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Division races taking shape

Monday - 11/26/2012, 3:18pm  ET

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) passes during the first half of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

BARRY WILNER
AP Pro Football Writer

As the NFL heads into December, nearly every division race has an outright favorite. Some -- Denver, Atlanta, New England, Houston and Baltimore -- are on the verge of clinching playoff spots.

The Broncos, Falcons, Ravens, Texans and Patriots took big steps toward making the postseason with victories this week. Denver in the AFC West and Atlanta in the NFC South both have four-game leads after tight road wins Sunday, while Baltimore went to overtime to secure a three-game margin in the AFC North.

Houston and New England did their work on Thanksgiving Day to grab three-game cushions in the AFC South and East, respectively. San Francisco's victory and a loss by Seattle pushed the 49ers' edge to 2
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