Notes from NFL: Falcons, Giants, Ravens, Redskins, Steelers,

Our latest game recaps and picks this week include a sweeping view of Week 11 in the N.F.L. with a mix of one-game previews and a look at the coming days and weeks.

Reasons to be optimistic…

1. The Atlanta Falcons remain in a great position, and they didn’t miss anything significant in Week 11. – Steve Corkran, The Mercury News

2. Carolina’s offense still can put points on the board, as has been the case all season. – Dan Quinn, a.k.a. the X-factor at the Falcons’ offensive coordinator

3. Baltimore can stay in the AFC North race simply by maintaining its point differential. – Matt Vensel, The Baltimore Sun

4. Before they had won four in a row, the Browns were 0-4. – Jesse Washington,

Reasons to be concerned…

1. The St. Louis Rams’ home advantage this season has been nothing to celebrate. – Mark Maske, Washington Post

2. This year, the defending champion Ravens are a 28-point favorite at home. – Chris Provenzano, The Baltimore Sun

3. The Packers were expected to regress this season after such a successful 2011. They instead went from near the bottom of the pack to atop the NFC North. – Bucky Brooks,

4. The Dallas Cowboys at the Philadelphia Eagles, which was supposed to be a battle for NFC East supremacy in Week 11, ended up being a glorified bye week for the defending champion Redskins. – Mark Maske, Washington Post

NFC East

1. Every NFC East team is undefeated at home this season, and despite losing DeSean Jackson, the Eagles are now the NFC East favorites. – Daniel Jeremiah,

2. The Redskins are certainly an interesting story. Playing without three of their top four offensive skill players, they picked up their offense without Kirk Cousins but with a revamped offensive line and a running game that has been as good as ever. – Andrew Brandt,

3. The defending Super Bowl champion Giants are 4-4 in the tough NFC East. So although they are playing good football, the pressure is on New York to get back to the playoffs and win a division championship. – Bucky Brooks,

4. The defending Super Bowl champion Giants are 4-4 in the tough NFC East. So although they are playing good football, the pressure is on New York to get back to the playoffs and win a division championship. – Andrew Brandt,

NFC North

1. The Chicago Bears’ offense still struggles to put points on the board, even when they have the No. 3 defense in the league. – Marc Sessler,

2. Last season, the Detroit Lions were considered an epic disappointment. This season, they are considered a huge surprise after a big turnaround. But in a division as thin as the NFC North, the Lions have work to do. – Peter King, Sports Illustrated

3. Matt Stafford went from 25 touchdowns and 12 interceptions last season to 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season. Perhaps a potent run game will help balance the offense. – Marc Sessler,

4. Detroit’s defense is 13th in the league, but their offensive and special teams units have been unproductive. – Chris Burke, Sports Illustrated

NFC South

1. The Carolina Panthers’ defense is still strong, and their offensive line continues to perform well. – Gary Davenport, The Charlotte Observer

2. As good as quarterback Cam Newton has looked this season, he didn’t see much opposing pressure Sunday against the Falcons. – Steve Corkran, The Mercury News

3. The Saints gave up a lot of big plays and really came unglued in the second half against the Lions. – Doug Farrar, Sports Illustrated

4. The Falcons’ offense remains formidable, even with the absence of Michael Turner and Roddy White. – Jeff Schultz, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

AFC East

1. In a division with less depth than the NFC North, the New England Patriots look like the best bet to go to the playoffs. – Andrew Brandt,

2. The New York Jets are 2-5 and have already seen their lead in the division vanish. Now, a fourth consecutive loss could spell doom for the Jets. – Dan Orlovsky, Newsday

3. The Miami Dolphins had a lot of talent at the tackle positions, so it was easy to think that they could contend. – Dave Hyde, Sun Sentinel

4. Who thought the Patriots would struggle in 2012? – Mike

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