The Raiders enter December as AFC West leaders.
Brees threw for over 360 yards on the game en route to adding four touchdowns through the air and one touchdown on the ground. If there is an argument to the Rodgers for MVP campaign, it's Drew Brees.
So what can we expect from the savior of New Orleans as the Saints head into a Sunday night prime time match up against the limping Detroit Lions?
Let's just say start Drew Brees over Andy Dalton this week.
But, does Drew Brees top the list of "Musts" this week?
Read on to find out.
MTB Week 13, here we go.
Mike Smith's gamble is the difference in the NFC South.
The Falcons had a bad start at 2-3. Since then they have won five of six. The only loss was to New Orleans when a failed fourth down call in overtime set the Saints up on a short field.
They have played against rookie quarterbacks the last two weeks—Jake Locker and Christian Ponder.
The next three weeks they get unknown Texan rookie QB T.J. Yates, Cam Newton—who they intercepted three times on October 16—and possibly Blaine Gabbert, if he is still starting for Jaguars interim coach Mel Tucker.
If they win the next three, that will set them up for a Monday Night Football showdown in New Orleans on December 26 that might decide the NFC South.
Terrell Suggs and Company were Alex Smith's worse nightmare.
The Ravens are 8-3 and currently lead the AFC North. They swept the Steelers this year for the first time in five years. They haven't lost at home all year.
If not for bad road games at Jacksonville and Seattle, they might be looking at home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The schedule is favorable. To finish the season they play Cleveland twice, the Colts and Chargers, before finishing at Cincinnati.
They are probably no worse than a wild-card team, but must keep the intensity and focus to win the tough AFC North.
Can Caleb Hanie keep the Bears on course?
Just when the Bears had turned their season around by winning five straight, they lose QB Jay Cutler.
Now it's up to Caleb Hanie, who filled in for Cutler in the NFC Championship Game last year.
Despite last week's loss to Oakland, the Bears are still in playoff position.
Three of their remaining games are winnable—Kansas City, Seattle and Minnesota.
However, in a crowded NFC wild-card chase, they may have to win at Denver or Green Bay to keep postseason hopes alive.
Andy Dalton could be Offensive Rookie of the Year.
This is for real, it's December and the Bengals are contenders.
A team that was picked by most to win maybe three games is hanging in with Pittsburgh and Baltimore in the AFC North.
However, they are 0-2 against those two, and meet each in the last five games. They also meet AFC South leader Houston in December.
In their favor, they play the Rams and Cardinals in December.
If they can beat either Pittsburgh or Baltimore, and beat a Houston team down to their third string quarterback, a playoff spot might be in their grasp.
Tony Romo and the Cowboys lead the NFC East.
The Cowboys have taken control of the NFC East.
While the Giants and Eagles are stumbling, Dallas has won four in a row.
The stretch run will feature two games against the Giants that could well decide the division title. They also have the Eagles in Dallas, and road games at Arizona and Tampa Bay. The Cowboys are capable of winning them all.
They may need them all. With the competition in the NFC, they could miss the postseason if they can't win the East.
The Broncos defense deserves credit for the team's revival.
Contrary to popular belief, Tim Tebow is not the only player on the Broncos roster.
The defense, even though only ranked 18th, deserves a great deal of credit for the team's 5-1 record under Tebow.
Lost in Tebow mania remains the fact that during his six games the Broncos have scored 20 points only once. The defense has held opponents below 20 in four of the six games.
The December schedule is fairly easy, except for New England. They also play Minnesota, Chicago, Buffalo and Kansas City.
Even if they don't catch the Raiders in the AFC West they still have some hope. They hold tie-breakers against the Jets and Bengals in the wild-card race.
The Lions have struggled since starting 5-0.
On October 10, the Lions beat Chicago 24-13 on Monday Night Football to run their record to 5-0. They were a feel-good story from a city hard-hit by recession.
Since then they are 2-4. Every loss has been to a team that would make the playoffs if the season ended now.
This is not good news for a team that will play New Orleans, Oakland and Green Bay—all on the road—in the last five weeks. Also included is hated division rival Minnesota, and a San Diego team that, if they wake up, is capable of beating anyone.
For the Lions to grab a playoff spot they will have to beat someone good on the road.
Can the Packers go 16-0?
The only way the Packers miss the playoffs would be to suffer a bigger collapse than the Boston Red Sox.
That being said, the only suspense is whether they can make it to 16-0?
It actually may not be as easy as some might think.
The final stretch includes the Giants, Raiders, Bears and Lions. None of those plan to just roll over.
Even so, the Packers should have no trouble securing home-field advantage for the NFC playoffs regardless of whether they go undefeated, or not.
T.J Yates is now Houston's quarterback.
