Week 15 NFL predictions: Scores for every game

Gronk will be the difference for Patriots (0:44)

Tedy Bruschi breaks down why Rob Gronkowski's return for the Patriots will create problems for the Steelers' defense. (0:44)

NFL Nation reporters predict the outcomes and scores for Week 15 games on Saturday, Sunday and Monday:



Chicago Bears

Chicago hasn’t won a game in Detroit since Lovie Smith’s final season of 2012. The teams are evenly matched -- Detroit barely squeaked past the Bears in Week 11 -- but Saturday’s game means a whole lot more to the Lions, who are fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive. Lions 23, Bears 21 -- Jeff Dickerson

Detroit Lions

The Lions are still clinging to hopes of a playoff berth and Detroit has been strong against Chicago of late, winning eight of the past nine games against the Bears, including a 27-24 victory at Soldier Field last month. The Lions' offensive line is a concern, but it held up well with a less-than-full-strength group against Tampa Bay last week. Chicago's 8.1 percent sack rate is worrisome with that line, but the Lions remain the better and more talented team. The playoff hopes continue to survive. Lions 27, Bears 20 -- Mike Rothstein



Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers will have to deal with the loud environment at Arrowhead Stadium in a nationally televised Saturday night game, but Philip Rivers has been there before and will have his teammates ready. Rivers, Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry face a Kansas City secondary that’s giving up 249 passing yards a game, fifth worst in the NFL. So the Chargers should move the football through the air and put enough points on the scoreboard for the team’s fifth consecutive victory. Chargers 20, Chiefs 17 -- Eric Williams

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs know how to beat the Chargers because they know how to defend Philip Rivers. They’ve beaten the Chargers seven consecutive times because they’ve intercepted Rivers 10 times while allowing him to throw just five touchdown passes for a feeble passer rating of 68.7. The Chiefs found their game last week just in time for their most important game of the season. Chiefs 20, Chargers 17 -- Adam Teicher



Buffalo Bills

Injuries at quarterback and weather have made the Bills a difficult team to predict in recent weeks, but some normalcy should return Sunday. Tyrod Taylor is expected to start in a game that will feature temperatures in the mid-30s and only a slight chance of precipitation. Since Week 10, Taylor ranks 35th in yards per pass attempt (5.13), 28th in completion percentage (57.8) and 33rd in passer rating (69.8). Taylor seems to be headed in the wrong direction while the Dolphins have won back-to-back games. Kenyan Drake leads the NFL with 334 yards from scrimmage the past two weeks, while Jay Cutler has posted the 13th-best Total QBR (59.4). Dolphins 23, Bills 20 -- Mike Rodak

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins are coming off their most impressive win of the season in Monday's 27-20 victory over the Patriots. Miami is 2-0 in December, outscoring opponents 62-29, and is playing its best football. Meanwhile, the Bills have quarterback-injury issues and are sputtering down the stretch. It's a good time for the Dolphins to sneak out a tough road win. Dolphins 17, Bills 14 -- James Walker



Green Bay Packers

Yes, the Packers have Aaron Rodgers back, so their offense will change drastically from what it was under Brett Hundley. But here's one thing that doesn't change: the difficulty of the Packers' schedule. They are tied with three other teams for the most difficult remaining schedule in terms of opponent winning percentage (.667), and two of the three are on the road. That's not a recipe for a storybook return for Rodgers. Panthers 30, Packers 24 -- Rob Demovsky

Carolina Panthers

This game is about more than what Aaron Rodgers will bring to the Packers' offense. It's about what Cam Newton and the Panthers can do against a Green Bay defense that ranks 26th in the league, 18th against the run. The Panthers rank fifth in rushing. Jonathan Stewart traditionally has been strong in December and January. He's coming off a game in which he had 103 yards against a Minnesota defense ranked second in the NFL. That and a Carolina defense that sacked Vikings quarterback Case Keenum six times and had 20 pressures gives the Panthers the edge. Panthers 33, Packers 21 -- David Newton



