5. Titans (8-5)
Marcus Mariota downplayed the knee injury that head coach Mike Mularkey said he suffered in Sunday's bad loss in Arizona. The struggling quarterback, however, didn't mince words when he said he's hurting the Titans offense, and it's getting late for them to suddenly flip a switch. The Rams and Jaguars are coming to Nashville after a trip to San Francisco to face an increasingly confident Niners bunch.
6. Bills (7-6)
If the season ended today, the NFL's longest postseason drought would be over thanks to Buffalo's overtime triumph in the thundersnow. Where things get hairy for Sean McDermott and Co. is a Christmas Eve visit to Foxborough, flanked by both games against the Dolphins. LeSean McCoy finished off the Colts with an overtime TD on Sunday, but the shaky quarterback situation is concerning. Joe Webb had to finish that game with Nate Peterman (concussion) and Tyrod Taylor (knee) unavailable.
On the periphery
7. Ravens (7-6)
The loss of Jimmy Smith was painfully apparent during the Antonio Brown show Sunday night in Pittsburgh. And the Ravens the offense, even with its combined 82 points the past two weeks, doesn't feel like a unit capable of picking up an aging 'D' that might be slowly wilting. Baltimore's three remaining opponents — Cleveland, Indy and Cincinnati — are a combined 8-30, with the Colts and Bengals coming to Baltimore. Still, even after winning four of the past six, Baltimore now needs assistance — beyond the favorable schedule — to get in.
8. Chargers (7-6)
Winners of four straight by a combined margin of victory of 78 points, the Bolts can still send a shock into the playoff race by beating the Chiefs, Jets and Raiders. It's doable, particularly having the division's best 'D' and quarterback in Philip Rivers. But did the Chargers — who'd be ahead of the Chiefs if not for narrow losses to postseason locks, Philly, New England and Jacksonville — get all the chargering out of their system?