The Buffalo Bills were one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl during the preseason. But entering Week 14, there is a better chance Buffalo will miss the playoffs than win the Super Bowl. It doesn’t help the struggling Bills that they are in the most intense part of their schedule.
Buffalo lost to Philadelphia last week, will have a test against another top AFC contender and defending champion, Kansas City, this week, and will wrap up this three-game gauntlet at home against Dallas the following week. The Bills, as is their nature as a franchise, have been stricken with bad luck and close losses this season.
Buffalo is catching Kansas City at the wrong time. Black sports news shows the Chiefs and their quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, struggled to finish drives in their loss to Green Bay last Sunday night. Kansas City is in a battle with Miami and Baltimore for the top spot in the AFC.
Cowboys and Eagles Set to Battle for East Division
Dallas took some time early in the season to adjust to coach Mike McCarthy being the play-caller for the offense again. The Cowboys had a lot of struggles scoring in the red zone early this season but found their stride. Dallas won a wild shootout against Seattle last week.
Now the Cowboys need to prove they can build on the momentum of their four-game winning streak to take down the Eagles. Dallas gave Philadelphia a tight battle on Nov. 5 on their home turf but came up short in a 28-23 loss. The Cowboys have been playing better football recently, while the Eagles are entering the game off a string of tough games against playoff contenders.
The Eagles fell short last weekend against San Francisco. Dallas also took a lopsided loss to San Francisco earlier in the year. This game will have a major impact on the team that finishes in first place in the NFC East Division.
Steelers vs. Patriots Has Lost its Luster
Usually, rivalry games between teams that aren’t in the same division run hot and cold. Those types of rivalries burn brightest when both teams are good and they are competing for the Super Bowl. It’s hard to see the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers competing for a championship any time soon.
That’s hard to fathom. Between 2000 and 2021, the Steelers and Patriots produced eight Super Bowls between them. Though New England dominated the series, the Patriots had another foil to challenge them.
This Thursday night, the Steelers and Patriots will meet in a game at Acrisure Stadium that feels like an afterthought. New England has given up hope on former first-round pick Mac Jones at quarterback and is leaning on Bailey Zappe. Pittsburgh is also in a rough place.
The Steelers imploded last Sunday, losing by two touchdowns to the Cardinals on a rainy, miserable afternoon. What hurt more than the loss was losing starting quarterback Kenny Pickett to an ankle injury. Now, Pittsburgh needs to lean on veteran quarterback Mitch Trubisky.
Falcons and Buccaneers Seek to Set Themselves Apart
Atlanta won ugly last week. The Falcons, if they beat Tampa Bay this week, will likely also have to win ugly again. Unless second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder can make drastic improvements, Atlanta’s offense will be stuck in a difficult cycle.
But the Falcons don’t have a better option as they look to maintain their one-game lead on top of the division. Tampa Bay snapped a two-game losing streak last Sunday against Carolina. Veteran Buccaneers quarterback Baker Mayfield has struggled with being efficient. More than half of his passes last week went incomplete.
If Tampa Bay is going to make a serious run at first place in the NFC South and make the playoffs, the Buccaneers will need Mayfield to be better. Mayfield has shown various flashes of his potential, but he has never been able to carry an offense on his own.
Bengals May Not Be Done Yet
Cincinnati losing quarterback Joe Burrow cast a grim shadow on the Bengals’ season. Without their star quarterback, many believed the Bengals would slink slowly out of the playoff picture. But backup quarterback Jake Browning opened everyone’s eyes to what their potential is now.
Browning surprised everyone by passing for 354 yards and threw a 76-yard touchdown pass to Ja’Marr Chase. Cincinnati’s surprising offensive surge gave the Bengals a leg up on a motivated Jacksonville team. The Jaguars, with a win over Cincinnati, would have been threatening a legitimate claim for the top spot in the AFC.
Cincinnati’s opponent Sunday, Indianapolis, was happy with Jacksonville’s loss. Recent sports updates show the Jaguars are now in danger of losing the AFC South Division after quarterback Trevor Lawrence went out with an injury.
The Colts have won four straight games and are now 7-5 on the season. Indianapolis is similar to Cincinnati in some ways. The Colts are also relying on a veteran backup quarterback in Gardner Minshew. Both Browning and Minshew were overlooked by other teams before finding their landing spots.
Vikings and Raiders Could Use Some Help
Both Minnesota and Las Vegas desperately need wins. After a hot initial start with the Vikings, recent sports updates show Josh Dobbs has started to regress under center. Minnesota lost its last game in difficult fashion to the lowly Bears.
The Raiders have been forced to play rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell. While the stage doesn’t seem too big for O’Connell, there will be a learning curve he has to continually adapt to. With the playoff fields being crowded in each conference, neither team is necessarily out of the race.
But to escape the pack and exceed their own expectations, both the Raiders and Vikings will need to string together a couple of victories before they can legitimately look themselves in the mirror and say they are contenders. Right now, both sides are unknowns. In a league where no one has established themselves as the top contender, that is a common refrain right now.
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