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NFL season 2013, Week 14: What to watch in Sunday's games

There are some important matchups this weekend to keep an eye on, as teams are vying for playoff position.


On Sunday, NFL teams will hit the field knowing the time has come to make a move.

With only three games left after this weekend, many teams are trying to fit themselves frantically into the playoff picture, while others are looking to attain a certain seed come postseason time. Of course, there are the afterthoughts who are simply playing for draft order, but we won't be talking about those teams.

Let's look ahead to three games this Sunday that will have major implications going forward:

Indianapolis Colts at Cincinnati Bengals (CBS, 1 p.m. ET)

This game will almost certainly determine who the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds are in the AFC come January. With both teams at 8-4, the winner will be a game up on the loser with a tiebreaker. Considering Cincinnati is undefeated at home, this will be no easy task for a Colts team that has been inconsistent throughout the last month.

The matchup to watch here is the Colts offensive line against Cincinnati's front seven. Indianapolis' line was brutalized last week against the Tennessee Titans, giving up five sacks and numerous other hits and pressures. The Bengals rank ninth in the league with 36 sacks.

Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers (FOX, 4:25 p.m.)

Seattle can lock up the NFC West with a win over its hated rival, but it won't come easy. The 49ers will be looking for revenge after being drubbed 29-3 in Week 2 by the Seahawks. On top of that, the 49ers desperately need to win just to stay safe in a wild card spot.

The main matchup here is Seattle's lockdown secondary against the 49ers receivers. Michael Crabtree is back and Vernon Davis looks healthy for the first time in about a month. They will give Anquan Boldin some help against the top pass defense in the NFL. Outside of Boldin and Davis, no other San Fran receiver has more than 200 yards.

Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints (NBC, 8:20 p.m.)

This is a game everybody will be crowding around the television to watch. Both teams are 9-3 and thus tied atop the NFC South, battling for the No. 2 seed in the conference. Of course, with the second seed comes a bye and at least one home game, something both teams will be fighting hard for.

The matchup to watch is Drew Brees against Carolina's secondary. The Panthers have the top scoring defense in the NFL and rank sixth against the pass despite not having a household name in the group. Also, can Luke Kuechly help to slow down the game's best tight end in Jimmy Graham? Should be fun to watch.

Here's what else to look for on Sunday:

Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles (FOX, 1 p.m.)

Which defense will slow the opposing offense down? This could very well be a race to 35 points with two high-powered passing attacks going at it.

Oakland Raiders at New York Jets (CBS, 1 p.m.)

We will find out if Matt McGloin is further along in his development than Geno Smith. Good times.

Kansas City Chiefs at Washington Redskins (CBS, 1 p.m.)

Both teams have looked bad lately, but one is actually a good team. Can Kansas City sack Robert Griffin III and end its pass-rushing issues despite Justin Houston likely being out?

Cleveland Browns at New England Patriots (CBS, 1 p.m.)

Tom Brady vs. Alex Tanney/Caleb Hanie/Brandon Weeden. Yikes.

Miami Dolphins at Pittsburgh Steelers (CBS, 1 p.m.)

This game means everything for the Dolphins. Can the offensive line come up big and block for Ryan Tannehill?

Minnesota Vikings at Baltimore Ravens (FOX, 1 p.m.)

If Baltimore wins, it stays in the drivers seat for the last AFC playoff spot. The only thing the Ravens have to do is contain Adrian Peterson.

New York Giants at San Diego Chargers (FOX, 4:25 p.m.)

The Chargers are playing for any slim playoff hopes they have remaining. Philip Rivers will be trying to go downfield against Antrel Rolle, something to keep an eye on.

Buffalo Bills at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (CBS, 1 p.m.)

This should be fun to see which team blows a tire and helps its draft stock.

Atlanta Falcons at Green Bay Packers (FOX, 1 p.m.)

Green Bay fans are just now coming to grips with how most NFL fans watch their teams, without Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers.

Tennessee Titans at Denver Broncos (CBS, 4:05 p.m.)

Denver has the best offense in the league, but Tennessee can play on defense. Can the Titans hold the Broncos under 30 points?

St. Louis Rams at Arizona Cardinals (FOX, 4:25 p.m.)

The Cardinals have to win this game, and because Kellen Clemens is involved, they probably will.

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