Technically, it's not over until it's over, and there are still five weeks left in the regular season—but for some teams, this weekend could spell the beginning of the end.
Some on-the-bubble, iffy teams have another shot or two at keeping their seasons alive, and for that reason, Week 13 will be crucial. And unfortunately for some of them, wins just aren't in the cards.
Here's a look at some of the teams on life support that will be doomed this weekend.
New York Jets vs. Arizona Cardinals
When we look back on the 2012 season, the Jets may very well be the most disappointing team of the year, but they're not dead yet. Not completely. They're on their way, though, and one more loss should seal the deal.
The Cardinals haven't been anything to celebrate this year, either—at least, not since Week 4—but they should be competitive enough to make things difficult for New York's offense. And judging by what happened to Sanchez and company last week at New England—when it committed five turnovers—it could be in trouble, even against a team that hasn't won in eight weeks.
There's also the fact that the Jets seem completely and utterly demoralized right now. Last week's home loss to their hated rivals was the final dagger. The Patriots made the Jets look silly, and there's nothing more infuriating than that, especially when a postseason berth is already a major long shot.
Seattle Seahawks at Chicago Bears
After the first three weeks of the season, the Seahawks looked like they might be contenders. After the first six, that looked like a certainty: They were 4-2, and had beaten the likes of Green Bay and New England.
Over the last five games, however, things have gotten much iffier, and its chances of overtaking San Francisco in the NFC West are looking slimmer and slimmer. A loss to the 49ers in Week 7 was a huge blow to Seattle's playoff hopes, and last week's unexpected defeat to the lowly Miami Dolphins was killer for this young team. At this point, the Seahawks can ill afford to lose a single game, and with the Bears next up, that's a problem.
Now that Jay Cutler is back and seems relatively healthy, the Bears are one of the strongest contenders in the NFC once again, and facing them and their third-ranked defense on the road—where they've only lost once this year—could spell disaster.
Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers
To be fair, there has been plenty of room for skepticism this season as far as both of these teams are concerned. But only one of them has been trending up in recent weeks, and given how close they are in the division standings, Sunday's game is critical.
The Packers may not have been able to beat the NFC's best teams this season, but they're still 7-4, and have won five of their last six. Finally, it seems as if they're starting to get it together. And the opposite could be said for the Vikings, who have dropped three of four—one of which was a complete bummer of a game at the hands of the lowly Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Vikings really, really need this win. Of their five remaining games, three are against division opponents, and they're two games off Chicago's lead. But going on the road to face the 7-4 Packers at Lambeau isn't exactly comforting.