What Week 13 means for the NFL playoffs
With a maximum of only three more games left to play, we are getting closer to deadline day for those teams who need to scrape results together to end up in the playoffs.
Here, we take a look at the sides who need to pull a rabbit out of the hat, and the ones who can feel confident of a positive draw for the postseason.
The Baltimore Ravens had the best week without a doubt: not only did they beat the San Francisco 49ers 20-17 thanks to a late field goal from Justin Tucker, but they have also recorded eight wins in a row to go 10-2, and they also saw rivals the New England Patriots lose to the Houston Texans.
This puts the Ravens in a commanding position with only two games of their regular season left to run
Having beaten both the Pats and the Texans already, they hold the important head-to-head advantage, and will expect this to come in handy in the next couple of weeks.
However, they now have a couple of tricky ties, and all eyes will be on them to see how they fare when they travel to play the Buffalo Bills and then host the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Depending on the playoff status of each, both sides could have a lot still to play for, which will not make them easy opponents.
Right now, however, the Ravens are in a strong position to go all the way to the Super Bowl in Miami, with their road looking clear.
For the Pats, they have their work cut out trying to catch the Ravens even if they are also 10-2.
All the talk this week will be around whether the New England offence is good enough to match the Ravens, while they know that they can fall back on an impressive 36-4 home record in December.
They have winnable games left, but the AFC is packed at the top and every result matters at this stage.
Things are looking good for the Texans after their win, and they look set to win the AFC South for the fourth time in five seasons.
However, they need to overhaul two games on the Pats in a short space of time, and their 8-4 record will likely mean that they won’t get a top-two seeding, which will hamper them in the playoffs.
In the North, the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers are both 10-2 – the 49ers look best value to make it to Miami.
The Green Bay Packers will be hoping for a Minnesota Vikings defeat this Monday night.
Words: Luke Donovan