Of course all the 0-2 teams need a win this week in the NFL, especially preseason darlings like San Diego, Cleveland, Jackson and Seattle. While it’s hard to reach the playoffs starting 0-2, it’s nearly impossible when starting 0-3. So choosing 0-2 teams is too easy. Instead, we look at 2-0 and 1-1 teams that absolutely, positively, must win on Sunday.
Washington Redskins 1-1
Washington vs Arizona, 1pm
With road games against Dallas and Philadelphia looming on the schedule in the next two weeks, and their division poised to send three teams to the playoffs, the 1-1 Washington Redskins absolutely need to take care of business against a team like the Arizona Cardinals. Getting victories at home against inter-divisional opponents is absolutely imperative when you play the Cowboys, Eagles and Giants twice.
Chicago Bears 1-1
Tampa Bay @ Chicago, 1pm
After choking away a win last week in Carolina, the monsters of the midway are looking up at the 2-0 Green Bay Packers. Sure the Packers have a tough game Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys and sure the Detroit Lions and the Minnesota Vikings are already out of it, but a 1-2 start by the Bears would certainly mean hibernation instead of post season. Plus they were able to handcuff Peyton Manning in week one, they should definitely be able to do the same to former Bear Brian Griese.
The Entire NFC South
K.C. @ Atlanta, 1pm; Tampa Bay @ Chicago, 1pm; Carolina @ Minnesota, 1pm; New Orleans @ Denver, 4:05pm
With every NFC South team playing opponents outside the division and every team sitting at 1-1 (except for the 2-0 Carolina Panthers), a week three out-of-division road win (minus Atlanta who’s playing at home) could be the difference between a post season kick-off time and a post season tee-off time. With the possibility your three division foes could lose, being the only team to win would be a huge step towards reaching the playoffs… of course the reverse is also true.
Okay, the New England Patriots are playing one of the worst teams in the NFL and the Pats are already penciled in to win AFC East, but think about it. A loss to the lowly Dolphins, in Casel’s second start, at home, and before a bye-week would be disastrous—maybe not in the standings, but definitely between the ears. Besides, who wants to see Pennington and the fish end the Pats’ 21 game regular season win streak? By the way, the Dolphins were the last team to beat New England in the regular season, way back in early December 2006.