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New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers desperate for win

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 16.

Desperate teams have been on fire, going 12-4 the last three weeks when they aren't facing each other.

6. San Francisco 49ers: A loss to Pete Carroll's Seattle Seahawks would force the 49ers to play an extra round in the playoffs and probably have to win two road games to make the Super Bowl.

5. Chicago Bears: Could there be anything worse than completing a free fall with a loss to Ryan Lindley in Arizona, where Dennis Green's bunch once let Lovie Smith's team off the hook?

4. Minnesota Vikings: We'll start to take the Vikings a lot more seriously as a potential playoff team if they can beat a team like the Houston Texans on the road.

3. New York Giants: Ravens fans might feel desperate for a win, but it's very possible Baltimore will have backed into an AFC North championship by the time this game has started. This matchup of wounded teams should decide the Giants' playoff fate. They host the Philadelphia Eagles next week in a game where they will be heavily favored. Win in Baltimore, and the Giants should be in the tournament.



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2 and 1. Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals: This is as close to a playoff game as you can possibly get in Week 16. Andy Dalton's first win over a division opponent other than the Cleveland Browns would knock out the Steelers and put the Bengals in the playoffs. It might give them a chance to win the division next week. A Cincinnati loss would put Pittsburgh in the driver's seat for the last AFC playoff spot. It's really a must-win for both sides. Doesn't get much more desperate than that.

(Note: The Dallas Cowboys somehow avoided the list for nearly the first time ever. They can't be eliminated from the NFC East race this week no matter what. This week is big, but next week is bigger.)

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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