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5 Takeaways From Week 14 in the NFL

Comeback victories, shakeups in the divisional races and another rare Oakland victory headline XN’s Week 14 NFL observations.

Steelers

Cardinals, Seahawks win; Saints lose: NFC Playoff Picture Update

Arizona snapped a two-game losing skid with a 17-14 triumph over Kansas City at home, where the team is 7-o on the season. Drew Stanton wasn’t overly impressive, but his 239 yards passing and one touchdown was good enough to keep the Cards in first place in the NFC West. And the defense posted a second-half shutout, harassing the already limited Alex Smith to hold on for the must-win. With the victory, Arizona has won 10 games in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1976.

The defending champions stayed within a game of the Cardinals in the divisional standings by knocking off the Eagles in Philadelphia, 24-14. The Legion of Boom, which has returned to playoff form since the return of healthy contributors such as Bobby Wagner, Kam Chancellor and Byron Maxwell, limited the Eagles to 139 net yards Sunday, a low for the team under the watch of Chip Kelly. Seattle has won three straight and six of its last seven, as Russell Wilson matched Matt Ryan and Dan Marino for most wins by a quarterback in his first three seasons with 33.

Another playoff hopeful, New Orleans, suffered a different fate. The Saints lost 41-10 at home against lowly Carolina, the fourth consecutive loss in the Superdome. That’s the longest home losing streak for the team in the Drew Brees era. The Saints offense again stalled, while Cam Newton and Jonathan Stewart took advantage to lift the Panthers to their first win since Oct. 5. Pending the outcome on Monday’s all-too-significant showdown between Atlanta and Green Bay, the Saints could fall a game back of the Falcons in the NFC South standings with three games to play.

Currently, Arizona, Green Bay, Philly and Atlanta occupy the top four seeds, with Seattle and Detroit as the two Wild Card teams. Dallas remains in the hunt at 9-4, heading to Philadelphia on Sunday night.

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