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Cowboys, Texans among NFL's most desperate teams

Every week in the NFL is important. Some are just more important than others. Like Week 17. Here are the NFL teams most desperate for a win in the regular-season finale.

We've reached the final week for this running feature, and it's an odd one. Anyone needing a win this week is almost equally desperate. It's like the playoffs starting early. Teams on this list not facing each other are 14-6 over the last three weeks, so desperation has helped.

7. Green Bay Packers: Sunday's game in Minnesota is like a playoff game for the Packers, with all the benefits and none of the downside. A win would put them in the divisional round. A loss would mean they have to play next week. Do not underestimate how huge this game is for the Packers, especially when they need more time to get healthy.

6. Houston Texans: Houston could go from the No. 1 seed to the No. 3 very quickly. This is a team that desperately needs to be playing at home in the playoffs, because we just can't see the Texans winning in New England or Denver, much less both places. Sunday's matchup against the Indianapolis Colts is going to be big.

5. New York Giants: We almost left the Giants off the list because their playoff scenario is so unlikely. (They need the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears all to lose for a chance.) A loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the finale would be a truly embarrassing finish for the defending Super Bowl champions.

4. Chicago Bears: Charles Tillman said on "NFL AM" that he doesn't want to play for any coach other than Lovie Smith. Tillman and his buddies better make sure then that they don't lose the season finale in Detroit.

3. Minnesota Vikings: It doesn't get more desperate than "win and in" against a division rival. The Vikings keep proving us wrong late in the season. A 4-0 record against a very tough closing schedule would be impressive.

2 and 1. Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins: The winner would be in the playoffs. The Redskins very likely would be out with a loss. This is one of those games that will be talked about for years to come, a bitter pill for either loser to swallow. Tony Romo has been through a few of these before for Dallas.

For some crazy reason, we like Romo's chances this time around.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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