1. New England Patriots (1): More balanced than recent Tom Brady teams. Poised for a deep playoff run as AFC’s top seed.
2. Seattle Seahawks (2): Russell Wilson 11-2 in December. The two times the Seahawks have reached the Super Bowl, they had home-field advantage throughout the postseason. Will it be 3 for 3?
3. Denver Broncos (3): Tight end Julius Thomas’ midseason ankle injury has changed offense. He sure could use the first-round playoff bye Denver would get with a win today over Oakland or if Pittsburgh beats Cincinnati.
4. Green Bay Packers (4): Aaron Rodgers is going to show MVP-caliber stuff today against Detroit to win NFC North title.
5. Dallas Cowboys (7): Potentially rainy, muddy game at Washington could mean minimal Murray, since ‘Boys are almost locked into NFC’s three seed.
6. Detroit Lions (8): Today at Lambeau for the NFC North title is the kind of game for which the Lions made Matthew Stafford their franchise quarterback.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (10): Ben Roethlisberger, with 4,500 yards passing this season, has made a career out of winning games like this: primetime, at home for the AFC North title.
8. Indianapolis Colts (6): No, they aren’t as bad as they looked in Dallas. But are they that good?
9. Arizona Cardinals (5): Is this really an 11-4 team? Now an infection reportedly could keep Drew Stanton from coming back for the playoffs. Could be Ryan Lindley or bust.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (12): The stunning uprising to beat Denver suggests Andy Dalton’s gang isn’t going to get straight plowed in Pittsburgh tonight.
11. Kansas City Chiefs (14): Losing to Oakland has butchered their playoff chances. Need a ton of help today.
12. San Diego Chargers (15): A victory at Arrowhead today, and the Chargers return to the playoffs. Here’s saying they get it done.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (9): Gag them with a cheesesteak. Hard to believe these guys were 9-3 before the Seahawks got ‘em. Now they are out of the playoffs.
14. Buffalo Bills (11): A great, promising season. But not a great, promising quarterback in E.J. Manuel. What to do with that forgotten man?
15. Houston Texans (16): Sacks, fumble recoveries, touchdowns off turnovers, TDs off catches. DE J.J. Watt has every stat except what matters most: a playoff berth.
16. Baltimore Ravens (13): Face-plant last week at Houston was about right for this team that has been overvalued for most of the season.
17. Miami Dolphins (17): Team owner announces Joe Philbin will return as coach in 2015. He fits this bland, middling team.
18. St. Louis Rams (21): Jeff Fisher and his rugged Rams are going to have more than one trick waiting for the Seahawks.
19. Atlanta Falcons (23): Six wins and playing for a division title and a home playoff game next week. Gotta (not) love the NFC South.
20. Carolina Panthers (22): Cam Newton’s offense didn’t score a touchdown for about a month, yet are a win away from a NFC South title. Shouldn’t happen. Won’t happen.
21. San Francisco 49ers (19): Do they rise up in a Gipper-like win over Arizona for Jim Harbaugh? Or does he slink out of Santa Clara, away from a quitting team? The former.
22. New Orleans Saints (18): Pathetic that Drew Brees and this talented team didn’t win a division that will be won with just seven victories.
23. Cleveland Browns (22): They must feel worse about Johnny Manziel now than they did before — or after — they drafted him.
24. Washington Redskins (29): Best way to beat the Cowboys today: start Colt McCoy again. Alas, he’s on injured reserve.
25. New York Giants (29): Today may be the last game in the long, great coaching tenure of champion Tom Coughlin.
26. Minnesota Vikings (24): Good debut season for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, establishing himself as the bedrock of a bad team.
27. Oakland Raiders (25): Derek Carr appears to be the man to lead this young, promising team finally back to respectability. Then again 52-0 at St. Louis also happened.
28. Chicago Bears (26): The Chicago winter clearance sale begins Monday. Everything named Jay Cutler must go!
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (27): 2-13 record. Not sure, but I think they may still be in contention for the NFC South title.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (30): Blake Bortles, an active defensive front and this team of young talent have more promise than the 3-12 record suggests.
31. New York Jets (31): Rex Ryan says this three-win season has felt like a “dog year.” But this group has no bark. Lots of rolling over, though.
32. Tennessee Titans (32): What do you call a season in which Charlie “Clipboard Jesus” Whitehurst had to not only play but start? A nightmare.