Baltimore Ravens

This is definitely a trap game for the Ravens. Baltimore is coming off an emotional loss to its biggest rival in Pittsburgh, and it now faces the winless Browns. This is going to be a closer game than expected, which really shouldn't be a surprise. In their previous four trips to Cleveland, the Ravens have lost one game and won three games by a combined 13 points. Baltimore hasn't won by more than a touchdown in Cleveland since 2012. But the Ravens are 8-1 in Cleveland since 2008. That's the second-most road wins against a single team over that span. Ravens 17, Browns 13 -- Jamison Hensley

Cleveland Browns

Trap game or no, the Ravens simply cannot afford to see their playoff hopes dimmed by the winless Browns. This game will be close; it always is. Only once in the past 12 games these teams have played has a team won by more than 10 points. But Joe Flacco is 16-2 against the Browns, who always seem to find a way to lose to Baltimore. Ravens 23, Browns 13 -- Pat McManamon



Houston Texans

The Jaguars may not have 10 sacks on Sunday, but this game could be just as ugly as Week 1 for the Texans going against this talented Jacksonville defense. T.J. Yates was able to move the ball down the field in relief of Tom Savage in Week 14, but he will have a harder time with Jalen Ramsey or A.J. Bouye going against DeAndre Hopkins on Sunday. Jaguars 26, Texans 10 -- Sarah Barshop

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars can clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2007 with a victory over the Texans. The Jaguars set a franchise record with 10 sacks in the first meeting in the season opener, and that's an area to watch again on Sunday. The Jaguars lead the NFL with 47 sacks, and the Texans have given up the fourth-most sacks (41). DE Calais Campbell (12.5 sacks), DE Yannick Ngakoue (11.5 sacks) and DT Malik Jackson (7.0 sacks) will be in the backfield all day. That'll make things tough for Yates, especially with Ramsey shadowing Hopkins all afternoon. Jaguars 27, Texans 10 -- Mike DiRocco



Cincinnati Bengals

Although Marvin Lewis has a good track record against his former assistants, that's not going to be the case against Mike Zimmer and the Vikings this Sunday. The Bengals are dealing with a significant number of injuries and simply looked lost against the struggling Bears last week. The Vikings are a much more formidable opponent than the Bears, and it seems unlikely the Bengals are going to be able to turn things around in a week. Vikings 27, Bengals 10 -- Katherine Terrell

Minnesota Vikings

Dropped passes, poor gap awareness and struggles in pass protection are uncharacteristic mistakes of this first-place team, which is why these players are adamant the issues they had at Carolina were simply a late-season hiccup and not something indicative of a larger trend, despite a plethora of recent injuries. Case Keenum said he’s eager to start a new win streak, which begins in a game in which Minnesota can lock up the NFC North and a playoff bid. The Vikings return to U.S. Bank Stadium for the first time since Nov. 19 and will rely on the strength of their home-field advantage to cause issues for a Bengals team that’s 2-4 on the road this season. Vikings 28, Bengals 13 -- Courtney Cronin



New York Jets

The Jets have a new quarterback (Bryce Petty) and an old problem -- they stink on the road. Away from home, they’re 1-5 and average only 14.5 points per game, 11 points fewer than their home average. The Jets could play a decent game and still get blown out by the Saints, who have too many offensive weapons for them to handle. Their only hope is to dominate on the ground; the Saints’ run defense has experienced some hiccups in recent weeks. This will be the Jets’ seventh loss in nine games. Saints 34, Jets 17 -- Rich Cimini

New Orleans Saints

The Saints have never been bigger favorites in franchise history (-15), which sounds like a daunting omen, especially considering they lost two of the three times they were 14-point favorites, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. But it would be impossible to pick against them with Jets QB Bryce Petty making his fifth career start in the Superdome. The Saints, meanwhile, are getting healthier, with both of their dynamic rookies, RB Alvin Kamara and CB Marshon Lattimore, expected to be back to full speed. Those two have helped make the Saints more balanced with a stellar running game and standout defense. New Orleans hasn’t lost a home game since Week 2, when both rookies played a full game. Saints 27, Jets 19 -- Mike Triplett



