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Clearer playoff picture likely after Week 13

  • A customer enters Trex Mart as members of the news media gather in Dearborn, Mo., Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. Trex Mart sold one of last night's winning Powerball tickets. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

    A customer enters Trex Mart as members of the news media gather in Dearborn, Mo., Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. Trex Mart sold one of last night's winning Powerball tickets. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

  • A customer enters Trex Mart as members of the news media gather in Dearborn, Mo., Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. Trex Mart sold one of last night's winning Powerball tickets. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

    A customer enters Trex Mart as members of the news media gather in Dearborn, Mo., Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. Trex Mart sold one of last night's winning Powerball tickets. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

  • In this undated photo released by the Marquette County Sheriff's office, John Lechner is shown. Lechner, 64, of Sault Ste. Marie, convicted of illegally transporting and storing explosive materials is returning to court for his sentence Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. Lechner wasn't charged with plotting to blow up the mixture. But in a recorded conversation, he told an informant that he'd become a mercenary "when the people decide to take the government back." (AP Photo/Marquette County Sheriffs Department)

    In this undated photo released by the Marquette County Sheriff's office, John Lechner is shown. Lechner, 64, of Sault Ste. Marie, convicted of illegally transporting and storing explosive materials is returning to court for his sentence Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. Lechner wasn't charged with plotting to blow up the mixture. But in a recorded conversation, he told an informant that he'd become a mercenary "when the people decide to take the government back." (AP Photo/Marquette County Sheriffs Department)

  • In this undated photo released by the Marquette County Sheriff's office, John Lechner is shown. Lechner, 64, of Sault Ste. Marie, convicted of illegally transporting and storing explosive materials is returning to court for his sentence Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. Lechner wasn't charged with plotting to blow up the mixture. But in a recorded conversation, he told an informant that he'd become a mercenary "when the people decide to take the government back." (AP Photo/Marquette County Sheriffs Department)

    In this undated photo released by the Marquette County Sheriff's office, John Lechner is shown. Lechner, 64, of Sault Ste. Marie, convicted of illegally transporting and storing explosive materials is returning to court for his sentence Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. Lechner wasn't charged with plotting to blow up the mixture. But in a recorded conversation, he told an informant that he'd become a mercenary "when the people decide to take the government back." (AP Photo/Marquette County Sheriffs Department)

  • In this photo released by the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department, Patrick Burson is shown. Burson, an attorney, is facing drug-related charges after police say they found a methamphetamine lab at a law office. State police say 35-year-old Burson of Wayland, Mich., turned himself in Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 at the Allegan County sheriff's department and was arraigned in 57th District Court. Charges include four counts of operating/maintaining a methamphetamine lab and two counts of possession of methamphetamine.  (AP Photo/Allegan County Sheriffs Department)

    In this photo released by the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department, Patrick Burson is shown. Burson, an attorney, is facing drug-related charges after police say they found a methamphetamine lab at a law office. State police say 35-year-old Burson of Wayland, Mich., turned himself in Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 at the Allegan County sheriff's department and was arraigned in 57th District Court. Charges include four counts of operating/maintaining a methamphetamine lab and two counts of possession of methamphetamine. (AP Photo/Allegan County Sheriffs Department)

  • In this photo released by the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department, Patrick Burson is shown. Burson, an attorney, is facing drug-related charges after police say they found a methamphetamine lab at a law office. State police say 35-year-old Burson of Wayland, Mich., turned himself in Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 at the Allegan County sheriff's department and was arraigned in 57th District Court. Charges include four counts of operating/maintaining a methamphetamine lab and two counts of possession of methamphetamine.  (AP Photo/Allegan County Sheriffs Department)

    In this photo released by the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department, Patrick Burson is shown. Burson, an attorney, is facing drug-related charges after police say they found a methamphetamine lab at a law office. State police say 35-year-old Burson of Wayland, Mich., turned himself in Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 at the Allegan County sheriff's department and was arraigned in 57th District Court. Charges include four counts of operating/maintaining a methamphetamine lab and two counts of possession of methamphetamine. (AP Photo/Allegan County Sheriffs Department)

  • In this Nov. 18, 2012 photo, Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) watches from the bench during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field in Detroit. Suh was issued a traffic citation by a police officer who said he saw Suh driving fast and passing cars from the right lane of a suburban Detroit roadway. The Lathrup Village officer gave Suh a ticket on Nov. 15, 2012 for driving without due care and caution. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

    In this Nov. 18, 2012 photo, Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) watches from the bench during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field in Detroit. Suh was issued a traffic citation by a police officer who said he saw Suh driving fast and passing cars from the right lane of a suburban Detroit roadway. The Lathrup Village officer gave Suh a ticket on Nov. 15, 2012 for driving without due care and caution. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) gets past the Atlanta Falcons defense to score a touchdown during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) gets past the Atlanta Falcons defense to score a touchdown during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

  • Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) passes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) passes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

  • Boston Red Sox's Darnell McDonald, left, goes out of the baseline to avoid being tagged by Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (35) during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011. McDonald was out on the play. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

    Boston Red Sox's Darnell McDonald, left, goes out of the baseline to avoid being tagged by Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (35) during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011. McDonald was out on the play. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

  • Kansas City Royals' Brayan Pena (27) slides back into second base covered by Boston Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (28) during the first inning a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, May 9, 2012. Two runs scored when Red Sox left fielder Cody Ross dropped a fly ball hit by Pena. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

    Kansas City Royals' Brayan Pena (27) slides back into second base covered by Boston Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (28) during the first inning a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, May 9, 2012. Two runs scored when Red Sox left fielder Cody Ross dropped a fly ball hit by Pena. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

  • A customer enters Trex Mart as members of the news media gather in Dearborn, Mo., Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. Trex Mart sold one of last night's winning Powerball tickets. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
  • A customer enters Trex Mart as members of the news media gather in Dearborn, Mo., Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. Trex Mart sold one of last night's winning Powerball tickets. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
  • In this undated photo released by the Marquette County Sheriff's office, John Lechner is shown. Lechner, 64, of Sault Ste. Marie, convicted of illegally transporting and storing explosive materials is returning to court for his sentence Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. Lechner wasn't charged with plotting to blow up the mixture. But in a recorded conversation, he told an informant that he'd become a mercenary "when the people decide to take the government back." (AP Photo/Marquette County Sheriffs Department)
  • In this undated photo released by the Marquette County Sheriff's office, John Lechner is shown. Lechner, 64, of Sault Ste. Marie, convicted of illegally transporting and storing explosive materials is returning to court for his sentence Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012. Lechner wasn't charged with plotting to blow up the mixture. But in a recorded conversation, he told an informant that he'd become a mercenary "when the people decide to take the government back." (AP Photo/Marquette County Sheriffs Department)
  • In this photo released by the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department, Patrick Burson is shown. Burson, an attorney, is facing drug-related charges after police say they found a methamphetamine lab at a law office. State police say 35-year-old Burson of Wayland, Mich., turned himself in Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 at the Allegan County sheriff's department and was arraigned in 57th District Court. Charges include four counts of operating/maintaining a methamphetamine lab and two counts of possession of methamphetamine.  (AP Photo/Allegan County Sheriffs Department)
  • In this photo released by the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department, Patrick Burson is shown. Burson, an attorney, is facing drug-related charges after police say they found a methamphetamine lab at a law office. State police say 35-year-old Burson of Wayland, Mich., turned himself in Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012 at the Allegan County sheriff's department and was arraigned in 57th District Court. Charges include four counts of operating/maintaining a methamphetamine lab and two counts of possession of methamphetamine.  (AP Photo/Allegan County Sheriffs Department)
  • In this Nov. 18, 2012 photo, Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (90) watches from the bench during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field in Detroit. Suh was issued a traffic citation by a police officer who said he saw Suh driving fast and passing cars from the right lane of a suburban Detroit roadway. The Lathrup Village officer gave Suh a ticket on Nov. 15, 2012 for driving without due care and caution. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) gets past the Atlanta Falcons defense to score a touchdown during the first quarter of an NFL football game Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)
  • Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) passes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
  • Boston Red Sox's Darnell McDonald, left, goes out of the baseline to avoid being tagged by Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (35) during the fourth inning of a baseball game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Aug. 21, 2011. McDonald was out on the play. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
  • Kansas City Royals' Brayan Pena (27) slides back into second base covered by Boston Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez (28) during the first inning a baseball game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Wednesday, May 9, 2012. Two runs scored when Red Sox left fielder Cody Ross dropped a fly ball hit by Pena. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

Tampa Bay (6-5) at Denver (8-3)

Peyton Manning’s first season in Denver has been a mile high success by all measurements, and clinching the division seems a mere formality. If Manning gets nine completions he will pass Dan Marino for second behind Brett Favre for his illustrious career.

Denver’s defense has solidified and linebacker Von Miller is playing as well as anyone in the league, on offense or defense. His unit will be tested by a Bucs offense that has not scored fewer than 22 points since Week 3, with rookie running back Doug Martin and wideouts Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams particularly effective complementing QB Josh Freeman.

Pittsburgh (6-5) at Baltimore (9-2)

The Ravens won in Pittsburgh two weeks ago and the Steelers are reeling with no passing offense as Ben Roethlisberger recovers from shoulder and rib injuries. This is one of the NFL’s most intense rivalries, and the last thing the Steelers want is to put Baltimore in position to grab the AFC North championship.

