Ten things that intrigue me from NFL Week 15

How will Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler play vs. the Browns? The Bears are making the right decision to go back to Cutler. Yes, Josh McCown has been hot, but Cutler can do a lot of things that McCown can't. What happens if Cutler gets off to a slow start, though? Then what? This should be something to watch closely this Sunday. McCown is smart, but Cutler is the franchise passer.

Kirk Cousins taking over for Robert Griffin III as Washington Redskins QB: Mike Shanahan made the decision to bench RG3 for safety reasons -- if you believe such things. But it does give Cousins a chance to show that he can be an NFL starter. Or will he play himself out of that thinking the next three weeks?

Can the Jacksonville Jaguars make it four in a row? They have a lot of young players improving on both sides of the ball, and they play hard. That makes up for a lack of talent. The Bills come in after getting blown out by the Bucs in Florida last week. Do the Jaguars continue to blow their draft spot?

Baltimore Ravens secondary vs. Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson after calling him old: Ravens rookie safety Matt Elam referred to Johnson as "old" this week. Ouch. You don't tug on Superman's cape and you don't irritate Megatron. How the Ravens play him this week was key anyway. Now it's even bigger.

Bears DE Julius Peppers vs. Cleveland Browns LT Joe Thomas : Tyron Smith did a nice job on Peppers last week. Now Peppers faces and even better tackle in Thomas. The Bears need pressure from Peppers in a big way in this one.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Lavonte David and DT Gerald McCoy vs. San Francisco 49ers run game: San Francisco can have a bruising running attack at times. The line is physical. But McCoy and David are both having Pro Bowl seasons and they are more quick and fast than strong. It will be interesting to see this play out on Sunday.

Where do the New England Patriots go without TE Rob Gronkowski ? He is their option in the middle of the field. His ability to get down the seam helps open things up outside. That will mean that players like rookie Josh Boyce , who is coming off a good game last week, will have to do more. Then again, it is Tom Brady throwing it. 

St. Louis Rams pass rushers vs. New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees : The last time Brees played in St. Louis, the Rams pulled off a shocking upset. They did so with a fierce pass rush that got six sacks. This Rams team has a better pass rush, led by end Robert Quinn . Can they disrupt the Saints' offense?

Pittsburgh Steelers CB Ike Taylor vs. Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green : Green is a premier receiver and the Steelers have put Taylor on premier receivers this season with mixed results. He is a big, tough corner, which helps against Green. I would be a little apprehensive to put Taylor on him alone.

Will Gary Kubiak's firing impact the Houston Texans ? Houston has lost 11 consecutive games, which is why Kubiak was fired and Wade Phillips takes over as the interim coach. He doesn't get an easy first game at Indianapolis, although the Colts haven't played that well as of late.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an... Full Bio

Show Comments Hide Comments
CBS Sports Store
NFL Cold Weather Gear
Our Latest Stories