Week 15 NFL odds, picks, how to watch, stream: Packers beat Bears to keep playoff hopes alive, Patriots demolish Steelers

We're halfway through December and every game is must-win from here until, well, the Super Bowl. In the AFC, five teams are within 1.5 games of the sixth-seeded Ravens. In the NFC, meanwhile, the Vikings are playing some of their worst football of the year but they remain in the final wild-card spot. Whether that holds will be determined, in part, by what the Panthers, Eagles, Redskins and Packers can do in the coming weeks.

Alright, let's get to all the games -- and the playoff implications -- below.

LAST WEEK: 10-6-0
OVERALL RECORD: 130-76-2

Stream Thursday's game and all of Sunday's games on fuboTV, try it for free, and stream the CBS games on CBS All Access.  

Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City (-3.5)

Thursday, 8:20 p.m. ET (Fox/NFL Network) 

The Chiefs are coming off arguably their toughest win of the season, an overtime affair at home against one of the league's best defenses. And while the Ravens harassed Patrick Mahomes for much of the afternoon, he still found a way to not only help Kansas City to its 11th win, but do it in jaw-dropping fashion. The Chargers, for their part, haven't been slouches even if their win Sunday over the hapless Bengals was less than impressive. That said, a win in Kansas City would put both teams at 11-3 with two games left in the regular season. One problem: For that to happen the Chargers would need to snap a nine-game losing streak dating back to Oct. 2014.

Pick: Chiefs 35, Chargers 31

The result: Chargers 29, Chiefs 28

Houston (-6) at New York Jets

Saturday, 4:30 p.m. ET (NFL Network)

The Texans finally lost last week snapping a nine-game losing streak. Barring some weirdness by the Chiefs or Pats, Houston will almost certainly be the AFC's No. 3 seed, and we can't imagine the four-win Jets will do anything to alter that. Todd Bowles' days in New York appeared numbered; after a 10-6 debut in 2015, Bowles has had back-to-back five-win seasons. In related news, the Jets haven't been to the playoffs since 2010, Mark Sanchez's second year in the NFL.

Pick: Texans 27, Jets 12

Result: Texans 29, Jets 22

Cleveland at Denver (-3)

Saturday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NFL Network)

Oh, Denver, you were so close. After impressive back-to-back-to-back wins over the Chargers, Steelers and Bengals, the Broncos laid an egg on Sunday in San Francisco. It was their worst loss of the season -- even worse than the Jets' shellacking back in Week 5 -- because instead of sharing the same record as the sixth-seed Ravens and trailing them only by tiebreakers, Denver is now 6-7 and 10th in the playoff chase, behind the Colts, Dolphins and Titans. Meanwhile, it's Week 15 AND THE BROWNS ARE STILL IN THE HUNT. At 5-7-1 they're just a half-game behind the Broncos. And if they win out (they have Cincy and Baltimore in the final two weeks), and catch a few breaks, 8-7-1 might just be good enough. Cleveland last made the postseason in 2002, when Butch Davis was coach and Kelly Holcomb was quarterback.

Pick: Browns 17, Broncos 14

Result: Browns 17, Broncos 16

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Miami at Minnesota (-7)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Can the Dolphins maintain momentum in the wake of the Miami Miracle? This game is enormous for both teams; the Dolphins are tied with the No. 6 Ravens but trail only on tiebreakers (along with the Colts and Titans). Their schedule isn't terrible -- after the Vikings they face the Jaguars and Bills -- but a loss would all but end their hopes of January football. The Vikings are coming off an embarrassing loss on "Monday Night Football." So embarrassing, in fact, that Mike Zimmer fired first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo. Minnesota's offense is a mess, Kirk Cousins has stumbled through the last month or so, and the running game is nonexistent. And yet, Minnesota appears to be the only team interested in the NFC's sixth seed. 

Pick: Vikings 21, Dolphins 18

Oakland at Cincinnati (-3)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

The Raiders are coming off their most impressive win of the season, a comeback win over the Steelers. The Bengals lost to the Chargers but the game was much closer than it should've been. Both teams have officially been out of the playoff conversation for weeks but neither played like last Sunday. Derek Carr finally appears to be comfortable in Jon Gruden's offense and Jeff Driskel has been a pleasant surprise in Andy Dalton's absence.

Pick: Bengals 24, Raiders 20

Tennessee at New York Giants (-2.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

The Giants have won four of their last five games and they should be 5-0 over that span if not for imploding against the Eagles back in Week 12. New York demolished the Redskins on Sunday, even without Odell Beckham Jr., and with each passing game we're that much closer to the team announcing that Eli Manning will return for 2019. The Titans have been a team of streaks this season and they've currently won two in a row after dominating the Jaguars on Thursday. Tennessee has won four of six, and at 7-6, share the same record as the sixth-seed Ravens but trail them (and the Colt and Dolphins) in tiebreakers. This is a must-win game to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Pick: Titans 17, Giants 16

Washington at Jacksonville (-7)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

If you love high-level quarterback play, this game is not for you. Now that we think about it, we have no idea who this game is for. Two truly terrible teams though for different reasons; the Redskins have been decimated by injuries while the Jaguars are reportedly victims of infighting (and not having an NFL quarterback on the roster hasn't helped either) Masochism aside, there is no reason to watch this game.