The Texans have never been to the playoffs. Sadly for them, if they make the postseason, many will say it was only because Peyton Manning wasn't playing in Indianapolis.
The Texans are 8-3, but have lost their top two quarterbacks.
It is up to T.J. Yates, the latest rookie to shoulder the load at the quarterback position for a team this year. The Texans could also go with Kellen Clemens or newly-signed Jake Delhomme.
No matter what they do it will be a tough assignment. Coming up next is Atlanta, followed by Cincinnati. Then it's Carolina, Indianapolis and a season finale against Tennessee.
The Titan game could determine the AFC South.
The Patriots enter December in a usual spot—first place.
It's a typical New England Patriots season. They are two games up in the division, and have swept their nearest competition. In a sense, they lead by three games.
December should be used as a time to secure the top seed in the AFC yet again.
It should be illegal for a top contender to have a December schedule that includes the Colts, Redskins and Dolphins. Other games are at Denver and home against fading Buffalo.
This is a prime opportunity for the Patriots to lock up the top spot.
Drew Brees would be MVP in any other year.
The New Orleans Saints might be the Packers best competition in the NFC. Drew Brees is playing arguably better than any quarterback in the league not named Rodgers.
Despite the Saints offensive dominance, they will likely end up no better than the NFC's third seed. There is a possibility that they don't even win their division.
December will feature Detroit, Tennessee and Atlanta. The Atlanta game could decide the NFC South.
No matter the Saints seeding, if this team is in the playoffs they stand a chance to bring home another Lombardi Trophy.
Can Eli Manning get the Giants to the playoffs?
The Giants were having a great season, until three weeks ago.
They have had consecutive losses to San Francisco, Philadelphia and New Orleans. They are now 6-5, a game behind Dallas in the NFC East. They looked nothing like a playoff team Monday night in New Orleans.
Don't look now, but the Packers come to town Sunday.
They play Dallas twice in the final four games. In between are games with Washington and the Jets.
If the Giants go two games down to Dallas, they must win both games to have any chance at a division title.
With the competition in the NFC, it may be their only way into the postseason.
The Jets still have playoff hopes.
The Jets came close to being left off this list. There are several reasons for this.
They are two games behind New England, and have been swept by the Patriots.
They would lose a tie-breaker for a wild-card to Baltimore, Denver and Oakland.
They have been a general disappointment in 2011.
There are questions regarding the ability of quarterback Mark Sanchez to be an "elite" quarterback.
So, why include them?
Scheduling. December starts at Washington, followed by Kansas City, and two under achievers—the Eagles and Giants.
Add in a New Year's Day game at Miami and the Jets have a perfect recipe to "slide" in the backdoor to an AFC playoff spot.
The Raiders hope to make the postseason for the first time since 2002.
The Raiders are another team not expected to be in first place on December 1.
They have played through injuries at quarterback and running back, horrible home losses to Kansas City and Denver, and losing owner Al Davis.
They are in a dog-fight with Denver, and either team could win the division. That gives this final month extra meaning this year.
It will not be easy. After a road game across the country in Miami, they go to Green Bay, then host Detroit. The final two games are against bitter division rivals Kansas City and San Diego.
If they follow Davis' motto of "Just Win Baby," they will be alright.
Big Ben has the Steelers in contention again.
At 8-3, the Steelers are tied for the best record in the AFC.
However, because they lost to Baltimore twice, they would only be a No. 5 seed if the playoffs started now.
Their playoff chances are very good though, with two games against Cleveland and a home game against the Rams during the last five weeks.
The tough games will be Cincinnati this week and at San Francisco December 19.
If they run the table, and the Ravens slip up, the division title—and possibly a No. 1 AFC seed—might be theirs.
Jim lost the Harbaugh Bowl, but he might win Coach of the Year.
The most surprising team in the NFL for 2011 is the San Francisco 49ers.
They have far exceeded all expectations. Their division hasn't been a race all year. The next win will be the clincher.
What an easy schedule it is. Four of their final five games will be against division rivals. They play the woeful Rams twice, plus road games in Arizona and Seattle. Sandwiched in is a Monday Night game with Pittsburgh.
With their schedule, the biggest enemy could be boredom.
Can the Titans be No. 1 in the AFC South?
The Titans are a rather anonymous team.
They don't get the prime-time appearances, and besides Chris Johnson, they don't have any headline grabbing players.
Despite all that, they are still hanging around in the AFC South.
With the quarterback situation in Houston, the Titans have a chance to win the division.
The schedule could be a problem with a game at Buffalo, followed by a home game with New Orleans.
The final three will be division games. They are at Indianapolis, host Jacksonville, then a finale at Houston.
They have the potential to win all three.
If they do, they could host an AFC first-round playoff game.