Week 11 of the 2016 NFL season is loaded with struggling teams in desperate need of a victory.
Here is a closer look at the eight clubs—including five playoff participants from last season—that are facing must-win games this week:
Green Bay Packers
The Packers have lost four of the last five games, including back-to-back games to the AFC South. Being 4-5 and one game out of first place in the NFC North isn’t rock bottom in Green Bay, but it’s getting close.
If the Packers’ turnaround doesn’t start on Sunday night in Washington, when will it? Green Bay takes on the Philadelphia Eagles, Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks over the next three games. The time for winning is now in Titletown.
The Steelers were once 4-1 and rolling toward the AFC playoffs. Fast forward to Week 11, and four straight losses have turned Pittsburgh’s matchup with the winless Cleveland Browns into a must-win proposition.
History is on the Steelers’ side. Pittsburgh has won 10 of the 12 games between the two teams since 2010, including both games last year (by a combined margin of 37 points). The Steelers can get their season headed back in the right direction by keeping the Browns without a win on Sunday.
A Colts’ loss to the surging Tennessee Titans could turn the AFC South into a team-two race. The Titans—who have won four of the last six games—are getting hot at the right time, leaving the 4-5 Colts stuck in third place to start Week 11.
The next week or so could decide the season for Indianapolis. After Sunday’s home game against the Titans, the Colts have a quick turnaround before welcoming the Steelers to Indianapolis for the Thanksgiving night game. Everything about 2016 will look different for the Colts if they can win both games.
Buffalo Bills/Cincinnati Bengals
Certain games at this point in a season can become elimination games. The Bills-Bengals matchup on Sunday looks like one of those games.
Both teams desperately need a win to stay relevant in the AFC.
Buffalo has lost three straight games, and a fourth consecutive defeat would drop Rex Ryan’s team to 4-6 with just six games to play. The Bengals are 1-3-1 over the last five games, with the lone win coming over the lowly Browns. Neither team can lose on Sunday and still expect to make a legitimate run at the postseason.
Arizona Cardinals/Minnesota Vikings
Two of the best teams in the NFC last season are now fighting to stay alive in 2016.
The Cardinals are hanging in there at 4-4-1, but a brutal finish to the season (including road games against the Falcons, Dolphins, Seahawks and Rams) means every week is vital to Arizona making a late run at the postseason. Meanwhile, the Vikings ruined a perfect 5-0 start with four straight losses, and now the Detroit Lions have leapfrogged Minnesota in the NFC North.
A loss isn’t going to kill off the Cardinals or Vikings, but Sunday’s showdown at U.S. Bank Stadium does feel like a fork in the road for both teams.
Los Angeles Rams
It took the Rams 11 weeks to make the switch to first overall pick Jared Goff, and now the rookie quarterback will make his first NFL start under the immense pressure of a must-win game.
That’s bad news for the Rams. No quarterback picked first overall has won his first NFL start since David Carr in 2002.
At 4-5, and with the Seahawks and Cardinals above them in the NFC West, the Rams can’t afford many more losses. It’ll be on Goff to help orchestrate a win over the Miami Dolphins, who are coming to Los Angeles on a four-game winning streak. Good luck, rookie.