Three observations …

• A year ago at this time, the Texans and Falcons were a combined 19-2. This year, they’re 4-17.

• A year ago, the Chiefs and Panthers were a combined 3-17. This year, they’re 16-4.

• This year, the Patriots are 7-3. It’s the fourth time in five years that they have been 7-3. The other year they were 8-2.

Two predictions …

• In another reminder that life in the NFL can be tough without Hall of Fame-bound quarterbacks, the Vikings will upset the Packers and Scott Tolzien in Green Bay.

• The Lions — yes, the Lions — will be in first place all alone in the NFC North after they beat the Bucs at home and the Bears lose at St. Louis.