The first sign the NFL regular season is nearing its conclusion came last week when four teams clinched postseason berths. The Atlanta Falcons, Houston Texans, New England Patriots and Denver Broncos all punched their tickets to the playoffs.
That leaves eight spots up for grabs heading into Week 14. There are no shortage of crucial games on the schedule, both for teams looking to lock up a place in the postseason and those hoping to make a late charge toward one.
With that in mind, let's take a look at Sunday's television coverage information followed by a couple games to keep an eye on in Week 14.
NFL Week 14 Coverage Info
Coverage maps courtesy of the506.com.
|Cowboys at Bengals||1 p.m.||Fox||Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick|
|Rams at Bills||1 p.m.||Fox||Ron Pitts, Mike Martz|
|Eagles at Buccaneers||1 p.m.||Fox||Dick Stockton, John Lynch|
|Falcons at Panthers||1 p.m.||Fox||Gus Johnson, Charles Davis|
|Bears at Vikings||1 p.m.||Fox||Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston|
|Jets at Jaguars||1 p.m.||CBS||Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots|
|Titans at Colts||1 p.m.||CBS||Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts|
|Chargers at Steelers||1 p.m.||CBS||Jim Nantz, Phil Simms|
|Chiefs at Browns||1 p.m.||CBS||Bill Macatee, Steve Tasker|
|Ravens at Redskins||1 p.m.||CBS||Marv Albert, Rich Gannon|
|Dolphins at 49ers||4:05 p.m.||CBS||Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf|
|Cardinals at Seahawks||4:25 p.m.||Fox||Chris Myers, Tim Ryan|
|Saints at Giants||4:25 p.m.||Fox||Joe Buck, Troy Aikman|
Matchup of the Week: New Orleans Saints vs. New York Giants
Two weeks ago, it looked the Saints had completely recovered from a brutal start and were back on track to make the playoffs. But two straight losses, albeit against strong competition, have them right back in must-win mode with a month to go.
The biggest problem for New Orleans continues to be its defense. The unit has allowed 54 points over the last two weeks, including 31 to a Colin Kaepernick-led offense in his second career start. Overall, the Saints rank dead last in yards allowed at over 440 per game.
That simply isn't going to cut it against tough competition, and the Giants certainly fall into that category despite some recent struggles of their own. The defending champions have lost three of their last four games and lead the NFC East by just one game.
It's typical of what fans have come to expect from the Giants. They don't seem to play their best unless their backs are up against the wall. If there isn't immense pressure on them, their performance dips until there is.
The most concerning thing this season has been the play of Eli Manning. Although he's been better since the bye week, throws he would hit with a blindfold in past years are now sailing high and wide. The Giants will need a big game from him to outscore the Saints.
Underrated Matchup of the Week: Baltimore Ravens vs. Washington Redskins
For most of the season, phrases like "rebuilding season" and "bright future" have been used to describe the Redskins. The common thought being Robert Griffin III will lead them to great things down the line—just not yet.
With a month left, however, the focus has shifted to a possible playoff berth. Griffin's dynamic playmaking ability combined with strong running from Alfred Morris and signs of improvement on defense has Washington in the mix.
The Redskins are one game behind the Giants for the division lead and are also just one game out in the wild-card race. Tiebreakers give them an advantage over the other 6-6 teams in the NFC, so it's not like they have to jump a bunch of teams, either.
Griffin faces a tough challenge in a veteran Ravens defense that ranks eighth in points allowed. Even without the injured Ray Lewis, Baltimore has enough players on defense to make life on the rookie, from stalwart Ed Reed to the unheralded Dannell Ellerbe.
The Ravens can clinch a playoff spot with a victory and a loss by either the Pittsburgh Steelers or Cincinnati Bengals, so there's no shortage of motivation on their end. It should be a terrific game that goes right down to the wire.
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