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With an NFL season being a short 16 games, every game counts to a team in the playoff chase. The NFL is full of parity and unless a team has a huge lead, like the Packers do this year at 11-0, any loss could hamper their playoff chances.
Right now, the AFC North has the Ravens and Steelers tied for first both at 8-3, with the Cincinnati Bengals just behind them at 7-4.
The AFC East has the New York Jets in second place at 6-5, closely followed by the Bills at 5-6.
In the AFC West, the Denver Broncos are 6-5, right on the tails of the first place Oakland Raiders who are 7-4.
In the NFC East, the Cowboys lead the division by one game, 7-4, to the New York Giants who are 6-5.
In the NFC North, the Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions are battling it out for second, both at 7-4 and in the NFC South, the 7-4 Falcons are chasing the 8-3 New Orleans Saints in pursuit of first place.
With just five games remaining in the season and so many close races, every game will be critical for many of these teams in the playoff hunt. Many teams will not know their fate until the final game of the regular season.
In fact, last year the Green Bay Packers faced a must win in Week 17 against the Bears in order to make the playoffs. They defeated the Bears, made the playoffs and went on to win the Super Bowl.