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1. Packers (13-4, last week No. 1): Will this year finally be the year that they get back to the Super Bowl?
2. Buccaneers (13-4, No. 3): The defense needs to step up, or they’ll be stepping off.
3. Titans (12-5, No. 4): Derrick Henry is healthy and, more importantly, fresh.
4. Chiefs (12-5, No. 5): Don’t sleep on the Steelers in the wild-card round.
5. Rams (12-5, No. 2): Matthew Stafford was supposed to be the savior. He’s quite possibly the Achilles heel.
6. Bengals (10-7, No. 6): These Bengals are too young to care about a postseason futility drought that is far older than they are.
7. Cardinals (11-6, No. 7): 8-1 on the road and finishing the year with five straight losses at home, they should be happy that they will be playing the Rams in L.A.
8. Bills (11-6, No. 8): It feels like they’re still struggling to play a complete game.
9. Cowboys (12-5, No. 9): Good news? They avoided Arizona in the wild-card round. Bad news? They got the 49ers instead.
10. Patriots (10-7, No. 10): Can they slow down Josh Allen with the season on the line?
11. 49ers (10-7, No. 12): Jimmy G is just good enough to get them to the Super Bowl again and just bad enough to keep them from winning it, again.
12. Raiders (10-7, No. 15): The team that once gave us the Holy Roller capped the regular-season by giving us the ultimate “holy shit” moment.
13. Eagles (9-8, No. 14): The Eagles have the formula to upset the Bucs. Can they execute it?
14. Steelers (9-7-1, No. 18): It could be 2005 all over again.
15. Chargers (9-8, No. 14): Brandon Staley needs to balance his objective decision making with some subjectivity.
16. Colts (9-8, No. 11): If you can’t beat the previously 2-14 Jaguars a week after they gave up 50 points, you shouldn’t be in the NFL playoffs. Or in the CFL playoffs.
17. Dolphins (9-8, No. 16): This ranking is not based on the stunning decision to fire Brian Flores. If it were, the Dolphins would be in the low 30s.
19. Saints (9-8, No. 19): The fact that they finished above .500 should get Sean Payton coach of the year votes.
20. Browns (8-9, No. 20): The Browns is the Browns all over again.
21. Vikings (8-9, No. 21): “Just good enough” is finally no longer good enough for the Vikings.
22. Seahawks (7-10, No. 24): Can they persuade Russell Wilson to stay?
23. Falcons (7-10, No. 22): The future is much brighter than it was a year ago.
24. Broncos (7-10, No. 23): They’re a quarterback away from contending. Can they find the right one?
25. Washington (7-10, No. 26): Ron Rivera is the best thing the franchise has going for it. And the franchise should be very concerned that he’ll eventually realize he can do better.
26. Bears (6-11, No. 25): The decision to fire the coach and the G.M. made the fan base happy. Then came the George McCaskey press conference.
27. Panthers (5-12, No. 27): It still feels like things are far from settled in Carolina.
28. Texans (4-13, No. 28): Whether David Culley is or isn’t staying, it would be nice for someone to let the guy know.
29. Jets (4-13, No. 29): If Joe Douglas isn’t already on the hot seat, when will he be?
30. Lions (3-13-1, No. 31): They’re far closer to contending than anyone realizes.
31. Giants (4-13, No. 30): They’re much farther from contending than ownership realizes, primarily because of ownership’s involvement.
32. Jaguars (3-14, No. 32): Maybe the fans should dress in clown suits every week.