Lucky for us, we get to witness the 10 or 12 more teams fight for their right to play in the second season for the remaining three weeks.
Here's who I believe will win each matchup today, (and tomorrow).
Sunday December 18
Dolphins over Bills
Buffalo has taken quite the fall after starting off 2011 with a strong performance. Since starting off 5-2, the Bills have lost 6 straight and fallen to 5-8. Depressing, but maybe not quite as depressing as Miami's 0-7 start. Since then, however the 'Phins have gone 3-2.
Seahawks over Bears
Caleb Hanie isn't exactly the Jay Cutler replacement that Chicago was hoping for. In five games, Hanie has thrown just two touchdowns compared to six interceptions, 502 yards and has put up a quarterback rating of 48.6. Completing about half of his pass attempts, the Bears offense has struggled to put point up on the board (13 combined in past two games).
Texans over Panthers
Sit the starters? Psh, that's not how Houston does it. How are they going to sit their third string quarterback anyways? They may have already captured the AFC South, but that doesn't mean they are necessarily just going to fold in the regular season. It shouldn't be a problem handling the 4-9 Panthers. Let's just hope they don't lose T.J. Yates to injury, too.
Titans over Colts
At this point, I'm kind of rooting for a winless season from Indianapolis. It'd make a very interesting story, woudn't it?? I know that Peyton Manning wouldn't enjoy that too much, but at least it's something that he can't control.
Packers over Chiefs
Everyone expected last week's Green Bay matchup to be quite close, but they ended up hanging Oakland an embarrassing 46-16 loss instead. If anyone thinks this week will be any different, they have a huge surprise coming their way.
Saints over Vikings
Adrian Peterson should be back–only because he doesn't want to let his fantasy owners down though, of course. But just because AP is likely to break out with 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns doesn't mean the Vikings will upset the playoff bound Saints.
Giants over Skins
Washington is another team with a fast start who has since cooled off. In the last five weeks the Redskins have gone 1-4 while the Giants are coming off a 37-34 victory over the division-leading Dallas Cowboys (8-6 after last night's 31-15 win over Tampa Bay).
Bengals over Rams
Cincy is on a two-game losing streak, but they are fighting for their playoff hopes and must win out just to have a shot at catching New York (Jets) and Pittsburgh. At 7-6, the Bengals have struggled to beat inter-division rivals Baltimore and Pittsburgh (2-3 in AFC North). Rookie quarterback Andy Dalton has a strong future though.
Lions over Raiders
Personally I'm not completely sold on Carson Palmer's return to football. But he has time to further prove himself to me, just maybe not this season. At 7-6, the Raiders are fighting for their playoff chances as well, I just don't think they'll have much success in the final three weeks. As for Detroit, they are in great position, especially after this win today.
Browns over Cardinals
One of the games with absolutely zero playoff contention. Arizona will be without quarterback Kevin Kolb, who has proven himself as one of the biggest busts in this year's free agency period. I would like to hope that Peyton Hillis can finally have a successful day against this Cardinal defense, but we'll see.
Patriots over Broncos
I'm sold on the "winning" of Tim Tebow, just not against a team of New England's capability. Tebow has managed to pull off victories against teams because his defense has kept him in the games, but against a team of New England's level I'm just not sure they can keep up with Brady and Co. for three-plus quarters. Minnesota, without Peterson, put up 32 on Denver...can they really keep the Pats to anything less than that? I highly doubt it.
Jets over Eagles
Philly is done. New York, however, are fighting to keep their one-game lead over the second Wild Card spot. So I would like to think that they are a little more motivated to win this game over the Eagles, who have checked out of this season weeks ago. Or so it seems, at least.
Ravens over Chargers
They are 3-3 on the road, but that doesn't mean much in this instance. San Diego is 2-3 over the last five games, and at 6-7 I don't see them in the playoffs. It would take a miracle. But as for Baltimore, if they win it would put them one game closer to a division title.
Monday December 20
Niners over Steelers
Whether or not Ben Roethlisberger plays, the Steelers are doomed in this one. Obviously if he does play he wont be 100%, and if he doesn't, then Charlie Batch will be the starter and Pittsburgh is likely to struggle doing anything in the passing game. Pittsburgh (10-3) is a playoff team, but they wont be clinching anything this week.
Caleb Hanie: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Steven Jackson: Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images