Potential win or go home matchups for Week 17

12/18/13 in NFL   |   dsm5095   |   9 respect

Nov 4, 2013; Green Bay, WI, USA;   Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (right) talks to Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (left) after the Bears beat the Packers 27-20 at Lambeau Field. Rodgers left the game early in the 1st quarter with a left shoulder injury.  Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY SportsPlayoffs are looming closer and the feelings of desperation, joy, and heartbreak await a few teams just trying to get in the dance. 8 teams might have to deal with that fate during the last week of the season.
Packers (7-6-1) at Bears (8-6)
What needs to happen in Week 16:
Either both teams need to win this week or both lose along with a Lions (7-7) loss.
Keys for each team for a victory:
Bears - Neither defense has shown much ability to provide stops this year. This game would most likely be a shootout. We’ve seen the Bears dynamic weapons on offense including the Brandon Marshall/Alshon Jeffrey WR duo and Matt Forte. They’ll have to get on a lead early against Green Bay, especially if Aaron Rodgers comes back.
Packers - it’ll come down to setting the tone with Rodgers/Flynn and Eddie Lacy imposing his will on Chicago’s run defense. To show you how bad Chicago is at stopping the run, they let the Giants’ Brandon Jacobs(!) run for 106 yards and 2 touchdowns earlier this year.

Nov 10, 2013; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith (82) dives but cannot make the catch over Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones (24) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY SportsRavens (8-6) at Bengals (9-5)
What needs to happen in Week 16:
This could decide the AFC North. Both need to either win this week, both lose, or have a Ravens win combined with a Bengals loss.
Keys for each team for a victory:
Ravens – Have a running threat to take pressure off of Joe Flacco and the wide receivers. The defense will have to contain Giovanni Bernard and Benjarvus Green-Ellis. They’ll have a much better chance to win if they force Andy Dalton to beat them.
Bengals – We know the running backs will probably have a good game. Andy Dalton will have to take advantage of the Ravens’ secondary and feed the ball to AJ Green and Marvin Jones early and often. The Bengals defense will have to prevent scoring drives. As they saw on Monday, even Justin Tucker can win a game for the Ravens like he did against the Lions on 6 field goals.

Dec 15, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) yells at head linesman Jerry Bergman (91) after throwing an interception in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at AT&T Stadium. The Packers beat the Cowboys 37-36. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY SportsEagles (8-6) at Cowboys (7-7)
What needs to happen in Week 16:
This will decide the NFC East. Both need to either win, both lose, or have an Eagles loss combined with a Cowboys win.
Keys for each team for a victory:
Eagles – We all know these teams can score. It’ll be up to Nick Foles and company to get out to an early lead. This has proven easy as the Cowboys are fielding a historically bad defense. LeSean McCoy will have to burn as much clock as possible to prevent the Cowboys from scoring as much. The defense will have to provide some key stops as well.
Cowboys – They have to actually show they can play defense on a professional level. Ironically, their best defensive game came against Philadelphia when they held the Eagles to 3 points. That included 3 quarters played by Nick Foles until he got concussed and the inexperienced Matt Barkley took over. Tony Romo will have to avoid costly mistakes such as the Week 17 games the past couple of years against the Giants and Redskins. DeMarco Murray has ran well the past couple of weeks, the only problem is they haven’t used him as much as they should.

Oct 13, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis (85) and Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) congratulate each other after the game at Candlestick Park. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Arizona Cardinals 32-20. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports49ers (10-4) at Cardinals (9-5)
What needs to happen in Week 16:
The Cardinals need to win and have the 49ers lose. This would decide who gets the last wild card spot in the NFC.
Keys for each team for a victory: 
49ers – Use Frank Gore a lot. Colin Kaepernick has had much better games when helped by the San Francisco running attack. The defense shouldn’t have much problem stopping Carson Palmer and Andre Ellington. They beat Arizona 32-20 earlier this year.
Cardinals - Carson Palmer, while playing better as of late, still needs to avoid being reckless throwing the ball. The 49ers are already a dangerous team with their possessions. Arizona can’t afford to give them extra ones. For the defense, they’ll have to watch out for Colin Kaeprnick running the ball in the read-option, contain Frank Gore and defend Anquan Boldin well.
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