Week 14 NFL Picks: Teams Whose Playoff Hopes Will Be Crushed with Loss

Mike MoraitisAnalyst IDecember 3, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 02:  Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the Cincinnati Bengals drops back to pass against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on December 2, 2012 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

With four weeks left in the season, there are many teams in the NFL that are still in playoff contention. However, some of those teams will have their playoff hopes crushed with a loss in Week 14.

Let's take a look at the teams that will have their bubble burst after dropping their respective Week 14 matchups.


Minnesota Vikings (vs. Chicago Bears)

Interestingly enough, the Vikings are just one game behind the Seattle Seahawks for the final playoff spot, but their chances of moving up in Week 14 are slim to none.

Minnesota will be going up against the tough Chicago Bears, who will be motivated to come out strong after dropping their last game to the Seahawks.

The Vikings are a one-dimensional offense and while they have the No. 3 rushing attack in the NFL, they are dead-last in the passing game. That type of predictable offense will make things rather easy for the Bears since they only have to respect one part of the Vikings offense.

Chicago has been great defensively this season, as they are ranked No. 7 and No. 10 against the pass and run, respectively. So there's no doubt the Bears can shut down both facets of Minnesota's offense, most importantly the rushing attack.

If all goes to plan and the Vikings drop this game, they could be as much as two games behind the Seahawks, who have drawn the lowly Arizona Cardinals as their Week 14 opponent.


Cincinnati Bengals (vs. Dallas Cowboys)

The Bengals are still in a great position to make the playoffs, but they are still on the outside looking in.

Coming off a lackluster Week 13 performance that saw them barely escape San Diego with a win, the Bengals will be taking on the Dallas Cowboys. Cincy's quarterback, Andy Dalton, made a ton of mistakes against the Chargers.

Dalton will be looking at a much more talented defense in Week 14 against Dallas, namely the Cowboys secondary which has helped them to the No. 10 pass defense in the NFL. If Dalton struggled against San Diego's No. 21 pass defense, things could get ugly against the Cowboys.

In addition, the Cowboys pass rush will be putting far more pressure on the Bengals quarterback than the Chargers did. Cincinnati must be better offensively in this game because the Cowboys' offense will put points on the board and if Dalton doesn't improve this week, the Bengals won't score enough to beat the Cowboys.

The Bengals are chasing the Pittsburgh Steelers, who own the final playoff spot thanks to a tiebreaker. The Steelers have drawn an easy Week 14 opponent in San Diego and might have Ben Roethlisberger returning, so a loss for Cincinnati would almost certainly put them a full two games back.


New York Jets (vs. Jacksonville Jaguars)

Believe it or not, the Jets still have a shot to make the playoffs, but they will have to run the table in order to have a prayer. While they do have a favorable schedule moving forward, their playoff hopes could end in Week 14.

New York has been banged up this season, especially the receiving corps. After losing Santonio Holmes for the season, the Jets other top receiver, tight end Dustin Keller, has been battling injuries as well and could be out for this game thanks to a high ankle sprain (per ESPN.com).

Coach Rex Ryan's squad also has a quarterback controversy brewing after the team pulled starter Mark Sanchez on Sunday after he struggled mightily to start the game. With Tim Tebow injured, that left the duties up to Greg McElroy.

It remains to be seen if Tebow will be ready to go next week, but if this team can't win with Sanchez, it won't win with Tebow. McElroy looked solid in the win over the Arizona Cardinals, but can he really be depended on to start and win games?

Right now, this team is a total mess as has been the case the entire season. They are missing several key players on offense and the Jets still don't have the answer behind center. All of these problems could lead to poor play on the field and that should open the door for the Jags to take home the win.