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NFL schedule 2012: Patriots vs. 49ers headlines Week 15 slate

Taking a look at the big games on the NFL schedule next week, including a showdown with the Patriots and 49ers.

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The homestretch of the NFL season is finally here. While most teams in the AFC have locked up a playoff berth, the NFC still appears to be wide open. There are plenty of big games on the slate for Week 15, and they could have a big impact on playoff positioning.

The big game on Sunday will feature Tom Brady and the Patriots welcoming in the San Francisco 49ers. This could potentially be a Super Bowl preview, and it'll pit one of the NFL's elite offenses against a stellar defense. Kickoff for this one is set for 4:25 p.m. ET on Sunday, Dec. 16.

Another key matchup will feature the Giants and Falcons. New York smoked Atlanta in the playoffs last year, and you can bet Matt Ryan and Co. would like to do nothing more than make a statement against the defending world champions. Kickoff from the Georgia Dome is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.

Here is a full look at the schedule for Week 15.

Thursday, Dec. 13

  • Cincinnati at Philadelphia
Sunday, Dec 16
  • Seattle at Buffalo
  • New York Giants at Atlanta
  • Minnesota at St. Louis
  • Jacksonville at Miami
  • Green Bay at Chicago
  • Washington at Cleveland
  • Denver at Baltimore
  • Indianapolis at Houston
  • Tampa Bay at New Orleans
  • Detroit at Arizona
  • Carolina at San Diego
  • Pittsburgh at Dallas
  • Kansas City at Oakland
  • San Francisco at New England
Monday, Dec. 17
Check out SI.com for more NFL coverage.