Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence (16) is helped up by center Luke Fortner (79) after being sacked by Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Sam Hubbard (94) during the second quarter of a regular season NFL football matchup Monday, Dec. 4, 2023 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. The Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 34-31 in overtime. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

NFL Preview: Week 14

Week 13 of the NFL season brought some unexpected moments such as star players getting hurt and even unexpected blowouts. In week 14 of the NFL, some pivotal matchups will have playoff implications.

Whether it is AFC or NFC, all teams are fighting for every inch they can gain in the playoff picture. And with only five weeks remaining in the season, it is crunch time.

In the NFC

Arguably featuring the best game of the week, the NFC will host a clash between two heavyweights. The Philadelphia Eagles will be traveling to Dallas to face the Cowboys.

Philadelphia Eagles (10-2) vs. Dallas Cowboys (9-3)

As it stands right now, the Cowboys are the fifth seed in the NFC playoff picture. However, they are hosting the number one seed in the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles, who just got blown out by the San Francisco 49ers, are looking to stay on top of the NFC.

The Eagles played one of their worst games last Sunday, and they need to bounce back with the help of their superstars. One of those superstars is D’Andre Swift, who rushed for only 13 yards against a talented 49ers defense. On the other hand, the receiving core for the Eagles was lights out.

A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith continue to be a threat down the field and keep defenses on their toes. Brown had eight catches for 114 yards, while Smith had nine catches for 96 yards and a touchdown.

As for the Cowboys, they just won a thriller last week of Thursday Night Football against the Seahawks. Quarterback Dak Prescott continues to shine under the lights in Dallas as he and receiver CeeDee Lamb continue to find each other. Dak threw for 299 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Lamb caught 116 of those yards and one touchdown.

Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn on facing the Eagles, and how they are going to game plan:

 

In the AFC

Somehow, these two teams always find each other, but usually, it is in the playoffs. This time, we get a preview of a possible AFC showdown in Kansas City. The Buffalo Bills are traveling to Arrowhead to face the Chiefs.

Buffalo Bills (6-6) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (8-4)

It has been a rough start to the year for Buffalo as they came into the season as one the favorites to win the AFC. Quarterback Josh Allen has had some recent struggles in the turnover department, but he had a great game in their last outing.

As for the Chiefs, they are coming off an ugly loss against the Green Bay Packers. The Chiefs scored only six points through the first half of that match but found the endzone twice in the second. However, they return to Kansas City to face a major opponent in the Bills.

Chiefs running back Isiah Pacheco has been a dominant force for the Chiefs’ offense as he not only is a beast in the run game but the passing game as well. Pacheco rushed 18 times for 110 yards and a touchdown in last week’s game against Green Bay. In week 12 against the Raiders, Pacheco rushed for 55 yards and two touchdowns.

Now a look at the Bills. Buffalo is coming off their bye and their overtime loss to the Eagles in week 12. Before that game against the Eagles, the Bills faced the Jets in MetLife and handled them with ease. This game looked as if the Bills were getting on the right track. The Bills played well in the matchup against the Eagles, but did not close out.

Josh Allen threw for 339 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Allen also rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns against Philadelphia.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes on the loss and how the team will respond moving forward:

Indianapolis Colts (7-5) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (6-6)

This game features two backup quarterbacks as both the Colts and the Bengals lost their leaders to season-ending injuries. However, both teams are still in the AFC playoff picture and look to continue that in week 14.

The Colts are coming off of a major win against their division rival in the Tennessee Titans in overtime. Quarterback Gardner Minshew threw for 312 yards and two touchdowns in the game and continues to solidify his place in the NFL. However, the Colts struggled to run the ball in that game against the Titans. The Colts rushed for only 55 yards between three running backs. With that win against the Titans, Indianapolis is currently riding a four-game winning streak and momentum down the stretch. ‘

As for the Bengals, as disappointing season is slowly turning around. The Bengals pulled off a massive win against the AFC South’s best team last week on Monday Night Football. The Bengals beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in overtime behind the performance of quarterback Jake Browning and company. Browning was crowned the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance.

Browning went 32-37, for 354 yards and a touchdown. Superstar receiver Ja’Marr Chase caught 11 of those passes for 149 yards and a touchdown. However, it wasn’t just the passing game for the Bengals against the Jags. The rushing attack was dominant as well. Bengals running back Joe Mixon rushed for 68 yards and two touchdowns.

Also, this game features an Apple Cup rematch as Browning went to Washington, and Minshew went to Washington State.

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