While the Green Bay Packers are the last unbeaten team in the NFL, and should be favored to beat any of these teams, they've got a tough stretch over their last nine games with only one opponent who currently has a losing record.
When I was asked about it on Thursday, the game that jumped out was the Thanksgiving game in Detroit. Even if it wasn't a battle between the top two teams in the NFC North, the Packers had an ugly 7-3 loss in Detroit last December. I'm sure the players haven't forgotten.
Of course, not all winning teams are trending the same. It's been such a rough season for Philip Rivers that he has to deny he's injured. The Buccaneers keep losing running backs, and Josh Freeman is receiving a lot of criticism for his play. The Raiders just made a panic trade for Carson Palmer, and his first game as a Raider was a 3 INT disaster.
On the other hand, the Bears have won their last two games and their three losses (Packers, Saints, and Lions) have been against three of the best in the NFC. I thought the Chiefs 2011 season was dead and buried, but now they've won their last three games.
The stretch run will be a challenge, and it won't be easy. It will certainly give the coaches something to push their players on.