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NFL Storylines Heading Into Week 14

Bill Menzel

By Marcus Lock – The Dallas Cowboys have officially clinched a playoff berth and are looking to wrap up the NFC East with a win over the Giants on Sunday. Oakland and New England are jockeying for first place in the AFC while the Browns are still looking for their first win. What are some other stories worth following this week?

Is Bryce Petty the Answer in New York?

Ryan Fitzpatrick is the backup quarterback in New York for the rest of the season according to head coach Todd Bowles. If Petty struggles, it may open the door for Christian Hackenberg to see some playing time. Hackenberg was the second round pick of the Jets in this year’s draft.

Can Tampa Bay Keep Pace With Atlanta in the NFC South?

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are tied with the Atlanta Falcons at 7-5. Since a hot start to the season, Matt Ryan has cooled down for the Falcons while the Buccaneers defense is starting to look like it could help the team win games over the next two months. Tampa Bay is at home against New Orleans this week while the Falcons are playing in Los Angeles against the Rams.

Will Dallas Rest Dak Prescott?

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones says that the Cowboys won’t rest their starters to avoid losing momentum heading into the playoffs. However, there is some speculation that quarterback Dak Prescott could be held out if this week’s game is a blowout. The league MVP candidate has guided Dallas to an 11-1 record, so Romo getting some playing time may be more about increasing his trade value in the offseason.

Can Buffalo Stay Alive in the AFC Playoff Race?

The Bills cannot be eliminated if they lose to Pittsburgh. However, if the Dolphins and Broncos win, a loss at home on Sunday would likely keep them out of the playoffs for the 17th straight season. Don’t be surprised if both Tyrod Taylor and Rex Ryan are gone if that happens.

Will the Vikings Stay Alive Long Enough for Adrian Peterson to Return?

Adrian Peterson plans to return for the Vikings this season if they are still in playoff contention. At 6-6, they have fallen quickly since starting the season 5-0. Peterson’s injury is at least partially to blame for that fall. Minnesota takes on Jacksonville this Sunday in a game that they should win if they expect to remain a viable playoff team.

With four weeks left to go in the NFL season, teams are scrambling to position themselves for future success. Whether it means a team earning a playoff berth this year or a player or coach securing a job for next season, every play and every game still has meaning for everyone.

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