Giants, Broncos, Colts among shakiest division leaders entering stretch run

With wins that pushed them to 9-0 on Sunday, the Patriots and Panthers gave themselves even more breathing room in their respective divisions. However, not every divisional race is proving to be so utterly anticlimactic.

The Vikings extended their winning streak to five games by beating Oakland on Sunday. With that win -- and Green Bay's stunning loss to the Lions -- Minnesota now holds sole possession of the NFC North lead for the first time this season. Of course, it's only a one-game edge. The Colts and the Giants are two others holding slim division leads at the moment.

After an embarrassing loss to Kansas City at home, the Broncos sure seem to be in disarray -- especially at the game's most important position. Given Peyton Manning's poor health and general ineffectiveness, it's easy to imagine this Denver team experiencing some struggles down the stretch.

With seven weeks left in the regular season, which division leader is most likely to fall by season's end?

Denver's quarterback situation is too much to overcome. Peyton Manning is battling Father Time, with a bevy of medical issues to deal with. His backup, Brock Osweiler, doesn't seem to be ready. That's a recipe for disaster.

I don't know how much more the other teams in the AFC West can improve, but I do like the Oakland Raiders. If I had to pick between the two, I'd pick Oakland. And at this point in the season, I'd pick Derek Carr over Peyton Manning without a doubt. For me, it's all about a quarterback who's not just confident that he can make throws, but can actually physically make the throws. Even though the Minnesota Vikings have sole possession of the NFC North for the first time this year, I still don't think they are going to win this division. They still have to play the Packers twice, with one of those meetings coming on Sunday, and that will be a big test. I think Green Bay is the better team, and that will prove to be true by the end of the season. The New York Giants are a team that is flawed and not great on offense or defense. Even though Eli Manning is capable of putting the team on his back, the Giants are just so inconsistent. They'll always leave the door open for the other teams in the division to make a run. The Colts are likely to fall out of the AFC South lead. They have a tough schedule going forward, and teams in the division are starting to play better for some reason. I understand Indianapolis beat Denver last time out, but Andrew Luck is hurt now. Last time Matt Hasselbeck had to play significant time, he got sick. I just don't know if they're going to be able to bring it back together. The NFC East is so even -- I couldn't even tell you which is the best team in that division. The Giants are .500 and have had chances to separate themselves -- but haven't. Meanwhile, Tony Romo is coming back and will stir things up a little bit.

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