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Saints, Steelers among NFL's most desperate teams

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 12.

The later the season gets, the more desperate teams are on the fringes of the playoff picture. Last week's group of teams went 4-2. Let's see if they can keep rolling.

6. San Diego Chargers: It feels like people in San Diego have said the Chargers' season is "over" many times, but they would be only one game out of the AFC wild-card race if they can get a home win against the Baltimore Ravens and a little help from the next team on our list. Lose to the Ravens, and it's about time for the Fork to come out.

5. Buffalo Bills: Chan Gailey's crew heads to Indianapolis in the sneaky huge game of the week. The Bills can break the AFC wild-card race wide open with a victory over the Colts. I think they'll pull it off. This is a must-win for Buffalo's relevance.

4. Chicago Bears: Jay Cutler is expected to be back. The Bears already have lost two in a row. A home loss to the Minnesota Vikings essentially would put them in third place in the NFC North and suddenly staring at falling right out of the playoffs after a 7-1 start.

3. New York Giants: Sunday's Packers-Giants game will shape the rest of New York's season. Win, and the Giants are in position to knock the Washington Redskins out of the NFC East race next week and go after a playoff bye. Loss, and New York will invited a three-team race the rest of the season.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers: Seasons often come down to managing the schedule during injuries. The Steelers really need a win over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday so they can afford a loss in Baltimore the following week.

1. New Orleans Saints: It has been an incredible story to see the Saints quickly get back into the playoff race at 5-5. And the story practically will end if they can't beat the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. This isn't the NFC East. The Saints need to remain within shouting distance of teams like the Bears and Seattle Seahawks to have any chance at a wild-card spot.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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