason hopes in the Queen City.
3. The Browns could win!
It’s up to each individual Cleveland fan to root for an 0-16 season and the guarantee of the No. 1 overall pick or for a face-saving win before the season ends. We won’t judge either choice.
Regardless, the matchup with the Bills looks winnable. Buffalo has lost two in a row and may be on the verge of total collapse under coach Rex Ryan. But the Browns are still the Browns, so…
4. Travis Kelce can make history with the Chiefs.
The former Cincinnati Bearcat will face the Titans looking for his fifth consecutive 100-yard receiving day. No tight end has had more than four in NFL history.
5. The Buccaneers are playing an important game in prime time in December.
The Sunday night game will pit 8-5 Tampa Bay against the 11-2 Cowboys.
The Buccs are tied with the Falcons for the lead in the NFC South, so Jameis Winston and Co. have little room for error as Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott and Dallas try to bounce back from a loss to the Giants.
6. Don’t worry much about the Monday night game.
In continuing a season-long theme, MNF will probably be a dud as Washington faces disappointing Carolina.
But several Panthers went to Ohio State, including Northmont grad Kurt Coleman, so that’s something.
7. Several teams could clinch playoff spots.
In the AFC, the Patriots, Chiefs and Raiders are all in with a win (or a tie in the case of New England).
The Lions could lock up the NFC North with a win and a Green Bay loss, and the Giants clinch a wild card spot if they win and get some help.