NFL Playoff Picture 2012: Teams Whose Hopes Took Major Hits with Week 14 Losses

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2012

TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 9: Wide receiver Tiguan Underwood #11 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stretches for a warmup pass against the Philadelphia Eagles December 9, 2012 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida.  The Eagles won 23 - 21. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to be kicking themselves after this week.

With a 23-21 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, they fell to 6-7, and the chances of the Buccaneers making the NFL playoffs dwindled even lower.

What made things worse is that all of the teams ahead of them bolstered their playoff credentials. The Vikings, Seahawks, Redskins and Cowboys all prevailed in Week 14.

The previously 3-9 Eagles presented a rather easy matchup. Philadelphia had lost eight games in a row. Instead, Nick Foles went for 381 yards and two touchdowns, one of which came at the very end of the game.

There's almost no way into the playoffs now, as a 9-7 record is unlikely to earn the Buccaneers a wild-card spot.

Here are three other teams whose postseason chances decreased after the weekend.


Cincinnati Bengals

It's been a roller coaster season for Cincinnati. The Bengals lost the opener to Baltimore before winning their next three. They turned around and lost their next four games before reversing track and winning four in a row.

They'll hope the same pattern doesn't occur after this week's 20-19 loss to the Cowboys.

The Bengals are level with the Steelers for the last wild-card spot but are behind after losing to Pittsburgh 24-17 in Week 7. The two will meet in Week 16, but Cincinnati has struggled against Pittsburgh recently, so things are looking rather bleak.

If the final week of the season is a must-win game for both teams, then the Steelers get the advantage there as well since their meeting with the Browns presents much easier opponents than what the Bengals have—the Baltimore Ravens.


Washington Redskins

Despite picking up a win over the aforementioned Ravens, Washington saw their playoff hopes take a tumble after Robert Griffin III went down with a knee injury in the fourth quarter.

The Redskins are still on the outside looking in after the Seahawks' demolition of the Cardinals. But with wins over the Vikings and Cowboys, Washington has a chance at being the last Wild Card.

Much of their postseason hopes, though, hinge on how serious the injury to Griffin III is. ESPN is already reporting that he doesn't believe it to be an ACL injury, so that could be a huge boost to both player and team.

Although he may return next week, if RG3 isn't 100 percent, the Redskins are going to have major trouble forcing their way into the playoffs.


Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings needed some help from the teams ahead of them in Week 14, but they didn't get any. Washington, Dallas and Seattle all won.

Regardless of the injury to Griffin, the Redskins have the advantage over the Vikings for the last playoff opening. Dallas also jumps ahead of Minnesota by virtue of their winning percentage in common games.

At this point, the Vikings are in the same boat as the Buccaneers. There are just too many teams to leapfrog in only three weeks.

They also have a fairly daunting finish to the season with away games in St. Louis and Houston before a home matchup with the Green Bay Packers in Week 17.