LB Zach Thomas: Thomas won the fan voting, which counts for one-third along with votes from the coaches and the players, among AFC inside linebackers, and that's a good start. Even though he missed two games, Thomas has put up impressive numbers and is playing as well as ever. The only thing that could keep Thomas out of the Pro Bowl is the fact there have been a few good performances at the position, and that's even with Ray Lewis being injured most of the season. Thomas' competition will come from Jacksonville's Mike Peterson, Buffalo's London Fletcher, the Jets' Jonathan Vilma and San Diego's Donnie Edwards. But we're thinking Thomas gets in.
DE Jason Taylor: Taylor may have locked up his spot with his three sacks against the Jets on Sunday. The truth is, he probably was headed to the Pro Bowl anyway. He's had a very good season in a new role and still is among the sack leaders in the AFC. Other contenders among AFC defensive ends include Tennessee's Kyle Vanden Bosch, Oakland's Derrick Burgess, and Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis of the Colts, but it's difficult to envision Taylor not getting one of the three spots.
WR Chris Chambers: A massive three-game stretch, highlighted by his 238-yard day against Buffalo, put Chambers right in the mix. Chambers is tied for sixth among AFC wideouts with 72 catches, his 992 yards are fifth, and his nine touchdowns are tied for third. The problem here is there are a lot of good candidates. Chad Johnson and Marvin Harrison probably are locks for two of the four spots at the position, and we're thinking Hines Ward also will get an invite. That means Chambers would have to beat out Reggie Wayne, Rod Smith and possibly Deion Branch for the last spot.
P Donnie Jones: Oakland's Shane Lechler got the nod last year, but this year it's a wide-open battle and Jones is right in the mix. He leads the NFL with a 39.1-yard net average, but his 43.6 gross average is only eighth in the AFC. Jones' ratio of 25 punts inside the 20 against seven touchbacks is among the better ones. The other strong candidates at this spot include Brian Moorman of Buffalo, Josh Miller of New England, Mike Scifres of San Diego and Lechler.
Worth mention but not looking good
TE Randy McMichael: With his improvement as a blocker, McMichael has had perhaps his best season yet with the Dolphins, but McMichael is a distant fourth behind Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez and Todd Heap.
G/C Rex Hadnot: We're mentioning Hadnot's name because he was brought up as a possibility this week. And Hadnot certainly has been solid in his second season in the NFL. But Hadnot still does not have the reputation necessary to make the Pro Bowl when you're an offensive lineman. Besides, he probably has too many false starts to deserve making the Pro Bowl anway. Maybe next year.