Ray Rice gained 30 yards on fourth-and-29 with the game on the line in last week’s Ravens win at San Diego. No matter what the Ravens do Sunday — or for the rest of the season for that matter — that figures to go down as the play of the year.

Cincinnati (6-5) at San Diego (4-7)

If the Bengals don’t stumble against weak competition, they will go into the final two weeks of the schedule with a great shot at a wild card. They’ve done well so far during this hiatus from tough competition, beating Kansas City and Oakland, and they finish their stint in the AFC West against the spiraling Chargers, who have lost three straight and six of seven.

San Diego seems to invent new ways to flop. If the Chargers get Cincinnati in a fourth-and-29, they are doomed.

Houston (10-1) at Tennessee (4-7)

When the Texans won 10 times last year, making the playoffs for the first time, it was a franchise record. They are on pace to shatter that and are the league’s only unbeaten team on the road at 5-0.

The Titans need not worry about such lofty things. After losing at Jacksonville, their playoff chances are just about gone.

Seattle (6-5) at Chicago (8-3)

The Seahawks are the most schizophrenic team in the league, going 5-0 at home and 1-5 away. Their loss at Miami last Sunday, in which they faded down the stretch, means a victory at Soldier Field is even more important for them to stay in control of the final wild-card spot. Seattle has won three of the last four regular-season matchups.

Chicago won’t be at full strength after a slew of injuries hit in last weekend’s win over Minnesota. But if the revamped offensive line can give Jay Cutler enough time to throw, and the defense does its usual job of applying pressure to the quarterback — in this case, rookie Russell Wilson — the Bears should be in good shape.

Minnesota (6-5) at Green Bay (7-4)

Green Bay leads the NFC wild-card chase and is one game in back of Chicago in the NFC North, but it could be a rough go the last month for the Packers if they don’t get healthy. They barely showed up at the Giants last week, and with Clay Matthews, Greg Jennings and Charles Woodson hobbled, their depth is being tested.

The Vikings figure to hand off to Adrian Peterson as much as possible, and if the Packers can’t slow him down, then not having a fully healthy Percy Harvin at wideout won’t be critical for Minnesota.

Minnesota DE Jared Allen has had some of his best sacks performances against the Pack.

San Francisco (8-2-1) at St. Louis (4-6-1)

Niners coach Jim Harbaugh seemed amused when asked if this seemed like a continuation of the 24-24 tie of Nov. 11 — the first NFL draw since 2008. He definitely was not amused by the lengthy line of questioning he’s gotten about going with second-year QB Colin Kaepernick over incumbent Alex Smith, who sustained a concussion against the Rams but now is healthy.

N.Y. Giants (7-4) at Washington (5-6)

These teams staged one of the season’s best games at the Meadowlands, a 27-23 Giants win on Oct. 21. Robert Griffin III has helped the Redskins climb back into wild-card contention, and a victory here would put them one game behind the defending Super Bowl champions in the NFC East.

New York played extremely well last Sunday night in romping past Green Bay, breaking a two-game slide.

Indianapolis (7-4) at Detroit (4-7)

The Colts can reach eight wins one season after going 2-14 and earning the top selection in the draft. Quarterback Andrew Luck has been superb at home, but is 2-3 on the road.

Detroit has lost three straight to winning teams and has only one remaining opponent currently with a losing record. A second straight playoff berth appears beyond reach.

Philadelphia (3-8) at Dallas (5-6)

Dallas remains on the fringe of playoff contention, which is a lot more than anyone can say about Philly. As the Andy Reid era winds down, the Eagles have lost seven in a row, including to the Cowboys three weeks ago.

Carolina (3-8) at Kansas City (1-10)

Cam Newton feasted on the Eagles’ inept defense on Monday night. Kansas City is much more of a challenge because at least the Chiefs seem to be trying, despite losing eight straight.

Arizona (4-7) at N.Y. Jets (4-7)

The Cardinals, despite having star receiver Larry Fitzgerald and the return of running back Beanie Wells from injury, are impotent. They rank 31st overall with the ball and have scored a measly 180 points, better then only Kansas City.

Jacksonville (2-9) at Buffalo (4-7)

Chad Henne has provided some spark to a previously dormant offense, and that’s gotten top draft pick Justin Blackmon more involved. Second-year receiver Cecil Shorts III also has emerged. But the Jaguars still are a weak team, and the Bills can be productive with the ball at home, where they begin a three-game stand .

Cleveland (3-8) at Oakland (3-8)

Not much to pump up here, although the Browns could win a second straight game for the first time since Sept. 25 — of last year.

e_SRit— The Associated Press