By: Brendan Burris ~Staff Writer~
With the Thanksgiving slate of National Football League games done, we only have five weeks left of regular season football before the playoffs and the chase for Super Bowl 50. There have been plenty of storylines to discuss in the first 12 weeks of the season, but here are the most important games of each week left in the NFL season:
Week 13: Seattle Seahawks vs. Minnesota Vikings
Last season’s NFC Champions find themselves in an interesting position heading into the playoff push. Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and the team find themselves right on the cusp of a playoff berth with a huge game against the upstart Vikings led by Adrian Peterson and Teddy Bridgewater. While this game has large playoff implications for the Seahawks, there are major division implications for the Vikings against their rival the Packers as well.
Week 14: San Diego Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
One of the main teams to look out for in these final weeks is the Kansas City Chiefs. The team needs a strong finish to the season to secure a wild card berth, while their division seems to be locked up by the Denver Broncos.
Week 15: Green Bay Packers vs. Oakland Raiders
The Packers, the team widely picked to make it to the Super Bowl, have found themselves in unfamiliar territory: second place in their division. On the edge of a playoff berth, the game against the upstart Raiders could prove incredibly important.
Week 16: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Denver Broncos
If both teams continue to play at the level at which they have been playing, this game could prove essential to who receives the second playoff bye in the AFC, behind the New England Patriots. How will Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense fare in Denver against a stout Broncos defense?
Week 17: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers
If the Panthers can remain undefeated up to the final week in the season, this will be a mustwatch for football fans around the world. With a playoff seed all but locked up, will coach Ron Rivera continue to play all of his starters in the pursuit of history? Meanwhile, the Buccaneers may be on the bubble for a wildcard berth by week 17. Can 2014’s worst team make the playoffs a year later? We’ll have to see.