Week 15 (December 20):
- Tentative game: Cincinnati @ San Francisco
- Prospects: 10-2 v. 4-8. Massively lopsided.
- Likely protections: Broncos-Steelers (CBS, confirmed) and Panthers-Giants or Bears-Vikings (FOX).
- Other possible games mentioned on last week’s Watch and their records: Texans (6-6)-Colts (6-6), Panthers (12-0)-Giants (5-7), Packers (8-4)-Raiders (5-7), Bills (6-6)-Original Americans (5-6), Bears (5-7)-Vikings (8-4).
- Impact of Monday Night Football: A win over the Cowboys would put the Bills game on par with Texans-Colts and at least put in some doubt as to the best option. The question is whether it would win a tiebreaker.
- Analysis: Panthers-Giants or Packers-Raiders would max the Giants or Packers out on primetime appearances with potential Week 17 division title games looming, and as much as the NFL would prefer avoiding simultaneous Bay Area home games, right now the Giants’ game is the one that looks less likely – and what would make it really unlikely is an Indian win that puts their game against the Bills in that much better position. With Bears-Vikings lopsided and involving a 5-7 team, that leaves only the potential or actual battles of 6-6 teams. Texans-Colts would put the Texans on SNF in consecutive weeks (with neither being pre-scheduled) but it’s a pivotal clash in the AFC South while the Bills have no buzz whatsoever, and despite potentially leading their division and that division being the NFC East I’m not sure their opponents have much of any either.
- Final prediction: Houston Texans @ Indianapolis Colts.