It is imperative to be playing your best football in December—just ask last year's New York Giants or the 2010 Green Bay Packers.
With three games left on the regular-season slate, many of the game's elite are trending downward, while a few sleepers are on the rise.
Let's take a look at the stock watch of every team currently in the playoff picture heading into Week 15's action.
The Texans were thoroughly outclassed by the Patriots in front of a national audience in Week 14. While many weren't surprised Tom Brady and Co. were able to move the ball against what's become a rather susceptible secondary, we weren't expecting Matt Schaub's offense to struggle so mightily against New England's defense.
With two games against the Colts remaining, the Texans must get it together.
Tom Brady, to some, took the lead in the MVP race with another ultra-efficient effort in a huge game. More importantly, the running game is deceptively productive, and the defense is coming together with Jerod Mayo and Dont'a Hightower playing as a cohesive linebacker unit.
Watch out, AFC.
The Broncos, somewhat quietly, are cruising along and are the hottest team in the NFL.
Peyton Manning hasn't produced numbers as gaudy as earlier in the season, but as a team, John Fox has his club playing balanced football.
If the running game continues to contribute, Denver will be quite the scary out in the playoffs.
Don't forget about dark-horse Defensive Player of the Year candidate Von Miller.
The Ravens find themselves in a good position entering the season's final three weeks, but their play of late could have some fans in Baltimore worried.
Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron got the boot this week, and Jim Caldwell will take over his play-calling duties.
With a crushing defeat at the hands of Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins, the Ravens made things slightly more difficult heading into the home stretch.
The Colts have been miracle workers in the fourth quarter, thanks to the heroics of rookie sensation Andrew Luck.
While they do have some flaws—in the secondary and along the offensive line—they're 9-4 and have two monster games against the Texans to end the season.
The Bengals weren't overly impressive against the Eagles on Thursday night, but they managed to win 34-13 by scoring 24 unanswered points.
Really though, Philadelphia handed them the game with a slew of turnovers in the third quarter.
If Andy Dalton's inconsistent ways continue, the Bengals may not make the postseason.
But for now, they're the AFC's No. 6 seed.
The Falcons have a premier pass-catching unit and a borderline elite quarterback in Matt Ryan. However, the run defense is vulnerable.
If Mike Smith's defense puts Ryan into precarious situations, he can struggle himself, and after a convincing beatdown at the hands of the Carolina Panthers in Week 14, Atlanta has to rebound in a hurry.
Colin Kaepernick's numbers have decreased since his premier as the 49ers' starter, but the Jim Harbaugh's squadron is playing soundly on both sides of the ball and have a team built for the postseason.
A clash in New England with Tom Brady will give us a better idea of how good San Francisco really is.
In a similar fashion to the Denver Broncos, the Green Bay Packers have rather silently become one of the most sizzling clubs in the NFL.
Winners of seven of their last eight, Aaron Rodgers and his dynamic offense came off a crushing loss against the Giants in Week 12 and did enough to beat two quality divisional opponents.
The New York Giants getting hot in December—what else is new?
Eli Manning wasn't spectacular against the Saints in Week 14, but he didn't need to be, as David Wilson stole the show.
Until we see the G-Men falter when it matters most, their stock is trending upward.
The Seahawks won in Chicago in Week 13.
Then they absolutely manhandled the Arizona Cardinals 58-0 in Week 14.
With a steady offense and a hyper-aggressive defense, Seattle is one club no one wants to play right now.
The Bears have lost four of five and won't have defensive heart and soul Brian Urlacher down the stretch.
After getting run over by Adrian Peterson and the Vikings in Week 14, Chicago has a prime opportunity to make things interesting in the NFC North with the Packers coming to town.