In a short regular season, almost every game is a must-win. However, for the Chicago Bears, Houston Texans, Washington Redskins, New York Giants and San Diego Chargers, losing in week 11 means an end to their playoff hopes.
There’s a difference in the situations: The Bears, Giants and Redskins are at 3-6. The season is almost over for them unless they goon to win out or at least six of the next seven games. For the Chargers and to a lesser degree the Texans, there’s still hope after a loss this week, but it’s highly recommended they don’t put themselves in that kind of corner.
Chicago Bears (vs Vikings)
We’ve been through the pitiful Bears season, crashing miserably on the rocks of lake Michigan. There’s the serious side to all of this and then there’s the funny side, which is also kinda sad if you’re a Bears fan. But at 3-6, not all hope is lost. That is, if you ignore the mistakes Jay Cutler makes and the defense making it easy for any running back and quarterback to set career highs against them before the half is over. In any case, if it’s going to be a season that somehow ends positively, it’s going to take the Bears winning their first home game of the season. Most likely, even if it does happen, the Bears feel miserable in the end.
Houston Texans (at Browns)
The division title is slipping away from them (Colts are 6-3). Now it’s about getting to 8-9 wins in order to grab one of the wild card spots. Can the Texans do it? If it would have been up to their defense and running back, they would be very strong candidates to finish on a high. But with Ryan Fitzpatrick making throws? It’s harder and harder to believe that this team can win enough games in order to make it.
Washington Redskins (vs Buccaneers)
One team is terrible, and the other is only awful sometimes. The Redskins at 3-6 aren’t in a good spot in the NFC East or wild card prospects. And still, maybe the worst is behind them. Maybe Robert Griffin III can pick up his career and steer it in the right direction. Probably not, but beating the Bucs, almost a given these days, will at least emit a feeling of hope and optimism for a few days.
New York Giants (vs 49ers)
You might say that it’s a must win for both teams, but even at 5-5 (if they lose) the 49ers have ways to still make the playoffs. But the Giants? At 3-6, with Eli Manning not getting any help from his running game, offensive line and especially defense, it’s the final and last chance of catching the escaping train in the NFC East, or the wild card situation. The problem is that at the moment, it’s hard actually to envision them do this well for the final two months of the season.
San Diego Chargers (vs Raiders)
A must win game because the Chargers have lost three games in a row, and because it’s the Raiders, the only team with no wins this season. After looking like the best team in the NFL thanks to the impact of beating the Seattle Seahawks, the Chargers are with their backs to the wall in the mostly tough AFC West. They had an incredible finish to make it into the playoffs last season. If it’s going to happen again, it begins with a win that’s considered to be the easiest to achieve in the league.