1)Patriots - had a scare this week and suffered some injuries, but still strongly the favorite to go all the way. 2)Colts - have struggled with a slew of key injuries lately, but still the team the Pats would least like to play. 3)Cowboys - have a critical matchup with greenbay this week that should decide home field for the playoffs. most people figure the boys will win it, but if they don't, then the packers become the favorite in the nfc, not just because they will have beaten the cowboys, but also because they will then have to travel to the frozen tundra of lambeau field in the playoffs. because of this, I don't see the boys allowing this game to get away from them. 4)Packers - have been surprisingly terrific all season. even their running game has come around. might not be quite as good as the three ahead of them though. we'll see. 5)Steelers - They are a very good team, but not a great team. Not likely to beat the best teams come crunch time. 6)Chargers - I'm being generous putting them here. With Norv Turner at the helm, they are like a class of school kids with a substitute teacher. I think they would struggle to beat the jaguars and they will go one and done if they even make the playoffs. 7)Jaguars - This team is kind of weird. they are solid. play good defense. stuff the run. hit hard. have a strong running attack, and their qb, garrard, doesn't make a lot of mistakes, can make plays with his feet, and is improving. They are 8-3, and almost a shoo-in for a wild card spot. BUT, everyone knows, they lack the offensive firepower to beat the bigboys in the playoffs, so they are a second tier team. 8)Browns - They have come a long way this season - from doormats to contenders. Romeo has probably saved his job. Or should I say, derek anderson has! If they could turn their defense into a much better unit, they would become very difficult to beat. but alas, they still have aways to go. 9)Giants - I'll put them here, but much like the chargers, I think I'm being generous to do so. They beaten a string of struggling teams early, but they are simply not that good. Eli is no peyton, their defense has had some big injuries, and they are no threat come playoff time. 10)Seahawks - could very well be better than the giants by the playoffs. they are starting to get it together in what has been a rough season for them. Shaun Alexander has been invisible. Holmgren will keep after them though. 11)Broncos - They are another team who have struggled with problems, but still have the talent to make a late push. Thye aren't dead yet. With shanahan at the helm, it ain't over til it's over. 12)Bengals - showing signs of life now that they're safely out of it. Soft team with maturity issues, but some real offensive talent. 13)Saints - another team with some great offensive talent, but not enough else to be consistant. just a few moves away from being amuch better team. 14)Lions - the lions are like the nfc's version of the bengals - fun offense to watch, but maturity issues and toughness holding them back. 15)Chiefs - Herm Edwards has made the defense a little better, the offense pretty clearly worse, and the head coaching pretty clearly worse - net sum, chief fans are screwed until ownership figures out what they have done. 16)Buccaneers - Pretty good team. But not nearly good enough. They've played admirably, but will get swept away come playoff time. 17)Titans - They may have ranked higher if they hadn't looked so bad without albert haynesworth the past few games. the defense had been stout up til then, and their running game has been pretty good. If young can continue to improve as a passer, they may be on to something. someday. 18)Ravens - How many years in a row do the ravens have to have a bad offense, lead by a bad quarterback, before they will do something about it? It shouldn't be that hard. make a minor move like the texans did for matt schaub, and presto-chango, you end this boring drudgery. Billick should go. 19)Eagles - so much talent, so little results. McNabb has not been the player HE thinks he his. Reid needs to stop pulling a brian billick and get him an actual receiver or two. sheez. cut some costs elsewhere and give your offense a chance. media is saying mcnabb may be gone. doubt that but we'll see. 20)Bears - imagine we'd they'd be if they DIDN'T have devin hester ? 21)Vikings - adrian peterson has made them relevant again. not good, but at least relevant. 22)Cardinals - did you see them cough up that game to the 49ers this week? they looked absolutely clueless in that game. they've made some strides, but have a long way to go. 23)Texans - Slowly gaining ground towards respectability. Kubiak seems to be making strides with the defense and running attack, and schaub seems to be doing a decent job. have had key injuries, and still need to grow, but are showing signs of improvement for the future. 24)Bills - marshawn lynch has been very good, and they've played tough at times on defense. they still need a qb that can win for them, and they are at least two years away, if not more, from contending. 25)Jets - what a fallback from a year ago, when they seemed to be making huge strides. They did beat the steelers a week ago, and have some talented players, but the QB is still a huge question mark, and they seem to have lost the edge they had last year. Will they be able to regain it quickly? time will tell. 26)Redskins - so sad what happened to sean taylor. so young to die. must be just horriffic for all involved. hope they can catch who did it. the skins weren't going anywhere this year anyway, but after this, you wonder what the long-term effect will be. 27)Panthers - Guess Jake Delhomme was pretty valuable to this team, eh? steve smith seems frustrated out of his mind. 28)Rams - too many injuries to count. this year is a mulligigan. another good offense, just ok defense. until that changes, they're not a threat anyways. 29)Raiders - Lane Kiffin appears to be making some small strides just by not having a bunch of bad stories surrounding this team for the first time in awhile. going to justin fargas at tailback over lamont jordan showed me guts. he sat dominik rhodes down. he needs to get jamarcus russell playing, but he's at least creating a semblance of a team over there - they beat the chiefs this week. He needs to just keep at it for awhile. 30)49ers - alex smith is never going to be a good quarterback. there, I said it. Now, when will the niners realize it and do something about it? that is their defining question. 31)Falcons - they traded schaub when they should have traded vick. bad mistake in judgement. probably worried about ticket sales at the time. that's not how to run a franchise. build a winner, and they will come. hint - byron leftwich isn't the answer either. time to start over. 32)dolphins - how the mighty have fallen. they are a train wreck right now, and cam cameron has yet to instill any confidence that he will turn it around. he deserves more time to make his effort, but it would be nice if they could show SOME signs of improvement. this time next year, they better not be just as bad, or it's on to the next guy.