Some teams surge toward the playoffs. Look at Denver, Seattle, Washington and Green Bay.
Others struggle to stay in the mix: try the Steelers, Bengals, Giants and Bears.
This penultimate weekend of the schedule could propel a few of them and eliminate others.
Chief among the clubs that could go either way: the defending champion New York Giants, who have lost their last three road games by a combined 82-29 to fall to 8-6. Not even coach Tom Coughlin is sure what he has as they head to Baltimore.
"It would be easy for me to say I do, but the reality of it is we haven’t been able to play to substantiate what I would say is the personality of this team," said Coughlin, whose club gets a wild card, for sure, by winning out.
Even though their opponent Sunday, the Ravens, already have sewed up a playoff spot, it’s a critical game for Baltimore (9-5) to get back on track after three straight defeats -- two at home and one a bit down the road in Washington.
Also Sunday, it’s Cincinnati at Pittsburgh in an AFC wild-card showdown; Chicago at Arizona; San Francisco at Seattle; Washington at Philadelphia; New Orleans at Dallas; Minnesota at Houston; Indianapolis at Kansas City; Cleveland at Denver; Tennessee at Green Bay; New England at Jacksonville; St. Louis at Tampa Bay; Buffalo at Miami; San Diego at New York Jets; and Oakland at Carolina.