In a season marked by so much upheaval that the four teams in last year's conference title games have spent much of the first half in last place in their divisions, it might seem silly to predict who will qualify for the postseason and how those playoffs will shake out. But what the heck.
1. Jaguars (13-3) Defensive coordinator Dom Capers has them playing the best D in the league. Competing in the AFC Central doesn't hurt.
2. Dolphins (11-5) The bone spur in Dan Marino's neck is a big concern, but the defense will take pressure off the Damon Huard-led offense.
3. Seahawks (10-6) Quarterback Jon Kitna will continue to improve, leading Seattle to its first playoff appearance since 1988.
4. Colts (11-5) Their remaining road schedule is easier than that of any other AFC East contender.
5. Titans (9-7) They enjoy the luxury of having two quarterbacks who can be competent in the postseason, and they play the type of swarming defense that can create havoc in January.
6. Patriots (10-6) Everything's riding on whether they can keep their Big Four—Drew Bledsoe, Terry Glenn, Ty Law and Willie McGinest—healthy.
1. Rams (14-2) After facing the 5-2 Lions in the Silverdome, St. Louis's last eight games will be against teams that could well be .500 or below. "Our season last year gave everybody hope," says Falcons coach Dan Reeves. The Rams are the prime example of that hope fulfilled.