Philadelphia Eagles

Center Jason Kelce and LG Stefen Wisniewski are both dealing with ankle injuries, while Jason Peters' replacement at left tackle, Halapoulivaati Vaitai, has been shaky over the past couple of games. Nick Foles should be concerned about his blindside protection. That's not ideal for his first start of the season, especially since it's coming on the road. The defense, though, will rise to the occasion. Eagles 23, Giants 17 -- Tim McManus

New York Giants

Nick Foles is starting for the Eagles. Doesn't matter. The Giants have the NFL's worst defense. Philadelphia and Foles will find plenty of success this week. All they need to do is reach 20 points and they're in good shape. The Giants have topped 20 points just once in their past seven games, and that was with a last-second touchdown in a blowout loss to the San Francisco 49ers. They won't do it against this Eagles defense. Eagles 27, Giants 13 -- Jordan Raanan



Arizona Cardinals

Arizona has run for more than 100 yards in each of the past three games, while Washington is giving up 122 yards per game this season. But Arizona will be playing two new starters on the offensive line in left tackle Will Holden and right guard Evan Boehm, who are replacing Jared Veldheer and Earl Watford. Last week, quarterback Blaine Gabbert was sacked eight times -- part of 15 sacks in the past two weeks. That number isn't likely to go down this week with two new starters. The Cards have won east of Arizona just once this season, in Indianapolis, in overtime. That won't change this week. Redskins 17, Cardinals 14 -- Josh Weinfuss

Washington Redskins

Washington should win this game because it's playing a team that is equally banged up and using a backup quarterback. But the Redskins have looked dreadful the past two games -- and it's not just because of injuries. The key matchup on offense will be handling Arizona end Chandler Jones and his 14 sacks. But defensively, the Redskins have done a bad job vs. the run (4.84 yards per carry the past four weeks). That will be the key. If they can slow Arizona here, they'll feast on third down with pressure -- linebackers Ryan Kerrigan and Junior Galette in particular. Galette has been getting close. It's time for him to get home. Redskins 17, Cardinals 16 -- John Keim



Los Angeles Rams

The Rams are the better team, and they’ll show it Sunday. The Rams lost to the Seahawks earlier this year, but they outgained them by 134 yards in that game. Russell Wilson is a legitimate MVP candidate, but the Rams have done a decent job of containing him in recent years. The Rams have the NFL’s second-highest point differential and are a lot healthier on defense. This will be the game in which they essentially lock up the division. Rams 24, Seahawks 17 -- Alden Gonzalez

Seattle Seahawks

It takes a particularly bad matchup to pick against the Seahawks in a December home game, but that's what they're facing Sunday at CenturyLink Field. The Rams may be the NFL's most complete team. They're also much healthier than the Seahawks. Yes, the Seahawks held them to 10 points in a six-point win in October, but they needed five takeaways and a dropped pass in the end zone to do it. And that was with a defense that was still mostly intact. Already missing Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor, Seattle could be without linebackers Bobby Wagner (hamstring) and/or K.J. Wright (concussion), the team's leading tacklers. It's a lot to overcome against an excellent offense, even at home. Rams 24, Seahawks 21 -- Brady Henderson



New England Patriots

The Patriots' front seven is banged up on defense, with top playing-time LB Kyle Van Noy (calf) still not 100 percent and top pass-rusher Trey Flowers having missed the past two games with an injury to his ribs. One of the team's best run defenders, Alan Branch, won't play because of a knee injury. Add it all up and it seems like a fair question to ask: How will the Patriots, who are surrendering 5 yards per rush to the opposition, slow down the Steelers consistently? So it will come down to whether the Patriots can outscore the Steelers, and while the return of TE Rob Gronkowski should help, this is a tough spot in a short week. Steelers 34, Patriots 31 -- Mike Reiss

