There is no more time for moral victories. The NFL season is coming to a close, and a number of teams need a win, or their season will soon be over.
Seven different teams have already clinched spots in this year's postseason. That leaves only five total positions, including three division titles, left up for grabs.
A few squads effectively ended their hopes with losses in Week 15, such as the St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. These teams are close to that same position, but do not want to suffer the same fate on Sunday.
Here are the most desperate teams in Week 16.
New York Giants
There are three teams tied on top of the NFC East, but the New York Giants are in the worst shape of them all.
The team split its games with both the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys, so it has no advantage in the first tiebreaker. The next step gives the division to the team with the best record within the division.
New York currently has a 2-3 record within the division thanks to an early loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, which set the squad behind the Redskins (3-1) and Cowboys (3-2) in that category.
This makes it nearly impossible for the Giants to win if they end the year tied with either team.
With this in mind, New York cannot afford to lose in either of the next two games if they want to win the division.
The entire season comes down to the next game.
A loss would eliminate the Pittsburgh Steelers from the playoffs, but a win over the Cincinnati Bengals would allow them to jump their division rival in the standings due to the head-to-head tiebreaker.
It is easy to call this a lost season due to the numerous injuries that the Steelers suffered this year. However, this team is too talented to miss the playoffs, regardless of what goes wrong on the field.
In addition, the roster is getting too old to waste opportunities to contend for another title.
Pittsburgh has suffered some bad losses this year, but it cannot afford to lose any more.
As opposed to some other teams on the list, the Indianapolis Colts would be in the playoffs if the season ended today. Unfortunately, there are still a few games left to play.
After this week's game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Colts end the year against the Houston Texans. Considering the loaded squad could still be playing for home-field advantage, Indianapolis could be in trouble.
Instead, Andrew Luck and company would like to seal their postseason hopes this week before it gets to dangerous levels.
Technically, Indianapolis could make the playoffs while losing the last three games of the season, but that does not usually bode well for postseason success.
It is difficult to imagine a 7-1 team missing the playoffs, but that is how things currently look with the Chicago Bears.
So far, the second half of the season has been downright embarrassing. Chicago has lost five of six games and will have to finish the last two on the road.
If the Seattle Seahawks win the first wild-card spot, it would leave the Bears, the Minnesota Vikings and two teams from the NFC East trying to get that last spot. All four of those teams are currently 8-6.
An early-season win over Dallas could come in handy, but the Bears need to take control of their own fate. Losing is no longer an option.
Considering the great start, missing the playoffs would be devastating for this team and city.
AFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
|No. 1 Seed Houston Texans (12-2) Clinched AFC South|
|No. 2 Seed Denver Broncos (11-3) Clinched AFC West|
|No. 3 Seed New England Patriots (10-4) Clinched AFC East|
|No. 4 Seed Baltimore Ravens (9-5) Lead AFC South; Clinched Playoff Berth|
|WILD CARD LEADERS|
|No. 5 Seed Indianapolis Colts (9-5)|
|No. 6 Seed Cincinnati Bengals (8-6)|
|IN THE HUNT|
|Pittsburgh Steelers (7-7)|
|New York Jets (6-8)|
|Miami Dolphins (6-8)|
NFC PLAYOFF PICTURE
|No. 1 Seed Atlanta Falcons (12-2) Clinched NFC South|
|No. 2 Seed San Francisco 49ers (10-3-1) Lead NFC West; Clinched Playoff Berth|
|No. 3 Seed Green Bay Packers (9-4) Clinched NFC North|
|No. 4 Seed Washington Redskins (8-6) Lead NFC East|
|WILD CARD LEADERS|
|No. 5 Seed Seattle Seahawks (9-5)|
|No. 6 Seed Minnesota Vikings (8-6)|
|IN THE HUNT|
|Chicago Bears (8-6)|
|Dallas Cowboys (8-6)|
|New York Giants (8-6)|
|St. Louis Rams (6-7-1)|
| New Orleans Saints (6-8)|