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NFL

10 NFL Teams With Most to Lose in Week 17

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Week 17's Biggest Potential Losers

drew brees
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The 2013 NFL regular season is winding down as Week 17 is right around the corner. After a year of broken records and crazy finishes, we have one week left to play and five playoff spots still up for grabs between the two conferences. Only two spots have been clinched in the NFC, which means no team in that conference will be taking a week off in the final weekend of December. Although there is only one spot left unclaimed in the AFC, all five teams that have clinched have something for which to play in Week 17 as well, so there will be no pointless games in the final week of the regular season.

That last statement also applies to the teams that have already been eliminated from playoff contention. None of the 2014 NFL Draft spots have been finalized, so certain teams that are currently slated within the top five picks could find themselves outside the top 10 with certain outcomes to specific games.

But the best part of this is there are two division title games set for Week 17 as the NFC North comes down to a bout between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears while the NFC East is up for grabs between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. It just doesn’t get any better than this in Week 17.

So with one week to play and a lot on the line, here are the 10 NFL teams with the most to lose on the final Sunday of the season:

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10. Baltimore Ravens

John Harbaugh
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

One has to think there will be changes in Baltimore if the defending champs miss the playoffs. Sure, the Ravens lost a lot of defensive starters in the offseason, but they also gained a ton of talent as well. With the way Ray Rice played this year, John Harbaugh and company have to consider an alternative for 2014. Oh, and the Ravens need the Dolphins to lose to get in, assuming Baltimore beats Cincinnati.

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9. Denver Broncos

peyton manning
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

We have to put this on the list because Denver could theoretically lose the No. 1 seed with a loss to the Raiders and a Patriots win. The latter is possible, but the former is not.

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8. Philadelphia Eagles

lesean mccoy
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia stomped Chicago on Sunday Night Football, although the game didn’t matter at all for the Eagles. Now they must go to Dallas and beat the Cowboys for the NFC East crown, which sounds easy, but a disappointing end to a pleasantly surprising season could raise questions about Chip Kelly and his scheme. Don’t act surprised — people in Philly booed Santa Claus, so they won’t hesitate to show their frustration if their team loses to the woeful Cowboys.

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7. Seattle Seahawks

russell wilson pete carroll
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

This one is a stretch because Seattle has to lose, San Francisco has to win out and some other odd things have to happen for Seattle to lose the NFC’s top seed, but it’s certainly possible. We saw that in the Seahawks’ surprise Week 16 loss to the Cardinals, so anything can happen.

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6. New England Patriots

tom brady
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

If New England somehow manages to lose to the Bills and the Bengals beat the Ravens, then the Patriots would lose their first-round bye as the No. 2 seed in the AFC. For a team desperate for a new way to win big games, losing a week off in the playoffs would be disastrous.

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5. Chicago Bears

Devin Hester
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

After getting molly-rocked by the Eagles in prime time, the Bears must now beat the Packers for the NFC North crown, a task that could be made much more difficult if Aaron Rodgers returns for the bout. Put simply, Sunday will be Jay Cutler’s last day in Chicago if the Bears lose, and rightfully so. Missing the playoffs in a season like this that so such poor play in the NFC North is inexcusable for Chicago.

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4. Miami Dolphins

ryan tannehill
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Miami controls its own destiny, but the Dolphins haven’t exactly been the most consistent team in the NFL this year. A win over the Jets gives the Dolphins the sixth seed in the AFC, which would mean a lot for Joe Philbin, his staff, Ryan Tannehill and the rest of the personnel. A loss might mean changes if Miami’s brass considers missing the playoffs “choking.”

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3. Green Bay Packers

Mike McCarthy
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

After failing to take care of business at home against the Steelers, the Packers must now beat the Bears on the road to win the NFC North. The loser of this game moves on while the winner does not. Of course, the question on everyone’s minds: Will Aaron Rodgers return for this critical contest? His presence could make a huge difference.

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2. Dallas Cowboys

Tony romo
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Somehow, someway Tony Romo and company survived a fourth and goal from the 10-yard line to set up a winner-take-all Week 17 bout against the Eagles for the NFC East crown. With the reports that have already surfaced, a loss could mean the end of Jason Garrett, Bill Callahan and Monte Kiffin, to say the least. So this is actually a game Cowboys fans should hope they lose because keeping those three coaches another year would be suicide.

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1. New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The tables have certainly turned in the NFC South as the Saints not only lost the division lead in Week 16, but now New Orleans is in danger of missing the playoffs. If the surprising Buccaneers knock off the Saints in Week 17 and the Cardinals win another tough one against the 49ers, Drew Brees and company will be watching the playoffs from their couches.