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NFL Week 15: A trio of Saturday Showdowns on NFL Network — Open Thread

Three games with playoff implications make for a Saturday full of must-see NFL TV!

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

Are you ready for some Saturday football, Bills Mafia? NFL Network has three special games on tap today, marking the first time in over 40 years that the league will host games on four different Saturdays in a single season.

Today’s triple header features plenty of important matchups the Buffalo Bills are sure to keep an eye on, beginning with the Minnesota Vikings facing off against the Cincinnati Bengals, and then later the Pittsburgh Steelers taking on the Indianapolis Colts before a nightcap featuring the Denver Broncos against the Detroit Lions.

With the playoff race heating up, teams are fighting tooth-and-nail to secure their spot in the postseason. As such, the stakes for our Saturday slate couldn’t be higher.

Minnesota Vikings at Cincinnati Bengals, 1 p.m. EST (NFL Network)

The Vikings (7-6) and Bengals (7-6) get things going early this afternoon in a game featuring a deep dive into both teams’ quarterback room. Since quarterback Joe Burrow was lost for the season, Jake Browning has stepped in to provide a steady role, with running back Joe Mixon and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase helping to keep the chains moving. On the other side, the Vikings are hoping for a quick recovery for wide receiver Justin Jefferson, who suffered a chest injury in the team’s recent win against the Las Vegas Raiders. However, the biggest question for Minnesota might be the play calling, as quarterback Josh Dobbs was benched in favor of veteran Nick Mullen in Week 14. With both teams sitting at 7-6, this matchup is crucial for their playoff hopes.

The Bengals keep the AFC playoff race messy with a big win to start the day off.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Indianapolis Colts, 4:30 p.m. EST (NFL Network)

The second game of the day also features a pair of 7-6 teams. Like the early game, this matchup also features a showdown between backup quarterbacks. The Steelers have turned to backup quarterback Mitch Trubisky after Kenny Pickett went down to injury. Pittsburgh is likely to rely on running backs Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris to carry the offensive load, while hoping their defense can contain the likes of Zack Moss and potentially Jonathan Taylor — with Taylor expected to make a return after missing two games due to thumb surgery. The Colts have navigated much of their season without starting rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson, who was lost for the season after only four games. In his place, Gardner Minshew mania has kept hopes alive in Indiana.

I’m picking the Steelers in this one, I am expecting a big day from Jaylen Warren.

Denver Broncos at Detroit Lions, 8:15 p.m. EST (NFL Network)

The Denver Broncos (7-6) are on a winning streak, having won six of their last seven games. The Broncos are now just a game back from the lead in the AFC West. The Detroit Lions (9-4) are coming off a letdown against the Chicago Bears and will be eager to rebound with a win this evening. Detroit needs to focus on protecting the ball better, as they turned it over three times against the Bears.

I’m picking the Lions to take this game behind strong efforts from Montgomery and Gibbs.

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