Louisville Football: Cardinals Fans NFL Guide For An Exciting Week 15

BY Fansided and Derek Snyder/FanSided via Big Red Louie • December 16, 2016

We take a look at the games that former Louisville football players will be playing in on Sunday and the info you need to know.

This is going to be an exciting weekend of NFL football that is going to include many former Louisville football players. There are only three regular season games left and there are still many spots in the playoffs that are up for grabs.

With that being said, let’s take a look at what week 15 will bring us:

DeVante Parker and the Miami Dolphins will be looking to stay alive in the playoff race after losing their starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill to a knee injury last weekend. Backup QB Matt Moore will have the weight of Miami on his shoulders, but this isn’t his first rodeo. The 32 year old Moore is in his ninth season as an NFL player, therefore he should handle this pressure just fine.

With that being said, this game on Saturday night has huge implications for the Dolphins’ playoff chances.

They are currently on the outside looking in, as the Denver Broncos are sitting at 8-5 in the last AFC Wild Card spot. This is a game where Miami should win, but that means absolutely nothing whenever the football is kicked off.

A win over the Jets would give the Dolphins a much needed boost of confidence going into the last two games of the year against the Bills and Patriots.

Dec 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) celebrates behind San Francisco 49ers cornerback Jimmie Ward (25) after scoring a touchdown during the fourth quarter at Levi

The is the same game as we just talked about, but it has very different implications from the Jets’ perspective. New York has had one of the most disappointing seasons of anyone in the NFL in 2016. This same team won 10 games last year, but have only been able to muster a 4-9 record this season.

However, things started to turn around last week in San Fransisco.

Bilal Powell came into the game after starting running back Matt Forte left the game with a knee injury and completely dominated the 49ers.

Not only did Powell have the game-tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but he also had the game-winning touchdown in overtime. The confidence level in New York surrounding Powell is at an all-time high.

Let’s see if Powell can have that type of performance two weeks in-a-row for the Jets.

Dec 11, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Josh Bellamy (11) jumps past Detroit Lions outside linebacker Josh Bynes (57) during the fourth quarter at Ford Field. Lions win 20-17. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Bellamy has been a huge part of the Bears’ offense over the past month of the season. Suspensions and injuries have thrusted him from the special teams unit to being a starting wide receiver, but he still has a lot more to prove before he can consistently be a starting receiver in the National Football League.

Chicago is well out of the NFL Playoff race, but that doesn’t mean they can’t have a place in playing spoiler on Sunday.

Throw out both team’s records, this is one of the NFL’s best rivalries. Chicago and Green Bay know each other well, but the Bears will be looking to make life harder to Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Sunday.

A loss for the Packers on Sunday could mean they will be sitting at home in January.

Things are a mess right now in Buffalo, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be able to beat the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. The Bills are well out of the playoffs this season, but most of these players still have a lot to play for and that includes former Louisville linebacker Preston Brown.

Brown has been coming along very well this season, as he has become a force against the run and a very good tackler.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Brown make the Pro Bowl this season. This “all-star” game isn’t quite what it used to be, therefore there will be a lot of veteran players dropping out of the game to get a head start on the off-season.

With that being said, Brown could be making the big game as a fill-in for someone else, but who cares, we will still take it.

Nov 20, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns tight end Gary Barnidge (82) during the third quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Steelers won 24-9. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

Again, this is the same game as above, but from a Cleveland perspective and one that is a lot more bleak.

The Browns are trying to avoid joining the Detroit Lions as the only NFL franchises to finish a season 0-16. Cleveland has been bad before, but I’m not sure that they have ever been this bad and not tot mention, a road game in Buffalo doesn’t look very promising either.

Former Louisville tight-end Gary Barnidge has been doing his job this year, regardless of the success of his football team. He is one of the team’s leading receivers, but won’t get to the 1,000 yard receiving mark that he achieved in 2015.

Who knows, maybe a match-up against an up-and-down Bills team is exactly what the doctor ordered for Cleveland on Sunday.

September 20, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders offensive tackle Austin Howard (77) blocks Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil (58) during the first quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Ravens 37-33. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Just like the Miami Dolphins, the Ravens and Elvis Dumervil need a win on Sunday to stay in the playoff hunt. The Ravens have been winning their division for a few weeks, but a loss to the New England Patriots earlier this week has made them give up that lead.

The good news is that the Ravens will be taking on a struggling Eagles football team this Sunday.

Baltimore still has a good chance of making the playoffs, but they will need to win their remaining three games to make it into the big dance.

With that being said, the Ravens need Elvis Dumervil to make some plays against Philadelphia. He has only had one great game against the Bengals where he forced the game-clinching sack and fumble.

Baltimore needs a big day from the former Louisville great.

Dec 4, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Eli Rogers (17) runs after a catch as New York Giants outside linebacker Devon Kennard (59) chases during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Off of the Ravens and on to the Steelers who are winning the AFC’s North division right now and sitting pretty for a playoff run. Pittsburgh is getting hot at the right time of the season and other teams should be taking notice.

However, a tough game in Cincinnati awaits them on Sunday afternoon.

These two division-rivals met in the second week of the season and it resulted in a 24-16 victory for the Steelers.

Eli Rogers only had one catch in that game for nine yards, but he has improved greatly since that game.

The Bengals’ coverage will be heavily favoring All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown, therefore Rogers could be in for an important and productive day in Cincinnati.

November 6, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) fumbles the football against defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins (98), outside linebacker Craig Robertson (52), and defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) during the fourth quarter at Levi

The New Orleans Saints weren’t able to get the job done against Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last weekend, but will be looking for a better result against the Cardinals this weekend.

They are out of the playoff-hunt this year, but that doesn’t mean there is any quit in this football team whatsoever.

Sheldon Rankins has already recorded three sacks in his first six NFL games of his young career and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get another one on Sunday.

This is a game that New Orleans should be able to win and a game where Rankins will shine.

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