The Week 14 schedule is one of the most action-packed of the NFL season. Between teams looking to keep their playoffs hopes alive, teams hoping to lock up berths and a couple marquee matchups, the week has everything fans could ask for.
While there is no shortage of good games, a couple stand out from the rest. Not only should they be the most exciting battles of the week, but they all have some type of playoff implications to raise the intensity level ever more.
With that in mind, let's examine the most intriguing Sunday matchups and make predictions for how they will play out.
Baltimore Ravens at Washington Redskins
The only disappointing thing about this game is the fact we won't get to see Ray Lewis, who's injured, staring down Robert Griffin III at the line of scrimmage. Otherwise, this has all the makings of a terrific matchup.
Washington, led by rookies in Griffin and Alfred Morris, has quietly worked its way back into the playoff race with three straight wins. A lot will hinge on how the Redskins' sensation at quarterback handles a veteran defense sure to throw several different looks at him.
The Ravens are 9-3 and can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Washington and a loss by the Pittsburgh Steelers or Cincinnati Bengals. While they are one of the league's most balanced teams, they need Joe Flacco to step up heading into the playoffs.
Maybe facing Griffin will bring the best out of him, but the league's newest superstar is on a roll.
Prediction: Redskins 20, Ravens 17
New Orleans Saints at New York Giants
The Saints made a run back toward the playoff picture, and have since dropped two straight games to reach the brink of elimination. The Giants looked like a playoff lock a month ago, but are now battling for their lives again. One team will right the ship on Sunday.
Drew Brees is coming off a game in which he threw five interceptions and the Saints lost to the Falcons by 10 points. It's one of the rare cases where you can say he cost the Saints the game. He should bounce back against New York's inconsistent secondary.
Brees won't be able to win the game alone, though. The Giants always seem to play their best when the situation warrants it and, with two teams chasing close behind in the division, this week's game qualifies. Expect the New York pass-rush to shine late in a narrow win.
Prediction: Giants 31, Saints 30
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers
In the last three games between these teams there has been an average of 57 points scored. Expect another shootout on Sunday thanks to Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford and their plethora of options in the passing game.
The Lions' issues remain the same. They are on a four-game losing streak despite scoring at least 20 points in every game. The defense just isn't good enough to get stops, especially in key moments.
Until that changes, it will be tough for them to beat teams like the Packers, who have made positive strides in the secondary this season. Green Bay is caught up in a tight race with the Chicago Bears for the NFC North crown and won't let this one slip away.
Prediction: Packers 38, Lions 34