The crowded NFL playoff picture will become a little clearer this weekend, as several wild-card contenders will separate themselves from the pack.
While a few playoff hopefuls were dealt nightmarish closing schedules (sorry, Minnesota), several others can feast upon lowly opponents in Week 16. Although no game in the NFL is an automatic win, you can count on the following teams to get the job done on Sunday.
Chicago is in the midst of an epic collapse, having lost three games in a row and five of its last six. After starting the season 7-1, the Bears now sit at 8-6, tied with four other teams in the NFC.
Luckily for the Bears, the NFL gods have given them a gift in their time of need: the Arizona Cardinals.
Like the Bears, the Cardinals have been in an all-out free-fall lately. Although they were able to beat Detroit last week, the Cardinals were recently engulfed in a nine-game losing streak. During that stretch, they scored six or less points four times, and they haven't scored more than 19 points since Week 4.
Chicago hasn't been impressive lately, but it can take one massive step towards the playoffs with a win on Sunday.
The Redskins are on fire, averaging 31 points per game during their current five-game winning streak. They've beaten quality teams like Dallas, Baltimore and New York, and with Robert Griffin III expected to return this Sunday, the Redskins offense should be at full strength.
That's bad news for the rest of the NFC, as RG3 and Co. are set to face the hapless Philadelphia Eagles in Week 16.
The Eagles have lost nine of their last 10, including a 31-6 beatdown at the hands of the Redskins in Week 11. RG3 had more touchdown passes (four) than incompletions (one) in that game, while also rushing for 84 yards.
While I'm not expecting that level of perfection from him this Sunday, I will be shocked if he doesn't lead Washington to victory.
The Colts stumbled last week, but you can expect them to get back on track Sunday in Kansas City.
The Chiefs are just 2-10 this year, and they are coming off back-to-back blowout losses against Cleveland and Oakland. With Andrew Luck and the Colts coming to town, another lopsided result is on the horizon.
Luck is playing like a legitimate MVP candidate, and with the Texans on the schedule for Week 17, Indy will be in desperation mode this Sunday. Look for the young QB to lead his team to its 10th victory of the season.
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