The first of the Week 15 games kicks off in just over half an hour, so a quick look at the current playoff chances for each team by conference, before getting to the weekly picks.
Out – Oakland Raiders, Tennessee Titans, New York Jets, Jacksonville Jaguars
Almost certainly in – New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Denver Broncos (all three can clinch berth this weekend)
Dueling out for the North – Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens (latter have to win all three of remaining games and hope neither Steelers nor Bengals do the same).
Wild Card Race – Most likely: Bengals/Steelers/Ravens (the two that do not win the division); San Diego Chargers. Outside chance: Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, Houston Texans, Cleveland Browns.
Out – Washington; New York Giants; Chicago Bears; Minnesota Vikings; Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Almost certainly out – San Francisco 49ers, who must win in Seattle this Sunday to have any chance remaining of making the playoffs.
Almost certainly in – Green Bay Packers (can clinch place with win over Bills); Detroit Lions (two easy games prior to Packers matchup in Week 17).
Battle for the North – Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles – winner this weekend in first place, but Cowboys face Colts next week.
Battle for the West – It would take a cataclysmic collapse for the Cardinals to miss out as they sit at 10-3 and 11-5 should be enough to clinch a wildcard at least. The Seahawks are looking like the team that rode a strong defense to the Super Bowl last February however, and the two meet next weekend in Arizona.
Stumbling to the South – Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers (latter least likely as Cam Newton is out following a car accident this week).
Wild Card Race – Whoever is second in the NFC North between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers should get one berth. The other is between the losers of the division races in the East and West, with Dallas most at risk to miss out altogether.
Week 15 Picks
Last week, 7-9; Season, 110-98
Home teams in bold
Rams -3.5 over Cardinals
Steelers -2.5 over Falcons
Bills +5.5 over Packers
Browns +0.5 over Bengals
Colts -6.5 over Texans
Chiefs -10.5 over Raiders
Patriots -7.5 over Dolphins
Washington +6.5 over Giants
Buccaneers +5.5 over Panthers
Ravens -13.5 over Jaguars
Chargers +3.5 over Broncos
Titans +1.5 over Jets
Lions -7.5 over Vikings
49ers +9.5 over Seahawks
Cowboys +3.5 over Eagles
Bears +2.5 over Saints
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