Division championships, bye weeks and home-field advantage are all nice things. But they aren't the Super Bowl.
That's all we as fans and they as players care about: How many titles did you win?
Nobody is buying a pawned AFC West Championship ring off of eBay for ridiculous sums. However, one of those diamond-studded trinkets with a Lombardi Trophy graphic? That's worth some coin.
So click through to find out what where your team's odds of winning the NFL championship check in.
This will not be the year that the Minnesota Vikings finally break through for a Super Bowl title. Shocking, I know.
Christian Ponder, much like the team, has not carried over any momentum from his hot start. Of his last six games, he has had a quarterback rating of less than 60 in four of them.
The Dallas Cowboys could easily lose every game left on their schedule. Awful hard to make the playoffs when you're 6-10.
Even if you think they can beat the Cincinnati Bengals and New Orleans Saints, the Cowboys would still have to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers and Washington Redskins. It's unlikely that 9-7 will be enough, meaning they couldn't suffer a single loss.
The offensive line won't allow this team to make the dance. And even if Tony Romo and his pass-catchers could push through, the odds aren't good for a Dallas Super Bowl victory.
The presence of A.J. Green and a competent rushing attack gives the Cincinnati Bengals a one-"point" advantage over the Dallas Cowboys.
However, Cincy's hopes of making the playoffs will require some impressive wins. More than likely, the Bengals will have to win every game in order to keep pace with Pittsburgh's semi-easy schedule.
I say semi-easy because there is one game that could derail the Steelers and allow the Bengals to sneak in. That would be Cincy's trip to Pittsburgh in Week 16, and I'm inclined to lean towards the Steelers at home.
The Indianapolis Colts aren't as good as their record. That doesn't mean they're not a good team, but there's only so much credence I can pay a team whose quarterback has to continuously bail them out.
Eventually, something will go wrong and Luck won't be able to fix it.
The Colts have better odds than any of the previous teams by virtue of their likelihood of making the postseason. Other than that, it's a one-and-done scenario.
That's right. I like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers better than the Bengals and Colts, despite the records.
Tampa Bay is capable of putting up points in a hurry, and the Bucs do it with consistency. They have a solid trio of stars who are downright unstoppable when hitting on all cylinders.
But the defense—well, that's a problem. The Bucs can build a lead (or get themselves out of a hole), but they can't keep their opponents from scoring when it matters.
Admit it. You're starting to believe.
The Washington Redskins haven't been consistent in too many areas, except for rushing the ball and quarterback play. Apparently, that Robert Griffin III guy is pretty good.
It's certainly not endearing to their chances that they can't stop the pass (299 yards allowed per game), but they can stop the run. Add that to Griffin's explosiveness with the 'Skins' ability to control the clock, and you have the start of something.
Just probably not a Super-Bowl-win-in-2013 thing.
Just as RGIII has turned an entire city into followers, Russell Wilson is matching his act in the Pacific Northwest.
Wilson has 19 touchdowns to only eight interceptions. That's extremely impressive for a rookie.
Now that he's actually put together a road win, there might be some hope for the Seattle Seahawks in the playoffs. However, they'll be forced to win at least three road games in a row against quality competition.
That makes for a long shot.
That's an upgrade over Sidney Rice.
The Chicago Bears have three of their last four games on the road, but two of them are against the Cardinals and Lions. So long as they don't endure too much more attrition, the Bears should find themselves securely locked into the postseason.
Who's actually sold on this Baltimore Ravens team?
They've won games where balls have flown over the goal post (was it in or out?). They've needed last-minute insanity from Ray Rice to squeeze out a victory over a thoroughly defeated San Diego Chargers squad.
Now, they've lost to Charlie Batch.
The Ravens have to be ranked high by virtue of their 9-3 record, but I refuse to give them any better odds than this.
Take away Seattle's "win" over the Green Bay Packers, and this team is 9-3 and not flying under the radar. Plus, two of their losses were to the San Francisco 49ers and the New York Giants. Or, as they're otherwise known, last year's NFC Championship Game combatants.
Somehow, Aaron Rodgers is not being discussed as a MVP candidate. Are you aware that he has a quarterback rating of 105?
Not too shabby.
The defense needs to heal, which provides the concern and currently precludes a higher ranking. However, if Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson return at their previous levels, this team is just as dangerous as it always was.
Which means the Packers will be Super Bowl worthy. Again.
New year, same story.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are serious Super Bowl contenders.
Getting a win over the Baltimore Ravens with Charlie Batch at the helm means something, but it might be more of a negative indicator regarding Baltimore than a positive one for Pittsburgh. However, the victory was important in the standings and bought some time for Ben Roethlisberger to return.
Once he does, this offense will pick up where it left off. And if you haven't noticed, the defense has regained its swagger.
Seriously, when aren't the Steelers good? To a Detroit Lions fan, it's slightly annoying.
I'm aware that the New York Giants have lost three of their last four games. But they do this every year.
Go into a late-season swoon. Allow us all to proclaim the Giants dead. Then said Giants team wins a couple road games and brings home a Lombardi Trophy.
It's all getting quite old.
In all seriousness, the offense will find itself again and the defense just needs to have Jason Pierre-Paul fully healthy and chasing down quarterbacks. Then, everything will be back to normal.
It seems like years ago we were all debating whether Peyton Manning could have much of an impact on the 2012 season. How could an aging quarterback recovering from multiple neck surgeries possibly play professional football?
Apparently, it wasn't a matter of possibility, but inevitability.
Manning has one of the most indomitable attitudes ever observed, so we probably should have known. And his demeanor has infected the entire Denver Broncos locker room.
The defense is getting the job done while Von Miller racks up sacks at an All-Pro level. This team is truly becoming something to behold.
There is no bigger enigma than the Atlanta Falcons. How much respect am I supposed to pay a team who continuously wins but has only beaten one decent team?
The Falcons are assuredly a good team. However, are they great?
It sure appears that way when you look at the individual parts. Tony Gonzalez has forgotten his age with 73 catches for 770 yards and seven touchdowns, while old man John Abraham has 10 sacks.
And that's just the AARP section of the roster.
Yet I can't rank them as the favorite. Yet.
Regardless of who lines up under center, the San Francisco 49ers defense is good enough to win games on its own.
But it's the quarterback situation that continues to garner all the attention.
We knew what Alex Smith was: a respectable yet sometimes benign passer. We're still trying to figure out Colin Kaepernick.
And you have to wonder if he's still feeling himself out too. If so, that might derail a possible Super Bowl season.
Spare me the East Coast bias cries. The New England Patriots are extremely good again.
Deal with it.
As mentioned before, they could be 10-2 thanks to a kick that may or may not have gone in had the goal post been extended another couple feet. But alas, they are still in a position to lock down the No. 2 seed.
And they still have Tom Brady, who has 25 touchdowns and only four interceptions.
The defense has shown signs of competency, and the young talent added before and during the season could very well be enough to push this team back over the hump.
Cue the violins.
Despite some recent struggles against the pass, the Houston Texans are good at everything.
Need someone to get a key sack? J.J. Watt.
Need someone to knock down a pass? J.J. Watt.
Need someone to milk the clock and ice the game? J.J. Watt.
Wait, sorry, got a little too excited there. That would actually be Arian Foster.
The loss of a couple linebackers does deflate the optimism surrounding the team, but they have talent all over the field and the continuity to get this thing done.
And frankly, the city of Houston deserves it. They've dealt with enough professional football drama to last a lifetime.