T.G.I.M.! #181

Re-capping Sunday's NFL headlines while previewing the TV schedule for the week ahead.

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

It was another wild Sunday in the NFL as teams were looking to make that final playoff push. Of particular interest is the NFC East where the Giants, Cowboys and the Redskins are all looking to make that leap to secure a playoff spot. With all three teams winning this week, the pressure is going to be even more intense as the season winds down.

Is there nothing greater than desperation to inspire the very best football you can see? I think not.

Looking Back

AFC Wild Card Heating Up

With three weeks remaining in the regular season after Sunday, the AFC playoff picture is starting to get a little muddy, especially the Wild Card. While the Indianapolis Colts keep inexplicably winning and look to be a lock for one of the wild card spots, the second one has all the makings of coming down to the wire. Currently the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals are neck and neck for the second slot with the New York Jets having an outside shot.

Unfortunately for both the Bengals and Steelers, neither were able to capitalize on the loss that each team suffered. For the Steelers, it was a case of a cold quarterback in the first half and a defense that didn't show up that led to a 34-24 loss to the San Diego Chargers. For the Bengals it was a case of missed opportunities and a last second game winning field goal by the Dallas Cowboys that led to Ciny's 20-19 defeat.

With both the Steelers and the Bengals set to play each other in two weeks, that game could very well shape the upcoming playoffs in a significant way.

Seahawks Demolish Cardinals 58-0

Remember when the Arizona Cardinals were 4-0 to begin this season? Well, treasure those memories because now they are a team that is desperately looking like it would have trouble beating a middle school pop warner team. The bottoming out of this season has to be the Cardinals 58-0 loss this past Sunday to the Seattle Seahawks.

In the titanic defeat, Arizona turned the ball over seven times that resulted in the Seahawks easily building the early lead. The breaking point in this game came in the second quarter when Seattle poured on 28 points, including two defensive touchdowns.

Cleveland Wins Third Straight

Maybe it's the equivalent of a garbage time touchdown but the Cleveland Browns have quietly won three straight games. In beating the Kansas City Chiefs 30-7 on Sunday, the Browns won by the biggest point differential since 2003. In bringing their record up to 5-8, Cleveland has surpassed its record of a year ago and may have saved the job of head coach Pat Shurmur. At the very least, this bodes well for the direction the team is going in.

Looking Ahead

(NBA) New York at Brooklyn Tuesday, 7 pm ESPN

It's the battle for the bragging rights to the Big Apple as Brooklyn and New York tangle on Tuesday. With the Knicks resurgence this year and Brooklyn looking to make a splash in the league this season as well, this is going to be a game between two teams bearing a huge chip on their shoulder.

(NBA) Dallas at Boston Wednesday, 8 pm ESPN

When you look at the potential NBA playoff picture, it breaks down to the veterans versus the young guns. In this classic NBA matchup between Dallas and Boston, it's two veteran contenders that are both looking to prove there is still some gas left in the tank.

(NFL) Cincinnati at Philadelphia Thursday, 8:20 pm NFL Network

The AFC Wild Card picture will become even more interesting depending on the result of this game as the Bengals are looking to one-up the Pittsburgh Steelers for that last spot.

(NFL) Pittsburgh at Dallas Sunday, 4:25 pm CBS

Depending on the outcome of the Bengals Thursday night game, the Steelers are either going to be looking to extend their wild card lead or keep up. Either way they are going to be needing a win in the worst way. And that's exactly the mentality the Cowboys will be bringing to the table.

James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.