Pick: Jaguars 6, Redskins 3

Dallas at Indianapolis (-3)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)

If only the Colts hadn't lost to the Jaguars two weeks ago. We're pretty sure that game is going to haunt coach Frank Reich for a long time. Prior to that, Indy had won five straight and Andrew Luck was playing some of his best football in two years. And last week, the Colts beat the division-leading Texans. If they had beaten the Jags, Indy is currently the sixth seed. As it stands, they trail the Ravens on tiebreakers and now have no margin for error. The Cowboys are one of the NFL's hottest teams, and look capable of beating anybody. The Colts have to win on Sunday or their playoff hopes are all but dead.

Pick: Colts 24, Cowboys 23

Tampa Bay at Baltimore (-8)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)

Lamar Jackson suffered an ankle injury Sunday in Kansas City but the expectation is that he'll play against the Bucs. But unlike the previous four games, Joe Flacco will be active. And not only that, he may see the field. "I think it stands to reason that if Joe is ready to go, he'll be part of the game plan," coach John Harbaugh said Monday. "He's too good of a player not to be. We'll just figure that out as we go this week to what degree how it works." Worth noting: Baltimore is 3-1 with Jackson, whose ability to run has suddenly made this offense dangerous. With Flacco under center, the Ravens were 4-5.

Pick: Ravens 30, Buccaneers 20

Detroit at Buffalo (-2.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)

The Lions are 5-8 and the Bills are 4-9. It's fair to say that Detroit has woefully underachieved this season -- they went 9-7 in 2016 and 2017 and Jim Caldwell was fired -- and Buffalo has exceeded expectations, especially since Nathan Peterman, Derek Anderson and Matt Barkley combined to start five games while Josh Allen was injured. But Allen is healthy and running through defenses on a weekly basis. He's rushed for 490 yards in nine games, and averages 7.4 yards per run. In his last three games he has rushing totals of 99, 135 and 101. For some perspective, LeSean McCoy has 479 rushing yards in 12 games.

Pick: Bills 13, Lions 12

Arizona at Atlanta (-8.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)

These two teams are among the biggest disappointments of the 2018 season. The Cardinals were 8-8 last season without a quarterback. Now, in Steve Wilks' first year on the job, Arizona is 3-10 and one of the league's worst teams. The Falcons aren't much better. Yes, their defense has suffered through injuries to key players, but that doesn't explain the five-game losing streak given how explosive this offense can be. At this point, both teams are playing for draft position. The biggest question for us is if the Cards will stick by Wilks or look for an offensive-minded head coach to develop rookie quarterback Josh Rosen.

Pick: Falcons 28, Cardinals 14

Green Bay at Chicago (-5.5)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET (Fox)

This is Green Bay's Super Bowl. It sounds weird to say, because they've owned Chicago. The Packers are 15-2 since Jan. 2011, and have won five straight, including the season opener. But these teams have gone in different directions since, with the Bears' defense blossoming into the NFL's best while the Packers were so far off the rails they fired Mike McCarthy after an inexplicable loss to the Cardinals. But even at 5-7-1, all is not lost. Green Bay can win out and have a chance to back door its way into the postseason -- but there is no margin for error.

Pick: Packers 24, Bears 20

Seattle (-5.5) at San Francisco

Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET (Fox)

It's a cliché but it's also true: NOBODY wants to play the Seahawks in the playoffs. This team is dangerous in a completely different way than the Rams or Chiefs; Seattle relies on a tenacious defense and a running game that can eat clock and wear out opponents. And even though Russell Wilson struggled on Monday night, he ranks sixth in value per play among all quarterbacks, according to Football Outsiders, just behind Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. The 49ers, meanwhile, are coming off an impressive win over the Broncos and you get the sense that this team, even with three wins, is fully committed to Kyle Shanahan's vision. They just need to get healthy, which won't happen until 2019.

Pick: Seahawks 35, 49ers 17

New England (-1) at Pittsburgh

Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET (CBS)

A month ago, the Steelers were one of the NFL's best teams, riding a six-game winning streak and the No. 2 seed in the AFC. Now, after three losses in matchups they should've won, Pittsburgh is reeling. To the point that it might have already played itself out of the postseason. You can't lose to the Raiders and be taken seriously. It just doesn't work like that. And with just a half-game lead over the Ravens, and games against the Pats and Saints on the docket, the Steelers are going to need to play flawless football to have even a chance at remaining relevant. Based on recent history, we're skeptical.

Pick: Patriots 40, Steelers 28

Philadelphia at Los Angeles Rams (-9)

Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET (NBC)

The Rams were manhandled for the first time all season by the Bears, who only allowed six points. Since Sean McVay arrived in 2017, the Rams had scored a touchdown in every game. But not in Chicago, where great defense dominated great offense. A year ago, the Eagles could've followed a similar game plan but the 2018 version of this defense is a far cry from the unit that helped Philly to its first Super Bowl. If the Eagles can eke out a win, they have a chance to sneak into the playoffs but as it stands, they're facing long odds.

Pick: Rams 28, Eagles 21

New Orleans (-6) at Carolina

Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Back in Week 9, the Panthers were 6-2. Then they were on the business end of a 52-21 beatdown by the Steelers and they haven't recovered. Now on a five-game losing streak, Carolina is on the outside looking in. The good news is that they're just one place out of the final wild-card spot. The bad news is that they haven't won a game since the first week of November and that was against the Bucs. The other bad news: They'll have to play the Saints again in Week 17. New Orleans has already clinched a playoff spot but they have plenty to play for: Home-field advantage throughout January, which would mean the Rams would have to come back to New Orleans to get the Super Bowl. The Saints beat the Rams 45-35 in Week 9.

Pick: Saints 28, Panthers 20

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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