The final weeks of the NFL regular season will make or break several teams, with one magic moment or bad blunder changing the outcome of a squad's entire 2012 campaign. Momentum is particularly important during the last few weeks of the season, as teams with deep playoff aspirations need to finish on the upswing heading into the postseason.
So which teams are moving in the right direction? We all know about the Denver Broncos, Houston Texans and New England Patriots -- but some cases aren't as obvious. Let's look beyond recent records to see which playoff contenders are heating up at the right time.
Hot: Cincinnati Bengals
It may seem odd to lead with the Bengals after their close defeat to the Cowboys, but this is a team that has upped its play since midseason and has earned the right to have a defeat be overlooked -- especially when that defeat was as much about missed opportunities (four dropped interceptions) as it was about glaring weaknesses.