Playoff races become clearer and cloudier
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Published 01:56 p.m., Monday, December 12, 2011
Houston, for the first time since the Texans were born in 2002, made the parade, winning the AFC South — a foregone conclusion almost since the day Peyton Manning had neck surgery and was sidelined in Indianapolis.
Baltimore and Pittsburgh might go all the way to New Year's Day to decide the AFC North and possibly AFC home-field advantage, but both have comfortable leads for a wild-card spot, too.
[...] the Niners and Saints should battle for the other first-round bye in the NFC.
In the chase for wild-card berths, there's no predicting what the Falcons, Lions and Bears might do in the NFC.
When the NFL season concludes on Jan. 1, there should be plenty of meaningful games, both for division championships an...