1. Packers (No. 1; 15-1): Biggest concern for the defending champs? They finished the regular season with the worst total defense in the league, and the worst pass defense.
2. Patriots (No. 2; 13-3): Four years since their last playoff win and seven since their last Super Bowl victory, the Patriots seem primed for another title run.
3. Saints (No. 3; 13-3): Without dome-field advantage, it’ll be hard for this team to get to the dome in Indianapolis.
4. 49ers (No. 4; 13-3): In anticipation of a visit from the Saints, the Niners should water down the field at Candlestick Park. Continuously.
5. Ravens (No. 5; 12-4): The AFC’s best hope for keeping the Packers or Saints under 30 points will first have to find a way to get past the Steelers, Patriots, or both.
6. Steelers (No. 6; 12-4): The Steelers can beat the Broncos without a healthy Roethlisberger, but not the Patriots or the Ravens.
7. Falcons (No. 9; 10-6): Quarterback Matt Ryan won’t be taken seriously until he wins a playoff game. He won’t win on Sunday if he tries too hard to win with his arm.
8. Lions (No. 7; 10-6): This is a different team than the one that lost in the Superdome last month.
9. Giants (No. 10; 9-7): The Ravens play down to the competition on the road, and the Giants tend to do it at home.
10. Bengals (No. 8; 9-7): When this team learns how to beat good teams, this team could become a great team.
11. Eagles (No. 11; 8-8): A strong push to end the season saved Andy Reid’s job. A stronger push will be needed in 2012 to save it again.
12. Texans (No. 13; 10-6): Anything can happen in the playoffs. But anything other than a double-digit loss in Baltimore next weekend would be a surprise.
13. Cowboys (No. 12; 8-8): With one playoff win since 1996, the other teams of the NFC East are happy that owner Jerry Jones intends to make no major changes.
14. Chargers (No. 17; 8-8): The Chargers could be on track to host a playoff game next season . . . that is blacked out in Southern California.
15. Chiefs (No. 18; 7-9): If the Chiefs can get and stay healthy in 2012, they can take back the division.
16. Broncos (No. 14; 8-8): Tebow may be able to walk on water, but he’ll have a hard time bending steel.
17. Raiders (No. 15; 8-8): The team won’t keep selling out home games if the Raiders can’t win more than three games at home all year.
18. Jets (No. 16; 8-8): Maybe the Jets will win a Super Bowl if Rex Ryan guarantees they won’t.
19. Cardinals (No. 20; 8-8): We’ll take Larry Fitzgerald with a bruised lung — or two — over just about any other receiver in the game without one.
20. Seahawks (No. 19; 7-9): Last year, 7-9 won the division. This year, it’s good enough for third place.
21. Titans (No. 22; 9-7): The season was better than expected, but blowing a shot at the playoffs makes it feel like a major disappointment.
21. Dolphins (No. 23; 6-10): This did enough to get Tony Sparano fired, but not enough to get Todd Bowles hired.
23. Panthers (No. 21; 6-10): A four-game improvement in 2011 was good. Another four-game improvement in 2012 would be great.
24. Bears (No. 25; 8-8): Would Jerry Angelo still have a job if he’d simply called Brett Favre?
25. Bills (No. 24; 6-10): “Crappy New Year” may have been a more appropriate message for Stevie Johnson’s T-shirt.
26. Redskins (No. 26; 5-11): The only way Kyle Shanahan’s prediction to his players that the Redskins will win the NFC East in 2012 comes true is if Shanahan gets ride of most of those players.
28. Browns (No. 28; 4-12): The Browns will be hiring an offensive coordinator, who hopefully will help the team be somewhat less offensive.
30. Buccaneers (No. 31; 4-12): Forget spending for a coach — the Glazers need to spend the money on players.
31. Rams (No. 32; 2-14): Averaging nearly 13 losses per year over three years isn’t the best way to get a fourth year.
32 . Colts (No. 30; 2-14): They sucked just enough for Luck. Post-Polianoscopy, the Colts will have to decide whether they want him.