NFL playoff picture intensifies following Week 14

By Brandon Reid
Senior Assistant Editor

The NFL playoff picture continues to develop following some key Week 14 NFL match-ups.

The Dallas Cowboys started Week 14 off Thursday night, Dec. 4, with a 41-28 win over the Chicago Bears, eliminating the Bears (5-8) from postseason contention. With the win, the Cowboys moved to 9-4 and improved their playoff hopes.

The Cowboys also received a little help Sunday, Dec. 7, as the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks traveled to Philadelphia to defeat the Cowboys’ NFC East Division rival Eagles 24-14. With the loss, the Eagles fell to 9-4.

The Cowboys and Eagles will now take their 9-4 records into a pivotal Week 15 match-up in Philadelphia. The Eagles hold the tie-breaker edge over the Cowboys in the division by way of their 3-0 record in the division. The Cowboys are 2-2 in the division.

The Eagles defeated the Cowboys 33-10 in Dallas on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27. In that game, the Cowboys turned the ball over three times, including two interceptions by Tony Romo and a fumble by Cole Beasley. Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez was 20-for-29 for 217 yards and one touchdown in that game, and Eagles running back LeSean McCoy ran for 159 yards and one touchdown on 25 carries. The Eagles’ defense, meantime, was able to keep Dallas Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray to just 73 yards on 20 carries. Murray did have one rushing touchdown and also added 40 yards receiving on six catches in that game.

Following the Cowboys’ win over the Bears Dec. 4, Romo noted: “We’re back. Getting a full week is a game-changer. It was definitely a difference. I took a [pain-killing] shot this week. I didn’t last week in the Eagles game, and that was a poor decision, I think. I wasn’t as comfortable. But you don’t know until you do it. It felt good [against the Bears]. I think it will be that way the rest of the year.”

Romo also said of the looming match-up with the Eagles: “The good news is I have all my notes and things from a week ago that are going to still be in use. A lot of times you just forget and go right on. I didn’t want to forget everything because we want to utilize it again.

So, the defensive philosophy and the things that they do that we didn’t really expose or have the opportunity to, really, with the way that the game unfolded,” Romo added. “Just the whole game itself, I think that we’ll be able to do some things that we wanted to do previously. I’m excited about our team’s chances to go in there and play better football.”

The Cowboys and Eagles will face off during prime time at 7:30 p.m. (Central), Sunday, Dec. 14, on NBC.

Following is the complete playoff picture for both the AFC and the NFC, as of Dec. 8:

AFC playoff picture

If the season ended today, the playoff seeds would be as follow in the AFC (records and remaining schedules in parentheses):

1. New England (10-3) (Miami, at New York Jets, Buffalo)

2. Denver (10-3) (at San Diego, at Cincinnati, Oakland)

3. Indianapolis (9-4) (Houston, at Dallas, at Tennessee)

4. Cincinnati (8-4-1) (at Cleveland, Denver, at Pittsburgh)

5. Pittsburgh (8-5) (at Atlanta, Kansas City, Cincinnati)

6. San Diego (8-5) (Denver, at San Francisco, at Kansas City)

The following teams remain in the hunt, with tiebreaker information courtesy of NFL.com:

7. Baltimore (8-5) (Jacksonville, at Houston, Cleveland)

8. Houston (7-6) — (at Indianapolis, Baltimore, Jacksonville) “Wins tie break over Cleveland, Kansas City and Miami based on best win percentage in conference games. Division tie break was initially used to eliminate Buffalo (Miami wins tie break over Buffalo based on best win percentage in division games).”

9. Miami (7-6) — (at New England, Minnesota, New York Jets) “Wins tie break over Cleveland and Kansas City based on best win percentage in conference games. Division tie break was initially used to eliminate Buffalo (Miami wins tie break over Buffalo based on best win percentage in division games).”

10. Kansas City (7-6) — (Oakland, at Pittsburgh, San Diego) “Wins tie break over Buffalo and Cleveland based on best win percentage in conference games.”

11. Buffalo (7-6) — (Green Bay, at Oakland, at New England) “Wins tie break over Cleveland based on head-to-head win percentage.”

12. Cleveland (7-6) (Cincinnati, at Carolina, at Baltimore)

NFC playoff picture

If the season ended today, the playoff seeds would be as follow in the NFC (records and remaining schedules in parentheses):

1. Arizona (10-3) (at St. Louis, Seattle, at San Francisco)

2. Green Bay (9-3) (Atlanta, at Buffalo, at Tampa Bay, Detroit)

3. Philadelphia (9-4) (Dallas, at Washington, at New York Giants)

4. Atlanta (5-7) (at Green Bay, Pittsburgh, at New Orleans, Carolina)

5. Seattle (9-4) (San Francisco, at Arizona, St. Louis)

6. Detroit (9-4) (Minnesota, at Chicago, at Green Bay)

The following teams remain in the hunt, with tiebreaker information courtesy of NFL.com:

7. Dallas (9-4) (at Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Washington)

8. San Francisco (7-6) (at Seattle, San Diego, Arizona)

9. Minnesota (6-7) (at Detroit, at Miami, Chicago) “Wins tie break over St. Louis based on head-to-head win percentage.”

10. St. Louis (6-7) (Arizona, New York Giants, at Seattle)

11. New Orleans (5-8) (at Chicago, Atlanta, at Tampa Bay) “Wins tie break over Chicago based on best win percentage in common games.”

NFL Week 14 results

Following are NFL Week 14 results (home teams in caps; all games Sunday, Dec. 7, unless otherwise noted):

Dallas 41, CHICAGO 28 (Thursday, Dec. 4)
Pittsburgh 42, CINCINNATI 21
Indianapolis 25, CLEVELAND 24
DETROIT 34, Tampa Bay 17
Houston 27, JACKSONVILLE 13
Baltimore 28, MIAMI 13
MINNESOTA 30, New York Jets 24
Carolina 41, NEW ORLEANS 10
New York Giants 36, TENNESSEE 7
St. Louis 24, WASHINGTON 0
ARIZONA 17, Kansas City 14
DENVER 24, Buffalo 17
OAKLAND 24, San Francisco 13
Seattle 24, PHILADELPHIA 14
New England 23, SAN DIEGO 14
Atlanta at GREEN BAY (8:30 p.m., Central, Monday, Dec. 8)

NFL Week 15 schedule

* All games are Sunday, Dec. 14, unless otherwise noted, and all times are Central.

Arizona at St. Louis (7:25 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 11)
Pittsburgh at Atlanta (noon)
Washington at New York Giants (noon)
Miami at New England (noon)
Oakland at Kansas City (noon)
Houston at Indianapolis (noon)
Jacksonville at Baltimore (noon)
Green Bay at Buffalo (noon)
Tampa Bay at Carolina (noon)
Cincinnati at Cleveland (noon)
New York Jets at Tennessee (3:05 p.m.)
Denver at San Diego (3:05 p.m.)
Minnesota at Detroit (3:25 p.m.)
San Francisco at Seattle (3:25 p.m.)
Dallas at Philadelphia (7:30 p.m.)
New Orleans at Chicago (7:30 p.m., Monday, Dec. 15)

Posted Dec. 8, 2014

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