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Teams left for dead a month ago still fighting for playoff lives

The NFL has made an effort to include more divisional and rivalry games late in the season. On this Christmas weekend, we get to enjoy the fruit of those efforts.

The NFC East title is in the balance with Philly and Dallas getting together. The AFC West title could be close to being decided based on the outcome of this weekend's games. Three of the AFC North teams are playing for something this week, with the Ravens closing on the division title with two games left. We've got both New York teams fighting for control of their new stadium.

With 13 games on Christmas Eve, we all have plenty to be thankful for and much football goodness to bask in. The two prime-time games are both quite meaningful as well once we get beyond the Saturday smorgasbord. This is often the last best full week of the season, with a lot of teams essentially cemented into a playoff spot by Week 17 (playoff picture | clinching scenarios).

And besides teams trying to play spoiler, the Chargers and Eagles are still alive and playing meaningful games. Who would have predicted that scenario at the start of this month?

Remember, games here are rated as either a footlong, a six-inch, a pita or a finger sandwich.

Follow Jason La Canfora on Twitter @jasonlacanfora.

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