Before moving on to the madness Sunday, I wanted to get my picks for each team's record on paper for posterity. I've been doing this for years and it just didn't feel right to group the 20 non-playoff teams in one pile.
Yes, it would have been better to post this before the Dallas Cowboys beat the New York Giants. But my records were already done (with the Giants ahead of Dallas.) I expect both teams to miss the playoffs anyhow. Let's do this.
The schedule is very tasty for this division, bumping each team up a win or two. They face the AFC South and NFC West out of division. It doesn't get much better than that. I'm not buying the Bills hype because it's too hard for Chan Gailey to keep out-scheming other teams with lackluster overall talent.
The Steelers still have the best quarterback and passing game in this defense-dominated division. That should be enough. The Bengals might be a better team overall and take a step back in the standings with a tougher schedule.
Houston may be the safest pick to win a division in the entire league. It would be a surprise if any one of the other teams challenged them. (I do like the Colts to overachieve, though.)
Denver may have the toughest schedule in the league. They could improve a lot with Peyton Manning and it may not show up in the standings. Kansas City doesn't look great at quarterback, but they have enough depth and talent elsewhere to survive a marathon season.
I'm buying the Philadelphia pieces coming together. They are a rare group that should have a top-ten offense and defense. The Giants' defensive line actually lacks depth, especially if Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora start to show their age.
The expectations are high in Detroit and Chicago. The schedules are pretty favorable. That would make a finish like this all the more disappointing. The Bears defense no longer is that fearsome. The Lions' secondary and running game issues will show up.
Can three teams make it to the playoffs out of the NFC South? It happened in the AFC North last year. The Bucs could wind up going 0-6 in the division.
My somewhat irrational love for the Seahawks is not that irrational. They have two solid quarterbacks; they used to have zero. They have a rising defense that is difficult to prepare for. Pete Carroll's three-year plan is ready to go. We see the 49ers struggling to pass and not getting the injury luck they did a year ago.Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.