1. PANTHERS (11-0) (2): There are no major weaknesses with this team right now, and there’s no reason to believe they can’t win it all if they stay healthy.
2. PATRIOTS (10-1) (1): The perfect season is over, but the bigger issue is whether the injury bug, which has now added Rob Gronkowski and Dont’a Hightower to the list, will mean trouble down the stretch and into the playoffs. Suddenly, homefield advantage in the postseason is no lock.
3. CARDINALS (9-2) (3): The Cardinals grind one out in San Francisco, but injuries to running backs Chris Johnson and Andre Ellington prove costly.
4. BRONCOS (9-2) (6): Brock Osweiler gets his second straight win in place of the injured Peyton Manning, so this might be his team the rest of the way, even if Manning returns from a foot injury.
5. BENGALS (9-2) (5): The two-game losing streak is over, as the Bengals hold serve at home against the mediocre Rams. Combine that with Pittsburgh’s loss to Seattle, and the AFC North race is just about over.
6. VIKINGS (8-3) (7): Adrian Peterson passes O.J. Simpson and John Riggins on the all-time rushing list, as the Vikings roll past slumping Atlanta and take sole possession of first place ahead of the slumping Packers.
7. CHIEFS (6-5) (11): The Chiefs are scorching hot, as they make it five straight wins with a home victory over Buffalo. Alex Smith and Jeremy Maclin hook up for 160 yards and a touchdown against Rex Ryan’s defense.
8. PACKERS (7-4) (4): Just when you thought the Packers had come out of their mid-season wobble after a commanding road win over the Vikings, they go belly-up at home to the Bears on Thanksgiving. Aaron Rodgers’ first six games: 15 touchdowns, two interceptions, 6-0 record. Last five games: nine touchdowns, two interceptions, 1-4 record.
9. SEAHAWKS (6-5) (9): Russell Wilson gets the best of Ben Roethlisberger in a 39-30 shootout win, as the Seahawks’ quarterback finishes with a career-high five touchdown passes.
10. STEELERS (6-5) (8): The Steelers’ defense collapses in Seattle, and Ben Roethlisberger leaves late with concussion symptoms, as Pittsburgh is now three games off the lead in the AFC North. Only realistic shot is for a wild card.
11. TEXANS (6-5) (14): That’s a nice job by Bill O’Brien in bringing the Texans back from a 1-4 start. After four straight wins, including back-to-back home victories over the Jets and Saints, the Texans remain tied with the Colts atop the AFC South and are in the thick of the wild card chase.
12. COLTS (6-5) (15): The Colts can thank Matt Hasselbeck for keeping their hopes alive. That’s four wins for the 40-year-old quarterback in relief of the injured Andrew Luck.
13. JETS (6-5) (18): The Jets pull out of a 1-4 skid with a 38-20 romp over the Dolphins, courtesy of four touchdown passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick and a smothering effort from the defense until garbage time of the fourth quarter.
14. BEARS (5-6) (20): Jay Cutler does a terrific job of managing the offense in Green Bay, and the Bears are in the wild card mix after what looked to be a lost season.
15. REDSKINS (5-6) (22): Jay Gruden called this a must-win, and Washington got it with a clutch effort in a 20-14 decision over the Giants. Solid effort from Kirk Cousins, who didn’t throw a pick. In his previous three games against the Giants, he had a combined eight interceptions.
16. GIANTS (5-6) (12): The Giants had a terrific opportunity to take firm control in the NFC East. But they’re a no-show in Washington and can’t rally enough at the end. The schedule down the stretch isn’t easy, starting with Sunday’s game against the Jets. Will this come down to the last game of the season at home against Philly?
17. BILLS (5-6) (10): Rex Ryan’s defense collapses against the Chiefs and the Bills are still stuck in the blob of AFC wild card contenders after a second straight loss.
18. BUCCANEERS (5-6) (13): The Bucs stumble on the road in Indy, as Jameis Winston has just one touchdown pass and Doug Martin is held to under 100 rushing yards and no touchdowns in a 25-12 loss.
19. RAIDERS (5-6) (17): The Raiders bounce back from three straight losses with a workmanlike 24-21 win in Tennessee.
20. FALCONS (6-5) (16): This is the Falcons team we’ve been watching the last few years. The only difference is a five-game winning streak to start the season, which keeps them mathematically alive in the playoff race. But if Dan Quinn can’t get back to winning after a 1-5 stretch, it’s over.
21. LIONS (4-7) (28): That’s three straight wins for the Lions, who still have an outside chance at the playoffs, although you need to use your imagination to see that happen.
22. EAGLES (4-7) (19): The Chip Kelly watch is on. Man, is it on. The Eagles have lost three straight, including back-to-back losses in which they were outscored by a combined 90-31.
23. RAVENS (4-7) (25): Matt Schaub does his best to give away the game against the Browns, but it’s the Ravens field goal block team that comes to the rescue, as Brent Urban, playing his first NFL game, blocks the potential game-winning attempt and Will Hill returns it for the deciding score.
24. SAINTS (4-7) (23): Are we seeing the end of the Sean Payton-Drew Brees alliance?
25. DOLPHINS (4-7) (24): When they lost to the Jets in London earlier this season, the Dolphins fired the head coach. When they lost to the Jets on Sunday at MetLife Stadium, they fired the offensive coordinator.
26. COWBOYS (3-8) (21): Tony Romo is done for the season after re-injuring his collarbone, and the Cowboys are probably done. We say probably because they’re still just two games out of first place in this dreadful NFC East. But they haven’t won a game without Romo all season, so it’s probably pie in the sky to see them winning the division.
27. RAMS (4-7) (26): Nick Foles was back at quarterback against the Bengals in place of the injured Case Keenum, but Foles looked like the same guy who Jeff Fisher benched earlier in the season.
28. CHARGERS (3-8) (31): It’s games like their 31-25 win over the Jaguars on the road that make you wonder where this Chargers team has been all season. One of the NFL’s biggest disappointments.
29. JAGUARS (4-7) (27): Continued poor play in the red zone – only one touchdown in four trips inside the Chargers’ 20 – and Jacksonville loses again. That’ll just about do it for their playoff hopes.
30. 49ERS (3-8) (29): The 49ers keep it close at home against the Cardinals, but that’s about as good as it gets with this team this season.
31. TITANS (2-9) (30): Let the Chip Kelly rumors commence. Does the former Oregon coach get former Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota after the season?
32. BROWNS (2-9) (32): Just another night in the NFL’s factory of sadness. Browns lose a heartbreaker at the buzzer after the game-winning field goal attempt is blocked and turns into Will Hill’s touchdown return.