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Patriots, Steelers among Week 7's most desperate


Every week in the NFL is important. Some are just more important than others. Here are the NFL teams most desperate for a win in Week 7.

Last week's desperate teams went 5-1, which is pretty incredible considering they entered the week with a combined record of 8-21. Call it the reverse Friday desperate teams curse. Soon we'll have P.R. directors begging to be included. To the list:

6. Houston Texans: It sounds strange to call a 5-1 team desperate, but Houston's home loss to the Green Bay Packers on Monday night wasn't any normal loss. It was so thorough that it raised questions about this squad. We believe it was a one-game blip, but back-to-back home losses -- especially against a hurting Baltimore Ravens team -- would be a major setback for Gary Kubiak's program. The Texans have made the playoffs. They are after a bye in a weak AFC.

5. Detroit Lions: Winning in Philadelphia was nice. Winning in Chicago would solidify the Lions as a playoff contender again. Otherwise, they will just be another 2-4 team with an 0-2 record in the best division in football.

4. New England Patriots: Could the Patriots recover from a 3-4 start if they lost to the New York Jets? Sure. But if this New England squad can't beat this version of the Jets, it's time to start wondering if we've all overrated the Patriots. New York can move to 3-0 in the division with a win.

3. Dallas Cowboys: This week's runner-up for the Desperation Bowl is Dallas-Carolina. The Cowboys are convinced they are a talented team that just needs a break or two. They won't even be able to lie to themselves if they go 2-4 with a road loss to the scuffling Panthers.

2 and 1. Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals: It's starting to feel late early for both these teams. The Steelers are short their top two running backs. Their defense simply hasn't looked like a quality defense. Meanwhile, the Bengals have looked shakier than any 3-3 squad in the league. A home loss would drop the Bengals to 1-3 in the division. This is a huge swing game for both teams.