X

Have feedback / suggestions? Let us know!

NFL

5 NFL Teams Facing Must-Win Games in Week 9

1 of 6

5 NFL Teams Facing Must-Wins in Week 9

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

It's put up or shut up time around the NFL. Week nine is here and with it comes the halfway point. Following this week of action, teams will be left with half a season or less to make their pushes for the playoffs. So naturally, some teams are already in tough situations coming into week nine.

2013 has been a fairly odd year across the NFL in terms of teams playing very up-and-down. There are clear conference favorites at the top of the standings and most of them figure to stay right where they're at. In this piece we'll take a look at five teams that are still technically alive for the playoffs, with most of them holding onto hope for a Wild Card spot.

In this year's NFL, nine wins could easily get a team into the playoffs. That's not always the case, but the way things are going, 9-7 would be a great record for some of these teams. As we've seen over the last five to 10 years, all you need to do is make it to the postseason. Wild Card teams often come into the playoffs on a roll and they ride that momentum all the way to the Super Bowl.

At the same time, starting a season in a 2-5 hole is not exactly a recipe for success. However, there are some 2-5 teams on this list that you cannot rule out moving forward. But if they don't pull out wins in week nine, you can all but stick a fork in them.

Here are five NFL teams facing must-win games in week nine:

2 of 6

Atlanta Falcons

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

2013 has gone about the opposite of how the Atlanta Falcons projected it would. They were a team that made a few moves in the offseason to seemingly bolster their 'Super Bowl' roster, but so far, those moves haven't really worked out. Atlanta will travel to Carolina in week nine with its playoff hopes most certainly on the line. 3-5 is so much better than 2-6.

3 of 6

Dallas Cowboys

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

At 4-4 and in first place in the NFC East, the Cowboys aren't in your typical must-win game situation. However, Minnesota is coming to Dallas in a game that the Cowboys should run away with. If they somehow falter and lose to the lowly Vikings, the wheels will no doubt begin to come off again in Big-D.

4 of 6

Pittsburgh Steelers

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

The Steelers aren't just on the ropes in 2013, they've been knocked to the canvas and the referee is counting. Pittsburgh will travel to New England in what figures to be an extremely tough road test. If they can pull off the upset, they'll not only keep their playoff hopes alive, they should also get a tremendous boost of confidence moving forward.

5 of 6

Houston Texans

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

The Texans have nearly reached fork status in 2013. Case Keenum will make his second consecutive start and this time it will come on SNF against the first place Colts. If Houston can't pull out a win on their home turf, 2013 is almost guaranteed to become a lost season.

6 of 6

Washington Redskins

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

After all the poor play from the Redskins in 2013, they're somehow still alive. We all remember that this same team made the playoffs after starting 3-6 in 2012, so making it to 3-5 would technically be an improvement on last season. If RG3 can have his best game of the year, Washington has a good chance of knocking off San Diego.