In a season brimming with parity, from the good to the bad to the ugly, the playoff races are in full swing as we head down the stretch of the 2012-2013 NFL campaign.
There doesn't appear to be a clear-cut favorite to make it to the Super Bowl in either conference. And just when you think you know a team, they get blown out, 38-10 (I'm talking about you, Green Bay Packers).
Week 13 offers some matchups with clear playoff implications, whether it is the defending champion New York Giants or a Pittsburgh Steelers team trying its best to hold on to a wild-card spot.
Here are the most important clashes of Week 13, complete with my lovely predictions.
Minnesota Vikings (6-5) at Green Bay Packers (7-4)
The Vikings currently hold the NFC's No. 8 seed, while the Packers hold the No. 5 seed.
Green Bay's pass defense, which supposedly had improved from last season, got knocked around by Eli Manning and the Giants last week.
The Packers' run defense hasn't exactly looked Super Bowl worthy in the past two weeks, either.
The difference will be Vikings second-year quarterback Christian Ponder, who has not had many bright moments in 2012.
He has the opportunity to do some damage against the Packers. I just don't think he has it in him yet to do so.
The Packers will score enough to win this game.
Prediction: Packers 30, Vikings 17
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-5) at Baltimore Ravens (9-2)
Simply put, if the Steelers lost to the Ravens at home in Week 11 without Ben Roethlisberger, what will change in Baltimore this week?
That's a rhetorical question. Nothing will change.
The Steelers just lost to the Cleveland Browns, 24-20, while current starter Charlie Batch threw three interceptions.
Couple that with Pittsburgh's mediocre running game and you have yourself a Ravens win.
Prediction: Ravens 20, Steelers 13
New York Giants (7-4) at Washington Redskins (5-6)
This is a tough game to call.
The Redskins have been rolling and the Giants' run defense has allowed 4.4 yards per carry this season (23rd in the NFL), but New York just beat up on the Packers and Washington has generally not been good against the pass.
This is shaping up to be a good ol' fashioned shootout, folks. Those who love offense will love this game.
But, as good as the Redskins looked against the Cowboys, those were the Cowboys and these are the Giants. Eli Manning won't allow his squad to lose any ground in the NFC East.
Prediction: Giants 38, Redskins 30
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!