Pittsburgh Steelers

An eight-game winning streak and a loaded offense averaging 33.3 points per game over the past month have the Steelers believing they will take down the Patriots for the first time since 2011. But the Steelers' erratic defense doesn't lend confidence against Tom Brady. Pittsburgh hasn't held a passer to fewer than 220 yards since Week 7, and Baltimore was the 30th-ranked offense before putting up 38 points on the Steelers last week. With Ryan Shazier hurt and Joe Haden missing the past month, the Steelers won't have enough firepower for Brady and Gronkowski, who has 496 yards and eight touchdowns in his past five games against Pittsburgh. Patriots 30, Steelers 27 -- Jeremy Fowler



Tennessee Titans

The Titans haven't done much to convince us they can turn it around offensively before the end of the regular season. The 49ers have a new confidence behind Jimmy Garoppolo and a game on the back end of a road trip against that sort of team isn't typically a recipe for success. But this is close to a must-win for a Titans club in the thick of the AFC playoff race. Marcus Mariota takes care of the football and the Titans' overachieving defense makes some big plays to pull out a close win late. Titans 22, 49ers 20 -- Cameron Wolfe

San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers protected quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in their win against Chicago but not quite as well last week against Houston. This week, they’ll need to perform more like the former against a Tennessee pass rush that has two games in which its posted eight sacks in the past three games. Given Tennessee’s penchant for playing better at home (5-1) than on the road (3-4) and quarterback Marcus Mariota's struggles away from home (three touchdowns to 11 interceptions), the Niners look well-positioned for their first three-game winning streak since 2014 as Garoppolo-mania continues to take hold. 49ers 23, Titans 16 -- Nick Wagoner



Dallas Cowboys

Sunday’s game will be the Cowboys’ final one before Ezekiel Elliott returns from suspension. In order for Elliott’s return for the final two games to matter, this is a must-win against the Raiders. The Cowboys enter with a two-game winning streak, but they have not been as impressive as the 38-14 and 30-10 wins against the Washington Redskins and New York Giants would suggest. They were tied at 10 with less than eight minutes to play against the two-win Giants. The Cowboys have scored a combined 41 points in the fourth quarter of their past two games. They can’t wait that long to get going against the Raiders, who are still in the AFC West race at 6-7. Dak Prescott needs another big game against a defense that has only two interceptions -- and has given up 20 touchdown passes -- on the season. Cowboys 27, Raiders 23 -- Todd Archer

Oakland Raiders

Wasn't this supposed to be a Super Bowl preview? The Raiders are in a fortuitous stretch where they have missed/will miss Eli Manning, Marcus Peters, Ezekiel Elliott and Carson Wentz. But given the impotent showing Oakland's offense gave in a huge-stakes game at Kansas City last week, what gives you any inclination it will show up under the bright lights Sunday night against a Zeke-less Cowboys team? Sure, the Raiders have won six consecutive home prime-time games, Bruce Irvin has five sacks in his past three games and Khalil Mack is riding a four-game sack streak. But unless Derek Carr improves upon his 33rd-ranked deep-passing game -- he has completed just 26 percent of passes that travel at least 20 yards downfield this season -- it will not matter. Cowboys 27, Raiders 23 -- Paul Gutierrez



Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons are 8-0 when they score at least 20 points this season, and they scored 34 when they beat the Buccaneers back in Week 12. Sure, the Bucs have dropped three in a row, but Jameis Winston at quarterback poses a much different challenge than the Falcons had with Ryan Fitzpatrick, with Winston’s ability to extend plays. The Falcons need to continue to reestablish their offensive rhythm as they make a playoff push. And the Buccaneers couldn’t stop Julio Jones the last time as he went for a season-high 253 yards on 12 catches with two touchdowns. The Falcons need to keep feeding Jones until the Bucs adjust, and they can’t neglect the run, even if Tevin Coleman (concussion) misses the game. Falcons 31, Bucs 17 -- Vaughn McClure

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs tried 14 different coverages against Julio Jones a few weeks ago and none of them worked. Unless they start having Brent Grimes move around so he can at least be on the same side of the field as Jones, the Falcons will continue to try to exploit the inexperienced Ryan Smith. The Bucs may also very likely be without Gerald McCoy, the one source of pressure they actually have up front. Falcons 34, Bucs 20 -- Jenna Laine