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NFL

NFL Week 14: 15 Players to Watch

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15 Players To Watch in NFL Week 14

USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

It's hard to believe, but week 14 of the NFL season is here. The action got underway on Thursday Night Football with the Houston Texans taking on the Jacksonville Jaguars. Surprisingly, (if you look at the perception of the two teams before the season) the Jaguars were the hot team coming into the game. Gus Bradley's team had won three out of four, while Gary Kubiak's Texans had lost 10 straight. When it was all said and done on TNF, the Jaguars were victorious for the fourth time in 2014, putting them a couple games away from the top pick in next May's NFL Draft.

Who would have thought that we'd be talking about how bad the Texans are at this point? This was a team that nearly everyone thought would compete for the AFC crown, but now they could be headed for the top pick in 2014. Houston is in the driver's seat for the No. 1 selection and you have to think they'll lean towards Teddy Bridgewater, given their struggles at quarterback this season.

As for the rest of the action in week 14, there's a whole lot to be determined for the upcoming postseason. The playoff picture is becoming more and more clear and once this latest week is in the books, it will likely be narrowed down even more.

The game of the week is set to take place on Sunday Night Football as the Panthers and Saints will throw down from the Superdome. The game will go along way towards determining the second seed in the NFC playoffs and of course the winner of the NFC South division.

With all the great games set to take place, there will obviously be key players to watch. Here are 15 to keep an eye on in NFL week 14:

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Donald Brown

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USA Today Sports

With Trent Richardson finally getting demoted, can the Colts rely on Donald Brown moving forward? The RB has a tough task ahead of him Sunday, as Indy gets set to square off against Cincinnati.

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Ray Rice

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USA Today Sports

We keep waiting for Ray Rice to wake up, but it just hasn't happened yet in 2013. Will week 14 finally be the week?

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Cam Newton

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USA Today Sports

How will the young QB respond to the pressure of playing in the biggest game of his career to date?

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Michael Crabtree

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USA Today Sports

Colin Kaepernick's favorite target is finally back. Can he continue to improve in his second game of the season?

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Sean Lee

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USA Today Sports

Lee is set to return to the Cowboys for their MNF game with the Bears. Dallas has the worst defense in the league, so the LB's return couldn't be happening at a better time.

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Alshon Jeffery

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USA Today Sports

Coming off his second record-breaking performance of 2013, can Jeffery stay hot? The Bears are basically in a must-win game, so a another big performance from the WR would be huge.

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Janoris Jenkins

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USA Today Sports

Can Jenkins make Carson Palmer's life a living you know what? If so, the Cardinals' playoff chances will take a huge hit.

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Eric Decker

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USA Today Sports

How will Decker play after a career game in week 13? The WR hauled in four TD passes, and if he does half that good in week 14, you'd have to call it a very successful week.

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Alfred Morris

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USA Today Sports

Morris has proven that he's not a flash in the pan. He's currently just four yards away from passing the 1,000-yard mark for the second consecutive year to start his career.

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Sean McGrath

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USA Today Sports

Anthony Fasano is not expected to play this week, which means Alex Smith will need backup TE Sean McGrath to step up.

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Nick Fairley

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USA Today Sports

Can Fairley continue his role as one of the best disruptors in the game? On top of that, can he get to Nick Foles a few times in the Philly backfield?

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Mike Wallace

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USA Today Sports

Wallace is set to return to Pittsburgh for the first time this weekend. Will he show the Steelers that they made a mistake by letting him walk in free agency?

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Caleb Hanie and Alex Tanney

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USA Today Sports

The Browns are desperate at this point to find a QB in 2013. Injuries have decimated the depth chart and now Hanie or Tanney will get the nod in week 14.

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Geno Smith

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USA Today Sports

It's been five games, can Smith finally break through a throw a TD pass? Or will he make it six straight without a score?

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Nick Foles

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USA Today Sports

Foles has been on an absolute tear over the past few weeks. Can he keep the Eagles win streak (four games) going against the Lions and also keep his stat sheet perfect without an interception?