Week 16 of the 2012 NFL season is underway, and that means that we've officially gotten down to the nitty- gritty.
There are any number of riveting storylines this week, from teams such as the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers to players such as Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson, who is making a run at individual history.
So, with drama galore from the Steel City to the Emerald City, let's take a look at some bold predictions for this week's games.
If I get one right do I get an extra present?
Cash is good.
Predicting that any running back, even one having as phenomenal a season as Adrian Peterson, will gash a Houston Texans defense allowing only 93.2 rushing yards a game for more than 200 might seem like like I've been hitting the eggnog too hard.
Until you consider a few facts.
First, the sixth-year pro has rushed for more yardage over the past eight games than any player over any eight-game stretch in NFL history.
Second, it's not as if it's impossible to run against the Texans, as Vick Ballard of the Indianapolis Colts topped 100 yards against them just last week.
And, third, it's Peterson. At this point are you really going to bet against the Minnesota Vikings back?
Last year the Dallas Cowboys went into Week 17 needing a win to advance to the postseason, but the team came up short against the New York Giants.
This season the Cowboys won't wait quite as long before breaking their fans' hearts.
The Cowboys enter Week 16 needing a victory to keep their postseason hopes alive, but quarterback Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, who know all about disappointment this year, are going to spread the misery this week by playing spoiler and bouncing the Cowboys in Dallas.
After all, misery loves company.
To say that the New York Jets have been a soap opera this season is somewhat offensive to soap operas, given that they at least have some plausibility to their plots.
That's been mostly missing from the strange saga surrounding Gang Green's signal-callers this year, which turned yet another twist this week when Tim Tebow was passed over for the start against the San Diego Chargers.
Greg McElroy will draw that start. But after being completely ineffective (a scenario the Jets should be able to recognize quickly after watching Mark Sanchez play this year), McElroy will get the hook from Rex Ryan.
That will lead to Tebow taking the field and leading the Jets to a win over the equally bumbling Chargers, which should give sports talk hosts something to talk about next week.
One of the biggest games of Week 16 will take place in Pittsburgh, where the Steelers need a win to stay alive for the playoffs while the Cincinnati Bengals will lock up a postseason berth if they emerge victorious.
This is a matchup of teams with plenty of familiarity with one another that appear headed in opposite directions, The Steelers have dropped two in a row while the Bengals are winners of five of six.
Pittsburgh was a seven-point winner in the first matchup between these teams in Week 7. But this time a banged-up Steelers secondary won't be as successful containing Cincinnati wide receiver A.J. Green. The Bengals will spoil the Steelers' playoff plans with a late field goal to win the game.
Since this is my last prediction of the week, I might as well make it a Hail Mary too.
By now anyone who has spent more than 15 minutes watching the NFL this year knows all about the Hail Mary that wasn't that led to a victory by the Seattle Seahawks over the Green Bay Packers and hastened the end of the "replacement refs" fiasco earlier this season.
Well, this week the Seahawks meet the San Francisco 49ers in a titanic NFC West matchup. After a wild, back-and-forth Sunday night affair, the Seahawks will come away with the win after their second successful Hail Mary play of the season.
Hey, it could happen.
Merry Christmas everybody!