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Change is the one thing that never changes in the league

Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Football

With every season -- churn, churn, churn.

Change is once again the constant as the NFL rounds the final turn and into the December stretch run with the postseason picture coming into focus.

Brackets surely will be reshuffled in the last five weeks of the regular season, but as it stands, eight of the 12 playoff slots are occupied by teams that didn't make it to the dance last season.

In the AFC, the familiar returners of Pittsburgh, New England and Kansas City are joined by Tennessee, Jacksonville and Baltimore, each of whom watched the playoffs from the couch a year ago.

There's even more turnover in the NFC, where Atlanta is the only team currently seeded that made the playoffs last year. The other five -- Philadelphia, Minnesota, the Rams, New Orleans and Carolina -- failed to get that far.

Again, this is all subject to change, but the league's constant push for competitive balance is yet again paying dividends.

 

This much about the NFL doesn't change: You need to have stability at quarterback.

Seven of the eight division leaders are starting the same quarterback with which they opened the season, Minnesota being the exception. Who could have predicted the remarkable season the Vikings' Case Keenum is having?

Meanwhile, all eight of the divisional cellar dwellers are on at least their second quarterback, the latest being the New York Giants, who this week benched longtime starter Eli Manning in favor of Geno Smith.

This is a passing league, and never has that been more evident.

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