NFL Week 15: 5 Teams on Upset Alert
Here are teams that need to be put on upset alert heading into NFL Week 15 of the 2016 season.
With the race for the postseason tighter than ever, these five teams are looking to avoid the pressure of being on upset alert for NFL Week 15.
One week after arguably suffering their most embarrassing loss of the season to the Green Bay Packers, the Seattle Seahawks hope to get back on the winning track while locking up the NFC West with a favorable matchup at home against the Los Angeles Rams. When comparing how this season has turned out for both teams, the Seahawks should have no issue defeating the Rams as the team prepares for their first game since firing Jeff Fisher.
Then again, Los Angeles has had Seattle’s number in the previous three meetings between these two rivals, so keep an eye on this Thursday night battle.
As for the rest of the teams on this list, the Green Bay Packers hope to continue rolling as they look to run the table and somehow earn a playoff spot, despite the long odds a few weeks ago. A game against a team with three wins like the Chicago Bears seems like a dream matchup on paper, but the Packers realize this is the perfect trap game.
Starting off with the Seahawks, here’s a look at the five teams on upset alert heading into NFL Week 15 of the 2016 season.
Dec 11, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) warms up before game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
5. Seattle Seahawks
For reasons that can’t be explained, the Seattle Seahawks always seem to bring out the best in the Los Angeles Rams over the last couple of seasons. In fact, the Rams have won four of the last five games in this series, including a 9-3 victory from Week 2 of the 2016 season.
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A lot has changed since these two NFC West rivals last met at the beginning of the season as Los Angeles’ offense currently ranks last in the league by averaging 14.9 points per game. To top it off, the Rams will be playing their first game since firing Jeff Fisher as the team decided to part ways with their former head coach earlier in the week.
Only time will tell when it comes to seeing what type of impact John Fassel will make as the interim head coach. Fassel’s squad may be heavy underdogs heading into Thursday’s game, but the argument can be made there’s more pressure on the Seahawks to bounce back after last weekend’s 38-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
If Russell Wilson plays as bad against the Rams as he did against the Packers, this game could turn out to be closer than originally expected.
Nov 7, 2016; Seattle, WA, USA; Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan reacts during a NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
4. Buffalo Bills
It’s a shame to see the Buffalo Bills go from being one of the hottest teams in football at the beginning of the season to losing five of their last seven games. After two tough losses in a row to the Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers, there’s even more pressure on the Bills heading into Week 15 as they look to avoid being the first team this year to reward the Cleveland Browns with a win.
At 0-13, the Browns have hit desperation mode as they look to avoid ending up on the wrong side of NFL history by becoming the second team (Detroit Lions) to go an entire season without a single win. While injuries at the quarterback position can be blamed for Cleveland’s struggles, it still doesn’t take away from the fact this team has scored 13 points or less in each of their last five games.
Mathematically, the Bills aren’t officially eliminated from playoff contention, even though they would need plenty of help from the rest of the teams in the AFC hunt. Of course, if Buffalo falls to Cleveland, they can kiss any slim chance of making the postseason goodbye, which would turn out to be the icing on the cake of what has turned out to be a disappointing 2016 season.
Dec 11, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. The Redskins defeated the Eagles, 27-22. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
3. Washington Redskins
After representing the NFC in last year’s Super Bowl, the Carolina Panthers have been one of the biggest disappointments from the 2016 season as they’re on the verge of being eliminated from the postseason with a current 5-8 record. When looking at what went wrong for the Panthers in 2016, the one factor that sticks out the most is the team should have never made the decision to part ways with Josh Norman as the star cornerback is battling for a playoff spot in the NFC as a member of the Washington Redskins.
Following two losses in a row to the Dallas Cowboys and Arizona Cardinals, the Redskins earned a much-needed win on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 14 to stay in the hunt for one of the final Wild Card spots in the NFC. With the NFC East most likely going to the Dallas Cowboys, Washington better be prepared for a battle over these final three weeks as the race in the NFC playoff hunt is going to go right down to the wire.
Since the Panthers won’t be able to enjoy the pleasure of participating in the postseason, there’s nothing they would love more than to spoil their former teammate’s chances of playing in January. Players squaring off against their former team always makes entertaining football for fans as the Panthers will be extra motivated to take on Norman and the Redskins in the national spotlight.
Dec 8, 2016; Kansas City, MO, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) reacts during a NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
2. Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders have become one of the best stories from the 2016 season as they’re on the verge of clinching a playoff spot for the first time since the 2002 season. For that to happen, all the Raiders have to do is record a win on Sunday against the San Diego Chargers, which is never an easy task.
Unfortunately, the Chargers are the only team from the AFC West not in good shape for the playoff hunt as it would take the biggest miracle in the world just to have a chance at making the postseason. With that being said, San Diego could still play the role of spoiler by preventing Oakland from having a better shot at earning a division title.
Keep in mind what happened when these two teams met earlier in the season when the Raiders took advantage of some late mistakes by the Chargers to hang on for the 34-31 win. If the first meeting is any indication of what to expect, don’t be surprised if this game goes down to the wire once again with San Diego looking for redemption.
Plus, Mike McCoy needs every impressive win he can get over these final weeks for a better chance of keeping his job beyond the 2016 season.
Dec 11, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jordy Nelson (87) spikes the football with wide receiver Randall Cobb (18) after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
1. Green Bay Packers
Remember a few weeks ago when the Green Bay Packers were written off after losing four of their last five games? Since then, the Packers have turned their season around by winning three-straight games, as the defense displayed a stellar performance shutting down Russell Wilson in Week 14.
With the Detroit Lions sitting comfortably on top of the NFC North with a two-game lead, Green Bay will most likely end up battling for a Wild Card spot as they currently trail the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by one game for the final seed in the NFC. The Packers may have one of the most favorable matchups of Week 15 against a 3-10 team in the Chicago Bears, but as history shows, this is a rivalry Aaron Rodgers and company knows never to take lightly.
Take a look at last weekend’s game and how close the Bears came to pulling off what would have been an epic upset against the Detroit Lions. If Chicago can find a way to play at that same level against Green Bay, they certainly seem capable of defeating their division rivals to shake up the NFC playoff picture even more heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.